Investment banks and Big Five accountants are well-placed to steal general insurance business from insurers, said Andy Miller, joint managing director of consultancy Impact Plus.

"It's easier for banks to extend their operations into insurer territory than vice versa. And it's the banks and accountants who have the best relations with the chief executive."

Miller added: "Only the insurance industry is selling insurance. Everyone else is selling personal financial services, or offering 'holistic' customer needs management."

He said insurers must identify what business skills they wish to perform, and which to outsource. But he ended optimistically, talking of a "digital democracy" and the potential of selling to it through technology"