Insurers moved quickly to mop up Independent Insurance's business, with Royal & Sunalliance (R&SA) advertising across the UK for new staff to help it cope with the influx of work.

R&SA and Folgate announced last Friday that they were keen to consider Independent's renewals and by Tuesday, both said their phones were “ringing off the hook” with brokers desperate to place business.

Axa Insurance and Allianz Cornhill confirmed they were also considering business that their premium clients may have placed with Independent.

All insurers reported a flood of calls from Independent staff enquiring about employment possibilities, which prompted R&SA to set up a human resources hotline to handle enquiries.

R&SA UK commercial managing director Duncan Boyle said his underwriters would consider the entire range of commercial business, but would be careful not to compromise their strong stance on pricing.

“A lot of cases that have gone to Independent over the last couple of years are coming back to us,” he said.

“Our underwriters have been out in the field all day and are agreeing temporary cover arrangements on renewal risks.”

Folgate commercial director David Drew said the company already had a strategy for the smooth transfer of accounts, which had allowed it to take significant business from insurers disrupted by mergers over the past 18 months.

He said Folgate would discuss both commercial and household transfers and new business with brokers who were caught short by Independent's collapse.

Axa Insurance chief executive Andy Homer said his underwriters would deal with their premium brokers, who number around 50 in the UK, on small to medium-sized enterprise and property risk business.

However, he said Axa would not consider London Market liability business or stand-alone employers' liability and fleet, and that they would not be tempted to compromise their usual standards.

Homer said Axa had already conducted employment interviews with a number of Independent staff.

Allianz Cornhill general manager Andrew Torrance said the company had already contacted its most supportive brokers to tell them it would consider their business.

Torrance said Allianz was keen to employ former Independent staff.