Jonathan Davey, chief executive, PBS Holdings and chairman, Primary Broker Services

Davey said the demise of the UK broker had long been promised, but had failed to materialise.

In his opinion, brokers had become far more customer intimate and "customer centric".

As a result, he said a new space had opened for new, dynamic and responsive case underwriting organisations and for brokers who offered that level of customer intimacy.

He insisted the thirst for consolidation had begun, but questioned how brokers could compete in that new world.

Consolidation, he said, elevated the broker's profile in the eyes of insurers, enhanced commission and terms, and inevitably, delivered a more profitable general trading relationship.

Davey predicted that in 10 years' time, acquisitions, mergers, proliferation of networks and consolidators would continue to exist and that mainstream insurers could, in future, look more like venture capital companies, capital providers or banks.

In conclusion, he said, the survival and profitability of the broking market would depend on considering options regularly, developing strategic partnerships with new markets available and differentiating on customer service.