Many major insurers expect moves towards a single European currency will lead to product price cuts and an eventual harmonisation of taxes, according to a survey by Britain's biggest brokers Aon.

The survey revealed a large majority (79%) of insurers and bosses of multi-national companies expect economic and monetary union to lead to a level playing field in financial services.

Almost all of the insurers surveyed said EMU would decrease product prices, although only 70% expected Europe-wide taxes to be harmonised within five years.

Furthermore, 44% of insurers expect EMU to result in a reduction in the number of intermediaries providing financial products. Aon presumes this is based on the assumption that EMU will lead to greater financial transparency allowing easier comparison between financial products.

And 56% of respondents predicted a single currency will allow them to retain more of their own financial risks, and thereby opt for self-insurance.

Larger businesses in the survey said they thought EMU would stimulate demand for crime-related insurance, errors and omissions cover, employment practices and liability insurance.

On the specific impact of EMU on the insurance market, 40% of insurers said they would be adapting their marketing methods to suit mass marketed products.

But only 27% expected this change to spill over into commercial risks.

Despite forecasting a trend toward greater centralisation, 73% of insurers said their distribution channels would remain largely unaffected.