The debate on dual pricing at the Biba conference in Edinburgh this week will be a waste of time, warns Broker Network managing direct Grant Ellis.

Ellis says insurers will pay nothing more than 'lipservice' to the complaints and points raised by brokers.

He says a trade body will not have the power to influence market forces.

"Insurers will only pay lipservice to the Biba debate on dual pricing – this is a commercial issue and not an ethical one," he says.

Dual pricing has dominated the letters page of Insurance Times for the past month after a front page story highlighted insurers' fury on the issue.

One broker, Sandy McArthur of Logie & McArthur, called on fellow brokers to withdraw accounts from insurers if they are found to be offering them higher premium rates than they offer through their direct arm.

But Ellis says it is naive for brokers to expect insurers not to dual price.

"The fact is that the direct arm has a commercial advantage over the broker," he says. "Insurers have a duty to shareholders and not to brokers."

He adds that the broker must develop a genuine relationship with insurers if they want to survive, and ditch the yearly contracts.