Readers of the women's press will know that Marks & Spencer is doing things differently. It has steered clear of the anorexic and unrealistic models favoured by other clothes advertisers and is using larger models in its adverts.

Readers of Insurance Times will know too that M&S is doing things differently. It has steered clear of the limited and unrealistic limits on household contents favoured by other insurers and is using larger (open-ended, in fact) sums in insured.

But that's not all. It has simplified the policy, removing internal limits covered (except for money), scrapping excess payments and tearing up the application forms. It also promises to revolutionise claims.

When it comes to household insurance, M&S has thrown away the rulebook.

Or has it? Insurers have long had deals with brokers allowing similar flexibility.

An insurer might underwrite the whole of a broker's book of business at a favourable rate, not penalising the few who make claims, because the whole book remains profitable.

The CGU Planet policy was a successful version of just such a deal, so it comes as no surprise that it will be CGU, trading as Norwich Union from next week, that will underwrite the M&S scheme.

Intermediaries will have a battle on their hands if they want to attract or retain M&S customers as their own. But it's a battle they can win. They will have to ensure they make it as easy to buy insurance and to claim as M&S plans to.

Yes that will involve insurers helping out too, but that is in the insurers' interest.

Fewer questions, fewer restrictions, higher limits and an end to the questions most consumers cannot fathom, will be good for the broker, good for the insurer and good for the consumer. The M&S approach really should be exclusively for everyone.