A leading insurer has warned of the demise of small brokers in the regions.

NIG managing director of commercial lines, Charles Earle, said small brokers are in danger of becoming a threatened species in the Birmingham and West Midlands area.

Speaking to an audience of brokers and managers of small and medium-sized business at the fourth NIG business academy in Birmingham, Earle said the acceleration of broker consolidation was leading to the demise of many small brokers in that part of the UK.

He said: "What we're seeing in Birmingham and the Midlands right now is the potential death knell of small players unless they adapt to the new realities of the business environment.

"They're being absorbed and overtaken by the so-called super-regionals and the broker networks."

Earle said a combination of factors were driving the changes, including "market conditions, ownership demographics and the need to drive down costs - particularly those relating to technology, and the impact of FSA regulation".