Norwich Union has promised to match cheaper direct telephone quotes for its best brokers and still pay commission.

NU UK business development director Ken Wallace said: "If there is an existing NU case and they approach NU direct, then to assist the broker we will price match it and pay commission."

The insurer also denied a series of claims of massive price differentials between its broker side and its direct operations.

NU has discovered an administrative error led to the wide variations in a series of complaints raised by Insurance Times of behalf of brokers.

On last week's front page story broker, Sandy McArthur claimed an NU Direct internet quote was £328 lower than the broker channel quote.

But NU says its broker channel staff mistyped the car's details into the computer adding almost 1,000cc to the engine size and making it a convertible model with no alarm, bumping it up three insurance groupings.

This was not the information the broker received.

In another case Sheffield broker Derek Eastwood found insuring his mother's car by telephoning NU Direct was £165.02 compared with £580.37 through the broker channel.

NU says the telephone operative mistakenly took the birth date as 1930 instead of 1913, explaining the difference.