Norwich Union has said its planned partnership with Royal London Insurance will have a minimal effect on brokers.

Norwich Union is engaged in exclusive talks over gaining access to Royal London's 200,000 motor and household customers, who provide a premium income of £34 million.

“This agreement will have a minimal impact on the broker channel. Royal London is a door-to-door sales organisation and it is anticipated its sales personnel will be introducing new business to Norwich Union,” said Norwich Union spokeswoman Sue Winston.

Under the deal, details of which have not been disclosed, Norwich Union will pay Royal London an introduction fee for new business leads and share any resulting profits.

Staff at the two insurers are set to be told how their roles will change after the talks are concluded in six weeks' time. Most at risk are 130 staff at Royal London's claims office in Colchester. They are likely to be offered the option of relocation to other jobs.

It is expected that Royal London's business will begin to be transferred by December.

The rationale behind the partnership agreement is to build on each insurers' individual strengths.

Norwich Union will service Royal London's customers using its specialist expertise in sales, underwriting, claims, customer service and pricing. It already services a number of clients in this way, including Ford car dealerships and NAAFI, the canteen-services arm of the armed forces.

For Royal London's part, the agreement will allow it to focus on its core life-assurance business and provide its customers with access to Norwich Union's top-flight insurance products.

Royal London spokesman Stephen Humphreys said that, as general insurance forms only ten per cent of its business it had found increasing difficulty as a small player in competing with large insurers.