The announcement of the closure of Hill House Hammond has been blamed on the increasing number of direct writers in the market and that high street brokers cannot compete.

I find this surprising for two reasons. First, results from our continuous benchmarking of
general insurance providers shows brokers are currently performing better than many of the direct
writers when it comes to offering lower prices to consumers.

Second, there are virtually no companies with a nationwide presence and brand credibility servicing the SME market for business insurance.

So the question has to be asked, what is the real reason for the closure? Is it that Norwich Union is uncompetitive even when bought through a broker network that it owns?

This does not bode well for the many alliances it has with third parties.

Or is it that NU just hasn't figured out how to make money out of this kind of a network?

If industry analysts take this as an indication that the role of the broker is now in terminal decline, they would be way off the mark.

If anything, the creative, hard working and entrepreneurial brokers still left in the market will grow even healthier as a result of HHH's demise.

Ian Hughes
Managing director
Consumer Intelligence