Norwich Union (NU) picked up a further six personal lines broking businesses in September, worth an estimated £51m GWP.

The purchases will allow the insurer to invite renewal on 128,000 policies, mainly through its direct arm Norwich Union Direct. That brings the total this year to 81 acquisitions.

Norwich Union director of distribution development Tim Rolfe said: "There have been acquisitions across the board and while we expected these to be smaller brokers, there have been some significant businesses.

"What we are finding is that we are working in partnership with other buyers, mostly regional brokers, to take the personal lines business while they buy the commercial book."

Rolfe warned that while many brokers had received their 'minded to authorise' letters from the FSA, there was a false sense of security about the FSA environment.

He said: "We are a little bit concerned about brokers waving their 'minded to authorise' letters about as if it was a rowing gold.

FSA authorisation is likely to be a much bigger deal in 2005."