Traditional policy overturned as insurer pilots scheme with bigger brokers

Norwich Union (NU) has started to offer exclusive quotes to selected brokers, overturning its traditional policy, Insurance Times has learned.

As first revealed by Insurance Times (News 11 May), NU has been considering whether to change its policy on providing exclusive quotes.

The insurance giant was thought to be the only major insurer not to offer exclusive quotes to brokers. Exclusive quotes mean that an insurer will agree to provide a quote to only one broker on a piece of business

This week, NU confirmed it was now piloting a scheme with some of its bigger brokers.

George Berrie, director of trading at NU, said: "We have decided to go ahead and experiment with some exclusive trading as a means of securing business we wouldn't otherwise get, in a way that didn't disturb good trading relations."

He said: "So far it has not given us any real problems that I'm aware of. If a broker approaches us and says this is a big case and it wants it exclusive we are open to that.

"Where we have done it we have had a certain amount of success and we will keep this going for another few months, probably until the end of the year."

Berrie said he did not think exclusive trading had a place at the smaller end of the market.

NU's stance of not offering exclusive quotes is thought to have alienated some brokers.

They felt that their efforts to provide detailed risk information had gone to waste if a rival broker were also provided with a competing quote based on that same information.

One smaller broker expressed concern at NU's new policy. He said: "Is it any wonder the smaller broker is disappearing, what chance do they have of surviving?

"I can't see any justification for the bigger broker having cheaper premium rates."

Allianz Cornhill has been offering exclusive quotes to brokers for a number of years.

Chris Garrett, broker partnership manager at the insurer, said: "We have done it for about five years, on the basis of when it's good for everyone involved.

"We are probably more selective and by doing so we have not had a bad reaction to this."