UKGI chairman given role of developing relationships and providing compliance support.

Norwich Union (NU) has signed up UKGI chairman Bob Beckett to help develop its small broker business.

The insurer has agreed a deal with Beckett, who has been given the brief of developing relationships with brokers in its small broker division by supplying compliance support from his UKGI business on behalf of NU.

The focus on smaller brokers comes as NU gets tough with consolidators over the demands for high commissions.

Last week, Insurance Times reported that it had refused commission increases for broker Giles, and it is believed to be in tough negotiations with other consolidators including Oval and Towergate.

Towergate itself has a troubled history with Bob Beckett, who last year paid the broker around £1m compensation in an out of court settlement concerning 15 staff who joined his start-up business IRS.

The staff came from Country Mutual Insurance Brokers, which Beckett had founded and sold to NFU, which later sold it to Towergate.

According to sources close to NU, Beckett has been brought on board to take charge of the small broker business following the success of Club 110, the support network for medium sized brokerages.

NU chief executive Igal Mayer is believed to have offered Beckett the post personally, and suggested that further opportunities could arise in the future.

UKGI is a support service for brokers that offers compliance support and other benefits.

Beckett, the company’s majority shareholder, and ex-Biba chief executive Mike Williams, bought the business in 2005. Williams said he was unaware that a deal had been struck with NU, but said there had been a number of discussions.

“We are talking to six or seven insurers about various UKGI compliance support,” he said.”

Beckett, who was unavailable for comment, is believed to have scheduled further talks with NU for the end of August.

Norwich Union declined to comment.