Norwich Union 's new brokers terms again demonstrate the insensitivity of insurers t their customers.While the fur flies over controversial clauses,John Jackson asks why brokers are making such a fuss.

In that case,why has the problem -if a problem it is -not been picked up before by individual brokers,Biba,the IIB and the rest

I never cease to be amazed at the lack of communication between insurers and brokers, And how sensitive both sides can be on occasion.

It is sheer Agatha Christie as we delve into the mysterious case of the Norwich Union (NU)terms of business document. Miss Marple, sharp-eyed as ever, had noted that, in fact, it was a terms of appointment document.

Although some brokers received the former when it should have been the latter, and vice versa. Are you still with me? Sherlock Holmes would have understood. Just.

But Miss Marple and Holmes might be flummoxed by the management-speak of NU intermediary business director Ken Wallace, who described the matter as the result of their "post-merger conversion programme."

I prefer my Scots, like Ken Wallace, to be plain-speaking. Translated into plain Glaswegian this reads: "Our heads have been in a spin because we keep having mergers, and this is what we have finally come up with."

What puzzles me is why all the brains at NU, deep into its "post-merger conversion programme "have come up with not one, but two sets of terms for brokers. One is accept- able and one clearly unacceptable.

Moreover, NU is apparently happy to allow Biba brokers (and IIB?)to opt for the better one. So, again, why have two?

A big buzz phrase a few years ago was CRM -customer relationship management (another dreadful piece of management- speak).

NU apparently has a clause in its terms of appointment agreement that says the insurer reserves the right to suspend or cancel an agency at any time without giving a reason."

Not much CRM there. About as welcoming as the old pub notice that stated: "The management refuses the right of admission ".

Presumably, also, without giving a reason. If you are in a business relationship, then you are entitled, as a matter of common courtesy, let alone decent business ethics, to inform the other party why the relationship is ending.

However, NU says the clause has always been there. As Ken Wallace not unreasonably puts it :"The fact that people are not aware of it is a point, but we've not changed the rules."

In that case,why has the problem - if a problem it is - not been picked up before by individual brokers, Biba, the IIB and the rest? Don 't brokers read the small print in con- tracts with insurers? What about that good old Latin business tag: caveat emptor -buyer beware?

At the end of the day, of course, the broker can always place his business elsewhere. Or are all insurers at it?