CGNU's general insurance managing director-designate Patrick Snowball this week pledged to try and improve service standards for insurance intermediaries when the merger is completed.

Snowball's promise came in response to increasing criticism from brokers at the service levels on offer from insurers over the past year.

He said: "We know there are a number of concerns voiced by intermediaries and we will do our best to demonstrate that the combined operations will enable them to compete effectively."

Snowball claimed that during the past three months Norwich Union has made significant strides in improving standards, both in terms of telephone response times and reducing backlogs. He said the combined operation will push these improvements further.

One of the areas CGNU will focus on is a greater use of technology to bring competitive products to the market more quickly.

Snowball also promised to keep up contact with brokers while the integration continues. He said: "We will communicate as quickly and frequently as we can with intermediaries, so that everyone is aware of what we are doing, when and how it will affect them."

Royal & SunAlliance also claimed that service is on the up. A spokesman for the composite insurer said: "We have substantially reduced our outstanding workloads and are now hitting service levels across our broker, corporate partner and direct distribution channels."