Insurance Times, together with sponsors QBE and Close Premium Finance, analysed the performance of brokers in East Anglia to determine which company is the best

Harder, faster and smarter in East Anglia

Insurance Times' regional broking bandwagon left the big cities of the North for the leafier climes of Bury St Edmunds last Wednesday night. East Anglian brokers convened in the Suffolk market town to network and share a local ale or two.

Bury St Edmunds is home to The Nutshell, the self-proclaimed "smallest pub in Britain", but fortunately, the venue for the night, Bar Ambition, was rather more spacious.

Master of ceremonies Andy Mills from Insurance Times' research partner, Grant Thornton, said regional brokers were relatively upbeat about regulation, according to his accounting firm's East Anglia survey. Mills also emphasised the relatively high level of M&A activity in the region.

The Largest Independent East Anglia Broker was Budget Insurance, whose regional manager, Darren Jones, collected the award.

Emma Maziak, head of Budget's group communictions commented: "We are delighted to be placed number one in this year's awards."

She attributed the win to "the breadth and diversity of our products and services delivered across multiple channels through affinity partnerships and our various divisions".

Drakefield Insurance Services was named the Fastest Growing Broker. The award was presented to the firm's finance director, Michael Barry.

Reacting to the accolade, Drakefield's chief executive, Christian Young, said: "It is a credit to the directors, our team and to the success of Go Travel Insurance."

He added: "It reflects significant investment in scaling up our business, focusing on IT, internet, marketing and delivering quality insurance products. This enables us to offer a truly end-to-end service, with our claims department, call centre and medical screening, all handled in-house, giving a customer-focused and professional service every time."

The Davis Group secured the Most Efficient Broker award. Davis' managing director, Kevin Hancock, dedicated the award to his colleagues, saying their commitment and willingness to embrace change was a major factor in the broker's success.

Hancock said Davis had successfully avoided the dreaded "Monday morning" syndrome by motivating its employees and involving them at all levels of the business.

The broker's motto is: "We work harder, smarter, faster", and it is no surprise that Davis was named in The Times' recent list of the best UK companies to work for.

And the winners are...

Largest Independent Broker
Winner, 2005/2006
Budget Insurance

Fastest Growing Independent Broker
Winner, 2005/2006
Drakefield Insurance Services
Most Efficient Independent Broker
Winner, 2005/2006
The Davis Group

' The next stop for the Insurance Times' regional broking bandwagon is Croydon, where the Top 20 South-East Brokers reception will be held on 22 June