Half of the brokers and intermediaries in the UK are planning to dump some of the insurers they conduct business with, finds research by Mori for Countrywide Marketing.

Some 52% of those surveyed said they are likely to cut the number of insurer accounts they hold in the next year.

And 61% expect to be dealing with ten insurers or fewer.

When questioned on their existing markets, the ten best insurers were identified as Allianz, Axa, CGU, Ecclesiastical, Fortis, Groupama, Independent, NIG, Norwich Union, Royal & SunAlliance and Zurich (the survey was conducted before the CGNU merger but CGU and NU are counted as one).

An insurer's service standards were named as the single most important criteria for continuing with an account, above products, rates, and remuneration.

Some 55% felt cutting their number of insurer accounts would not damage their own service levels to customers.

And most, 68%, are confident that they will increase their customer base over the next year.

Countrywide's members now account for 8% of UK general insurance premiums.