Tradewise Underwriting Agencies has closed down its motor underwriting arm, Tradewise Motor Trade Road Risks (MTRR), after failing to find an insurer to sell the product.

Tradewise MTRR has not been renewing business since August, when deals with insurers Highway and Tradex collapsed. A dozen Tradewise employees have been made redundant.

At the end of 2000, Tradewise was forced to switch its £12.5m motor book to another carrier, after Highway ceased accepting new business from brokers because of a lack of capacity.

Tradex offered to help by allowing Tradewise to temporarily put business through its own book, but later pulled out, accusing it of underpricing policies and ignoring the expiry date of the deal.

Tradewise general manager Mike Tyler said: “We made job cuts as MTRR has not been trading since August.

“This was forced on us, as we were unable to make renewals.”

But he added the Tradewise group was being restructured and was looking to make a new launch in the next two weeks.

He said: “Highway has offered us a reinstatement, but it is likely we will say no once we have our own deal done.”

Highway managing director Andrew Gibson said: “Tradewise was a broker of ours for several years and we converted it to an underwriting agency in 1996.

“We have offered to reinstate Highway as a broker but not as an underwriting agency, and that offer is still open.”

He added that since the previous deal was severed, Highway had resumed writing new business and had increased its capacity, provided through Lloyd's, to £300m.

Tradewise has been awaiting a licence to underwrite its own business in southern Ireland for several months.

The other parts of the Tradewise group – high street broker Unicom Insurance Services, Wisecall Claims Assistance and Tradewise Underwriting Agencies' non-motor division, which writes policies for goods in transit, property, liability and household through Lloyd's – all remain unaffected by the changes.