I understand much of what Dave Smith of Zurich is arguing "If you are suffering network overload..." (23 October, Insurance Times) but could I add several other issues which he does not cover in his attack on networks.
(i) Insurer service to brokers and clients is universally poor and the high expense ratios of some (but not all) insurers is as much a value destroyer for clients as any other factor in the market.
(ii) The "poor client" has been subsidised to the tune of £23bn over the last 10 years by ABI insurers, so I am struggling to see how the client is getting short-changed by anybody.
(iii) International brokers have delivered worse combined ratios to many insurers over the past few years than all the networks put together if you care to believe the private views of many insurer CEOs.
The persistence and loss ratios of regional brokers is superior, and it is not difficult to see why brokers club together in a network.
Some networks create great value for clients and I agree with Dave, the best of the best will survive. Those insurers with coherent distribution strategies will see the benefit - sadly I see only three or four such companies right now.