Marine brokers are concerned about slow claims payment and consistency of underwriting from marine insurers and reinsurers, according to an independent study commissioned by GE Frankona Re.

But overall, respondents said there had been an improvement in the service they received, listing better financial security, claims settlement and underwriting expertise.

Most respondents expected little growth in marine insurance and reinsurance, and e-commerce is expected to make a big impact on the industry.

Trevor Carvey, head of Employers' Reinsurance Corporation's Marine Centre of Excellence in London, said the findings showed that underwriters had to do more to meet the expectations of clients. "This survey confirms the view that marine insurance and reinsurance will remain intensely tough and competitive," he said.

"As an industry we have to improve our service and client focus. The findings on slow claims payment have to be seen as a wake-up call for the industry to improve on settlement processes."

A total of 99 brokers were interviewed for the survey, 68 of whom were from the UK.