A broker study by RBS Finsure has given an insight into brokers' working life. Howard Lent reports

Broking is tougher now than ever before. According to research by RBS Finsure, who polled 1,500 broker, just under two thirds (62%) believe regulation, compliance and bureaucracy have much to answer for, while over a quarter (28%) think that competition from other sources is the principal problem.

Other culprits include shrinking markets, cut-throat rates, and growing customer scepticism. This is the verdict of 1,500 brokers who took part in new research by RBS Finsure.

Questions ranged from the serious, to the light-hearted and invited brokers to describe aspects of their daily work – things that equally frustrate and amuse them, as well as things that make the job worthwhile.

Brokers embraced the chance to name the most unusual insurance question they'd ever been asked. Answers included:

• Can I claim "loss of profit" if I don't make any?

• Do you have to own the item to insure it?

• Can you give me a quote for my car, it's big and red?

• Fire and theft? Does that mean my car has to be both stolen and set ablaze?

As for the wackiest item they'd ever been asked to insure, favourites included:

• A stone called Michael

• Breast implants

• Four tonnes of jelly for use in a film

• A performing dog.

Customers, however, were also cited as a source of consolation, as well as a point of occasional exasperation.

55% of brokers identified working with a rich mix of clients as the single greatest thing about being abroker, with nearly two thirds (65%) agreeing that a truly satisfied customer was enough for them to put up with the day-to-day petty gripes.

Trevor Brittain, managing director, RBS Finsure says: "It's essential to us that we retain the personal touch and agility that has always been central to our approach, and balance it with the many customer benefits provided by the RBS group.

"Our brokers may be finding it harder than ever to do their jobs, and naturally, we can't alone solve all their problems." IT