Network set to sign up 100 members.

Willis Commercial Network is on course to sign up 100 members by 2011, according to Mark Radburn, the network’s managing director.

He said the network had gained 10 new members this year, bringing its number to 78 brokers, who control a total gross written premium of £380m.

As networks proliferate and the fight for members intensifies, Radburn said he wanted the Willis network, which typically attracts brokers employing 15 to 20 people and with a GWP of £5m-6m, to have 100 members by 2011.

Its biggest member, Berkeley Burke, controls £25m in premiums.

Radburn confirmed that membership targets for Willis’ N2 network, launched earlier this year, remained unchanged at 120 members by 2011. It has signed up only 10 members so far, however.

N2 is aimed at smaller regional brokers, typically with five to 12 employees and a GWP of about £2m.

Brendan McManus, chief executive of Willis UK, said earlier this year the company was looking to aggressively drive growth in its network presence.

He added that N2 aimed to give provincial brokers access to enhanced commissions, as well as compliance and training for technical, sales and managerial issues.

Radburn said the new network had received strong interest from start-ups, unhappy with selling to consolidators and looking to start afresh.

He said: “Twenty start-up brokers have approached us for N2 membership in the last three months as a fall-out from the consolidators. We’re getting a telephone call each week.”

Radburn highlighted the potential in the network arena, claiming the network market only consisted of 500 members, with 2,500 brokers not signed up to any network.

Despite Norwich Union’s recent tough stance on cutting its distribution costs, Radburn said the insurer had not been in discussions with Willis over its commission structure. He added, however, that it “doesn’t surprise” him that NU had begun to take this approach with other players.