A BROKER claims Zurich insurance allowed a new client's transfer to be delayed for eight days in order that its former broker could win back the business.

Julian Hale, account executive at Spedding Goldthorpe (brokers) in Dewsbury, said the transfer should have gone ahead within one or two days. But he alleged Zurich Commercial insisted on holding up the motor fleet account's transfer until the old broker had obtained "reasonable rescinding instructions".

Hale said Spedding Goldthorpe was forced to take the unprecedented step of sending Zurich Commercial two letters of appointment from the client before the transfer was effected.

"We had an immediate right to the transfer information from the client's insurer under the industry's working practices," Hale said Zurich seemed reluctant to agree to the move for fear of antagonising the former broker and only agreed the move after the intervention of a senior Zurich manager.

Hale said the case was typical of insurers "dancing to the beat of larger brokers".

Peter Staddon, technical manager at Biba, said that while there are no specific time limits covering the transfer of clients between brokers, the exercise should be completed as soon as possible, or else risk leaving the insured without cover.

He added, that when a new broker is appointed, some insurers do inform the affected broker as a matter of courtesy.

Zurich said its policy was to transfer business immediately and would investigate the case.