Zurich is aiming to overtake Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) as Britain's third largest personal lines insurer.

In an exclusive interview with Insurance Times, Zurich's UK head of personal lines Ian Owen said: "I want Zurich to be a strong number three in the market."

Owen explained that in terms of volume, Zurich is slightly behind R&SA in the private motor market and further behind on property. For details of how much premium income Zurich will have to generate read the Top 50 UK Insurance Companies and Groups supplement, free with this issue.

The top two personal lines insurers are Norwich Union and Royal Bank Insurance Services, formed by the combination of Direct Line and Churchill.

Zurich is planning to achieve growth organically rather than through acquisition, Owen said. He added that the growth will be through brokers rather than direct.

Owen said that just under 30% of Zurich's UK personal lines book is direct. "It is not our intention to grow this, although if customers are determined to buy direct we will not turn them away," he said.

To help brokers generate more sales, Zurich is set to launch a major advertising campaign in local newspapers that will prompt customers to use a local broker. This supplements last year's 'flying pigs' adverts, which also promoted the broker channel.

Zurich has also unveiled its plans to help personal lines brokers deal with FSA compliance. It has produced a five-option plan that includes subsidised consultancy to help brokers through compliance, the option of becoming an appointed representative, the chance of becoming a franchisee of Zurich's Mortgage Network, the option of becoming an authorised introducer or help with selling up.

A booklet detailing the options will be sent to brokers tomorrow.

Owen explained that Zurich's top 50 brokers will receive the FSA support free and a further 100 will be able to have some of the consultancy for free.