A third of UK insurance brokers believe their future depends on exploiting the Internet and that those who fail to harness the technology will struggle to survive, according to research by Norwich Union.
The research, which surveyed 400 brokers, found that those who use the Internet to do business are now the dominant group in the UK broker market.
Ken Wallace, Norwich Union's intermediary business director, says: "It appears most (brokers) agree that technology will play an important part in the offering to customers and those who refuse to embrace it will struggle."
Wallace says in the main, brokers are showing a positive outlook, with more than 80% being optimistic about the future, although personal insurance brokers are less so than their commercial counterparts.
The survey also identified three principal business types in UK broking. According to the research, 'corner shops' like to maintain the personal touch and independence of smaller companies, "fading families" are the most pessimistic, seeing threats from all directions including large retailers selling insurance and government regulations, while 'old style pros' depend on the loyalty of clients and are not scared of the increasing diversity of insurance providers or advances in technology.
Brokers are also in favour of a less populated market and would be happy if this was brought about by FSA regulations.