Zurich Financial Services has unveiled its plans for statutory regulation with the creation of the Zurich Mortgage Network (ZMN).
The premise behind the ZMN is that it will allow advisers to test the offering before fully committing, although it is expecting 1,600 new advisers to have joined by the end of the year.
There are three tiers of membership: tied, non-tied for mortgages, general insurance and protection products, and non-tied for general insurance and protection products
Richard Coulson, director of the Zurich Mortgage Network, said: ‘A lot of advisers are in limbo over their future at the moment, but probably do not want to commit to being a tied agent straight away. This proposition will allow them to use Zurich’s processes and systems while remaining responsible for advice. In time though the offering is such that I would expect them to want to tie in fully.’
The network aims to provide brokers with a one-stop shop for borrowers which will allow access to residential and commercial mortgages from its 17 panel lenders and a further 80 non-panel members, as well as conveyancing, life, protection, accident, sickness and unemployment and home contents insurance from Zurich. The facilities are available through a new electronic trading and protection application system which has the facility to complete online.
During 2002 Zurich introduced £12bn in new mortgage business to its panel of lenders, up 52% on the previous year. Under the new model it expects this to increase to around £20bn by the end of 2003.
Commenting, Frank Eve, senior partner at Frank Eve Consulting, said: ‘Everyone has been waiting for the insurers to make their move as they are in the best position to provide network support to mortgage brokers. Zurich will not be the only one to do this and they will give the current packager propositions some very real competition.’