Axa Corporate Solutions, part of the Axa group, has set up its own panel of law firms following an extensive beauty parade.
Out of the 18 firms invited to tender, the successful firms are expected to be whittled down to 11.
Several firms, including Beachcroft Wansbroughs, Ensor Byfield, James Chapman & Co, Kennedys and Weightmans are known to have been successful.
But troubled insurance practice Berrymans Lace Mawer, which has lost 15 partners in the past year, has been dealt another blow by not being selected for the panel.
Axa Corporate Solutions provides insurance services for large corporate customers and its legal spend is around £10m a year.
The work ranges from personal injury to product liability and includes public liability, property and construction.
Axa Corporate Solutions' claims technical manager Andrew McBride says that the panel was set up to minimise cost and improve client services.
According to one source, the tender document inquired into every aspect of the firm's profile including where business comes from and how rates and fee structures are decided.
Axa Corporate Solutions' clients are large multinational companies. A partner in one of the successful firms says that the company is looking for firms that can provide expertise in all areas and which are confident with handling cross-border claims.
"A lot of the work will be personal injury but multinational companies may be manufacturing in a number of jurisdictions and firms need to be able to deal with complicated cases and not just with the high-volume stuff," he says.
But McBride says that there is some work that will not be covered by the panel. "Some customers have relationships with firms that go back a long way and we will take that into account," he says.