January 15, 2015

Having been called a variety of by no means dissimilar things down the years, Bankstone News can only sympathise with the Competitors & Meerkats Authority, whose annual reporting requirement for brokers was described this week by “one industry executive” quoted in Insurance Tides as “remarkable in its uselessness”.

The CMA is drawing considerable flak this week over the draft proposals on NCB protection which it is seeking to impose on the UK’s hard-pressed insurance broker fraternity.

Basically, in case you haven’t been paying attention lately, the CMA wants brokers to burden their customers with masses of useless and unnecessary information about trivialities such as what NCBs are, how they work, etc. etc.

But brokers have been quick to point out that bombarding customers with lots of extraneous detail would be a complete waste of time as most insurance buyers lack the mental capacity to assimilate it by themselves and it would take far too long to explain.

The CMA’s proposals do not sit at all well with brokers. “Our members are not comfortable”, complained Graeme Turgid of fashion to advocacy providers BIBA, “with these proposals.”

Going on to set out brokers’ reservations in detail he explained painstakingly how “We appreciate we have to be giving the right information to customers on NCB protection, but it’s just a problem with the way they are suggesting it.”

Would all be well, then, if the CMA just asked nicely? Possibly not. Mr Trudgle said it would be a terrible faff for software houses to make all the changes necessary to automatically generate masses of confusing information on NCBs for brokers’ customers.

If the Competitors & Meerkats people think brokers’ software houses can get all the necessary work done by September this year, they’ve got another thing coming. The houses in question cannot even begin work until everything is formally finalised, set in stone, etc. And who knows when that will be.

The CMA had best withdraw its obtrusive proboscis from the whole affair, quite frankly, and leave demanding impracticable things of brokers to the FCA, who have a proven track record in that particular field.

The above mentioned ‘one insurance executive’ summed up the case neatly, concluding that ‘the new requirements would be more likely to confuse than enlighten consumers’ and consequently wouldn’t be worth the bother.

Hopefully, the CMA will simply give up now and go away.

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