September 12, 2012

Thinking of starting up a new an innovative new insurance venture? Don’t bother! By the time you get approval from the FSA or its twin peaked successor bodies you’ll probably have lost all interest and quite possibly the will to live. That was the sober warning this week from law firm Reynolds Pooter Chamberpot (RPG) who reckon firms applying for FSA approval now have to wait an average 22.9 weeks.

That’s as good as saying you’ll have to wait 23 weeks, because that extra point nine takes you through to 7am on the last day of the 23rd week – which is probably going to be the weekend anyway. By then you’ll have waited the best part of half a year and probably wandered off and started doing something less frustrating.

Back in the first quarter of 2007, RPI note in their press release, firms waited on average no more than 8 weeks. At the current rate of increase this suggests that firms seeking regulatory approval in 2022 will have to wait around 207 weeks for regulatory approval – til 2026 in other words.

Although, of course, things are bound to improve with the demise of the FSA and the joyous advent of its twin peaky successors – unless, for some strange reason, getting twin approvals from twin regulators still trying to work out what the twin they are supposed to be doing proves unexpectedly more complicated and time consuming than getting only-child approval from the FSA.

RIP regulatory partner Dick Burger warned that long waiting times could stifle competition and innovation. “The time taken for approval can put off firms seeking approval,” he noted. This is surely right, in Bankstone News‘ humble opinion. But surely a bigger worry is that it might even put them off seeking approval in the first place.

Having made the alarmist suggestion that the whole twin peaks thing might actually make things worse rather than better, Mr Burglar goes on to suggest that all may not be lost if the peaksters can put the next few months to good use and pluck the nettle of opportunity from thorns of two stools: “This overlapping period is an opportunity for them to overhaul the process of approval, rather than simply follow the mould of its predecessor.”

Wise words again. Let’s face it, following a mould never got anyone anywhere! Normally when people put out press releases highlighting troublesome challenges in the market they go on to outline some solution they can offer (at a price). Nobly, RPG appear to have eschewed any such vulgarity in favour of a welcome and timely call to regulators present and future to pull their bleedin’ fingers out. How refreshing!


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