July 1, 2010

Cliché has no stauncher foe that BIBA’s Eric Gallbreath – but when Insurance Times say they want 600 words on the FSA’s fees and levies bill, that means 600 words and not one language unit less. We did briefly contemplate bringing you just the pith of EG’s argument – but we have word counts of our own to fill – so here’s the other bits instead.

Not so much a wall-up call* as a call to arms. Now is the time to unite for our cause. There is nothing quite like having to shell out lots of cold, hard cash to focus the mind. You can rail against an injustice all you like, but often it is only when people see actual figures next to a pound sign that they realise just how much something is going to hurt them. A case in point – for the past couple of years Biba has been warning anyone who would listen – now come home to roost. Members have been asking whether there has been a horrible mistake. Sadly, it is a story that is being repeated up and down the country to a lesser or even greater degree. Demonstrates everything Biba has been saying. Biba has been playing an active role – we need to robustly ring-fence the professional insurance broker if we are to avoid having to pay for future mistakes not of our making. Let us have a detailed examination of past and possible future issues. Unless the business is undertaken by an organisation that is wholly immersed in, and suitably qualified to be in, the general insurance business, we will continue to have these problems. The industry now has a very real opportunity not to be shoe-horned into an unsuitable regulatory environment. Hopefully, the government will not just change the name on the door. Biba will be looking to play a key part in the consultation process and will work with members to actively encourage them to lend their voice – you are the ones funding it after all. So do not let fatigue set in. Whether you are a small broker or a large broker, a retail broker or a wholesale broker, this is an opportunity to put forward your argument. We might not succeed in all that we want, but we need to continue to press our case so that we can say we did our best.

*Incidentally, if anyone knows what a wall-up call is, Bankstone News would be most interested to know.


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