Rather than wait for a Competition Commission investigation into motor insurance, the ABI should tackle matters itself

So the private motor market is dysfunctional? Well, that might be news to the Office of Fair Trading, but to anyone in the general insurance market it’s simply the understatement of the year.

The government-backed watchdog has followed Jack Straw, David Cameron and countless other opinion formers in highlighting the illogical and inflationary measures that currently characterise the market.

But, once again, it’s not the end of the story. Now, the next step is for the OFT to consider whether to refer the matter to the Competition Commission. If it does - which is likely - that will mean yet another investigation and another report.

All the while, an estimated £225m per year is being squandered at the consumer’s expense, while insurers take yet another public battering. Surely, rather than wait for the Competition Commission to lay down the law, the industry, operating through the ABI, should get its own house in order?

AXA pays the price of expansion

Despite its noble stance on referral fees, AXA personal lines is still paying the price of expansion in the private motor market - as we recently revealed, it posted a COR of 121% last year. So whoever succeeds Steve Hardy, who stepped down as chief executive last week, will have a tough job on their hands.

It won’t be helped by the apparent difficulties the business has experienced integrating Swiftcover. But Amanda Blanc, taking temporary charge in addition to her commercial portfolio, is much more than a safe pair of hands.

From where group chief executive Paul Evans is sitting, a reversal of his decision to split the business and a permanent expansion of Blanc’s role must be looking like an attractive option. Unless, of course, head office in Paris has simply had enough of operating in a “dysfunctional” manner and orders a sale of the personal lines business instead.