I've been prompted to write in response to your front page coverage (News, 7 April) reporting Towergate's intention to "snatch £100m of SME premium income from rival brokers" by going direct to businesses via a call centre and internet sales.
While the practice to diversify sales channels both through retail and wholesale is increasingly becoming a popular and often prudent strategy, I was concerned to see that on the same day Towergate also announced its appointment to the Biba professional indemnity (PI) scheme.
By submitting a proposal for PI cover, brokers will need to disclose certain confidential or market-sensitive details about their businesses which they would never knowingly disclose to the competition.
I am sure that Biba, its members and accredited providers would agree that in sourcing any insurance cover, trust and impartiality is paramount.
I would therefore welcome clarification on behalf of brokers as to whether this highlights any conflict of interest. Would being privy to confidential broker information give Towergate an advantage in its retail business?
I would also point out to brokers seeking PI insurance that there are other secure and
specialist options available to them outside the Biba PI scheme.
An independent specialist PI broker can also provide access to a wider market.
Biba makes clear in its marketing materials that it embraces all aspects of self-regulation and will, I'm sure, therefore address this matter expediently. I have sent a copy of this letter to both Biba and Towergate, and look forward to receiving their responses.