AXA has been accused of “unfair” practices after telling brokers it would cancel their agencies unless they returned a signed AXA terms of business agreement (TOBA) by this weekend (31 October).

In a letter dated 8 October, Spirit development manager Andy Halstead wrote: “In the event that you do not return your signed Agreement [TOBA], we will have no choice but to issue a formal cancellation of agency notice on 31 October 2004, effective from 1 December.”

The letter said the deadlines were necessary to ensure that all renewals post-January 2005 were only issued through authorised intermediaries.

Marrs Insurance Brokers managing director Mark Coffer said the deadline was “unfair” as the insurer had repeatedly failed to respond to his questions about the new TOBA.

“I don't blame them for protecting their business, but I first sent a number of inquiries to them in June and they haven't answered all of them yet.”
Coffer said he did not see why he should sign the TOBA within the deadline if AXA did not respond to his queries.

A spokeswoman for AXA confirmed that letters had been sent to all of its intermediaries, not just Spirit brokers.

She said intermediaries were aware of the need to return signed TOBAs, as the insurer had written to them in both July and August, giving them enough time to respond to the request, as well as providing a helpline for any queries.