Brokers sitting on the fence outside the proposed Biba/IIB merger will only make their own lives harder

Now I’m sure everyone’s aware of the proposed merger between Biba and IIB. The announcement at the recent Biba conference is history, but of course the real work begins now.

One of the key drives behind our joint discussions on the future of a merged IIB and Biba is to have a universal and effective lobbying voice – one very powerful voice that would represent the vast majority of those who are affected by legislation and regulation and that overwhelming amount of paper, jargon and techno-speak the whole thing generates. Indeed, the immediate future indicates that there will be more paper, more words to be assimilated and more debates – maybe arguments –to be had with the powers that be.

Being able to lobby with one voice is clearly more effective; think ‘united we stand and divided we fall’ stuff.

Importance of foresight

As I said in the Insurance Times interview at the Biba conference, there are still far too many brokers out there who prefer to sit on the fence. Those that sit outside both associations currently get some benefit – without contributing – from the hard won results of the trades associations’ influence on any major regulatory change.

But, those ‘fence sitters’ miss out on the continual flow of information and advice, often meaning they can be unaware of future issues until they hit the proverbial fan.

In this real world it’s an expensive business keeping up with regulatory and legislative change, lobbying for change and then dispensing the right advice and guidance. Perhaps the basics of insurance should apply: it is the contributions of the many that pay for the claims of the few.

A no-brainer

So what’s this blog really about? Well, if you want us to help you in this regulated, controlled world of insurance with the threats that loom almost daily, we need you to help us by joining us and by persuading others to do so too.

OK, so some of you will no doubt be thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’ or ‘I’m hard-pressed already, not another expense!’ or simply ‘Why should I?’

You know you’ll get sound and timely technical advice as other members have been getting for a long time already. Sure, as insurance brokers some of the schemes and facilities on offer don’t appeal, and maybe you could do better yourselves, but a broker taking advantage of one of these, or a number, can easily cover the cost of membership. It’s a no-brainer.

Time is money

Perhaps some of you would prefer to go it alone and sit up half the night poring over regulations just in case paragraph 34.1.8 (or whatever) applies to you. Just convert that time into money and you know it makes sense to join your peers.

But to keep up my image of a ‘petrol head’ I’ll use a motoring analogy: unless you really know what you’re doing, would you service your own car equipped with three spanners? No, you’d either have access to experts or you’d know how to get some practical help.

Barbara Bradshaw is chief executive of The Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB)