Graeme Trudgill looks at the challenges facing Biba

A colleague came into my office last week waving a copy of Insurance Times at me saying how young I was looking. I was quite pleased, thinking that my dedication to running 10km every weekend for the last year had finally paid off.

That was until she showed me the image on page 3 of a fresh-faced Graeme from 2004 – with luxuriant hair!

With a wry smile I sat down to progress the next stages of the 2012 BIBA Manifesto to consider what issues our members have told us to represent them on and to lobby for change next year.

Top of the agenda was reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme where our members want separation from the secondary sellers of insurance and an end to the practice of cross-subsidies.

From the FSA to the FCA

Another major change ahead of us is the move from the Financial Services Authority to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Here we want to see a revised regulatory regime that better reflects the low risk posed by insurance brokers and does not impose unnecessary costs and disproportionate supervision that stifles growth in our sector.

The general broking sector is looking healthy and has been one of the few success stories’

The FSA did not exist in 2004 and as we face the prospect of the new FCA era ahead of us, BIBA is also undergoing change as a result of our merger with the IIB.

Our first combined board meeting has already taken place and the association goes forward with new vigour and a stronger voice.

This year’s Manifesto will look at the potential for growth and the changes we are proposing should mean more development opportunities for our members. Considering the difficulties in other areas of the financial services industry I think the general broking sector is looking healthy and has been one of the few success stories.

It has weathered the financial crisis carefully by doing its best to ensure the right support and protection for customers in testing times.

This week a member showed us how they helped secure a £160,000 payout on a commercial claim that without their intervention would not have been made: a story worthy of including in our Manifesto so that politicians can see for real the benefits and value that brokers provide.

Manifesto of change

The Manifesto is all about change and as the BIBA Motor Panel meets shortly to look at changes facing the motor sector – arising from the OFT, the Ministry of Justice, the Transport Select Committee, from Europe on Test Achats, the FSA and the Law Commission – never before has the motor sector faced so much change. Sadly, never before has the motor sector been quite so broken either.

So far we have around 20 major campaigning issues for our 2012 Manifesto. That is a lot of change. Then, as I look back on my own year, which has involved moving house, another new baby and turning 40, I realise it is no wonder my hair is falling out.