Association threatens to contact FSA if firm continues to flout contract certainty code

Biba has threatened to refer an insurer to the FSA, after the company admitted to brokers it would not hit contract certainty targets agreed by the market to comply with FSA demands.

Insurance Times has learned that senior managers have been called before Biba to explain why they are failing to issue commercial policies within the time frame set out in the code of practice.

The company told brokers it would not be able to issue policy wordings within 30 days of inception, as required by the contract certainty code of practice.

Biba would not disclose the identity of the insurer, but Peter Staddon, head of technical services, said it had made contact with the company at "the highest level".

Staddon added: "We have already started to open up a dialogue on this subject as its staff are telling brokers that the policy will not be issued and that its internal timescale is 60 days.

"We will not tolerate any company ignoring the only real chance we have to influence what happens to the market."

He also confirmed that if the insurer continued to flout the code, Biba would be forced to contact the FSA.

Keith Wardell, managing director of insurer IGI said: "Service as poor as that gives the whole industry a bad name and I'm certain the Ombudsman would rule in favour of the policyholder if any incident resulting in a claim occurred which the insurer tried to repudiate."

Paul Dixon, chief executive of broker Dixon Insurance, said there was increasing pressure on brokers to play their part in ensuring contract certainty targets were hit.

"An insurer could, in certain situations, argue that it has received incomplete or inadequate instructions from a broker. Certainty is driven by a broker's instruction not just in the subscription market but in the conventional market too."

Biba is collating "creditable" figures to establish whether contract certainty is being achieved in the non-subscription market.

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