Trade association asks brokers for first-quarter contract certainty data

Biba has warned brokers that they must show an improvement in achieving contract certainty targets or they could face FSA regulation.

The trade association has asked members to provide figures on contract certainty for the first quarter of the year. It wants to know levels of compliance with targets, timeliness of issuing documents and information about legacy policies by next week.

The feedback will be collated in time for a meeting with the FSA in September.

Peter Staddon, head of technical services at Biba, said: "The brokers need to know what terms they're getting. 'To be agreed' is not acceptable. They are still having hang-ups with subjectivity and the insured needs to know what's going on.

"The responsibility falls on the broker and the insurer. The broker should be the policeman and say 'it's not acceptable'. How can they go to a client and say 'I've got you a really good deal costing you X amount, and the terms are not agreed."

Staddon added: "This is an industry problem, we have to prove to the FSA that we can do this. I am not creating red tape because I have nothing better to do. I am trying to stop the FSA saying 'you have failed miserably so we will now regulate'."

But some brokers still appear not to take the threat of a regulatory solution seriously.

One broker source expressed serious doubts that fear of FSA regulation would force the industry to take contract certainty more seriously.

The source said: "No matter how much work is done on contract certainty there will always be intermediaries out there that trade on the back of a fag packet.

"If we are going to comply then we have got to get the insurance companies to produce the information that we need to get this done at point of sale."