Two key players at Biba tell us what they are looking forward to at this year’s event, as well as running through their key future engagements and the issues that are keeping them occupied

Steve White, Biba

Steve White, head of compliance and training at Biba

As well as preparing for the upcoming Biba conference, Biba head of compliance and training Steve White is also ready for some imminent regulatory changes.

We spoke to the compliance boss about what he’s most looking forward to at the conference and what is coming up that he’s keeping an eye on.

White says he is looking forward to returning to Manchester this year, his personal favourite Biba conference venue. “It’s nice to go back,” he says. “The whole infrastructure there works so well.”

 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee will be an absolute must- see. He’s in the news at the moment, so it’s very topical to have him there and hear what he has to say’

 

White says that one of the attractions he is most looking forward to is the talk by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web. “Sir Tim Berners-Lee will be an absolute must-see. He’s in the news at the moment, so it’s very topical to have him there, and hear what he has to say.”

White says he is also looking forward to taking part in a compliance discussion during the conference

White adds that he has been attending the last of a series of 10 Biba compliance forums held around the country, looking specifically at client money handling. Members of the FSA’s client money team met brokers face-to-face to discuss changing the rules that are laid out in chapter five of its handbook on client money, the Client Assets Sourcebook.

The Biba compliance boss says that the FSA is now drawing up a consultation paper on the issue, which is likely to come out in late summer and is expected to focus on toughening up the rules concerning risk transfer and non-statutory trust accounts.

Beyond the conference, White says he is preparing to see the results of the revised Insurance Mediation Directive in late May or early June, as well as the Financial Ombudsman Service’s annual report later this month - and the FSCS bills, which are due to hit brokers’ desks this summer.

 

Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive at Biba

Biba head of corporate affairs Graeme Trudgill has got a lot on his plate at this year’s conference, but expects his highlights to be the atmosphere of the event, listening to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and the discussion on what the future insurance customer wants.

“All the discussions we ever have in the industry are about the industry, regulation and government. This is about the customer, so I’m really interested to see what will come out of it,” he says.

Trudgill has no time to put his feet up once the conference finishes, as he is speaking at the ABI Property Conference on 22 May, covering issues such as flooding and the future of the Riot (Damages) Act.

If we can validate data at point of sale, when it comes to claim time you haven’t got to deal with the awful situation of a claim being rejected, while the policies you do sell will be improved’

Also on his agenda are a meeting with the Treasury to bring the department up to speed with insurance issues such as the gender ruling, flooding and motor insurance topics. He is also preparing for meetings with European parliament members about the revised Insurance Mediation Directive and for meetings to discuss motor insurance with the Transport Select Committee and the Office of Fair Trading.

He is also keen not to lose sight of the recently completed signposting agreement, which came into effect on 6 April. Trudgill says Biba will still be promoting signposting over the next year, to make sure its members are up to speed with the changes.

The DVLA data-sharing project is another concern taking up a lot of Trudgill’s time, as well as that of the Biba motor committee. He says the project has been technically tough, but he has great hopes for it.

“If we can validate data at point of sale, when it comes to claim time you haven’t got to deal with the awful situation of a claim being rejected, while the policies you do sell will be improved,” he says.

“So I think there will be some great outcomes.”

Pass notes: Pushing progress

Brokers’ FSCS bills have been going up in recent years. What will they look like this summer?
This year’s bill will be about 18% lower than last year’s, as the average value of each payment protection insurance (PPI) claim has fallen, even though the volume of claims has risen.

So why did the average value of each claim go down?
Because the FSCS has almost completed handling PPI claims made against Picture Financial, which left about £38m of claims when it went into administration in August 2009. Each PPI claim made against the FSCS on Picture Finance was worth about £10,000. The average claim size now is about £4,000.

Great, so what about brokers’ future bills?
Unfortunately, it looks like the rising volume of claims will counteract the temporary drop this year.

Is anything else brewing that could increase FSCS bills?
One possible problem is complaints made against mortgage brokers that failed to properly explain interest-only mortgages. If these are upheld, the sheer volume of complaints could cause many mortgage brokers to collapse, leaving general insurance intermediaries to pick up a lot of the bill.