The IIB has faced a backlash from brokers over its response to a government consultation on the regulation of travel agents who sell insurance.

IIB director general Andrew Paddick had suggested to the Treasury that travel agents and tour operators, who operate in a non-advised sales capacity, should be forced to comply with a lower level of regulation than if they offered advice (News, 25 January).

But brokers criticised Paddick for his apparent failure to support the interests of brokers.

One broker, who wants to see the travel sector strictly regulated, said: "Why are they even asking for this? Surely they should be advocating full regulation for the benefit of the broker."

Another broker added: "Why should certain areas get out of regulation? You need to have experts there if people are going to buy the right cover. It is not right for travel agents just to sell policies as a commodity.

"The IIB is supposed to be representing the views of the broker."

But Paddick strongly denied any wrongdoing.

"We are representing firms which supply products to the travel industry and would be affected by further regulation. We want to see regulation in this sector," he said.

Last November, Ed Balls, economic secretary to the Treasury, called for evidence to be presented to government on whether travel and tour operators selling insurance should come under statutory regulation. Trade associations have until 22 February to submit their responses.