Can I add my support to Nick Beere (Letters, Insurance Times, June 14) and hope that the magazine will take up the campaign on behalf of all insurance brokers.
When VAT was first introduced, it was at a much lower rate and that is perhaps why we did not raise any strong objections to the exclusion of brokers. But now a 17.5% rate of tax increases almost all of our overheads byalmost a fifth.
This means that we are, for all practical reasons, excluded from the very attractive leasing arrangements for cars, computers and office equipment. Our stationery and printing bills, the costs of marketing and so on are all inflated by this tax and this must make our chances of profitability suffer,
compared with other vendors of insurance who do register for, and recover, VAT. (And I haven't mentioned level playing field once).
And now of course we also act as unpaid tax collectors administering insurance premium tax, which many of my customers still believe is a service charge levied by me, and not a tax collected on behalf of the government.
Let us start a high-profile campaign to be allowed to register, if we choose, in time for the next budget draft.
Bryan James & Co
A matter of agenda
Regarding Callery vs Gray: As the solicitors acting for the claimant/ respondent in Callery vs Gray, we are concerned at your decision to publish, as a letter of the week, Bob Gordon's version of what, to an unsuspecting reader, might appear to be the opinions of the Court of Appeal.
The first line contains the word conclusion. The case is far from concluded.
Gordon's views are well known in the industry. He is perhaps preaching his own agenda.
The Court of Appeal has yet to rule on the issues which Gordon seems to treat as fact, and having sat through the entirety of the hearing it is clear that Lord Woolf and his eminent colleagues have a great deal more thinking to do before they reach a decision.
Times are uncertain enough in the industry without them having to deal with Gordon's assertions that solicitors should “face up to reality”.
Martin Cockx and Andrew Twambley
As we all know, any publicity is good publicity, so I would like to thank Richard Mikula for raising Ansvar's profile (Letters, Insurance Times, June 7).
Ansvar has indeed been reborn since its acquisition by Ecclesiastical. Although a wholly-owned subsidiary, it remains independent, having repositioned itself in the not for profit sector of the market, seeking lifestyle customers rather than restricting our market to total abstainers only. The strategy is to develop predominately non-motor business through intermediaries that appreciate Ansvar's specialist products, values and service and with which reciprocal relationships have been built.
Rather than fearing negative selection as Mikula suggests, Ansvar's aim is to attract customers because of the positive benefits we offer.
General manager, Ansvar
The Loss Recovery Group is wrong to make the claims it is making regarding its new Loss Recovery Insurance.
Its claims include “it's new” – it is not, however. Temple Legal Protection and at least three other companies that I know of have been selling this for many years. In fact, as well as being a stand-alone cover, it is also automatically included in Temple Commercial Legal Expenses Insurance.
They claim “it's what the industry has been waiting for” – wrong again, as it has been available, so the industry has not had to wait. Its next claim is that “it's only available from Loss Recovery” – they are wrong yet again. As I have said, this cover is available from at least four companies. (Just take a quick look at the legal expenses directory in the back of the Insurance Times if anyone needs proof.)
I hope that as soon as the Loss Recovery people do some homework and research the market that they say is “new” they will realise their errors and change their adverts – this way there will be no need for anyone to talk to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Temple Legal Protection, Guildford
One important point has come to my attention regarding the good old General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) rulebook.
It states quite clearly that the customer – i.e. the policyholder – must be given a prompt and fair service.
However, how can this sit alongside insurers' service differentiation to “key brokers” etc.?
The same service must be given to all intermediaries, otherwise surely they are breaking the GISC rules – or am I missing the point?
Perhaps they can be less fair and prompt to policyholders through intermediary A than intermediary B.
I must have overlooked this caveat in the rulebook – maybe an insurer member that runs service differentials/broker clubs can point this out to me?
It would be nice to hear GISC's response as well. I'm waiting.
(Name and address withheld)
Due to an oversight I have only just read the May 31 issue of Insurance Times and was surprised to see the photo of (to me) well known faces (below). The common factor linking most, if not all, of these people is that at one time or another they were branch manager of Bupa's Cardiff branch. The positions they held then will depend on exactly when the photo was taken.
The people in the back row are (left to right): Jerry Williams (at that time AGM, branch operations), Des Chivers (probably by then branch manager, Nottingham), Barry Hughes (in head office), Richard Logan (probably retired, had been branch manager, Oxford), David Shaw (probably by then branch manager, Barnet office).
The front row (from left to right): Derry Andrews (I can't think what he was doing at the time but he had been branch manager, Cardiff and moved to head office in 1975 or 1976), Mervyn John (probably by then branch manager, Brighton via branch manager, Oxford), Les Curson (probably the incumbent branch manager, Cardiff,) and the last person I do not know, although the face looks vaguely familiar.
How do I know these people? Well, I worked for Bupa from 1967 to 1979.
Where are they now? At least half are retired.
Norwich Union (NU), which has 25% of the motor market, denies that a 25% rate increase is in the offing, but says 15% is more likely. This is strange, coming from NU, as it has been guilty of outlandish increases.
It is said that one in 20 has no insurance or road tax as well, costing everyone at least £30 a year if insured. What action is being taken to clamp down on offenders?
The average cost of a motor claim, currently at £1,580, has risen by 5% to 6% each year recently. The money has to come from somewhere.
Name and address withheld