CII lists high risk activities which it says should be controlled with exams

Brokers need to be trained before they sell liability insurance, the CII has said.

The CII wants the FSA to include liability sales in its list of "high risk" activities.

In its consultation paper CP160 released last week, the FSA identified long-term care, income protection,

critical illness and private medical insurance sales as posing higher risks to consumers.

It proposed that intermediaries who sold these products should take exams to prove their competence.

CII chief executive Sandy Scott said the institute would recommend liability sales be included as a high-risk area, for which training was needed.

"They're concerned about private customers, which is why they've focused so heavily on medical insurance," he said.

"But they also have a responsibility for market confidence and there is no doubt long-term liability has brought about issues of market confidence.

"It's likely that we'll make this point in our response to the consultation paper."

CII executive committee member Reg Brown said it was important insurance staff were seen as trained professionals when selling complex products.

"It always seemed extraordinary to me that professional indemnity was underwritten by people who had no knowledge and training," he said.

The CII has also studied the medical market. It will run workshops early in the new year to help brokers and providers meet the FSA's competency requirements.

CII executive committee member Rick Hudson said the training would help senior managers ensure that staff were competent to do their jobs, as required by the FSA's Prudential Source Book, to come into effect in 2004.

Meanwhile, IIB director general Andrew Paddick said competitive pressure from internet vendors, banks and supermarkets could force brokers to cease giving individual advice to customers.

"Advice on product suitability might only in the future be offered to high net worth clients paying hefty premiums," he said.

Paddick stridently denied rumours that the IIB was to seek designated professional body status from the Treasury.

He said such status did not allow for the conclusion of insurance contracts, only giving "discreet advice".