CII chief executive Sandy Scott seems to have rather misinterpreted the problems in the liability market (19 December, Insurance Times).
The problems that our clients have faced - and faced by every other broker I have spoken to - have basically boiled down to a fundamental shift in insurers' perception of risk.
An insurer who was once quite happy to accept a premium of £50,000 one year has now re-evaluated his exposure and decided to price that risk at over £300,000, or alternatively refuse to renew it altogether.
How does the CII propose liability sales training will change this?
The article seemed to suggest that it is a point-of-sale problem, when, clearly, this is not the case.
All the intermediaries that I know have worked tirelessly over the past year cajoling, begging and pleading with every underwriter in the market to secure terms on a remotely commercial basis for their clients.
The liability crisis has been brought about by a number of factors including the UK legal system, under-reserving of old asbestosis claims and worry over emerging claims such as stress.
These factors along with the collapse of Independent have brought on a sea change of pricing.
Is Scott really suggesting that these largely underwriting-based problems will be solved by making brokers take examinations?
I am afraid that nothing short of a review of tort law will achieve an improved market confidence in liability insurance - for that is what is required to enable underwriters to make a sustainable profit in the future and hence offer stability to their commercial clientele.
To suggest that brokers have somehow caused the crisis (why else would they be the ones singled out for training?) is ludicrous.
Peter W Blanc
FMW Risk Services