CII director general Sandy Scott will tell the FSA's new working group on financial capability that the CII is launching a pilot with the Citizens Advice Bureau UK to offer better advice to consumers on insurance products.

The working party will meet for the first time on 9 February and will be chaired by the FSA director of consumer division Anna Bradley.

The CII is the only insurance-related association to be invited to participate in the working party.

The working group will help support the financial capability steering group, chaired by FSA chief executive John Tiner.

In his Mansion House speech in September 2003, Tiner announced that he would set up a steering group to discuss and then implement a strategy to improve consumers' understanding of financial products.

It was also mooted at that time, that the government may implement a levy on the insurance industry to pay for educating the public.

Scott said that any levy placed on the insurance industry to pay for consumer education would be impractical.

Scott was invited to join the working party after he responded to John Tiner's paper Towards a national strategy for financial capability late last year.

In his detailed response, Scott called on the FSA to take a more active role in persuading government and consumer groups to push a "multifaceted" approach to raising consumer understanding of the general insurance and broking industry.

Scott said: "On the role of advice, the CII and SOFA are to undertake an innovative project in conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau UK.

"The project will begin in the first quarter of 2004 and aims to identify ways to ensure that consumers are better informed and advised on financial issues."

This pilot is expected to last six months and will be evaluated by an independent researcher. It is being funded by the CII, Barclays Bank and the Tudor Trust.

Scott added: "Our aim is to make sure the low income and less wealthy individuals in society get access to professional qualified insurers, IFAs and brokers."

He also said the CII supported the work of the personal finance education group (Pfeg) which wants to introduce finance lessons to secondary schools.

Scott said: "A recent DfES survey of 16-65 year olds found 47% of adults in England (15 million people) have a lower level of maths knowledge than was needed to gain a grade G at GCSE. And 16% of adults have sub-GCSE literacy."

He also wants the FSA to "uncomplicate" the amount of information it proposes insurers should include to explain policies and products.

Royal & SunAlliance director of personal lines Adrian Brown agrees: "The FSA must look at the amount of information we feasibly can put in our brochures.

"No consumer is going to read a 35-page document. He will just throw it in the bin."