I've little doubt that the battle of principle and ethic is behind the demise of Professor David Bland.

With the Institute mainly funded by insurers, he was, I imagine and trust, opposed to the recent trend of dual pricing and similar scams in the industry, which reflect the emergence of pagan gods.

He would have had 90% support of the broking fraternity and probably 99% of the Society of Fellows.

Such an important matter surely should be the subject of referral to the Society of Fellows with possible voting arrangements?
Ian Holt
Chartered Insurance Practitioner and Insurance Broker

Having seen insurance companies exempted from the Unfair Contract Terms Act in 1977 on the grounds they had a good record for treating policyholders fairly through to January 1997 when Professor Jack Mahoney's paper 'Ethics in the UK Insurance Industry' concluded: "There is a considerable degree of unease among the public about the conduct of some individual and corporate members of the insurance industry in the UK. Such unease is the more worrying for creating corrosive mistrust in an activity which has historically depended for its success on mutual respect and good faith."

Your headline 'CII Forced its chief to quit' (6th May) appears to be another straw in the wind in the decline and fall of the UK insurance industry, particularly when, as a Chartered Insurance Practitioner, I was not asked for my opinion before the decision was made, nor as far as I have been able to ascertain, have other members of the Society of Fellows.
John Lynch
Chartered Insurance Practitioner and Insurance Broker

Cornhill comes clean
I have followed with interest the recent debate in your publication concerning dual pricing. Tony Cornell's article (13th April) asked that insurers come clean and Tom Jequier's letter in your 20th April issue stated that, "It is the denial by insurers of what they are doing that has raised the current furore."

Perhaps Messrs Cornell and Jequier will have welcomed the statement by the spokesperson for Cornhill Insurance as quoted in The Daily Telegraph on 29th April: "Cornhill Direct is our direct arm, so people are speaking direct to the insurer and this avoids the cost of insurance brokers."
John Simon,
FCII Manager,
Halifax General Insurance Services Limited

Misys makes amends
I refer to Insurance Times dated 4th May, in which there are two references to Misys Financial Systems.

Both these articles refer to the very clear overcharging of items of hardware and the scandalous charge for Winlink.

I agree with all that has been said; however, I feel that I must now redress the balance somewhat. If I had been asked just a short while ago whether this would have been a possibility, the answer would have been a very definite 'no'.

My own arguments with the company have extended far beyond the points made.

The redress in their favour goes like this: at 8.30am on Tuesday 2nd May I received a telephone call at home advising that over the Bank Holiday weekend there had been a serious burglary at our office, during which our central processor and six PCs had been stolen.

As the processor serves our Head Office as well as branches at Bury and Derby we were well and truly crippled.

During the morning of May 2 Misys were contacted and the enormity of the situation was explained to them. Their response was absolutely superb.

At 9am on May 3 a replacement processor was delivered on site to be met by an engineer who restored all data, with the exception of the previous Saturday's information, which went with the machine.

By 2pm on May 3 we had a system that was functional, making our down time only 1.5 days.

Misys certainly has its faults but, when the chips were really down, it came through to provide a service of a far higher standard than expected.
Colin Evans
Two Cities Insurance Services
Gorton, Manchester

CRU appeal time reduced
With reference to the Legal Focus article on page 29 of your 13th April issue, the article correctly draws our attention to the scandalous delay in the hearing of CRU Appeals. The article does, however, contain an error, which could prove extremely costly to insurance companies if not addressed.

It states that an insurer can appeal provided the appeal is made within three months after the claim has been finally disposed of and the recoverable benefits repaid. This was the position up until the 29th November 1999. Following that date, the time for appeal has been reduced to one month only.

The regulations do make provision for late appeals, but the grounds for hearing such appeals are extremely restricted. Essentially, the insurer will have to show that there are both reasonable prospects that the appeal will be successful and that it is in the "interests of justice" for it to proceed.

An appeal will be in the "interests of justice" only if the applicant or spouse or dependant of the applicant has died or suffered serious illness; the applicant is not resident in the UK; or normal postal services were disrupted. If none of those grounds can be satisfied, the insurer will have to demonstrate that some other special circumstances exist that are "wholly exceptional and relevant to the application" and, as a result of those special circumstances, it was not practicable for the application to be made within the one-month time period (The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 1999 Section 32).

A pertinent question not addressed by the article is whether or not the appeal is likely to be successful. Recent decisions of the Appeals Tribunal and Social Security Commissioners should be a cause for concern for both insurers and those advising them.
Gregor Woods
Associate DLA Solicitors, Sheffield