Regulation will still be high on institute's agenda, says new president

Cila will work closely with the ABI to produce a universal claims code for insurers, according to its new president.

Cunningham Lindsey regional director Michael Burnett, who will be inaugurated on Friday at the institute's AGM, said Cila has spoken to the ABI about its claims code and whether it can be widened.

Burnett said: "We have spoken to the ABI about its claims code, but we are not about to hijack it. We are looking at it and using that to judge what we should produce. It may also have an add-on to those involved in claims preparation.

"The intention is to then approach the ABI with our first draft and, with its help, hopefully hammer out a joint agreement," he added.

Burnett will be passed the Cila seal tomorrow by incumbent George Moss. Burnett is the first president to come from Northern Ireland and the first Irishman since 1955 to hold the post.

Regulation will again dominate the year, and he will continue Moss' mission of making sure Cila members are fit for purpose by 2005.

"We hope that when we reach the end of this regulatory journey in 2005, companies will be fit for purpose. Cila and the Society of Claims Technicians (SCT) will help them and insurers if they need it.

"We understand exactly why the FSA is simplifying the process and putting the responsibility squarely on the insurers in regard to the regulation of their supply chain. At this stage there is a suggestion that there will be a protocol for the management of claims and delivery of service.

"But what that really means has yet to be made clear. It has been suggested insurers will produce their own protocol," said Burnett.

Every president has a theme and Burnett's is to promote the "expert" nature of Cila members.

Cila plans to hold a number of technical seminars later in the year. Burnett emphasises that the big claims specialists are all Cila members and insurers will need to rely heavily on them in the future.

"Insurers must appreciate that they are getting a very good service for the price they pay in this country than they would in the broader European market where the cost of specialists is horrendous," said Burnett.

Cila will also establish a "non-competition committee" to monitor the broader issues surrounding the future of its industry. "It will make sure the stragglers in the regulatory change over can be caught and shepherded along," Burnett added.