Candidates have just under two weeks to get in their applications for the post of insurance ombudsman to preside over the regulation of the industry.

The role is one of the most important in the general insurance industry as the successful candidate is responsible for finding satisfactory resolutions to controversial complaints.

Laurie Slade, a previous post-holder, has stepped back into the hot seat for a six-month stint until a successor is appointed, possibly by the end of this year.

Slade, a barrister and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, took over from Walter Merricks in August. Merricks has become chief ombudsman of the Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme.

Slade would seem to be a strong candidate to retain the position. He has 17 years experience in settling consumer disputes and was insurance ombudsman from 1994-6, and deputy between 1988 and 1994.

A spokesman for the ABI said its ideal candidate would be someone able to win the confidence of both the insurance industry and consumers by providing a "fair, quick and reliable" arbitration service.

Applications for the post must be received at the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau by September 21.