ABI's Haddrill said customers must come first

Aviva corporate sales director Janice Deakin said she could see at least one aggregator running into major difficulty next year.

“It is probably a market that is shrinking a bit. It is difficult with so much competition and potential changes over a long time in the way they generate their income.

“I can see at least one big consolidation or potential [aggregator] failing in the market. Look at the results and you’ll see that nobody has had a cruise this year.”

ABI director-general Stephen Haddrill, speaking at a workshop called ‘Future gazing: What are the challenges for 2010?’, warned against overlooking customers in a bid to cut costs.

“Fraud is increasing too,” he said. “Detected fraud increased 17% between 2007 and 2008, with more than 100,000 cases detected. The industry is bearing down on those it suspects. Rightly so. The challenge is not to alienate the honest customer in doing so.”

Other risks were rising too, he said, bringing new challenges for the relationship with customers.

“The greater risk of unemployment pushed up rates for mortgage payment protection insurance earlier this year, to the dissatisfaction of the regulator.”