ABI says brokers must play their part by providing insurers with renewal information

The ABI has questioned the role of brokers after allegations that insurers are failing to meet the 21-day notice service standard for employers' liability (EL) renewals.

ABI head of general insurance John Parker said the organisation needed to "find out the facts" about allegations that its service standards are not being adhered to by insurers.

"If people say standards aren't being met and give us chapter and verse, then we'll look at it," Parker said.

But he pointed out that the joint ABI/Biba service standard, which covers both EL and public liability (PL), including where they are sold as part of a package, also requires brokers to provide information about the renewal to insurers at least 30 days prior to the renewal date.

A recent poll of 1,000 businesses conducted by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) found that more than half the respondents were given just two weeks' notice of their EL renewal terms.

Biba head of technical services Peter Staddon said he was prepared to name and shame insurers who were not meeting the standard and FSB policy chairman John Walker said he had written to Minister for Work Jane Kennedy about the problem.

Last week, Brian Cotter MP called on the government to ensure that the standards are adhered to, if necessary, by introducing statutory requirements.

This follows revelations made exclusively by Insurance Times (15 April) that the service standards were not being met. At that time, one broker said the service standard had been "completely ignored", while another said adherence to it had been "hit and miss".

The FSA was looking at the issue of deadlines for renewal information during its broker regulation consultations last year, but eventually opted for a non-prescriptive rule that renewal information must be provided "in good time" to commercial clients.

An FSA spokesman said that it would not re-examine the issue of renewal notice prior to 14 January 2005.