Re: letters (Insurance Times, November 2), "Missing the Point" by James Green at Quote and Buy and "Misys got it all wrong" by Debbie Baker hit the target.

The initiative of Misys to protect its market share and reinvent the company can only be in its best interests – but is it in anybody else's? Any broker using any other software provider should be extremely concerned with the proposed single set of standards as revealed by Insurance Times.

All brokers and software houses know that every insurer has different requirements for EDI messages in order to integrate what they consider the relevant data into their mainframes.

A single set of standards is just not possible unless six major insurers (which have been trying to integrate their own legacy systems) have a secret agenda.

A common trading platform (ie. the internet) for the exchange of information, in a fast and economical manner, must be in the interest of any financial services industry, and in particular insurance.

Until Misys and the big six declare their hand and detail the proposals, the question of whether those insurers are intending to continue to conduct business through brokers must be raised.

I understand that current alternatives are offering what is likely to be proposed by Misys and be free. The only difference is that these companies do not have customers now.

With the internet providing transparency, an open forum to which all parties could contribute – including insurers, brokers, and software providers – would almost certainly have served the industry better than a secret self-serving initiative.

Having been served poorly by two of the largest suppliers of broker software over the past two years this indeed would be a refreshing change.

The winners should be those companies that provide the best deal at the least cost.
Paul Mason
Chartered Insurance Practitioner

Can you enlighten me?
I am puzzled. My long experienced "financial adviser" (who used to be called a "life assurance broker") has quite correctly, I am sure, sold me Norwich Union (NU) policies and he gets a commission for sourcing the "best buy" (which isn't necessarily the cheapest).

I now read that NU is underwriting, which I assume means taking the risk, policies which Tesco is selling.

Now, Tesco is not a firm to work for nothing – so it must be getting commission. NU also sells policies direct to the assured person – which sounds to me as if it has three rates of premium for the same product?

My "financial adviser" says he has to have certain qualifications before he can offer any assurance to anybody. Further, he is regulated by a highly paid government body created for that purpose (and in the end paid for by me, within the policy costs so I get less for my money) and he is regularly "inspected" for faults in his service.

Tesco says it will undercut the other two sellers of the same policy. It will sell policies at the checkout. The British Insurers' Institute says it welcomes this additional outlet for life insurance because it may encourage more people to insure themselves and lower prices may encourage others to cut prices.

Firstly, I would like to know whether all the Tesco check-out staff will have to take an insurance training course and secondly, how in an honest industry where the "premiums of many pay for the claims of the few" can the cost of exactly the same policy of insurance vary from £7.50 through an independent consultant to £7.30 direct from NU and £6.13 from Tesco...all out of the same NU pot?
J Green

Here's my pledge Miles
I read with interest your front page article "Miles Smith's payback time", Insurance Times November 16. I think Miles Smith has a lot more to do than just pledge to repay debts and goodwill.

My brokerage has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with Miles Smith and I have to say that the experience has not been pleasurable. A number of my clients have had claims cheques refused by the bank because of Miles Smith going into receivership. Despite more than 30 letters addressed personally to Paul Chainey, the managing director of Miles Smith, he has not once had the courtesy to reply to any of my correspondence.

Needless to say, we no longer deal with Miles Smith and we have no intention of doing so in the future. I shall, of course, have to continue to correspond with this company, trying to obtain legitimate claim payments for my clients.

I would not recommend anybody using this company if my experience is anything to go by.
David G Owen
Managing Director
DOR Insurance Brokers