Insurers may benefit from the Treasury's proposed clamp-down on check-out sales
Insurers could use upcoming FSA regulation to wipe out any advantage their supermarket competitors hold, senior industry sources have said.
The Treasury released its consultation document on statutory mediation regulation on Monday (see box inset).
An industry expert said supermarkets that sold insurance were faced with two choices under the Treasury's proposals: become FSA authorised, with huge associated training costs, or convince their panel insurers to make them an "appointed representative".
"The insurer would be taking responsibility for a company that may be much bigger and better financed than themselves, which is unlikely to be attractive," the source said.
"Some might see this as an opportunity to renegotiate their relationships."
However, Marks & Spencer Financial Services was unconcerned by the upcoming regulation.
"We're already FSA-regulated for our banking and life products," insurance head Peter Longstaff said.
Tesco and Sainburys said they were still studying the Treasury document.
However, the Treasury document caused chagrin among insurers and brokers by sidestepping the scope of the regulation.
The prospect that travel agents and extended warranty providers might escape regulation was the most contentious issue to arise from the Insurance Mediation Directive.
The Treasury did nothing to allay the insurance industry's fears in its consultation document.
It put forward for consultation three regulatory possibilities for travel agents who sold packaged holiday insurance:
Treasury proposals at a glance