It would be easy to ridicule the GISC for making elementary mistakes. But to admit mistakes takes courage and its swift response to change its rules should be seen as a sign of strength not weakness.

Further changes will have to follow. Some of the restrictions on genuine independent intermediaries are unfair and will have to be relaxed. Some of the rules for the other, less professional insurance sellers are too soft. We have long held this view but only now it seems the GISC has seen the light. Times have changed since the GISC idea (then called NewRO) was launched. Consumer pressure has grown, the regulatory regime elsewhere has changed and insurers who two years ago didn't believe general insurance needed regulating at all, now accept they must have a credible regime or face FSA intrusion.

So isn't it time the Chartered Insurance Institute had a rethink too? It decided over a year ago it didn't want to regulate firms. But its charter calls on the institute to regulate for the benefit of consumers. Under GISC, there will be different regimes for different types of insurance seller, yet there will be no differentiation in the eye of the consumer. The CII could fill that void. Firms of Chartered Insurance Brokers, with a set proportion of staff holding CII qualifications (plus other rules), would be easily identifiable to consumer, used to chartered accountants and surveyors. And chartered insurance brokers need not be outside the GISC. The three-quarters of IBRC-registered brokers who have not completed their CII qualifications would have to do so but independent intermediaries with (or gaining) the qualification and meeting the other standards could claim the moniker. That would be a proper system of regulation.

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