The Independent Code Monitoring Committee (ICMCC) has become the latest organisation to cast doubt over insurance regulator the GISC's ability to protect consumers.

The ICMCC voiced its concerns in its last report on the state of ABI code compliance before GISC assumes its role as a pan-industry regulator.

The report expressed concerns over GISC's proposed complaints redress mechanisms. It pointed out that, although GISC's members will be required join the Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS), the FOS cannot admit new members and will not be able to do so in the immediate future.

“Our concerns are compounded by the fact that in the early stages of its life, GISC will be a voluntary body. It is also not yet at all clear to whom the consumer should complain and what methods of redress are available,” the report said.

“The concerns expressed to GISC in the committee's response to the GISC consultation exercise remain. The committee hopes to see an early initiative to plug this gap.”

As soon as the GISC was launched, Ombudsman Walter Merricks said he feared the fledgling regulator would lack the power to protect consumers.

The National Association of Banking and Insurance Customers also questioned whether GISC had sufficient bite to champion the customer's cause.

GISC head of communications Catherine Nicholl admitted there was an issue with the complaints handling system.

She said the regulator has seconded staff from the FOS and hoped to be ready to join the scheme by summer/autumn 2001.