Outgoing Hiscox chairman feels ABI is distracted by its other roles

Outgoing Hiscox chairman Robert Hiscox wants a general insurance-only lobby group rather than an industry-wide organisation such as the ABI.

Speaking to Insurance Times following the publication of his company’s first-half results, Hiscox said: “If I could wave a magic wand, I would put Lloyd’s in with general insurance and have a powerful insurance lobby.”

He said he felt the ABI’s other focuses, such as taking companies to task on corporate governance issues on behalf of investors, distract it from general insurance.

“When Barclays Bank gets into trouble, the ABI says that it is going to see the senior management of Barclays to talk about corporate governance. I don’t want my lobbyist doing that, I want him thinking about general insurance,” Hiscox said.

He added that because Lloyd’s isn’t represented by the ABI, the GI industry’s current lobbying power was fragmented.

Hiscox hit out at the ABI in May, describing the organisation as “feeble” and “obsessed with corporate governance, then life insurance” in a speech at a London conference.

At the time the ABI hit back at the comments, insisting that it works hard on behalf of general insurers.

“We represent all insurers, general insurers included,” ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling told Insurance Times in May. “We do a lot of work to represent general insurers to reflect their interests and concerns.”

Tarling pointed out that number of issues in the ABI’s business plan have a general insurance focus. The plan includes all aspects of motor insurance, fraud, the future for flood insurance, asbestos and Solvency II, he said.

The ABI said it stood by Tarling’s previous comments and had nothing further to add.

Robert Hiscox will step down as Hiscox’s chairman next year and will be replaced by current chief underwriting officer Rob Childs. Hiscox will remain at the company as honourary president.