The IBRC has launched a major offensive threatening hundreds of member brokers who have failed to re-register with the council with expulsion.

This would make it more difficult for them to join the GISC and they would lose some of the member benefits such as grandfathering rights.

Last week, IBRC chairman Alan Gavaghan took the step of using a GISC roadshow in London to appeal to member brokers to get their houses in order.

The IBRC, which regulates around 2,300 firms of insurance brokers, is concerned that "several hundred" members have not submitted their audited accounts and/or professional indemnity certificates for inspection.

Around 100 are close to triggering the formal discipline mechanism and ultimately being struck off the IBRC register of brokers.

According to Gavaghan, there is a perception in some quarters that the IBRC is no longer relevant because of the advent of the GISC.

Speaking in front of almost 1,000 industry professionals, he warned: "You will be disciplined and will then face difficulties joining the GISC."

He said brokers were failing to understand that while joining IBRC was voluntary, leaving it again was not. In order to quit the IBRC it was essential to have their accounts signed off as being in "good order".

"The Insurance Brokers Registration Act is the law. It is being enforced by the IBRC and will continue to be until it is repealed," he said. "Brokers who are not in good order with the IBRC will find it difficult to get the benefits of GISC such as grandfathering."

He referred to a provision in the consultation document which states: "All persons who are in good standing with the IBRC registered brokers on the date upon which the Insurance Brokers Registration Act is repealed should be eligible for exemption from the qualification requirements specified by the GISC." The IBRC said it had received a number of letters from brokers in recent weeks, the substance of which has been seen by Insurance Times, saying they are no longer interested in being a member.

"We are writing to enquire as to why I should commit my company to further expense in respect of a Act which is due to be repealed and for an Act which will clearly have no benefit to me," wrote one broker. "I feel that this exercise is purely cosmetic and a total waste of time," wrote another.

A third, who subsequently submitted his fee, said he had "no need of the large technical audits that have been carried out at massive expense for no seeming advantage other than to maintain my firm's registration for the whole of the last 16 years."

But Gavaghan said that while Parliament signalled that it would repeal the Insurance Brokers Registration Act in July 1998, the reality was some way off. The organisation would continue until the GISC was properly established as a replacement organisation possibly next year. A firm date for the repeal of the IBRC has still to be announced.

Gavaghan is also anxious to avoid a bureaucratic nightmare at the IBRC where it would be faced with dozens of disciplinary hearings every month.