Insurance Times hustings revealed just 7% support to Labour

The insurance industry has overwhelmingly endorsed the Conservative Party, according to an exclusive Insurance Times poll published in the week that prime minister Gordon Brown called the general election.

A secret ballot of senior industry figures, who attended last week’s Insurance Times hustings event, showed that 75% believed that the Tories would be the best party for the general insurance market.

But while the latest opinion polls point towards a slim Tory majority or a hung parliament, Labour received the support of just 7% of the audience, half the 14% recorded by the Liberal Democrats. Other parties polled 4%.

At the event itself, the three main Westminster parties’ financial services spokespersons outlined their policies for the insurance sector. Shadow financial services spokesman Mark Hoban told the event that a Conservative government would consider increased penalties for those who submitted fraudulent insurance claims.

He also signalled that the Tories would go beyond the Jackson Review’s shake-up of legal procedures to tackle claims compensation issues. “We would like to embark on a wider review of what is needed to tackle the compensation culture and ways that we can get greater predictability on costs.”

The government’s Exchequer secretary Sarah McCarthy-Fry and Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat City spokesman in the House of Lords, both attacked Conservative proposals to scrap the FSA. Describing the Tories’ plan as “fundamentally mistaken”, Lord Newby said: “You are going to be faced with a minimum of two years of uncertainty, because a piece of legislation of this size takes a long time to go through parliament and it won’t be introduced on day one.”

Commenting on the poll’s strong backing for the Conservatives, Brokerbility chairman Ashwin Mistry said the country needed a “new broom”. But he expressed disappointment with all three spokespersons’ lack of understanding of general insurance issues.

Click here to read full coverage of the Insurance Times Hustings.