May I congratulate Andrew Paddick on his achievement and trust he enjoyed his moment of glory at General Insurance 2001 (Birmingham, 30 November) which I found misleading because the conference was billed as "the most important insurance industry event of the year" at which "there would be a wealth of information and debate".

I might even have laughed about the James Bond Skoda if it had been in between the "light-hearted entertainment" and the filibustering that completely absorbed the opening session, embarrassing me to such an extent that I have consigned my CPD certificate to the wastepaper basket.

Although Paddick has defeated the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) monopoly ambition, perhaps he will now let us know what it is we were supposed to have debated?

Make no mistake, the insurance industry has a serious problem of credibility arising out of the suspicion that we, as brokers and agents of the insured, know what existed on both sides of a contract, founded on the principle of utmost good faith. This is the matter I had intended to raise at the conference because I believe we need to understand why the industry is suffering from a lack of credibility before we can decide the way forward.

To explain, responsibility for regulation of insurance falls within the domain of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) by virtue of Article 3 (d) of the supplemental charter.

This requires the institute to exercise supervision and control over the professional standards and conduct of its members.

I suggest the way forward is, therefore, to make haste slowly by continuing to abide by the Insurance Brokers' Registration Council (IBRC) regulations on a voluntary basis (such as we have been doing since April) while we put all the options on the table and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each - this will have the added advantage of keeping the IBRC administrative staff intact.
John Lynch
Insurance Advisory Service

Answer the phone, AXA
Everyone knows how bad Norwich Union's (NU) telephone response has been over the past two years, but it seems it has rectified the problem. I would now rate it among the best, even though the majority of the operators have little or no insurance experience.

But what about AXA? What is it playing at? Its telephone response is a nightmare. To add to this it has the nerve to reduce commissions. So now we are expected to spend twice as long on the phone for fewer rewards and their accuracy rate is worse than Andy Cole's on a bad day. About 40% of certificates received have incorrect registration numbers.

AXA's bad service has been able to hide behind NU, but no longer. Get your act together before other brokers get fed up.
Daniel Schofield
Roger Smith Insurance Broker

Rising damp
Although there is insufficient money available to protect existing housing in flood plain areas, some planning authorities are apparently still giving permission for new (uninsurable?) dwellings.

Surely developers should start thinking of building chalet bungalows, raised above flood levels on piled reinforced concrete "stilts" - the under-floor space to be used as a car-port/boat-house /play-area.

I imagine the cost would be acceptable (and perhaps grant-aided). Both mortgagors and insurers should be happy to provide loans and comprehensive cover.
David Harper