’We will invest a bit more in the regulation section of our business because that’s the member priority,’ says new chief executive 

It has been a week since Graeme Trudgill took over as the chief executive of Biba – and the new top boss is already getting stuck into the role as he embarks on a “mission” to fight for brokers.

Trudgill was promoted to the association’s top boss last Tuesday (4 July 2023) after former chief executive Steve White announced he would be retiring at the Biba conference earlier this year (10 May 2023).

Speaking to Insurance Times, Trudgill says it was a “wonderful” feeling when he was told by the board that he had unanimous support in taking White’s place.

“It’s a massive honour for me to become the chief executive of Biba,” he adds.

“I’m excited – I am going to give it everything and will lead from the front. I believe that I will be a player/manager.”

He adds: “My mission is [for Biba] to be that central place for brokers, so a source for expertise when they need technical help, regulatory support and representation.”

He highlights that the “architecture” of Biba works well and that changes can be made when new trends emerge, but stressed regulation is a key talking point for brokers.

For example, the FCA’s Consumer Duty regulation is on the horizon and sets out a slew of updated regulations that firms must follow from the end of this month (31 July 2023).

Essentially, Consumer Duty requires insurance firms to review their products and services against a new standard of fairness, with companies working hard to measure, analyse and benchmark their performance across a number of different metrics.

“We will invest a bit more in the regulation section of our business because that’s the member priority,” Trudgill says.

“So, definitely more work and support to give to our members there.”

FCA access

As part of this, Trudgill explains that the association was “very involved” in getting the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 over the line, which could in turn help Biba members get more access to the FCA.

The bill, which was given royal assent last month (29 June 2023), introduces new secondary objectives for the FCA and PRA – to facilitate the growth and international competitiveness of the UK economy.

This is backed up by changes to enhance the scrutiny and accountability of the regulators, including ensuring regular reporting and a greater focus on cost-benefit analyses.

Trudgill described the bill as a “landmark piece of legislation” in a LinkedIn post the day after it was introduced.

“We’ve had peers reading out sections, even the whole briefing paper on a particular occasion, to make sure that something I’ve been manifesting for five years gets over the finish line,” he explains to Insurance Times.

Graeme Trudgill

Graeme Trudgill

“That is that the FCA has a growth and competitiveness objective.

“So, when they are looking to introduce a new rule, for example, they have to take account of ‘what’s the effects on growth and competition’.”

Trudgill says the next stage is about metrics and measuring how the FCA is ensuring growth and competition is proportionate.

As part of this, Biba submitted nine proposals to the government’s Future Regulatory Framework Review.

“Those proposals are ideas that we have about how the treasury could ensure that there are useful metrics to see ‘was this particular rule that was introduced – did the cost benefit analysis come true?’,” Trudgill explains.

“If it was wildly out, can they then revisit the regulation, for example.”

He adds that he wants this to drive engagement and that the “Biba’s of this world and our members [want to be] consulted before something comes in”.

“One of the things I want to do is get more engagement between the FCA and Biba members,” he says.

“We’ve had a great system with the FCA where we meet them regularly and we talk through issues.

“But in addition to that, it is good that they hear from more members, [so] brokers are really able to tell them what it is like on the front line.

“So, I will be looking to do more of that.”

’Family growing’

Looking at the wider sector, Trudgill says he wants Biba to be a “big part” of delivering unity, allyship and cooperation.

“[I want to deliver] those things where we can work together, be stronger and achieve great things,” he says.

“I want to invest a lot in members. So, where we can, we’ll invest in research and guidance as much as we can.

“So, there’s a there’s a lot to do.”

He adds that the “Biba family” is growing, with its membership levels holding up “really strongly”.

“We offer a great suite of support – [for example], we offer technical support on insurance issues and we offer great regulation team giving support.

“So, there’s a lot of support, which is why once members join, they tend to stay.

“Most brokers are in the membership, but we do welcome more people into the family, whether that be insurer partners or other associates as well.

“So, the family is growing and it’s a very positive time.”