Brokers graduating from the class of 2007 and beyond are in a strong position, accumulating knowledge and expertise unknown to previous generations. This has taken on a new, and fundamentally important dimension thanks to a joint initiative between Biba, the CII and AXA, with the launch of the Broker Academy.

This has led to a single port of call for any intermediaries wanting to train their employees bringing together Biba's Broker Assess, and AXA's Campus systems.

This can be only a good thing and, it should be said, about time. But better late than never.

One big positive is that the Broker Academy is equally appropriate for brokers who have just joined the industry, or more seasoned professionals. Moreover, the academy is suitable for both large brokers and the smallest independent (page 6). So there is no excuse for any size of broker not to get involved.

Thankfully, more and more brokers now see training as a differentiator in the current highly competitive marketplace.With consolidation being such a major factor shaping the broking business world, brokers need to know that the training they receive is top class to meet the challenges of a highly competitive market.

And beyond learning and consolidation, the other big issue on the minds of most brokers is, unsurprisingly, regulation. Our own regional broker events revealed time and time again that the 'R' word was a bugbear for many brokers.

One of the problems from a broker perspective, is there doesn't seem to be a coherent settled regulatory environment (page 10). Biba has made its views heard on the issue, especially in regard to the way that new rules may lead to different disclosure requirements. So much so, a situation is developing whereby direct insurers do not have to comply with the onerous requirements that apply to brokers. This cannot be right.

And with the Treasury Travel Review results due out any day now, the travel industry is on the edge of its seat waiting for a decision that could change the landscape of the regulation of travel insurance (page 33).

Biba has campaigned fervently to create a level playing field that would bring travel agents under the same regulatory regime as brokers. It is time the government accepted Biba's arguments. IT