Insurance professionals have been urged to lodge their opinions and objections to the recently announced consultation paper from the FSA on a single ombudsman scheme.

Insurance Ombudsman Bureau (IOB) boss Laurie Slade described the consultation process as "the first real opportunity for stakeholders in the IOB to have a say in the shape of the new scheme".

Under current FSA plans, the IOB and various other dispute resolution schemes will be amalgamated into a single ombudsman scheme for the financial services industry, which will be headed by a super ombudsman, the former Insurance Ombudsman Walter Merricks.

Intermediaries will have to join the new scheme under proposed GISC rules. There was a furore about the scheme during the summer when the AiiB warned that it could cost brokers £500 per complaint handled.

The FSA consultation paper covers issues such as the scope of the new ombudsman scheme for insurance, who will comprise its membership, limits on awards, funding and internal complaints procedures.

"From their experience of the strengths and weaknesses of the IOB, the bureau's stakeholders have a lot to offer when it comes to identifying the values the new financial ombudsman scheme should embody if it is to meet the needs of its users," said Slade.

He added: "I urge all stakeholders in the IOB with an interest in the new scheme to respond to the FSA, making it clear what it is they have valued in the IOB and wish to see maintained by the financial ombudsman scheme."

Since it was established in 1981, the IOB has handled 70,000 cases relating to general insurance.

The new scheme will be based at CIT Group's South Quay Plaza II in London's Docklands. The offices are spread over four floors and will accommodate up to 400 staff.