A panel of 21 leading insurance luminaries have lined up to salute the best in the industry by judging the Insurance Industry Awards 2000.

Popular Insurance Times columnists Tony Baker and Tony Cornell are joined by key figures from the industry, to help judge the biggest showcase for the best insurance industry initiatives of the year.

Chris Woodburn, the 52-year-old chartered accountant and past chief executive of the Securities & Futures Authority, who now heads the General Insurance Standards Council, has agreed to be a judge this year.

Chris Aujard, the solicitor-trained head of development projects at Lloyd's, responsible for alternative risk transfer, is also on the panel.

Bringing a consumer view to the proceeding is Stuart Cliffe, the former motor claims handler and broker who runs the National Association of Insurance and Bank Customers.

Past chairman of the Chartered Insurance Institute's Society of Fellows, Douglas Shillito, brings a wealth of experience to the judging panel. After a career with Royal Insurance, he founded his own company, Shillito Market Intelligence and has worked intensively with insurers and new technology, as well as producing newsletters and internet information sites.

Alan Cleary will also bring some clout to the panel. Cleary's career has spanned giant insurers and loss adjusters alike. He was president of the CII in 1986 and president of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters in 1981. To top that, he was chairman of the Institute of Risk Management in 1989 and the first ever chairman of the CII's Society of Fellows.

In August 1997, the UN secretary-general appointed Cleary a commissioner with the UN Compensation Commission – with responsibility for settling claims that arose from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Business strategist Frank Shaw also has international connections, having been an adviser to the 1973-78 Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Shaw now runs an independent think-tank, the Centre for Future Studies.

Alan Fleming, in charge of risk management at Railtrack and this year's chairman of the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers, will also play a vital role.

Multi-award-winning personal finance journalist Stephen Womack, of the Financial Mail on Sunday, will bring his incisive comment to the discussions, while the technology side of the business will be represented by Martin McLachlan of Polaris.

The other judges include Barbara Bradshaw, director, and Graham Gomm, chairman, of the Institute of Insurance Brokers, David Lee of the Research Department, Bryan Martyn of AM Best, Oliver Laughton-Scott of IMAS Consultants, Tim Cadel of Kiln and the effervescent CII marketing director Freddie Hospedales.

They will join Insurance Times' editor Chris Wheal, publisher Sarah Tunstall and managing director Jonathan Shephard.

Different teams of judges from the panel will judge individual awards at two separate stages.

A shortlisting panel will look at all entries and then the shortlisted firms will make presentations to teams from the panel, specially selected to judge each individual award.

The deadline for entry to the industry's most coveted awards is this Friday (August 18, 2000).