The Jackson Review offers the government all it needs to reach a workable resolution on referral fees - but will it take heed?

It’s back to school, and back to the top of the national agenda for the thorny issue of referral fees. At the beginning of the summer, the row got knocked off the front pages by the phone hacking scandal – just as insurers were beginning to have some success in putting across their side of the argument.

Now, with parliament about to reconvene and Jack Straw pressing ahead with plans for a debate later this month, the industry gets a second chance. Insurer bosses are already changing their language and attempting to widen the discussion from that of a straightforward ban on referral fees to a wider package of reforms bringing down legal costs - see this week’s news.

It’s not that surprising to see companies that benefit from referral fees insisting that a simple ban isn’t the answer – but whether from self-interest or not, they’re right. Lord Jackson looked in painstaking detail at this very issue two years ago, and was insistent all along that the answer lay in a package of measures.

His recommendations have laid it all out, and so if former justice secretary Jack Straw and his fellow parliamentarians want a quick win that will earn the support of the industry as well as benefit policyholders – and voters – they need look no further.

• Congratulations to JLT on causing major ructions in this year’s Top 50 Brokers league table. Its high-profile success highlights the very low-profile path that Aon, Marsh and Willis have taken this year. The erstwhile top three have had plenty of other things on their mind – remuneration models, staff departures, FSA fines, and acquisition integration to name but a few.

But, as this year’s results show, the UK broker market brooks no complacency.