The ABI, Biba and the IIB have issued joint guidance in response to the FSA's treating customers fairly (TCF) initiative.

The guidance has been produced to clarify the main areas of responsibility for insurers and brokers when selling general insurance. It focuses on the key areas of the product lifecycle, product design, marketing and promotion, sales and advice (see right) and after-sales care.

Nick Starling, ABI's director of general insurance, said: "The industry is committed to TCF. Insurers are already doing much to ensure good outcomes for customers. This joint approach will help insurers and brokers understand their respective responsibilities, and reflects a key consideration of the FSA's initiative."

Eric Galbraith, Biba's chief executive, said: "This piece of joint guidance will help intermediaries and insurers to ensure that there are absolutely no grey areas in terms of responsibilities and should ensure that customers continue to be fairly treated in the process."

Andrew Paddick, IIB's director general, added that although the guidance is based on high level principals he would like to see it form part of training for industry staff at all levels.

Fair sales and advice
Insurers' responsibilities:

  • Communicating information that could impact on the suitability of a product
  • Processing completed application forms promptly and accurately
  • Giving feedback to the broker on difficulties related to sales and advice, which might be revealed through insurers' contact with the customer.
  • Brokers' responsibilities:

  • Ensuring suitability of product for the customer
  • Assisting the customer in completing applications and gathering necessary documentation
  • Monitoring the quality of sales by individual advisers.