The future's bright, for those that are ready for it

As we approach the end of the first quarter of the year, what do we see? Take a quick glance at the regulatory landscape and it’s a bit of a blur. The Eurocrats are trying to force insurers to hold more capital under Solvency II, despite those insurers cantering through the financial crisis and clients worrying more about what they’re having for breakfast in the morning.

In the same vein, Joe Plumeri wants clients to rebel over contingent commissions, though the likelihood of any global clampdown appears remote. Anybody looking for a competitive advantage on this issue will struggle – the industry manages its conflicts of interests very well.

You need only look at the consolidator/managing general agent model, which, despite accusations of conflict of interest, has the best of both worlds. It could be disturbed by the emergence of a heavy-handed financial regulator in a new political regime – but what first-term government would want to do that?

Meanwhile, business stumbles on looking for long-awaited signs of growth. After a period of paralysis, the planning focus is less on immediacy and the implications of the crisis and back to concerted three-year plans.

Looking ahead, 2012 will be a big year for a variety of reasons. But take a look at the feature 'Back to the future' for our glance at why it will be a landmark period as we look ahead for the first time with a degree of certainty. There’s a plethora of City listings pencilled in the diary for the next 10 to 24 months, transaction technology is developing at breakneck speed and a wealth of big personalities are once again promising to conquer the world.

Don’t hold your breath for too long; it may be that things are returning to normal.

IT Pack returns – with extra reggae sauce

Next week Insurance Times’s IT Pack series for new brokers begins again at the Sketch Gallery in London. We’ve made the event even bigger and more compelling. Alongside industry speakers, we have lined up Dragons’ Den star and inventor of Reggae Reggae sauce Levi Roots, who will speak on entrepreneurialism. For more information, or to book a place at the event, please contact Elizabeth Copeman on 020 7618 3477 or email IT