Another week, another set of headlines concerning accusations of foul play in the credit hire market

This time, Drive Assist is at the centre of a set of whistleblowing allegations from a former employee. It’s a small but messy storm in a teacup, but it again reveals a cancer spreading through the market that, if left undetected, could cost insurers dearly. What we have found is a leaked email, allegations of fraudulent hire days, and the FSA staying quiet for a change.

At the heart of this matter are the words of Drive Assist chief executive Steve Binch who, in fairness, has tackled the allegations head-on. He points to an ongoing internal investigation, procedural error, a disciplinary, a disgruntled former employee, and the ongoing 125,000-plus cases Drive Assist has written and dealt with properly since the email was first circulated. Or in other words, it’s a very important matter, but small beer set in context of the wider business and its track record.

Well, step aside from the detail of this case and there is, of course, always a much bigger picture. AXA has already moved away from the ABI’s General Terms of Agreement governance mechanism of the credit hire market, citing it as troublesome. Other insurers are considering taking their credit hire facilities in-house, while the wider supply chain continues to struggle to maintain its legitimacy as increasingly cost-aware claims directors begin to shine a light on pan-industry benchmarking analysis come renewals time. It’s a mess but, as always, transparency is the key.

The Insurance Times Awards are evolving …

This week, we proudly announce some major changes to the 2010 Insurance Times Awards. Don’t worry, it’s still going to be the best party in the industry; it’s just that we’re bringing it to the Battersea Evolution venue in London and making it bigger and better than ever before. The other key difference will be that the awards ceremony is to be separated and held in an Oscars-style auditorium before the dinner, so the networking and party can begin immediately afterwards. We’re also introducing new categories, such as the chief executives’ chief executive of the year award, as well as submissions from our sister brands Global Reinsurance, StrategicRISK and Pensions Insight.

For more information and to book your place, contact Debbie Kidman on 020 7618 3094. IT