The big questions raised in our Leaders' Forum on Conservative reform and the potential fall of the FSA
Ten thoughts emerging from the Insurance Times Leaders’ Forum last week:
1) Where is the growth? Insurers are desperate for rate increases, green shoots and for simple messages to be understood by underwriters on the ground. But the reality is that clients are still in duress, brokers are struggling to make the case, and money is tighter than ever. It’s going to take a while for sentiment to catch up.
2) Political reform. The Tories are beginning to feel the pressure. After a successful but downbeat conference, they now have that uneasy feeling that the general election is theirs to lose. The market wants six months of substance and gravitas; then it will judge.
3) Regulatory reform. Is it a case of better the devil you know? Does the City really want the FSA scrapped? And do the Tories really want to scrap it? They’re listening hard, so watch out for the fudge. Oh, and don’t miss the fancy footwork from Mandelson and Co.
4) Solvency II. The deadlines have been clarified and most insurers have realised that they won’t get past point three on their Solvency II “to do” list. Comply now … and fast.
5) Brokers aren’t brokers when they’re being risk consultants or data interpreters. Loss adjusters aren’t just loss adjusters when they can be global claims solution providers. And actuaries? Well, they’re back in vogue. You’ll have to look hard to find and keep the cool ones – and you’re going to need them more than you can imagine.
6) Willis boss Brendan McManus is now writing MGA business and has an impressive list of insurers on his panel. He’s doesn’t plan any UK acquisitions. Enough said.
7) AXA chief executive Philippe Maso has again spelt out how economic and market conditions do not lend themselves to certain distribution models. Makes you wonder what he’s going to do about it.
8) There is a lot of rhetoric about talent, training and professionalism. The Lib Dem’s Vince Cable hits the nail on the head when he points to the many jobless bankers searching for a new quest and “retraining”. Where’s the balance?
9) Sales director Janice Deakin doesn’t see the current Aviva strategy changing soon.
10) Who’s going to argue with JLT boss Dominic Burke? Twenty acquisitions down and more to come. JLT is agile, united and, importantly, hungry to mount an attack on the big three. Watch this space. IT