An open letter to Andrew Gibson of Highway

Following on from the article which appeared in Insurance Times (7 March) which was as a result of my managers' frustration at the lack of communication from your office, I see you consider the matter to be "a storm in a tea cup".

Indeed it is very strange that such a trivial matter should then necessitate you instructing your underwriting director Chris Hill to write to us before publication and terminate our agency.

So as to explain to other brokers what they might face if they dare to question your actions I consider it only fair that we look at the facts of the case.

In Chris Hill's letter of termination dated 1 March I quote "My concern is that you did not see fit to raise the issue with Highway first and we feel extremely let down by your course of action and your lack of trust towards Highway".

Fact 1: We telephoned your offices on no less than four occasions, we have the names of all the staff involved and the time of each call. No effort was made to resolve our grievance.

Fact 2: We have been supporting your brokers for more than 22 years, which clearly demonstrates our trust, as well as our loyalty.

Over this period of time we, along with all your other brokers/intermediaries, have had to endure sudden withdrawals from the market due to bad management, the loss of long established schemes following change of underwriters, reductions in commissions and what would now appear to be your current intentions to market our clients for your own rewards.

Fact 3: Over this period of time you have profited very handsomely from the business we have placed with you, yet at a whim, and "a storm in a tea cup" (your words not mine) you seek to destroy our livelihood, as well as causing embarrassment between ourselves and our clients.

Fact 4: As a member of the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) I would remind you that we, as brokers, are at all times to conduct our business with the utmost of good faith and to put the interests of the client/customer before all other considerations, even if this means questioning the actions of insurers.

Fact 5: As regards you becoming a victim of negative publicity, you only have yourself to blame. I do not consider our actions unnecessary. Highway over the years has received its fair share of negative publicity, but I cannot recall an instance when this was not justified, surely this is all par for the course for a high profile insurer.

These Mr Gibson are the FACTS, which you as a responsible director heading a major insurer, with an agency base that no doubt runs into thousands, have failed even to consider in your actions towards us.

It is fair to say that no one likes to wash their dirty washing in public. In fact, I find it very distasteful indeed, but again the very person who decides our fate, Chris Hill, seems temporarily indisposed.

The lack of understanding you have shown towards us further demonstrates the partition you have built to distance yourself from working with brokers to combat the direct writers. Your intentions to profit from a policyholder's misfortune are immoral.

R Mikula
Topaz Insurance Services