It's champagne and supernova for Paddick

It's champagne and supernova for Paddick
I write following the controversy surrounding the GISC Rule 42 – ‘Join Us or be Forced out of Business'
Forty two also happens to be “the answer to life, the universe and everything” in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy – indeed, I wonder if this is just a mere numerical coincidence, or a recognition by the GISC Board, that should it fail to enforce G42, it is most likely to go into supernova and end up as a black hole?
Unfortunately, the GISC has produced a set of completely ambiguous and non-specific rules which few people understand. Even GISC board members themselves disagree and interpret the rules differently.
As an analogy, it's just like motoring law stating that “drivers shall restrict their speed to a reasonable maximum in built up areas” – leaving the interpretation and penalties up to individual police officers and magistrates. Can you imagine the result and public outrage, once operational comparisons were made?
Mind you, it is only fair to state that the Chairman of the ABI himself is on record as saying that “he makes no apology for the GISC not being a level regulatory playing field”. Perhaps this is the one specific and only reliable statement which will ever be made on behalf of GISC.
Now apparently, according to press reports, it has added to the list of confusion, with Rule G28, which basically states, that intermediaries make adequate provision for bad debts – not much wrong with that as a broad principle, and something all properly managed firms do as a matter of sound business practice. However, these words do constitute a rule made, and to be enforced, by a serious industry regulator. Any such rule (among the many others issued by the GISC) must be unambiguous, specific and include any appropriate determining formula/precise definitions – applying to all members equally. Furthermore, any such rule must not have the effect of prejudicing the entirely legitimate profit earned by brokerages that provide client premium finance facilities of their own – as opposed to effectively forcing such transactions to be conducted solely via the premium funding houses who naturally and quite properly take most of the profit for themselves and would therefore welcome any such rule, which operated in their favour.
At present, in my submission, the GISC is not willing to be a serious regulator, simply because it is terrified of upsetting the vested interests of its (still undisclosed) financial backers and those of its board members' own businesses.
Surely, the GISC rules cannot be left to the discretion of compliance officers (accountancy firms, under reported multi-million pound potential profit contracts) or committee meetings, or a combination of both.
As the GISC goes through the Office of Fair Trading investigation process (it has instigated itself), these vital issues are going to be raised.
While the official spokesperson of the GISC described it as “a commercial undertaking” to Insurance Times a couple of weeks ago, not willing to reveal the many things brokers and the trade press demand to know, it cannot escape disclosure, if it has to have any prospect of gaining (even conditional) exemption from competition law as a mandatory/monopolistic regulatory body for the entire UK general insurance industry.
As things stand at present, they do not look good for the GISC – not because of the IIB's constant constructive criticism, but because of the GISC's own very significant and blatantly obvious inability to do anything like a proper job.
On a more lighthearted note, it has been suggested that we offer a magnum of champagne to the broking/intermediary firm which received the highest number of GISC membership application packs posted to exactly the same address. According to initial reports, most got four or five, but can you do better? Answers to: the editor of Insurance Times.
Andrew Paddick
director general
The Institute of Insurance Brokers

Terry Rechnitz's letter ‘No hidden gems here' in your August 24 issue raises some interesting and important questions on the fair settlement of claims for jewellery loss.
We have noticed huge shifts of opinion among insurers in their view of how best to handle jewellery claims, and still there are huge areas of confusion and uncertainty.
Some composites direct claimants to selected high street jewellers. The harsh experience here has been an almost uniform increase in claimant expectation as they select what they now desire, rather than what was previously owned. Insurers are now realising, perhaps belatedly, that this is really no solution.
The real fundamental here is the correct and fair validation of the loss to the insured. His position is enormously protected by having pre-loss evidence (preferably photographic) of his possessions. To offer an equitable claims solution the insurer should use specialist jewellery knowledge to professionally assess the current value of the loss.
Terry Rechnitz is correct. To rely on the local pawnbroker's view is neither professional nor fair, and more to the point is not likely to lead to increased business and an enhanced perception for our industry.
Tony Le Fevre
managing director
LMG Jewellery Claims Services

Revolutionary spirit
Re: Backchat's “Marxism: now a thing of the past” and “Dead hero Che sparks copyright revolution” in the August 10 issue (sorry I'm running a bit behind). I can certainly sympathise with the photographer Alberto Gutierrez in not wishing his picture to be used to advertise a product, in this case spicy vodka, as Guevara would certainly not have done so when he was alive.
I, however, am quite happy for Smirnoff to use my image in return for a small consideration and a considerable supply of their fine products. I may not have the hair any more, but I can cover that up with a beret. I won't even charge you good folk at Insurance Times for the courier for my picture, as I'm sure we can come to a far more amicable arrangement.
Also could this be the first ever case of a teetotal man being pictured in an insurance publication?
Paul Vallis
DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

‘Course we can Malcolm
As the first insurer to go live with motorcycle EDI for intermediaries using the CSC system, we felt Malcolm Nash was a little harsh to suggest that Zenith ‘can't handle the technology'. (On yer bike! Private Motor supplement August 20-24).
As the motorcycle market shrinks, and insurers pull out of the market, at Zenith we are keen to grow our account.
However, as with most insurers these days we need to keep our expense ratio as low as possible and so our answer is to transact as much of our business as possible via EDI.
There is no difficulty in handling bordereau statements, it is just that we do not see this as the ultimate solution and prefer to receive one-to-one transactions via EDI.
Not only does EDI allow accurate policy and claim information to reach us instantly, it also helps to improve our customer service levels – good news for our brokers as well as ourselves.
As software houses continue to develop their motorcycle EDI technology we remain committed to working with them to provide efficient business solutions.
Gary Thomas
underwriting operations manager

Standards issue
I refer to the article in your August 17 edition entitled Standards crushed by Policy Master system.
While the article factually reported the use by Policy Master of its new ProductBuilder software and Professional Indemnity data dictionary for the development of the Marsh eFINPRO transactional website, I thought the headline was misleading if not a little mischievous.
The headline implies that Policy Master's commitment to Polaris standards has diminished. This is not true. The software tools that Policy Master has created to deliver the Marsh project are entirely complementary to those delivered by Polaris for more mainstream lines of insurance business.
Policy Master remains committed to the Polaris standards and to the market consensus that, for many years, it has helped to foster.
Our Sirius technology family has been designed to support a range of industry standards, be they open or proprietary, to meet the evolving needs of our market and our customers.
Stephen J Verrall
chief executive
Policy Master

Conspiracy theory
I READ with interest the letter in Insurance Times August 24 from E B Cambell.
I think the author is right and an objective review is overdue. Our best efforts to get the Law Society to recognise after the event insurance, and conduct such a review has failed.
In fact we believe in a conspiracy theory – that our non-conditonal fee arrangement, and consumer-led approach, is anti the Government line.
Maybe Insurance Times can succeed where we have failed – and perhaps you have a chance to appeal to legal readers in the process.
We can help if you like. Unlike many in this market, we are primarily insurance people, and as founder members of The Official Forum of After The Event Insurers we have the contacts and market understanding to make your task easier.
Brian Dunk FCII MCIM
group marketing manager
Hanover Park Group