There is no pressure from on high at CSC

There is no pressure from on high at CSC

In the news analysis, (October 26) regarding the Misys I2i Link initiative, it was suggested that the retail insurance division of CSC, with the largest installed base of intermediary systems in the UK, could be pressurised into joining the initiative by its parent company.

This is definitely not the case. It is true that CSC is a leading supplier of insurer systems worldwide, and indeed that some of the initial supporters of the Misys initiative are customers in this respect. However, this in itself would never be sufficient reason for CSC to join up.

Like all good market-driven companies, CSC will consider whether it makes long-term business sense for CSC and its customers before considering such a venture. As our customers I would include ALL the UK general insurers that CSC has dealings with, as well as intermediaries.

We received a very high level presentation from Misys only three working days before its initiative was publicly announced. It is still no clearer two weeks later as to the nature of the functionality and technology that we are being asked to integrate into our systems, the full commercial and business ramifications for our customers, and the quantifiable benefits to the market. We are seeking details on these matters.

CSC is keen to see the broker channel and its intermediary and insurer participants flourish. CSC, however, has yet to be convinced that the Misys proposal is the way to achieve this, and that it serves the best interests of the market, CSC customers and the company itself. In the absence of these fundamental issues being addressed there is no question of “pressure” being applied by any one.
In the end, the whole market will decide if I2i Link is value for money. At the moment we retain a large degree of scepticism.
Tony Barker
director, marketing and ebusiness
retail insurance division
CSC Financial Services

Any viable alternatives?

I had not responded to Anthony Hall's letter (Insurance Times August 10) because I did not wish to partake in a prolonged tennis match in the press and I wasn't quite sure what point he was making.

The survey (referred to in Viewpoint October 12) was carried out by a major insurer which, quite rightly, wanted to know the future make up of the industry. The survey is owned by the insurer and not in the public domain and as such I cannot divulge it. However, I do not see it as a surprise and it only confirms what everyone in the sector knows.

The survey was in depth, covering various geographical areas of the UK and, as stated, it showed that 73% of the intermediaries in the area had principals over the age of 50 and 50% were over 55. These were predominantly intermediaries who handled premium incomes under £1m. They had no successors in the business and were subject to growing pressure because of consolidation, restricted market access, reduced commission and credit terms, competition and future regulation.

I have not said that they deserve to go, nor that they do not provide an invaluable and professional service. It is just that time is running out and unless they wish to continue working against the odds well into their 60s, they will have to exit in the next ten years.

Unlike the retail sector where individuals are happy to buy small businesses, there are few people who want to buy and run a small, stand-alone brokerage. The only alternative is to shut down or sell out to a larger one.

Most people, other than Hall, understand this and to me it seems totally logical and not revolutionary or derogatory to the sector.

Hall needs to come up with an alternative viable scenario if he is to add to the debate.
Tony Cornell
Cornell Consulting

How's that independent?

We were under the impression that the

Insurance Ombudsman Bureau (IOB) would act independently in the case of a dispute between an insurance company who is a member of the Association of British

Insurers (ABI) and an insured client.

How could an organisation be independent when it is paid by insurance companies? We feel that it is a myth – the IOB is there to endorse the decision made by its employer.

There is an insurer that, like some other direct companies, accepts the business then makes a cock-up. Upon trying to contact the company, you dial a free telephone number and wait for a customer services operator. Consider yourself lucky if you get connected within 15 minutes. Then you are told that it is a member of the ABI and that the business complies with the rules of the ABI. The company also exchanges information with other firms and the police for fraud, etc etc.

The company in question asked my client all the relevant questions, who later received the police paperwork, the certificate of insurance, the direct debit (DD) mandate and the proof of bonus, checked with the previous insurer. In the words of the insurance company: “There seemed to be no problems at all”. After a month or so my client was asked to complete another DD mandate for a different premium without explanation. My client began communications with the company. Unfortunately, my client was then involved in an accident which was the fault of the third party; the police were involved but the third party could not be traced. My client's car was a write-off and the insurance company sent a letter to my client saying he was not insured.

Letters were written to the insurer but it still insisted that there was no cover. My client then started writing to the IOB, which eventually told him that it agreed with his insurer that there was no cover in place. We have tried to reason with the IOB and the insurance company but, for reasons explained earlier, the IOB did not act independently and agreed with the insurance company.

We are now seeking the help and advice from readers of the Insurance Times as the journal is read by the insurance industry's intellectuals, brokers, insurance companies and the public at large.

There is much correspondence regarding this case if anyone would like to help. A copy of this letter is being sent to the insurer concerned and to the IOB.
M Y Chowdrey
M Y Chowdrey Loss Assessors

Paperless? Clueless, I feel

It never ceases to amaze me how in this day of a supposedly “paperless society” we get so much bumph from insurance companies when they send through client renewal papers. Much is duplicated and is a complete waste.

of paper, not to mention the postage used to accomodate these large packages. I also note they do not save on postage when writing to brokers. Today I opened our post and found five letters from one insurer that were from the same branch and even the same department! Is there any need for this expense? No doubt insurers recuperate their outlay from the increasing premiums to policyholders and ever decreasing commission levels to brokers.
Ita Ward
JDP Brokers

Let's assess the facts

Having read Brian Hanney's article “The vital cogs in the wheel” in the Services Supplement, October 26, some points cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.

I refer to the comments of Malcolm Harvey, who states that loss assessors are going through a transformation. I am at a loss to understand from where he obtained this information. Like other professional loss assessors, my business is flourishing, as claimants are better educated in the need for adequate professional representation.

As for Harvey's stating he does not like the word “assessing”, it is just too bad. I wonder why? Is it because the word “assessing” demonstrates that assessors are not adjusters. His mention of loss adjusters having had 20 years working with underwriters is irrelevant to the purpose and need of any claimant.

I fail to see how he can seriously claim “the day of the assessor is done” when the profession is flourishing.
Henry Harris
Harris Claims Group

Not dead as dodos yet

Brian Hanney's article “The vital cogs in the wheel” in the Services Supplement, October 26, is valid and most interesting save for its assertion that the term loss assessors is changing. This argument is a common over-simplification by those who do not fully understand the nature, purpose and function of assessing. The loss assessing profession is mature and, unlike that of the loss adjuster, is stable and developing.

Malcolm Harvey, however, is quite correct in saying that loss adjusting is undergoing a transformation. It has not reached terminal decline but whatever future it may have is in the lap of the insurers.

As for Harvey suggesting these views are commonplace, much of it will be news to the professional loss assessor. I have already said the profession is mature; it is also fully developed for modern business. In view of his doomsday scenario I fail to see where the justification is. Professional loss assessors are both flourishing and in ever-increasing demand and will continue while losses exit.

He doesn't like the word “assessing” and I wonder why? When Harvey started in the assessing business he utilised the services of assessors and his company was called “The Loss Assessing Company”, yet he now claims the day of the assessor is done. Is this his own judgment on his own success or its antithesis? In view of what he now says, perhaps he might like to explain his own experience and what has caused him to change his mind.

He seems to imply that assessors are neither adequately qualified nor professional enough. This flies in the face of reality as the market has many capable professional assessors successfully practising.

As immediate past president of the Institute of Public Loss Assessors, I shall await Harvey's reply with baited breath so that I may assess the precise day I am doomed to become extinct.
Alan Wiseman
Wiseman Insurance Loss Assessors