Professional standards have been given pride of place in the North West with the establishment of the Manchester Insurance Forum to address concerns between brokers and insurers.
The forum, believed to be an industry first, is the brainchild of The Manchester Insurance Managers Club (MIMC) and the local committee of Biba. They are anxious to ensure standards are maintained in the fast consolidating world of insurance and reverse recent bad publicity.
Jim Roberts, managing director of Manchester-based broker John Reynolds Group, and a Biba local chairman, said: "We said informally last week that there is something to be gained by creating this forum.
"With all that's happened with mergers the whole industry has slipped in terms of professionalism.
"That's in the broker sector and the company sector – although perhaps a little more in the company sector.
"This is an opportunity to re-establish our professionalism and profile because it has had some negative press over the last few years. We felt we have a common goal – to improve professionalism."
Roberts said the Forum's first priority would be to show that the "Manchester market is re-establishing itself on the right footing".
"It has settled down now and we felt the time was right to put the flag up again," Roberts said. "We have all suffered poor standards of service and documentation and this is about going back to basics. One of the reasons standards have slipped is because many staff have not been sure if they have a job. Hopefully that has settled down now and we can improve our profile and professionalism.
"Sometimes we have had to send back policies three or four times and that is very costly to the broker."
The new forum will comprise 25 managers club members and 12 Biba committee members.
Roberts added: "We cover the full range from the small high street broker to the Aons and the Marshs."