ABI brands motor report a 'missed opportunity'

The chair of the all-party insurance group has accused fellow MPs of “getting the wrong end of the stick” after calling for insurers to publish full details of their referral fee arrangements.

The House of Commons transport select committee, in a wide-ranging report on the rising cost of motor insurance published last week, called for insurers to publish on their websites full details of the firms that they pay referral fees to and how much. It says all such information should be sent to customers in their policy documents.

Responding to the committee, the ABI described the report as a “missed opportunity” to press the case for the Jackson review’s recommendation to ban referral fees, which the government is considering.

Jonathan Evans, chair of the parliamentary all-party group on insurance and financial services, said: “I am disappointed it [the report] did not address the issue in relation to referral fees in any significant way. They [the committee] seemed to get the wrong end of the stick.”

Allianz chief executive Andrew Torrance backed the committee’s call for greater transparency on referral fees, but said they should be banned wholesale.

The report also recommended the establishment of an insurance industry-backed police unit to tackle motor fraud.

ABI director of general insurance and health Nick Starling said the association was working on the establishment of a dedicated anti-fraud unit with the government. But he expressed concern that it might set a precedent for the industry to fund other emergency services, such as police and fire.