CII and Biba welcome debate but defend their positions on standards setting

The Insurance Brokers Standards Council (IBSC) has been set up to tackle issues of of bad practices among brokers that are not being addressed by other broking bodies, its chairman has said.

Seventeen Group managing director Paul Anscombe said the council was set up this month after its founding members saw a need for a code of conduct of profession that would be determined by practitioners.

The absence of this, Anscombe says, has meant the market is failing to address issues of bad practices, such as brokers making up a quote to win business, poaching of broking staff by one company to another and the use of unrated insurers.

Anscombe said that while IBSC is very supportive of Biba and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the trade body for brokers only supports corporate entities, and the CII does not address the disputes and issues that arrive in the market on a day-to-day basis.

“We were seeing a number of bad practices in the market,” he said. “We felt there was no one addressing these issues so it needed to be done by brokers themselves.

“Brokers do a fantastic job for their clients. The vast majority are very professional, but they need help.”

“CII is great in terms of education and personal development of insurance practitioners and Biba does sterling work for us in Europe as our trade body and we don’t want to undermine the work they are doing. But in terms of driving the standards for brokers, that needs to be done by brokers themselves.”

A CII spokesman said it welcomed IBSC’s desire to create greater professionalism in the broking sector, but he also defended the body’s standards setting procedure.

“We are the professional body in terms of insurance. The insight that goes into the training and qualifications we provide, the examinations, all of that is done by practitioners,” he added.

“Nobody in the CII writes an exam or marks an exam question. If you are a broker and you are sitting an insurance exam with the CII, the question would have been written by a broker and marked by an insurance broker.”

Biba chief executive Steve White said while the trade body welcomed a debate on raising standards, this was best achieved through the trade association.

He added: “From the regulator’s perspective, the regulator regulates the legal entity and expects it to have systems and controls in place to ensure it’s running its business properly. That has to be a corporate matter.

“We believe something aimed corporately is probably a better bet, but we are keeping an open mind. There is a big debate in this space and that is healthy.”

Since its formation, Anscombe says the body has been approached by a higher than expected number of brokers asking for membership forms and for more information.

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