I will monitor underwriting, clean up Lloyd's and back our industry against foreign competition, says Robert Hiscox
' I am mightily flattered to be voted by my peers to be the first Insurance Czar. It has been a perfect election. I did not put myself forward; I did not have to fill in the ridiculous application forms for public appointments; I did not have to suck up to Tony Blair; I did not have to make a single speech or kiss a single baby.
I am assuming that Czar status gives me absolute authority without being neutered by councils or committees. Not being a politician or diplomat, this will suit my intolerant temperament and enable me to get things done.
First, I will appoint an underwriting monitor to oversee the underwriting of the whole general insurance market in the UK (the equivalent of Rolf Tolle, the franchise director in Lloyd's) to try to stem the ghastly downward cycle.
Any organisation cutting rates to suicidal levels will be hauled in front of a the monitor who will choose two sensible underwriters to act as investigators for the court.
If the two investigators decide that the accused has not put forward a logical case for the rates, the monitor acting as judge will stop them from underwriting immediately. Appeal will be to me.
Second, I will insist that the ABI continues to involve itself with corporate governance and the life insurance and savings industry.
But I will separate general insurance into its own lobby with a powerful head like Lord Levene to put the case for the general insurance industry to government and to keep the regulators from strangling us.
Third, I will command Lloyd's to clean up its capital base into one single capital supplier for each syndicate (in which individual investors could buy and sell shares) to rid it of the anachronistic annual venture.
It is essential that Lloyd's reduces costs to maintain its position as the leader of the London market so that London remains the premier market for internationally-traded business.
Fourth, I will persuade the government to reduce taxation on insurance reserves to counter the attraction of Bermuda and other offshore insurance centres.
I cannot understand why the government has always poured good money after bad into ailing businesses, but done nothing to encourage the world pre-eminence of the UK insurance industry which continues to be eroded by foreign competition aided by their sensible regulation and low taxation.
I look forward to the call from 10 Downing Street.