Andrew Paddick, the director general of the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB), will pull the plug on his alternative broker-only regulatory body if it fails to attract a minimum 1,000 members, he admitted this week.

But he remained confident that brokers would still flock to the IIB regulatory body on May 1, which is the day after the current statutory regulator, the Insurance Brokers' Registration Council, is repealed.

Application forms are being sent out in the next two weeks.

Paddick's statement followed news that the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC), the fledgling regulator the IIB opposes, has set a September 1 deadline for the implementation of its controversial Rule F 42.

This effectively gives the GISC a monopoly by allowing insurers to cancel the agencies of intermediaries who refuse to join it.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cleared Rule F 42 under chapter one of the Competition Act, but the IIB has lodged a second complaint for the rule to be considered under both chapter one and two.

“Interestingly, the six months between now and September is the period the OFT envisages taking to conduct its investigations before issuing a final decision,” Paddick said.

Meanwhile, the IIB has angrily accused insurers of jumping the gun by threatening to cancel agencies with intermediaries in April unless they join the GISC now.

“Copies of such ‘threatening letters' have been supplied to the OFT as evidence in support of the application for interim directions (on Rule F 42),” said Paddick.

Chris Woodburn, GISC chief executive, said it now had 2,000

members, and was regulating the lion's share of premium income. “We are very confident,” he said.