Andrew Paddick, the director general of the Institute of Insurance Brokers (IIB), is prone to hyberbole. But it's easy to understand why he's angry with John Vickers, the director general of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Vickers' decision to throw out the vast bulk of the IIB's objections to the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) could not have come at a worse time for Paddick – nor at a better time for the GISC. Paddick now faces a much harder task to canvass a minimum 1,000 brokers on his alternative regulatory regime by May 1.
But has anything really changed? Paddick knew from the start that the OFT might find in favour of the GISC's monopolistic tendencies. And, ultimately, the OFT's decision is just a stamp of approval, not a litmus test of insurer solidarity and resolve.
The central question remains the same. Is it likely, if Paddick generates enough support for his alternative regime, that all UK insurers will cancel the agencies of brokers who between them control billions of pounds worth of UK premiums?
No one knows, so it would be silly to write off Paddick just yet. He still has grass-roots support.