The regulator and the state must encourage the public to buy insurance to guard against unexpected incidents

I’ve never seen a publication from the FSA being promoted on the merits of it being ‘wipe clean’ before, but then it was a free guide to money for parents aimed at helping them cope with the economic impact of having a child.

Mind you, if their prospective infant’s hands are as sticky my own children’s were, they’ll be thankful for every laminated surface they can get in the coming years.

It’s an interesting idea. The FSA has created this free, no jargon guide accompanied by a CD-ROM of calculators with help from parents and parenting organisations. It forms a major part of the National Strategy for Financial Capability. Having looked through the publication it’s evident that a lot of thought has gone into making a very practical, informative and attractive guide that people will want to dip in and out of. It’s very commendable, and at a cost of £3.00 per guide, it really ought to be.

The FSA is intent on rolling out the parent’s guide to money across the entire UK as soon as possible following a successful pilot programme. There were 669,600 births in the UK in 2006 (and rising) so that’s a fair bit of cash (yours and mine) being given over to the project.

I spent time this week working on BIBA’s response to the interim paper from Sir Michael Pitt on learning the lessons from the 2007 floods. Recommendation 15 of the Pitt review urges members of the public to increase their personal state of readiness and resilience to floods by following the Environment Agency’s practical advice, where appropriate, which extends to having adequate home and contents insurance against flooding.

Reading through the review, I couldn’t help wondering whether the insurance industry would receive as high a level of commitment from government and regulators as soon-to-be parents are being given to prepare their finances. Just as having a baby or buying a home are key life stages in the parlance of the National Strategy for Financial Capability, so too should emphasis be given to protecting yourself when disaster strikes and the important role that insurance can play in this.

Let us hope that this is the case, for after all we’re not looking for that assurance to be wipe-clean or delivered on a CD-ROM, just a pledge that greater emphasis will be put on self help through the purchase of insurance.