Trade associations need to represent brokers

Trade associations need to represent brokers

I read with interest the article written by Chris Wheal in the July 6 edition of Insurance Times headed “NU agrees to give brokers flexibility on motor policies”.

Biba chief executive Mike Williams's comments are seriously misplaced if he thinks that “ Norwich Union has shown real evidence of being determined to listen to brokers”.

I have just received a renewal invitation for a client with CGU Insurance on a Mercedes 32i CLK at a premium of £1,140,30, but put forward an alternative with Norwich Union of £696.06 (are CGU and NU not the same company now?)

However, the client obtained a quotation from Norwich Union Direct for £396.15 and with lower excess. Needless to say, despite our long-term relationship with the client, he was hardly likely to pass up saving of £300 to be insured with the same company.

Having read previously that NU was offering to match direct quotes through the broker channel, we contacted NU, but the company refused to match the quote because, although the merger had gone through, it claimed CGU was a separate company.

Clearly the broker channel is very important to CGNU if it is going to provide the company with this level of premium over and above what their direct arm is quoting.

When are our trade associations going to start justifying the fees they are charging and actually represent brokers and their views ?

Clearly Mike Williams and Simon Bolam have no idea of the issues threatening the broker's survival.
N. K. Webb
PW White and Partners Limited

Not a perfect position

I was interested to read the letter from Ian Bevan-Mogg of Vaughan Insurance Brokers, regarding Green Cards and the “continental” use of cars in the issue of July 6, 2000.

Insurers should make it abundantly clear whether or not a Green Card is required, he is quite right in this respect – but is there not a responsibility on the broker as well?

I retired from broking a few years ago, after nearly 40 years in the business.

I still recall the worry about whether the client had been properly informed of all restrictions, including any special requirements.

Special procedures were put into place to avoid us as brokers being held liable! Nothing is perfect and I sympathise with the position.
Barry H. Abraham
35 Lyme Road
Hazel Grove
Cheshire SK7 6JX

‘Reports of death greatly exaggerated'

I thought it best to draw up a reply to Alison Boyle's interview with Chas Reilly under the heading “The guarantee of a bright new future” (issue June 22), which incorrectly implies that John Holman & Sons sold out to Cox completely.

To put the record straight, we sold only the goodwill of our Lloyd's guaranteeing business to Cox in early 1999 and, as part of that agreement, HML Marketing was required to drop any reference to Holman.

The Holman business is actively involved in the London market, and has been for the past 168 years.

Over such a timescale it is no surprise to see that there have been a number of spin-offs from the core, and if we were to list all those firms with a past connection to ourselves, it would include many successful operators in the London market.

John Holman & Sons – which is familiar to thousands of brokers – remains 100% within the Holman Group, as do the following companies: Holman Insurance Brokers, Michael McArthur Holdings, Professional Indemnity Services, Sheraton Systems and eight divisional trading companies, all of which incorporate the Holman name.

As you can see, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.”

The adoption of my family name by HML regretfully leads to confusion among our own client brokers, who know and trust the Holman ethos – which is so obviously attractive to others.

And, whilst we naturally wish HML every success in its marketing role, we would like to make clear it has no connection with The Holman Group, just as we have no connection to Cox.
A M Holman MBA, MSc, ACII
Managing director

GISC does not cut the mustard

The most recent consumer legislation is the Competition Act – but how does the GISC compare with it?

  • Are “ethics and integrity” pursued with all parties concerned?
    Competition Act: Yes, GISC: No
  • Is “choice” encouraged?
    Competition Act: Yes, GISC: No
  • Is each chief executive with either full or part interest in the industry “accountable”?
    Competition Act: Yes, GISC: No

    Thus the consumer is inadequately served with regard to these three fundamental benchmarks.

    A similarity with the “Millennium Bridge” comes to mind – we all know it's there, but does it cut the mustard?

    These sins of omission need to be addressed – the consumer deserves better. GISC is biased in favour of the insurers and their range of agency concerns (from hypermarket banks etc) and this certainly is not to the best long-term interests of the consumer – and their neutral ally, the truly independent broker.

    For the consumer to gain “meaningful, sustainable choice”, integrity must prevail with equitable purchasing terms available via the truly independent broker.
    Ian Holt
    Colney Insurance Brokers

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