Disappointed, Andy Cook needs real answers

The Treasury has released its consultation document on how general insurance products will be regulated following the adoption of the Intermediation Directive.

But reading through the document, I can't help feeling a little let down. Fired by talk of commission disclosure and solvency margins, I expected a document that would answer some of the questions that have been buzzing around the industry for the past year.

Instead, the document bats the ball firmly back to the FSA.

For instance, on the question of scope, the document merely says that companies who sell insurance by way of business will be regulated - so does that mean supermarkets?

It seems that there is no accepted definition of what "by way of business" is. It will be up to the FSA to work that one out. And that's after the FSA has consistently said that it is up to the Treasury.

At least the document clarifies one area. Some commercial lines brokers have been hoping that because they don't sell direct to consumers that they will beyond the scope of the regulations. It seems not.

The document is very clear that, for instance, reinsurance brokers will be regulated. And so it seems likely that all business-to-business brokers will be regulated.

One consolation is that we have until January to reply to the consultation document.

However, the 1 January renewal season is gearing up and brokers will be spending a lot of their time trying to reduce the cost of insurance for their clients and probably implementing more risk control measures.

So the consultation couldn't really come at a worse time of year.