With Danny Walkinshaw

Two stories broken on insurancetimes.co.uk dominated online traffic this week, with both breaking into the top five most read stories of the year. First it was the FSA’s announcement it had fined Hastings a record £735,000 that proved most popular with visitors.

The regulator got tough with the broker for failing to treat its customers fairly after it cancelled around 4,550 incorrectly priced car insurance policies.

The action was a bitter blow to Hastings with its parent company IAG eagerly trying to sell the business. An FSA statement said that on two separate occasions between July and September 2007, Hastings discovered that due to an internal system error, inaccurate insurance quotations were given to customers, resulting in some of them paying significantly lower premiums than they should have. insurancetimes.co.uk’s follow-up analysis, ‘Hiking fines’, which suggested that the news could signal the start of an FSA crackdown on insurance intermediaries, was also a popular read.

In second place was news that Fusion bosses Kevin Pallett and Geoff Crisp had left the Towergate-owned underwriting agency. The story came a month after Insurance Times revealed that RSA had served notice on its binding agreements with the company, a previous Most Read story on the site.

That was closely followed by an exclusive story that revealed Norwich Union was in tough negotiations with Giles over commission levels. NU was understood to be the first insurer to fight back against commission levels.

Finally, news that software giant SSP had been acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman brought visitors to the site, who also read a follow-up analysis, ‘SSP in suitor’s gaze’.

Most read stories on www.insurancetimes.co.uk

1. FSA fines Hastings 735,000 pounds
Regulator takes action for failing to treat customers fairly.

2. Fusion bosses quit
Kevin Pallett and Geoff Crisp leave Towergate owned underwriting agency.

3. The partys over
Norwich Union rejects Giles proposed commission hikes.

4. Private equity swoops for SSP
Deal values software giant at 198m pounds.

5. RBS set to shelve sale of insurance arm: reports
Analyst says that there is less than 50% chance bank will offload the division.