Last week’s Downing Street summit may have a joint victory for insurers and government, but there was one glaring omission

David Cameron’s meeting with insurance industry leaders last week has been hailed as a success (see our investigation ‘Sixty minutes with the PM’). The assembled chief execs won some valuable commitments from the PM, including a pledge to cut lawyers’ fixed fees for personal injury claims, and to take action on whiplash. The PM in turn won a commitment to pass savings on to customers, and hence some positive PR.

But the value of the talks will only become clear in the coming months. There have been endless commitments to sort out the personal injury system, from this government and its predecessors, but all too often, actual reform has been kicked into the long grass. Hopefully, the prime ministerial interest will ensure action this time round.

But there was one important element missing from last week’s meeting. Where were the brokers? (see ‘Broker fury at exclusion from landmark talks at Downing Street’).

The omission of any broking representative is all the more glaring when you consider that the meeting was originally scheduled to talk about cutting red tape for businesses and health and safety in the workplace: brokers’ home turf.

By calling this meeting, the government has demonstrated its commitment to fact finding. So it would be unfair to blame ministers or mandarins for failing to give brokers a seat at the table. If they don’t understand the difference between brokers and insurers, or appreciate the value that the former bring (and in particular to business), that must be the brokers’ fault.

Has Biba dropped the ball? The broking body needs to be seen as a political player on a level with the ABI, and needs the buy-in of all brokers, large or small, regional, national or global. Right now, it’s failing on both fronts.

♦ Results season is upon us and sighs of relief are audible across the City as leading insurers return to profit. We’re covering the 2011 financial season in more detail than ever before - see