After congratulating the GISC last week for its achievements, a more critical note must be struck this week. Where, oh where is the promotional campaign?
The pitifully small turnout at Glasgow for the first roadshow is evidence enough that publicising the most important change in insurance for decades has been bungled. But there are many other tell-tale signs too. The guidebook, for example, should have been published well in advance of the first roadshow to let attendees ask informed questions. There should have been widespread publicity telling people the location and date of their nearest roadshow. And there should have been better communication that this is a consultative document – and that people should make their views known. Many people believe everything is already cut and dried.
These failings are symptomatic of an overall failure to explain clearly and powerfully why the new regulatory regime is a good thing for the industry. A few dedicated individuals apart, and Mike Slack is notably among them, no one appears to be batting for the GISC. Every major project needs its champion. But as far as the great mass of the insurance community is concerned, this is a championless project.
Not only is this disappointing, it is dangerous. If no one is selling GISC, why should anyone buy it? There are many controversial issues still to be resolved in the consultative document. Even if they make sense, these issues still need to be explained to brokers and intermediaries whose support is essential if GISC is to succeed.
After all, at Birmingham last week, GISC chief executive Chris Woodburn astonished those who have been following the GISC debate by letting slip for the first time that GISC membership could be optional in a few years' time. Was this sensational revelation induced by fears that the Office of Fair Trading is still not satisfied with the compulsory foundations of the new regulatory regime? Is Brussels unhappy? Who knows, but intermediaries angry at the new costs they must bear might be tempted to raise the compulsory element with their MP.
That's why a champion needs to emerge. Now.