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Insurance body forced to halt launch countdown

A deadline for the motor industry to begin adopting new rules relating to the sale of insurance has been postponed indefinitely.

The General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) had already postponed the proposed start of the transitionary period from September 1 to October 15.

Now, pending a decision on an appeal by two insurance organisations opposed to the new system, GISC has postponed the October date and also the December 31 deadline for full implementation.

The announcement came 24 hours after Automotive Management and Sewells Information & Research jointly staged a conference about the proposals. It was held, in partnership with the Finance and Leasing Association, at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.

Martin Hall, FLA director general, who chaired the conference, said afterwards: “We are not comfortable with aspects of the GISC rules. It was clear from the number of questions raised by industry professionals that there are many concerns.”

GISC was created to raise standards in the sale of insurance and membership is voluntary but one of its rules (42) has proved controversial. In effect, it says members can only deal with other members.

The Institute of Insurance Brokers and the Association of British Travel Agents has said the rule is anti-competitive and appealed to a Competition Commission tribunal which is due to give a ruling by the end of August.

GISC head of communications Catherine Nicoll, who deputised for her managing director Chris Woodburn as a conference speaker, confirmed that other companies down the chain would have to join if all the main insurance companies did so.

“We hope most big businesses join,” she said. “All top insurers are looking to the day when there is a growing customer awareness of regulatory businesses.”

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