Blog – British Insurance Brokers' Association https://www.biba.org.uk The British Insurance Brokers' Association is the UK's leading general insurance intermediary organisation Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:30:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 Changes afoot a Blog from Andrew Gibbons https://www.biba.org.uk/latest-news/changes-afoot-blog-andrew-gibbons/ Wed, 25 Oct 2017 11:24:05 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=28177 If insurance brokers were in any doubt that change was somehow something new, it was the pre-Socractic Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said that “change is

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If insurance brokers were in any doubt that change was somehow something new, it was the pre-Socractic Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said that “change is the only constant in life”.  In recent times it seems however that change and the speed of change has gathered a pace.

Regulation & Compliance

As someone who runs a relatively small business, employing 27 people, the regulatory burden seems to constantly increase exponentially year on year as the re-examination of current FCA rules leads to new working practices and changes in systems.  The CASS 5 client money rules were a good example of this as despite a 3 year consultation, the rules remain unaltered, yet the burden of audit exerted by our independent auditors due to pressure brought by the FCA has now increased and in turn this has increased our not insignificant fees for audit by some 240%. It is inevitable that at some point, across the market, these increased fees for compliance will be passed on to the consumer, but it is that same consumer that cannot be priced out of the valuable advice provided by brokers.

Investments in technology has been essential to keep pace with customer expectation and the availability of good quality staff is always a constant challenge to any business, but in spite of this, brokers continue to deliver good quality independent advice to clients at a reasonable cost.

So what is on the horizon that will further exercise both clients and brokers alike?  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is due to come into effect in the early part of next year and it is important that clients are both made aware of and receive appropriate insurance protection for their obligations under the new laws. But it is perhaps a more subtle change that could, in the wider sense, have the most impact on the most vulnerable clients.  This change is the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill that was highlighted in the Queens speech, where the provision is to establish a new financial guidance body and to make provision about the regulation of claims management services.

As already mentioned, it is important that the general public receive good quality advice and through previous agreements with the Money Advice Service, BIBA has facilitated through their “Find-A-Broker” service the signposting of customers to good quality advice.

The regulation of claims management services will also serve to reduce some cost in the industry where these firms, unlike loss assessors within general property and casualty insurance circles, have hitherto fallen outside the regulatory regime of the FCA.

So change is inevitable and whilst brokers see our role as being key to advising clients regarding change, the resilience that small firms continue to show to provide consumer choice and guidance to their clients, remains, in my opinion, one of the cornerstones to the continuing success of the UK general insurance market.

And on the horizon…the IPID, a change to the Senior Managers regime and the IDD amongst other things!

Terrorism

Since the spring, there have been numerous disturbing events in the UK, ranging from the terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge, the Manchester Arena, Borough Market and also the saddening scenes that we saw at Grenfell Tower. These have all been significant events where the insurance profession has been under scrutiny to ensure that claims are dealt with promptly, fairly and with due regard to the policyholder, who has suffered not only a loss of property, but may have witnessed harrowing scenes and has suffered disruption to their lives.

Whilst each of these events is unique, I would like to concentrate on the issues of the 3 terrorist attacks, and the need for insurance as a collective to respond to the changing face of such terrorism, which will need the direct assistance of Government.

The system by which terrorism is currently reinsured is mainly through Pool Re which in turn is reinsured back to the Treasury as the insurer of last resort. This pool was designed specifically to deal with large scale property damage within the cities of the United Kingdom following the IRA bombings that had widespread and devastating effects, in particular in London and Manchester.

The types of terrorism that we are now seeing involve motor vehicles and cause us to question whether a single insurer should be responsible for what is essentially a politically motivated attack against the Government, and whether the future of terrorist cyber attacks and the wider consequences of denial of access to property should now be included within amended rules within the motor insurance bureau arrangements, and perhaps separately in terms of property, the Pool Re rules.

Pool Re in particular only provides cover for damage. However, businesses who had purchased terrorism cover and were not damaged physically by the attack, but remained closed for days after the attack, found themselves uninsured, which did ultimately affect their business.

It is pleasing to hear that although these events have already taken place that Pool Re and motor insurers are already looking at this changing face of terrorism and seeking to respond positively, as they have to many of the damage claims that have already occurred.

It is also pleasing to understand that major insurers are also able to provide counselling support to policyholders who may have suffered trauma arising from these incidents, which is often unseen by the wider public in terms of the pastoral care that insurers are looking to implement within their claims handling arrangements.

Indeed it is sad that these events take place at all but it also a positive to see that the insurance profession is looking at how best we can provide both coverage to customers and support in the unfortunate aftermath of these harrowing circumstances.

Brexit

Whilst negotiations continue in Brussels and consultation with the industry in Whitehall, everyone looks to March 2019 as the date to concentrate upon for Brexit. However, on the 1st April 2018, the market will issue the first annual policy that will expire after Brexit and indeed we have already done so with policies such as Latent Defects that may extend for up to 12 years from the date of issue.

So what happens if the capacity for those contracts is currently passported into the UK in terms of restitution and dispute post Brexit? Surely a question that needs to be asked now, which BIBA will be doing on your behalf in the coming months.

Insurer Matters

Changes to the standard exclusions in Insurance policies is often cause for concern with Brokers, particularly where the change removes cover that has existed for many years. It is a stark reminder that Brokers should ensure that policy terms are communicated to clients, which is clearly something that the IPID may assist with as it is the Insurer or the product manufacturer is responsible for drawing up the IPID even though the distributor may have to issue it, but through the Partner Insurer Group, BIBA is seeking, in negotiation with our Partner Insurers, to provide greater clarity in this area.

Finally, the matter of Insurer surveys was raised and the fact that on occasions, Insurer employed or third party surveyors engaged to carry out surveys on behalf of Insurers often visit clients without sufficient information about the policy cover afforded by the Insurer. This can lead to requirements that could lead the Insured to breach the terms of their policy. It is always good practise for Brokers to attend surveys where possible to try to mitigate such eventualities.

Summary

When I started to write this blog to try to communicate the flavour of what your SBAB is pressing BIBA to look at and assist smaller firms with, it seemed like a fairly straightforward task. In the end, despite the fact that the subject matter came from one meeting, which needed to be edited down to these subjects, underlines the range and diversity of topics affecting all small firms. More to follow in the future, but if you have any issues that you feel should be included in the BIBA 2018 Manifesto, please email them to SBAB@biba.org.uk or make sure you try to get to one of the remaining tour dates where Steve White and Graeme Trudgill will update you on all things BIBA!

Andrew Gibbons ACII

Chair, Smaller Brokers Advisory Board and Andrew Gibbons Mason Owen Financial Services

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The good – and well the good – what’s going on with the IBSC? https://www.biba.org.uk/blog-2/whats-going-on-with-the-ibsc/ Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:59:39 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=28030 Paul Anscombe, IBSC Chair, on broker standards and good practice. No one said it would be easy, guiding on good practice and highlighting the need

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Paul Anscombe, IBSC Chair, on broker standards and good practice.

No one said it would be easy, guiding on good practice and highlighting the need for advisory standards in broking but I’m pleased to say that since the BIBA Insurance Brokers’ Standards Committee came into being in 2016 it making great strides.

Already live on the member section of biba.org.uk are five complete or nearly complete sections and a further four in the pipeline. We have some great guidance, information and good practice on:

• The Role & Responsibilities of an insurance broker and key legislation impacting brokers
• Business Protection
• Clients
• Employees
• Making Claims Clearer

And work is ramping up on:

• Corporate Governance
• Financial
• Insurers
• Market Practice

The IBSC itself has grown since its launch and includes a range of members from large global brokers through to smaller regional brokers. We also have representation from Chartered Insurance Institute which is a major benefit and allows us to join up our guidance with the educational and Chartered requirements of brokers for the future.

Most recently we’ve joined forces with Weightmans solicitors who are working with us to review the legal considerations of the guidance and keeping us straight on our suggestions for good practice allowing us to proceed with confidence.

One of the most challenging and hotly debated topics in the guide is Market Practice. We asked brokers through a survey what poor behaviour you see in the market and it is fair to say that a number of issues need to be addressed with both brokers and insurers. At a time when our profession is subject to ever greater legal and regulatory requirements, it is vital that we work together on documenting what good broking looks like.

We have just completed a new section on insurers, take a look here and see what you think

What we are doing is increasing in significance as the market we operate in revolutionises, with Brexit, cyber, global threats and increasing digitalisation. I would welcome more feedback to help us build on the work performed so far. My rallying cry to brokers is to give us feedback on the work completed so far and suggestions for future guidance you’d like to see. Please drop us a line via bibacomms@biba.org.uk

 

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Claims – A Market Initiative https://www.biba.org.uk/blog-2/claims-market-initiative/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:38:24 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=27620 Originally published October 13 2015 as a BIBA blog It is a brave organisation which does not have its customers at the heart of everything

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Originally published October 13 2015 as a BIBA blog

It is a brave organisation which does not have its customers at the heart of everything it does in this world of heightened awareness to consumer issues. The consumer lobby has never before had the opportunity to be heard quite as effectively. But perhaps more importantly, the advent of social media has given the person in the street the ability to give instant praise or criticism to service received; commentary which has the potential to go viral in minutes.

Insurance does not escape this phenomenon and the recent FCA thematic review of commercial claims has further focussed the industry towards the aim of improving the customer experience still further.

The Industry Claims Initiative, made up of brokers, insurers, loss adjusters and assessors, industry representatives from BIBA, the ABI, Airmic, CILA, MacTavish and others, were looking at improving claims even before the FCA had reported.

Issues such as the customer journey, improving the overall experience of claims and discussing the problems faced by the industry in delivering better service through innovation along with emerging issues have all been discussed.

The group does not have all the answers at this stage, but it provides a platform for healthy debate and discussion from issues ranging from how we will deal with the issues raised by the FCA review to the emerging issues such as the implementation of FloodRe, Cyber risks and the sharing economy.

To date, the output has been good with the production of guides to assist the consumer and explain better how the industry works, with future emphasis being aimed towards the promotion of how clients can avoid being under insured and just what it will mean if a client is under insured.

BIBA assisted in the writing of the “Small Business Insurance for Dummies” and is currently working on a guide to provide guidance to Brokers on how they should approach this issue with clients. AXA have already issued customer focussed guide as part of their transparency project, as have Aviva

We should not forget that this industry pays a phenomenal amount of money out in general claims every day, so we must be doing something right. However, we cannot be complacent, and where we see that improvement can be made, we must take the opportunity to change. The Claims Working Group provides the platform for healthy and constructive discussion to help us achieve what we as an industry, the FCA and most importantly — the consumer want us to achieve.

The group is due to meet again on the 21st October, so if there any issues you would like to bring to the attention of the group for this or future meetings please email claimsinitiative@biba.org.uk.

Andrew Gibbons, Chair, Insurance Industry Claims Working Group

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Second blog from the Chair of the Claims Working Group https://www.biba.org.uk/blog-2/second-blog-chair-claims-working-group/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:36:05 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=27618 Originally published 14 August 2015 as a BIBA blog Having issued the first of the blogs from the Industry Claims Working Group, I must say that the

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Originally published 14 August 2015 as a BIBA blog

Having issued the first of the blogs from the Industry Claims Working Group, I must say that the feedback I received was both encouraging and surprising. This was principally due to the fact that the blog received quite more engagement than I had anticipated, but I am pleased that people found the information that I provided to be informative.

It has been a busy time since my last communication as representatives from the Group met with the Financial Conduct Authority on Friday 19 June, which was quickly followed up by a meeting of the main group on 2 July 2015.

We were pleased that the broker representatives of the group who met with the FCA were able to speak directly with Simon Green, ?Director, General Insurance & Protection at the FCA, John Parker who headed up the Claims Thematic Review for SME’s (TR15/6) and Tim Humphreys who was also involved in producing the report.

The Regulator reiterated that the review into the handling of insurance claims for small and medium sized enterprises was part of three pieces of work carried out into distribution. The Regulator was looking to find consistency of outcome and consistency of approach in all aspects of the delivery of insurance services to customers.

Their findings were discussed by the group, which, to remind you, includes representatives from insurers, brokers, loss adjusters, loss assessors, the ABI and other stakeholders from within the industry, all of whom are referenced to some degree in the FCA report. It must be identified that the group are generally supportive of looking to improve customer service and customer outcomes in the areas of weakness identified by the review as it is one of the three terms of reference for this group.

The findings of the latest thematic review differed from the previous review of personal lines in that the FCA found there to be a gap between the expectations of the customer in terms of service and project management of the claim and the reality. Poor communication with the policyholder throughout the process and identifying a plan which the client could follow were also areas where the FCA consider that improvement is necessary.

Underinsurance was found the be prevalent in around 20% of cases, which applied to both property sums insured and also business interruption. BIBA has already been working on what would be called PI Book 6, which is looking to identify how brokers can play a part in giving better advice and guidance to customers on how to avoid under-insurance and the consequences of under-insurance in relation to claims.

Dummies guide
Steve White and Graeme Trudgill launch the BIBA Small Business Guide for Dummies

BIBA has already contributed to a guide called Small Business Insurance for Dummies and is also looking to develop existing links for the Federation of Small Businesses with a view to promoting the message of arranging insurance at the appropriate sums insured to avoid under-insurance, which is something that the FCA have already expressed an interest.

Under-insurance was also reflected in one of the AXA of Transparency Guides, which was the subject of comment in my previous blog and others who are represented by the group are looking at how they can assist in promoting the message to customers.

This latest meeting was extremely constructive and included some discussion on the implications on claims of Flood Re, which is something that we may return to in future agendas. But a large part of the meeting revolved around the implications to claims, and the industry generally, of the biggest change in insurance legislation for over 100 years, which is the Insurance Act 2015.

Insurance Act guideBruce Hepburn from MacTavish, who is a member of the group, provided us with a presentation of his first impressions post the Act receiving royal assent, which fostered constructive debate throughout the group. This again is a topic that we will return to over coming months ahead of the Act taking full effect. In conjunction with BIBA, Aviva and QBE, MacTavish have assisted in producing a guide to the Act which has proven to be well received by BIBA members and the wider market alike.

As always if there are issues that you feel that the group should look at as part of its general work you are free to email us at claimsinitiative@biba.org.uk.

Andrew

 

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An update on the industry’s Claims Working Group https://www.biba.org.uk/blog-2/update-industrys-claims-working-group/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:31:24 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=27616 Originally published as a BIBA blog on 23 June 2015 This is not only my first blog as Chair of the Industry Claims Initiative —

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Originally published as a BIBA blog on 23 June 2015

This is not only my first blog as Chair of the Industry Claims Initiative — it’s also my first ever blog!

Hopefully, I will be able to embrace this form of communication in order to help explain what the Industry Claims Initiative is trying to achieve within the claims arena, with a view to improving the experience of claims for our customers.

The group was set up following research carried out by BIBA in 2013 into the experience of brokers of claims and it has 3 terms of reference as follows:-

  • To engage positively with the FCA thematic review.
  • To discuss ways to enhance the customer experience and
    understanding of the claims process.
  • To foster wider public understanding of the role of the insurance industry in meeting claims and to provide positive stories as to how this is achieved by example

Our first meeting was held in early 2013 and since then the group has done some excellent work, which has not gone unnoticed by Government, and was referenced in a speech by Andrea Leadsom, who was the then City Minister with responsibility for insurance, at the launch of the BIBA manifesto at the House of Commons in January 2015.

Our next meeting is in July of this year, but in June I will be representing the group at a meeting with the FCA to discuss the findings of the their thematic review in the commercial claims arena.  I hope to keep you updated on the progress of how that will effect our sector following the meeting.

However, a number of members of the claims working group have issued statements following the publication of the review underlining the industry commitment to improve the customer experience, which is consistent with our aims and is one of the key terms of reference for this group.

Axa Claim guideThe group has already made great strides in many areas and have contributed to the issue of the AXA transparency guides, now numbering over 30, on a variety of business classes, Aviva’s “Road to Reform Initiative” to reduce payments for soft tissue injuries and have contributed to the discussions surrounding the Insurance Act 2015 with the Law Commission.

We are referenced in the BIBA 2015 manifesto as one of the key area’s of BIBA’s focus for the current year, which I recommend taking a few moments to read.

Any issues can be referred to the group and we will welcome your interaction by using any of the BIBA published email addresses or claimsinitiative@biba.org.uk.

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BIBA members are the winners – BIA https://www.biba.org.uk/latest-news/brokers-are-the-winners/ Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:13:30 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=27414 Steve White updates on the British Insurance Awards 2017 BIBA is always delighted to be asked to judge excellence in insurance so we readily agree

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Steve White updates on the British Insurance Awards 2017

BIBA is always delighted to be asked to judge excellence in insurance so we readily agree to judge the British Insurance Awards (BIA)- it’s a pleasure to see the passion for simply performing the best an organisation or individual can in the various entries. That is why when it comes to attending the prestigious and entertaining BIA ceremony at the Albert Hall the winners and shortlisted entries get well deserved loud applause because the bar is set high and the competition is immense.

As well as enjoying great company, food and entertainment at the Albert Hall on 5 July, I was particularly happy to see some great BIA wins by BIBA members and associates.

Our congratulations go to all of the BIA winners but in particular to the following:

• Fresh Insurance Group for winning Personal Lines Broker of the Year
• Centor Insurance and Risk Management which won Commercial Lines Broker of the Year
• Aon – winners of the Diversity Award
• Harris Balcome (Associate member) – the joint winners for the Major Loss award – for their work on the flooded McVitie Biscuits factory in Cumbria.
• County Insurance for taking the Insurance Broker of the Year award and
• Towergate for the Transformational Deal of the Year, won for their finance restructuring.

It makes me proud to see members scoop all three key broker awards – and all of the winners can take pride in their achievements. I, for one am already looking forward to next year!

 

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Blog from Peter Blanc on thoughts from the Large Brokers Advisory Board – BIBA https://www.biba.org.uk/latest-news/blog-peter-blanc-thoughts-large-brokers-advisory-board-biba/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 15:55:47 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=26669 As you are probably aware part of BIBA’s structure includes member Advisory Boards to help shape the BIBA agenda. There are a number of these

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As you are probably aware part of BIBA’s structure includes member Advisory Boards to help shape the BIBA agenda. There are a number of these forums and I’m lucky enough to be Chair of the Large Brokers Advisory Board(LBAB).

We meet quarterly and our last meeting was held in the middle of February and  the agenda was broad.  We discussed; the EU exit, the BIBA manifesto, BIBA’s software house resilience review, insurance premium tax, an update on the BIBA litmus test ( to help brokers to carry out financial analysis of unrated insurers), gender pay gap reporting, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requirements (FATCA) and, of course, the hot topic was the Ogden discount rate.  We also debated  the Senior Managers Certification Regime (SMCR) – all told, a very productive couple of hours.

LBAB draws its members from several different parts of the broking community.  Large personal lines players are represented along with larger commercial brokers.  The interests of our members is often completely aligned with the other BIBA advisory boards but occasionally there is a divergence – the regulatory burden tends to fall more heavily on the larger brokers and this, in particular, is a topic that is always on our agenda.  We are able to make suggestions to the BIBA Executive about areas where we would like BIBA to get involved and some of LBAB’s  output  has resulted in BIBA completing  the challenge to help members carry out due diligence when using unrated insurers and creating a way to help members to assess the ability of their software house to respond to a disaster.  We have also  been able to provide input into BIBA’ s very frank and open discussions with both the FCA and the ABI.

All of the advisory boards are used to canvass opinion from members on all relevant topical matters.  Issues affecting insurance brokers seem to arise on an almost daily basis and it’s through some great teamwork from BIBA its advisory boards and committees  that  all the various consultations and changes are kept on the radar and acted on as necessary. This work broadly goes unnoticed by many members but I can say, from the point of view of someone seeing  the work that goes into representing members interests, it really brings  value to the table.

So what’s next on the agenda?

Clearly the obvious issues are Brexit, passporting and continuing to ensure Mutual Market Access.  We will also be working with BIBA to ensure that the government do not view Insurance Premium Tax as a cash cow to be milked on an ever increasing basis.  We hope to be able to work with the FCA on some really crucial matters such as improving communications to customers, helping to ensure that advice is recognised as a vital factor in the insurance supply chain, keeping the cost of regulation to a proportionate and sensible level. And of course working with the BIBA Insurance Brokers’ Standards Committee on the never-ending drive to improve standards across the profession.

And, along the way, we’ll just have to deal with curveballs like the Ogden discount rate as and when they arrive!

Peter Blanc

Group Chief Executive Officer
Aston Scott Group

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Blog from Andrew Gibbons on why BIBA’s Manifesto matters to smaller brokers https://www.biba.org.uk/latest-news/blog-why-bibas-manifesto-matters-to-smaller-brokers/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:05:55 +0000 https://www.biba.org.uk/?p=26209 Andrew Gibbons, Chair of BIBA’s Smaller Brokers’ Advisory Board, says smaller brokers should take advantage of the position BIBA has to speak up for them Why

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Andrew Gibbons, Chair of BIBA’s Smaller Brokers’ Advisory Board, says smaller brokers should take advantage of the position BIBA has to speak up for them

Why would an ex-broker confessing that he was never a BIBA member be so important to smaller brokers?

This is because the ex-broker was MP Craig Tracey who was standing in the Houses of Parliament launching BIBA’s 2017 Manifesto themed this year as ‘Enabling the Insurance Market’.

Funnily enough he was fully supporting BIBA’s lobbying and its Manifesto calls to address the unfair cost of regulation.

In fact, it was this burden that drove him out of broking.

He eased any tension that may have been in the room about his non-membership , by acknowledging that he now appreciates that he should have been a BIBA member, and interestingly that he may still be in business today had he been.

But his point about regulation is a very serious one. The cost of regulation is driving brokers out of business.

It is outrageous.

The cost of regulation for smaller brokers has increased by 70%, from 4% to 6.8% of income, since the FCA started in 2013. This is unjustified, has to be tackled and cannot continue.

So who else is in a position to speak up for smaller brokers if not their trade body?

With this in mind, it is worth noting that BIBA can be a big source of help for brokers who want to contribute to the FCA’s mission statement consultation on its strategy and day-to-day work over the coming years.

The Mission Statement presents an opportunity to stop writing new rules and start helping firms understand and embed existing ones – less regulation, more supervision.

Brexit may seem abstract to some but there are unintended consequences that all firms should be thinking about.

Any smaller brokers who feel divorced from the impact of Brexit might be surprised that BIBA’s Manifesto also has ten pages dedicated to it.

Even if they don’t actively trade in the EU, what about personal clients travelling aboard needing car and travel insurance? And what about their commercial clients actually exporting and importing?

How much of an impact is as yet unknown but this is likely to cause uncertainty and lead to changes in the way brokers advise clients.

So for BIBA and us smaller brokers, I think it’s positive that Craig Tracey made the move to politics so that we have ‘one of us’ on the inside.

And for those who are not a member of Biba, take note of Craig’s experience.

We should all be working with BIBA to progress the many Manifesto issues, because they are very important to enabling the insurance market for smaller brokers.

Andrew Gibbons

Mason Owen Financial Services

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