REG Reviews

REG Reviews – July 2023

3rd July 2023

Welcome to Your July Edition of REG Reviews!

Last month, the FCA cracked down on Principal Firms, brokers were seen to be leading the way with Consumer Duty preparation, and with the annual MGAA conference only a few days away, REG sat down with CEO, Michael Keating, to discuss all things MGAA and how the Association is transforming the market for its members.

Read these articles and many more, as we bring you all the important news and views from the insurance and financial services world…

Industry News​

The FCA has restricted ten firms, including four insurers, for failing to properly oversee Appointed Representatives, following stricter rules to enhance consumer protection and market safety.


FCA's Crackdown on Principal Firms

Ten firms, including four in the insurance industry, have been placed under restrictions by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for failing to meet the regulator’s expectations in overseeing Appointed Representatives (ARs).  

The FCA took this action after implementing stricter rules in August of the previous year, which sought to enhance the protection of consumers and markets.

ARs are not regulated by the FCA and therefore oversight responsibility falls to the Principal Firm. The FCA’s research discovered many Principal Firms do not adequately oversee the activities of their ARs.

In a consultation conducted in December 2021, the FCA observed a wide range of harm across various sectors where firms utilise ARs.  

The primary causes were attributed to Principals’ insufficient due diligence during the appointment of ARs, as well as inadequate oversight and control once an AR was appointed. 

Previous analysis conducted by the FCA indicated that Principals and their supervised ARs accounted for over half of the total value of claims made to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.  

Furthermore, they generated a significantly higher number of supervisory cases and complaints, up to 400% more, compared to other directly authorised firms. 

Firms were meant to adhere to the new regime from December 2022. However, with the increase in the volume of restrictions being placed on Principal Firms, for inadequate oversight, the FCA has now taken action.

To mitigate the risks associated with ARs, the FCA has established a new supervision department, comprising of over 30 staff members recruited to enhance the standard of oversight exercised by Principal Firms over their ARs.

Additionally, the FCA has communicated with over 3,000 Principals, emphasising their obligations to effectively supervise the behaviour and conduct of their ARs. 

Matt Brewis, Director of Insurance at the FCA stated: “Thanks to our tougher rules and new reporting requirements, we have been able to take increased action against firms who manage ARs for failing to meet our expectations. We will continue to engage with Principals on the new rules so they’re aware of what they and their ARs need to do to remain in the market.” 

To learn more about the updated regime, or how regtech can help you adhere to the new rules, read our whitepaper.

REG Roundup

“Whilst lots of regulated businesses see FCA regimes as a hindrance and a box ticking exercise, it’s really important to remember the purpose behind these crackdowns – to raise standards and help identify where consumers may be at risk of harm. Given the AR regime came in to force last year, firms should have addressed any gaps, though with restrictions recently being placed on 10 firms, this highlights there is clearly still work to be done in this area.”

The Bank of England is reviewing its economic forecasting practices after criticism over its failure to predict UK inflation. The review aims to evaluate the effectiveness of its forecasting methods and enhance transparency and accuracy.


BoE Failure to Predict Inflation

Following criticisms from politicians regarding its recurrent failure to predict the rise and persistence of UK inflation, the Bank of England conducting a review to assess its economic forecasting practices and their effectiveness. 

David Roberts, Chairman of the BoE’s governing body, informed the House of Commons Treasury committee that in response to the prolonged criticism and heightened uncertainty, the central bank has recently taken the decision to initiate an extensive external review of its “forecasting and related processes during times of significant uncertainty.”  

This followed traders’ anticipations that further interest rate increases and mortgage lenders swiftly adjust loan pricing following Governor Andrew Bailey’s acknowledgment that it will take “a lot longer than we expected” for inflation to subside from its current level of 8.7 percent.  

Market expectations indicate that interest rates, currently at 4.5 percent, are anticipated to reach a peak of around 5.75 percent later this year, reflecting concerns about the UK’s more challenging inflation situation compared to other countries.   

A cross-party group of MPs has demanded changes to the BoE forecasting methods, prompted by concerns raised by members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), who revealed that the central bank’s internal modelling was yielding inaccurate outcomes and that the MPC had diminished its influence in rate-setting decisions.   

Committee Chair, Harriett Baldwin, highlighted the importance of assessing “the current effectiveness of the Bank’s forecasting platform”, as well as its transparency and openness to external scrutiny and critique in a letter to the BoE board.   

The BoE is expected to engage international experts and expand the scope of its review beyond the recommendations of the Treasury committee, encompassing not only technical enhancements to its modelling but also the utilisation of forecasts by the MPC in policy-making and communication.   

During a hearing last month, Huw Pill, Chief Economist of the BoE, acknowledged the likelihood of models built on historical data failing to accurately predict outcomes in the face of significant new shocks.    

He also stated that the MPC “trying to understand why we have made those errors and then make an assessment as to whether that behaviour will continue into the future”. 

In addition to the specific issues regarding forecasting, there are broader considerations to explore, such as whether the MPC should continue to focus its communication on a central forecast or adopt a scenario-based approach that allows for clearer explanations of individual voting decisions in cases of committee division. 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasized the UK’s position as the ideal place for tech startups, citing a strong foundation in tech unicorns, digital engagement, life sciences, academic excellence, thriving investment, favorable tax policies, capital allowances, increased R&D funding, competitive visas, and a booming fintech sector.


Government Declares UK as Best Place for Tech Businesses

On 13th June, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, emphasised why the UK is on track to be the best place for start up tech businesses.

“The UK is an island of innovation and it is a goal of mine to make this country the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in tech businesses. The reason why I believe we can do this is because we start from a position of strength,” he commented.

Reported by GOV.UK, Sunak’s reasonings are as followed:

  1. Tech Unicorns: Over the past decade, the UK has given rise to 134 tech unicorns, surpassing the combined numbers of France and Germany. This year, the UK ranks third worldwide in venture capital investment, proving the favourable conditions for tech businesses to succeed.
  2. Digital Prowess: With a 97% internet usage rate and high daily internet engagement, the UK boasts one of the most digitally literate societies globally. This tech-savvy population readily adopts new technologies, with “86% of digitally active adults now use at least one fintech service,” Sunik commented.
  3. Life Sciences Excellence: The UK hosts the top 25 biopharmaceutical organizations globally, nurturing the largest life sciences sector in Europe. With world-class research institutions, state-of-the-art research facilities, and leadership in genomic sequencing, the UK serves as a prominent player in pharma tech.
  4. Academic Brilliance: Home to four of the top 10 global universities, the UK attracts the brightest minds, offering invaluable talent to drive innovation in tech businesses.
  5. Thriving Investment: UK start-ups received over $31 billion in venture capital funding in 2022, marking a significant increase compared to a decade ago. In 2023, UK tech firms have already raised substantially more funding than their counterparts in France, Germany, and Singapore.
  6. Favourable Tax Environment: The UK has the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7, at 25%, and 4th lowest in the G20.
  7. Generous Capital Allowances: The UK have implemented a three-year tax cut worth £27 billion by introducing full-expensing for eligible business investments in plant and machinery. This measure opens up additional avenues for businesses to reinvest their profits, creating greater opportunities for growth and development.
  8. Enhanced Research and Development: The UK plans to increase R&D investment by £5 billion, reaching £20 billion per year by 2024/25. Additionally, the establishment of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency demonstrates a commitment to high-risk, high-reward research.
  9. Globally Competitive Visas: Through new and improved visa programs, the UK attracts top talent from around the world. This includes visas for high-potential graduates and visas tailored to fast-growing businesses.
  10. Fintech Powerhouse: Home to half of Europe’s fintech unicorns, the UK ranks as the second-largest country for fintech globally. The sector continues to attract substantial investment, surpassing the combined investments of thirteen European countries.
FCA research reveals that 69% of brokers are confident in their readiness to meet the new Consumer Duty requirements by the July 31st deadline, showing higher preparedness compared to the broader financial services sector.


Brokers' Strength in Consumer Duty Preparedness

Extensive research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has unveiled that brokers exhibit a higher level of understanding of the Consumer Duty and are ready to comply, with the regulator stating 69% of brokers believe they will be ready to comply with all requirements by the deadline.

The Consumer Duty, which imposes new requirements on both new and existing products and services available for sale or renewal, signifies a significant change in the FCA’s expectations and is set to take effect on July 31st. 

During the period from March to May, the regulator conducted a comprehensive survey involving 1,230 predominantly SMEs, which included 152 insurance intermediaries operating in the personal and commercial lines. The objective was to assess their level of readiness for the approaching deadline. 

The survey revealed that 92% of all businesses and 96% of brokers were aware of the Consumer Duty., with 95% of brokers considering the new rules relevant to their operations, compared to 86% amongst all firms. 

Furthermore, the FCA’s research revealed that an additional 27% of personal and commercial lines insurance intermediaries expressed confidence in their ability to meet most of the requirements by the deadline, although they acknowledged that there were still tasks to be completed. 

In comparison to the overall financial services market, brokers demonstrated better results, with 67% of firms expecting full compliance by the end of July and 23% describing themselves as ready for most requirements. 

Commenting on the progress, the FCA shared; “We’ve been pleased to see many firms working hard to meet these new, higher standards. Our recent firm survey found that the majority of firms in the sectors covered believe they are on course to fully implement the duty on time. However some have more to do to meet the deadline.”

Investigating the journey to Consumer Duty compliance, the FCA found 94% of brokers had developed an implementation plan versus 84% for the full financial services market. The gap in having designated a staff member, team, or committee to implement the plan’s actions was also evident.  

Brokers demonstrated a higher level of proactiveness, with 93% of them assessing the needs of vulnerable customers, surpassing the overall figure for all firms (84%).

Additionally, a significant majority of brokers (91%) indicated that they had identified target markets for each of their products and services, compared to a lower proportion (82%) across all firms. However, it was identified brokers need to focus more on assessing and working with other firms in their supply chains. 

The FCA also revealed that 21% of brokers expressed a strong belief that the benefits of Consumer Duty compliance will outweigh the associated costs. 28% held a more balanced perspective, indicating a tendency to agree that the positive outcomes will likely outweigh the drawbacks and 20% strongly disagreed.

Although the positivity among brokers fell below 50%, it was still higher compared to the financial services market as a whole. 

A lack of support from the FCA in meeting the regulatory requirements was also noted, with 28% of brokers sharing these views.

The regulator emphasised; “We expect boards, or equivalent management bodies, to have clear oversight of Consumer Duty implementation plans. By this stage, they should have identified any potential gaps or weaknesses in the firm’s compliance and developed a plan to remedy this.”

The House of Lords has approved an amendment to the UK Financial Services and Markets Bill, integrating nature into the net-zero emissions regulation. The amendment requires the Prudential Regulation Authority and FCA to address climate change and biodiversity loss in their oversight.


Nature to be Added to Financial Services and Markets Bill

The House of Lords has embraced an amendment that introduces nature as a crucial component in the regulatory principle concerning net-zero emissions in the the Financial Services and Markets Bill (FSMB) in the UK. 

Baroness Hayman introduced this amendment, which mandates the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to consider their role in addressing both climate change and biodiversity loss.  

With the potential to reshape financial regulation in the UK, the FSMB holds significant importance in promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility. 

Baroness Hayman stated during a debate on the Bill of Lords, “I recognise that various initiatives are under way, such as the work of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), which will undoubtedly make a contribution over time, but relying on voluntary action and market forces will not produce a transformation at the pace and scale required.” 

“What is needed is a systemic approach and it is essential that we use the opportunity of the Bill, which deals with the regulatory architecture of the financial services sector, to provide an enabling regulatory environment, which can help turn government commitments into clear legal signals,” she noted. 

Karen Ellis, Chief Economist of WWF, welcomed the inclusion of nature as a regulatory principle alongside net zero.  

She emphasised the importance of the government accepting this amendment and called for a proactive approach towards safeguarding nature in financial regulations. 

She stated; “Financial regulators must embed climate and nature at the heart of their decision making so the UK finance sector can become the world’s first net-zero aligned finance centre – a promise that Rishi Sunak made at the Glasgow climate talks in 2021.”  

This amendment would operate alongside a clause also proposed by Baroness Hayman, which would grant the FCA the authority to provide guidance to fund managers and personal pension schemes on evaluating the societal and environmental impacts of their investments. 

The Bill is set undergo further debates in the House of Lords before reaching its final stages. In March, the Lords expressed their support for an amendment aimed at ensuring that financial institutions conduct proper due diligence when investing in or providing loans to businesses involved in the production of “forest risk” commodities like beef, palm oil, and soy. 

Baroness Boycott stated; “The Government lists halting deforestation as a ‘top priority’ in its net-zero strategy, but the scale of finance continuing to flow from British banks and investors to the companies actively destroying the world’s tropical forests shows that, in practice, the government does not prioritise this issue.” 

She highlighted that the amendment seeks to require financial entities to conduct basic assessments to ensure that the businesses they provide funding to are not involved in illegal deforestation or other unlawful activities.  

She emphasised that aligning with the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) does not necessitate a shift in financing practices. 

She commented “Put simply, the TNFD will not stop UK finance from flowing to those offenders [of illegal deforestation]”.


Spotlight on MGAA Annual Conference, with CEO, Michael Keating

The MGAA Annual Conference, the flagship event for MGAs, is just around the corner, with REG serving as the official 2023 App sponsor. In an exclusive interview with Michael Keating, CEO of MGAA, he highlighted the event’s significance in bringing together the community and addressing industry challenges.

Scheduled for 6th July at Old Billingsgate, the conference boasts over 100 exhibitors, expert panels, and keynote speaker events. The theme for this year is “community in action,” aiming to unite MGAs, suppliers, insurers, brokers, and regulatory bodies.

Michael emphasised three main goals for the conference: fostering networking and community building, offering timely and relevant content, and showcasing exhibitors’ products and services.

The move to Old Billingsgate reflects the MGAA’s impressive growth and commitment to providing value to its expanding membership. Michael reiterated the importance of tailoring conference content to the community’s needs – “You should never lose sight, in my view, of ensuring that the content of the day reflects what members of the community want.”

Key discussions at the conference include avoiding a soft market, tackling claims inflation and fraud, and addressing the increasing regulatory burden. 

The MGAA Awards, celebrating industry excellence, will also be presented at the conference.

Michael exclaimed how he was looking forward to meeting members, exchanging views, and enjoying the lively atmosphere.

Looking to the future, the MGAA aims to continue listening to its members and tailoring events to support their businesses. The conference promises to be an extremely insightful day, driving positive change within the insurance community.

REG is proud to sponsor the MGAA Annual Conference App and look forward to seeing you at stand 30!

Read the full interview here.

The Financial Ombudsman Service registered 39,730 new insurance cases in 2022/23, marking an increase from the previous year. Car insurance complaints led the list, while buildings and travel insurance also saw significant rises.


The Rise of FOS Insurance Complaint Cases

In the fiscal year 2022/23, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) registered a total of 39,730 new insurance cases, indicating an increase compared to the previous year’s decline of 33,127 cases.  

However, despite this upward trend, the latest figures remained lower than the 44,487 new cases recorded in 2020-21.  

Among the various types of insurance complaints, car or motorcycle cases accounted for the highest number, with 11,851 complaints, surpassing the 9,310 cases reported in 2021-22. 

Motor insurance maintained its position in the FOS top five list of most complained-about products, coming in third place for a second year.  

The FOS upheld 30% of motor insurance cases in favour of consumers, which was slightly below the average of 31% across the insurance sector as a whole. 

The FOS’ third-quarter update drew attention to the high volume of complaints regarding motor insurance.  

Many individuals lodged complaints stating that the compensation provided by their insurers for theft or write-off incidents did not reflect the true value of their vehicles. 

They stated; “In some cases, we saw examples of insurers not considering all the available information, which tended to lead to offers that were less favourable. We also saw complaints from consumers who felt it was unfair that their claim for a vehicle theft by deception was rejected by their insurer.”

The number of buildings insurance cases saw a significant increase, rising from 5,101 to 6,497, as it reappeared on the list after not featuring in the previous year. 

The FOS observed that the more than 25% rise in buildings insurance cases was primarily driven by an upsurge in disputes related to declined claims, delays in claims processing, and claim valuations. They further stated that the uphold rate for these cases was 33%. 

The FOS highlighted a surge in travel insurance complaints, with the number rising from 2,116 in the previous year to 3,745 in the current year. 

“Some of these complaints related to Covid-19, where consumers complained about the impact of positive or delayed Covid-19 test results, or the lack of Covid-19 testing,” they added. 

“We also saw complaints from consumers who said that their travel insurer had declined a claim because the consumer hadn’t disclosed a pre-existing medical condition.  

“A small number of complaints were about delays caused by the insurer in providing medical assistance or arranging repatriation for consumers abroad.” 

The overall uphold rate across all cases handled by the FOS was higher at 35%, surpassing the rates for motor and buildings insurance. In total, the ombudsman received 165,149 complaints, a slight increase from the previous year’s 164,560 complaints. 

Current accounts ranked first, followed by credit cards in second place, with hire purchase (motor) securing the fourth spot in the list of the most complained about products. 

A growing list of companies, including BBC and British Airways, has been affected by a mass hacking incident targeting the MOVEit Transfer software. Personal data from several firms, including payroll provider Zellis, has been compromised, prompting security updates and warnings.


Surge in Mass Hacking Victims

The list of organisations being affected by mass hackings is growing, including companies such as BBC, British Airways, Boots, and Aer Lingus. 

Employees have been alerted that personal information, including national insurance numbers and, in some instances, bank details, may have been accessed 

The cybercriminals targeted a prominent software system to gain unauthorised access to multiple companies simultaneously.  

Although there have been no reports of ransom demands or monetary theft, payroll services provider Zellis, one of the affected companies in the UK, confirmed that data from eight of its client firms had been stolen.  

While the names of these firms were not disclosed, the affected organisations are independently notifying their staff members about the incident. 

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is actively monitoring the situation and has advised organisations using the compromised software to implement necessary security updates.  

The hack was initially disclosed by Progress Software, a US-based company, last week. Hackers managed to exploit vulnerabilities in Progress Software’s MOVEit Transfer tool, which is widely used for secure file transfers, with a significant customer base in the US and global popularity.  

Progress Software notified its customers upon discovering the breach and swiftly released a security update that can be downloaded to address the issue. 

Progress software noted that they were working alongside the police to “combat increasingly sophisticated and persistent cybercriminals intent on maliciously exploiting vulnerabilities in widely used software products.” 

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a direct warning to firms using MOVEit, urging them to download a security patch to prevent additional breaches. 

Cybersecurity experts predict that the hackers involved in the breach are more likely to extort money from organisations rather than individuals.

While no ransom demands have been made public yet, it is anticipated that affected organisations will receive emails demanding payment.  

These cybercriminals are expected to threaten the release of stolen data online, attracting other hackers to exploit it. As a precaution, organisations are reminding their staff to stay alert for suspicious emails that could lead to additional cyber attacks.  

Although no official attribution has been established, Microsoft suspects a connection between the criminals and the Russian based Cl0p ransomware group. 

The National Crime Agency has confirmed that several UK-based organisations have been affected by a cyber incident related to a newly discovered security vulnerability in MOVEit Transfer. 

They stated that they were “working with partners to support those organisations and understand the full impact on the UK”. 

New research from BritishAmerican Business reveals declining US confidence in the UK as an investment destination, dropping from 7.3 to 6.5 out of 10. Key concerns include Brexit, rising corporate taxes, and political instability, despite positive UK-US trade relations and recent efforts by Rishi Sunak’s government.


US’ Confidence Falls for UK Investment

New research conducted by BritishAmerican Business, a transatlantic trade association, reveals that US businesses are increasingly losing confidence in the UK as an investment destination.   

The reasons for this decline in confidence include the impact of Brexit, rising corporate taxes, and a year of political turmoil in Westminster. Despite the stabilising influence of Rishi Sunak’s leadership in Downing Street following the turbulent administrations of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, the survey of 56 US companies operating in the UK showed a continuous decrease in confidence for the third consecutive year.  

The average confidence rating, measured on a scale of 1 to 10, dropped from 7.3 in 2022 to 6.5. This decline of nearly a full point indicates a further acceleration in negative sentiment among US businesses towards the UK, following a half-point drop between 2021 and 2022. 

According to the same research, UK business confidence in the US remains high. Out of 23 British companies surveyed, the average confidence rating for the US as an investment destination was 8.4 out of 10.  

The US continues to be the UK’s most significant trading partner, as reported by the Department for Business and Trade, with a trade relationship valued at £279 billion per year. 

US-UK trade is still robust and sentiment remains positive, according to Duncan Edwards, CEO of BritishAmerican Business. However, he noted a clear downward trajectory in US business views of the UK, indicating a growing sense of concern and decreased confidence.  

The survey conducted by Bain & Company, which included responses from 56 US companies across various sectors, highlighted the need for action from both the US and UK governments, as well as businesses, to strengthen transatlantic ties.  

Despite positive developments such as Rishi Sunak’s leadership and the Windsor framework agreement, US business sentiment towards the UK continued to deteriorate.  

The report emphasised that US companies expressed consistent concerns about the impact of Brexit, making it crucial for the UK government to prioritise improving EU-UK relations in order to attract investment. 

Edwards stated “People don’t fully understand the EU-UK trade deal, and even if they do, they are concerned about friction that didn’t exist and the rhetoric around regulatory divergence.” 

The Sunak government has faced criticism from business groups for its plans to remove EU-era laws from the UK statute book by the end of 2023. 

In response to the backlash, the government removed the end-of-year deadline. However, despite Rishi Sunak’s efforts to rebuild confidence, the research revealed that US companies gave the UK a relatively low confidence rating of 5.8 out of 10 regarding the government’s ability to boost economic growth and productivity.   

The report stated “In 2022 … views on UK political stability were evenly split between positive and negative. In the new edition these views skewed more than two-to-one to negative, emphasising the salience of political risk as a significant concern for US investors in the UK.” 

The decision by the government to raise the corporate tax rate from 19 to 25 percent has raised concerns among US respondents, with over half of them stating that the increase would impact their confidence in doing business in the UK.  

These findings came to light following Rishi Sunak’s visit to Washington DC, during which an “Atlantic Declaration” was agreed upon to enhance economic ties with President Joe Biden. However, critics argue that while the declaration showed admirable intentions, it lacked concrete agreements.  

 In response to the survey, the Department for Business and Trade dismissed its findings, asserting that the US has been the UK’s largest single investor for the past two decades, and £14 billion of new US investment into the UK was announced during Sunak’s recent trip to Washington. 

A spoke person stated; “A PwC survey from last year ranked the UK as the most important market for US business leaders — overtaking China, and a recent EY report ranked the UK as the top investment destination for financial services in Europe.” 

MPs and experts are pushing for number plates and insurance for e-bikes to improve pedestrian safety. With e-bikes able to reach speeds of 15.5mph, and some illegally modified to go faster, there's a call for stricter regulations following recent fatal accidents involving e-bikes.


E-Bikes Face Regulatory Scrutiny

MPs and industry experts are advocating for the introduction of number plates and insurance for electric bikes (e-bikes) to enhance pedestrian safety.  

The proposal aims are to subject e-bikes to the same regulations as other vehicles, considering the potential damage they can cause in pedestrian collisions.  

E-bikes, weighing up to twice as much as regular bicycles, are legally limited to a maximum speed of 15.5mph, although some have been unlawfully modified to reach higher speeds.   

Currently, individuals aged 14 and above can ride e-bikes that meet specific criteria, as outlined on the UK Government website. 

The Government website states; “These electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured,”  

Concerns have been raised about the safety of e-bikes and has prompted calls for stricter regulations to ensure pedestrian safety. 

On June 9, a 15-year-old boy riding an electric bike died in a collision with an ambulance after being pursued by the police in Salford.   

Earlier this year, two teenage boys, Kyrees Sullivan and Harvey Evans, tragically lost their lives in an e-bike crash in Ely.  

In a separate incident in 2018, a 56-year-old woman became the first pedestrian in the UK to die after being struck by an electric bike in East London.  

The Metropolitan Police responded to the collision between the pedestrian and an electric-assisted pedal cycle.  

Ian Stewart, Chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee, has emphasised the importance of taking further measures to ensure public safety. 

He stated; “I don’t think the regulations are a good fit for new technologies.

“It’s not just e-bikes, there are issues with e-scooters and driver-assist/self-driving technology increasingly embedded in cars.” 

Another committee member, Gregg Smith, noted; “With more types of vehicles competing for road space, it is only fair that all users are treated equally.  

“E-bikes and e-scooters can achieve considerable speeds and cause damage to other vehicles and injure people, so should have to carry the same insurance requirements and tax liabilities as users of motor cars.” 

The Chief Executive of the Motor Cycle Industry Association, Tony Campbel, has advocated for the implementation of new laws that include provisions for anti-tampering measures, effectively banning the modification of e-bikes to achieve higher speeds. 

“We are in favour of reviewing regulation as it is clear it is outdated,” he commented. 

A survey by the London and International Insurance Brokers' Association (Liiba) reveals that young brokers see face-to-face interactions with underwriters as crucial for maintaining London's competitive edge. The survey highlights a strong preference for in-person trading, reflecting dissatisfaction with current remote and appointment-based systems.


Brokers' Push for Face-To-Face Interaction

According to a survey conducted by the London and International Insurance Brokers’ Association (Liiba), young brokers view face-to-face trading with underwriters as a significant competitive advantage for the London market.  

The survey revealed that in workshops conducted by Liiba, 97% of young brokers expressed their desire for at least 50% of their working life to involve face-to-face trading with underwriters. 

The brokers further emphasised that face-to-face, relationship-based trading not only provided a competitive edge for London but also distinguished the market from other international insurance centres.  

The workshops and surveys conducted align with Liiba’s 2023 agenda, which focuses on placing younger brokers at the forefront of modernizing the London insurance market. 

During April, over 50 young brokers from the London market participated in four workshops led by Jason Collins, Tysers’ head of global broking and a board member of Liiba.  

The selection of participating brokers was done by firms with representation on Liiba’s board.  

As a result of these workshops, Liiba released a report titled “Our Face-to-face Future,” which highlights the perspectives of younger brokers regarding the future of the London market. 

The report highlighted that while many brokers found “admin Friday” beneficial for handling organisational tasks, one broker expressed the view that she would consider leaving the industry if personal meetings were no longer expected, a sentiment that resonated with other participants in that session.  

The participants acknowledged that not all business in the London market could or should be conducted face-to-face. Complex global programs, which constitute approximately 20% of London’s business, are typically addressed through scheduled meetings.  

On the other hand, commoditised and simpler business, accounting for around 30% of London’s trade, is suitable for remote agreements. This implies that approximately half of the London market’s business is appropriate for face-to-face interactions. 

The participants of the workshops expressed dissatisfaction with broker lounges, which are waiting areas in insurers’ offices.  

Brokers raised concerns that the standard 15-minute appointments provided by underwriters were insufficient for productive discussions, considering the time it takes to clear building security, call a lift, and exchange pleasantries

Additionally, the gradual decrease in the number of buildings in EC3 that allowed unrestricted access to Lloyd’s pass-holders had further aggravated the issue.

Young brokers expressed dissatisfaction with the limited availability of underwriters for trading in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room. It was noted that post-pandemic, underwriters were only present at their box on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.  

Although some insurers shared attendance rotas with brokers on Sundays, the brokers found that these schedules were often not followed as expected. 

Participants in the workshops expressed hesitancy in bringing clients to visit the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room due to the perceived lack of underwriters present, with one participant stating, “It is embarrassing if there are more underwriters in Leadenhall market than there are at the box.” 

Brokers mentioned that clients and producers have started to observe the altered working patterns in London.   

They shared instances where international contacts had commented on the reduced presence of staff in the market on Fridays. 

Jason Collins stated “The message from young brokers is a stark one. They want to trade face-to-face; they want to build the relationships that would underpin that; and they want to do this in a room restored to its position as a true trading floor where decisions are made.”   

“The London market is a community and communities need a focal point – like a school or a church. In the London insurance market that focal point always has been and should be the underwriting room. A vibrant room attracts talent. It is an exciting, invigorating place to do business – and it fosters innovation.”   

Liiba’s CEO, Chris Croft, noted: “Our workshops were a refreshing confirmation that our market is in safe hands. “ 

These young brokers are a group of natural-born traders thinking in depth about the way in which we can organise ourselves to continue to be the global centre of excellence for specialty insurance. Discussions that have set out a pathway to the marketplace of the future. It is time to get moving.” 

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