The general insurance sector has made major strides to improve its role in protecting the public interest, according to a new report by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
While claiming that individual firms and the sector as a whole have "taken major strides" to improve standards, the report has urged the profession against "resting on its laurels and instead driving its own destiny".
Published today, Upon the door of every cottage: Protecting the public through general insurance, aims to set out a range of stakeholder viewpoints that challenge market norms in order to stimulate general insurance initiatives and fresh thinking to meet the public interest challenges of the future.
Contributors include Amanda Blanc , chief executiveof Axa Insurance Commercial Lines & Personal Intermediary; Huw Evans, Association of British Insurers director of operations; Jonathan Evans MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Insurance and Financial Services; Sophie Spink, Zurich UK head of government and industry affairs; and Jonathan Swift, Post editor-in-chief
The report claims that despite efforts to raise standards in professionalism, the sector needs to address issues of concern such as referral fees and the "collateral damage from the banking crisis generally". It added: "With this in mind, building trust and confidence in the public is the profession's greatest challenge and initiatives such as the Aldermanbury Declaration and chartered status means the general insurance market is well placed to tackle this challenge."
Laurence Baxter, head of policy & research at the CII, commented: "The general insurance profession, and the sector as a whole, is on a journey towards better public trust and confidence. The essays within the CII's report illustrate how public attitudes towards insurance are changing, and their expectations are rising. Regulatory changes point to the need for a new mindset in conduct and culture by both individuals and firms, and industry initiatives need to make this happen. In an insurance market in a changing world, it will be down to the people in the sector acting professionally to confront the issues and challenges.
"The sector faces a choice. It can take a reactive approach to the issues it faces, or it can respond with vigour and enthusiasm towards finding solution. The insurance profession has demonstrated - through initiatives like the Aldermanbury Declaration and Chartered status - that it can lead and make the changes required both for improving the sector and the public interest."
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