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Critical points after general regulation

The protection market underwent a major shake-up, with general insurance coming under FSA regulation.

GI regulation was introduced on January 14, dividing the market between advised and non-advised sales. This kicked off a price war, with non-advised sales firms often able to undercut their advised counterparts but advisers hitting back by warning that consumers have little protection when buying direct.

This prompted Money Marketing to launch its No Advice, No Protection campaign, highlighting that consumers buying direct have no recourse to the Financial Ombudsman Service, resulting in LibDem MP Susan Kramer backing our drive in a Treasury select committee meeting last month.

Several advisers were lobbying product providers to release claim details in a bid for transparency, with Standard Life first off the mark but several other big life offices proved less keen.

Tesco dumped Norwich Union as its life and general insurance provider and opted instead for Direct Line, which the supermarket claimed had better systems.
Critical-illness cover has also been a continued topic of discussion, with the Association of British Insurers critical-illness insurance working party established with the initial task of formalising product definitions and aiming to minimise confusion caused by developments, such as the introduction of tiered cancer cover and cover for HIV-related illnesses.

Pension term assurance remains at the centre of a debate over whether it should be covered by Cob or Icob rules, with a decision expected in the New Year.

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