The FSA has banned ICM Group from carrying on regulated activities after it found the firm had left around 300 customers potentially without insurance by failing to pass on client premiums to insurers.
ICM had used client money to run the daily activites of its business and the FSA has banned the company’s two directors Ian Paul Ruff and Jon Uglow Batchelor from conducting any further business in the general insurance industry.
ICM carried out credit and employment references on potential tenants on behalf of landlords and letting agencies and offered insurance on buildings and contents as part of this service. It also sold policies that protected landlords against non-payment of rent and the cost of evicting tenants.
ICM failed to arrange insurance policies and to pass over premiums to insurers which potentially left about 300 customers not covered.
The premiums owed to insurer by ICM during the initial stages of the FSA investigation were in excess of £35,000 and the firm could not immediately meet these liabilities.
The FSA found that ICM had no professional indemnity insurance cover in place for over a year and that client money had been misued leaving consumers at risk.
FSA Enforcement Division head of department Jonathan Phelan says: “ICM had serious failings which put consumers at risk. The FSA will not tolerate the failure by brokers to ensure that consumers are covered appropriately by an underwriter. We will continue to take action where consumers are left exposed by firms in this way.”
The repayment plan between ICM and the intermediaries means the clients are no longer at risk.