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Tiner says life companies are using regulation as an excuse

FSA managing director John Tiner says the suggestion that regulation is standing in the way of the insurance industry is just an excuse.

At the annual Chartered Insurance Institute Conference in London last week, Tiner said the FSA has set in place high-level principles that are difficult to argue with.

The claim by the industry that the “box-ticking” required stands in their way is “an excuse by and large”, Tiner said in response to a question.

His comments came during a panel discussion on whether the insurance industry deserves to regain consumer confidence. The delegates voted that the cost of regulation does not outweigh the benefits.

Tiner said there have been no drivers to force insurers to modernise their businesses nor for salesforces to “be good to consumers” as buoyant markets have meant these issues could be avoided but this is now hitting home with industry leaders.

Norwich Union chief actuary Mike Urmston said consumer trust can only be built through strong brands, consistent communications and transparency.

Royal & Sun Alliance UK chief executive Duncan Boyle believed there is a problem with skills and capability of leadership, saying insurance is an industry that “recycles failure”.

Consumers&#39 Association senior policy adviser Mick McAteer said: “In the late 70s, 80s and 90s, when insurance companies made huge profits, they did not invest properly for the future. Now they are reaping what they have sown.”

Tiner said: “I think society has got to give the insurance industry a chance to recover as it fulfils such an important role. The question is – is the insurance industry up to it?”

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