Indy 10 years on and nothing has changed

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Martin_ed_pic_NEW_0710 small.JPGAs you probably know, today marks the 10th anniversary of the demise of Independent Insurance. More than enough column inches have been dedicated to what happened, how it happened and who was to blame so I'll not waste your time with that here.

But I do think it's worth pointing out, as several brokers have this week, that as an industry we don't appear to have learned any lessons. If you consider that the fundamental reason Indy folded was that it had inadequate reserves, you'd think that this kind of basic error or misjudgement simply couldn't happen again.

Unfortunately, just last year two insurers came very close to just such a situation. Had it not been for larger parent companies injecting huge sums of money into their reserves, both RBSI and Equity would have been in a lot of trouble. They simply didn't have the money to pay out on the claims they were receiving. That, essentially, is what broke Indy.

Secondly, Independent was famous/infamous for the hospitality its salespeople lavished on brokers. It's one of the abiding memories for brokers and it is perhaps because of this that many still have a soft spot for the insurer.

This hospitality may have clouded people's judgement and perhaps helped them push to the side any concerns they may have had about the insurer. We're all human - we can't help feeling favourable towards certain people.

Now with the hindsight that Indy's demise provides and the arrival of the Bribery Act, it would be safe to assume that this kind of blatant courting for business was a thing of the past. Not so. One of the largest insurers is, as we speak, lavishing hospitality upon brokers in the sunny climes of Sicily. There's no suggestion that there is anything untoward in this, but, all things considered, it's not a brilliant idea is it?

Anyway, 10 years on and everything is, well, just the same really. Depressing isn't it?

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