Meerkats and opera singers come under the FSA's spotlight

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Emmanuel KenningThe FSA's announcement of guidance for aggregators when it comes to treating customers fairly in the selling of general insurance has provoked a flurry of responses from you the loyal reader. Perhaps you're tired of the large opera singer and Aleksandr Meerkat and the opportunity was too good to resist?


For those that missed it, the FSA has written to all "interested parties" to inform them that guidance was on the way because they found there to be "a lack of understanding within the industry generally about the regulated activity being conducted by these firms leading to failures to comply with our rules which could lead to consumers not being treated fairly". Those "interested parties" have until 8 August to respond.


Now, to be honest, I was expecting the aggregators to either come out fighting or dismiss it. But to be fair those that have responded - and I tip my hat to Gocompare for being first off the block - welcomed the announcement. To paraphrase the responses: we welcome it, we are sure we're good, we are always looking to do even better.


The British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) chipped in too, saying it also welcomed the news and that it had been highlighting the danger of "consumer detriment" since 2008.


Respondents to our broker-focused website (and forgive me here, I think it is fair to assume they are most likely to be brokers) on the other hand have taken a somewhat different tack. One asked if it wasn't a bit hypocritical of Biba to welcome the announcement while having an aggregator as a full member which it had not disciplined?


Selected other highlights include: "It simply is a minefield and I'm not surprised so many of these sites are being warned" and "After 33+ years in the insurance sector I shudder at the thought of purchasing ANY insurance through the internet. Computerised insurance shopping requires YES or NO answers to questions that may sometimes be 'yes - but... or No but...'."


Now, perhaps this is the most egocentric blog I've written yet, but I love this back and forth. The industry is actually getting to grips with an issue and debating it publically and forcefully. Which leads me on to the questions at hand:


What do you think?

Can the internet ever treat customers fairly?

And what's going to happen next?


Let's keep up the roll we're on. If you don't get your voice heard, then how will things ever change?


But I don't do personal lines, why should I care? I hear some of you cry. Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again: What happens in personal lines with technology will move into commercial lines.


Perhaps best to get your views out there now then?

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