Hiscox takes aim at insurance regulators

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The Independent Online

The insurance veteran Robert Hiscox has slammed the industry's representation and supervision, with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Bank of England bearing the brunt of his attacks.

At the Insurance Day Summit in London, Mr Hiscox accused the ABI of being weak, focusing on the wrong issues and not caring enough about general insurance. "It is a shame the ABI is so utterly feeble – it's obsessed with corporate governance, then life insurance," said Mr Hiscox, who is to step down after 43 years at the helm of the Lloyds of London insurer his father set up.

Mr Hiscox, right, criticised the Bank of England, which is to take over responsibility for the insurance industry from the Financial Services Authority. The industry will be regulated through the new Prudential Regulation Authority, within the Bank of England.

Mr Hiscox said the Bank lacks insurance industry expertise at the top levels. "We must insist someone with insurance expertise is made a deputy governor of the Bank of England so we have our own insurance department in it," he said. "If the thriving and very important insurance industry is to be regulated by the Bank of England, can we please have someone in a senior position who knows about our industry.

"Can we please work in partnership, talk to each other, and more importantly listen to each other and stop this master/servant attitude, especially as I believe the servant in almost all cases is far more qualified than the master," he added.

A spokesman for the ABI said: "We would not consider ourselves to be feeble. Nor are we dominated by any one sector of the insurance industry."