The current legal framework for UK commercial insurance, which has been around for 109 years, will disappear on August 12 when the Insurance Act (2015) comes into force. The measure introduces a whole new regime, bringing insurance law into line with modern business practice and realities. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for insurance buyers to seize the initiative and obtain a level of clarity and certainty about their policies that too often has not existed up to now.
Although everyone involved in the process, including brokers and underwriters, will have to review how they do business, the buck stops with the buyers. They are the ones who will ultimately have to answer to their boards for the efficacy of their insurance programmes.
Clarity the key
Happily for our community, the existing insurance-buying skills will remain as relevant as ever, but the way they are applied will change. It will mostly be about finessing and fine-tuning existing processes. In many organisations it should raise the profile and status of our roles.
Above all, making the Insurance Act work for you will demand clarity:
Clarity about the relationships between buyer, underwriter and broker;
Clarity about the processes undertaken;
Clarity about (and hopefully enhancement of) the role of the buyer within the organisation;
Clarity about what information the underwriter requires;
Clarity in the way that the information is presented.
To achieve all this, the risk manager must manage the process. Crucially, they must engage productively with senior management and ensure they recognise the strategic importance of what we do - an issue also addressed in the recent IoD-Airmic directors’ guide to insurance.
Using the Airmic Insurance Act guide
Airmic members should by now have received our guide to the Insurance Act, and I commend it wholeheartedly. It contains a wealth of detailed information on how to succeed within the new legal environment.
The Act requires everyone in the process to rebalance their priorities and to look again at how they do things. It is an opportunity for our members to showcase their undoubted professionalism, and in doing so to play a full part in making the new regime a success. I am confident the buyer community will respond positively.
Second Deputy chair, Airmic
Chair, Insurance Steering Group