Insurance Times’ Ellen Bennett this week turned savagely on BIBA for its ball-dropping failure on multiple fronts and for not sticking up for its members. “Where’s Biba at the prime minister’s table?” Bennett demanded scathingly in her lead editorial.

Where indeed! Flicking forward to an exclusive double-page spread on pages 14 and 15 of this week’s BIBA Failure themed issue, we can see for ourselves exactly who was there for what IT wittily describes as “the tabled discussion.” A special cut-out-and-keep table plan shows who they were, where they sat, and what they looked like (middle aged blokes in ties with weird orangey-coloured auras, mostly) and – most damningly of all – that not one of them was there to represent the views or interests of brokers.

Page 5, meanwhile is devoted to further excoriating lambastry, reporting that BIBA chief exec Eric Gallbreath is “under pressure to explain why there was no broker representation at last week’s crunch talks between David Cameron and the insurance industry over spiralling motor insurance and workplace compensation.” Confusing as all this talk of crunching and sprialling may be, the main point is clear enough: BIBA wasn’t there.

So why was BIBA not at this fateful table to fight the cause of its broker members, who “still control a lot of motor and workplace insurance” Insurance Times demanded to know. BIBA seemed pitifully short of excuses, telling the paper wistfully that it “wanted to attend” but “was told the meeting was full.” BIBA “missed a trick” by not “being more vocal” Insurance Times concludes. At this rate they could end up like poor old Hector Santa (see previous issue)!

But maybe they didn’t miss that much? Perhaps, you might think, nothing much new really got decided at the 60-minute “summit.” Are you serious?! This was, Insurance Times insists, a “landmark meeting” at which the insurance industry may have “turned a corner” in its battle to stop the nausea-inducing curse of “spiralling” claims costs. Crucially, the session put the seal on a solemn undertaking from insurers that if the Government can help them out by stopping people claiming so much money off them, they’ll have a go at maybe reducing premiums a bit.

How sad that BIBA couldn’t be there too to make some ill-defined promises about cutting the premiums its members charge – or, you know, commissions or whatever.


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