BIBA

Graeme Trudgill, BIBA CEO

11 mins 02 secs

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Speaker 0:
I'm joined now by Graham Trudge, who recently appointed CEO at Graham. Thanks so much for joining us. So you took up the role Start of July 6 or seven weeks ago. What bit of time to get your feet under the desk? What are your key


Speaker 1:
priorities? Well, supporting members. And I think there's probably three ways that we want to do that first of all, representation.


Speaker 1:
So making sure the member's voice is heard in government, there's lots of new legislation and changes going on, but also with the regulator. You know, we've had a ever such a lot of change with, with regulation for our sector and insurance broken community. So representation number one, number two. I would say that operational support that we're giving members new guides, Uh, as things develop for EG, for example, um, that we're providing schemes and facilities that we're providing things like insurer security,


Speaker 1:
uh, models that they can use. So, uh, so definitely operational support. And then I think also, uh, a strong eye on the future. What is going to be happening in the insurance breaking sector looking at things like, uh,


Speaker 1:
artificial intelligence? Should brokers be embracing that. Are they wary of that? And somewhere in there there's a sweet spot, uh, between the human side and the technology. So it's helping members navigate the the future as well. And risks are changing things like floods and flood insurance. So the yes, uh, ever such lot to to look at going forward as well.


Speaker 0:
Well, I wanted to turn the clock back a little bit to earlier in the year where you bought the Bieber manifesto out. So these were some of the aims and objectives of the of the organisation. Um, cladding on buildings was a a huge still a huge issue. And it's a big issue in the manifesto. What progress have you made so far this year? What still needs to


Speaker 1:
be done? We've made some really good progress, actually, and we're realising some of the manifesto points that we wanted to achieve. Um, we've worked closely with the Minister for Housing safety, Lee Rowley, and, uh,


Speaker 1:
the team at the department for levelling up. Housing and communities have worked with the Association of British Insurers. Uh, we've worked with, uh, any anyone who's who's relevant in that sector. Uh uh, really, and I think, uh, the reinsurance market has been particularly important because what we're hoping to do very soon, uh, with with the A B, I is introduce a new reinsurance scheme and that the aim of that scheme is to offer more affordable insurance. So those highest risk clad buildings that need remediation


Speaker 1:
And if, uh if we can have some sort of a a reinsurance scheme that recognises the economies of of scale, Uh, then I think hopefully we can deliver something that will mean lower premiums for those lease holders, which is really important. They've had a tough time, and the and the insurance broken community wants to do our bit to help. So that's been a Bieber manifesto issue for for some time. So good progress there. And then we have, uh, launched since we last spoke, uh, with the A B I the


Speaker 1:
common code of of core risk information, which, uh, helps brokers work with the regulator to collect the data on these buildings and submit it to them. So some some really good progress in that space.


Speaker 0:
Another theme in the manifesto was the importance of making sure everyone has got access to insurance, but in a world that's driven by data. I mean, you mentioned a I earlier. Is there a danger that insurance ends up being a service that is only on offer to those in low to no risk categories?


Speaker 1:
So So, yes, it has been challenging for people to get insurance, uh, in certain areas this last year. This last few years that we've had quite a hard market in in places. Um, and that's why Bieber has an access to insurance committee that's chaired by Caroline Barr, who used to sit on the FC a consumer panel. And it has a real broad range of constituents on that committee. So it's not just Bieber brokers like a normal Bieber committee. We also have insurers.


Speaker 1:
We have the money and pension service. We have the industry disability champion. We have the Treasury insurance team, and we have charities like McMillan between us all. Uh, we hope to help people, uh, more easily access insurance as we identify the problems and find a path forward. And the path forward sometimes involves signposting agreements, of which we have four. We have the agreement on age and insurance for motor and travel for older people


Speaker 1:
and the, uh uh, the levels of support that have been incredible. We we've hit around a million inquiries on that. Now, uh, and the insurance minister is just about to, uh, to to renew that and relaunch that, which is fantastic news. Uh, we've got the protection insurance, uh, agreement, which again is going to be renewed because it's been really successful, uh, and then, uh, agreements on the flood insurance, um, there and then the FC a travel medical directory.


Speaker 1:
So if someone has a medical condition and that means that perhaps someone doesn't want to take on that risk and ensure doesn't want to cover that risk or they want to charge maybe more than £100 to cover that medical condition, then that needs to be signposted to a travel medical director. And, of course, beaver meets the FC. I cri criteria for that. So, um, the committee has a lot of good stories to tell. Also has a lot of good case studies, uh, a great example being, uh, one called Myra's Wells, where they, uh, as a company that helps in Third World countries to deliver fresh water


Speaker 1:
and, um, in some countries that's quite challenging because of terrorism, risk or or or or unrest. And Burkina Faso was one of those countries which was proving challenging. So they came to us. They used our find insurance service, and we were able to place them with a broker who could support them. And now those wells have been built and those people can get the fresh drinking water. So some wonderful stories from the access to Insurance Committee and we'll certainly continue to do all we can to help people access insurance.


Speaker 0:
When we spoke earlier this year, um, you were making the case that insurance brokers were subject to excessive regulation, particularly around things like, uh, fair value and consumer duty. Um, how are things looking late? Summer 2023?


Speaker 1:
Well, it has been a challenging year. Uh, we've got an agreement from the FC a to come in and speak to brokers, uh, on Bieber committees. So obviously they speak to Bieber


Speaker 1:
the time, but we want them to hear from the front line the actual practitioners, Uh, what are the challenges? What are the opportunities? How can we work together constructively to make really healthy, agile regulation going forward. So I think that's, um that's a positive step that we've got them to, to be involved with us and come to those meetings and with fair value. We're working up a new methodology, a new framework with a financial services consultancy


Speaker 1:
that brokers can use to help demonstrate how the earnings that they make demonstrate fair value, the the commissions that they earn, the fees that they charge. So it's not just about the product representing fair value. It's about the brokers' work, and the broker does a lot of work and it's very professional. It gives great advice, and I think it's It's a healthy thing that they can more easily demonstrate to the client to the regulator, Uh, how they are delivering fair value. So that's a piece of work that will be out. Uh uh, in in early autumn.


Speaker 0:
Well, you mentioned the regulator. Um, does the New Financial Services Act have enough incentives in it for the FC A. To promote UK financial services and their growth overall?


Speaker 1:
So we're really pleased that financial services market spill has been enacted since we last spoke now an act of parliament,


Speaker 1:
and it does include the things that we wanted in there about a growth and competitiveness objective on the FC. A something we've not seen since the days of the FS. A so really good development. But what we want to see now is some scrutiny around those new requirements on growth and competitiveness. So we want someone that's independent, that's objective. That has some metrics where they can actually measure.


Speaker 1:
So how is or how has the regulator implemented some new regulation? And how does that compare against international standards? Uh, is it proportionate? And so that's what we need. So the question, I suppose, are what metrics are used. And then who does that that measuring that scrutiny? Is it someone like the National Audit Office? Is it the regulatory policy committee, or should it be someone new, like a new, uh, Office of regulatory Responsibility? Something like that.


Speaker 1:
So that consultation paper closed on the Fourth of July. We're fed into that with all these points. In fact, we had nine points and we met with the Treasury insurance team today and we're hopeful that the discussions will progress forward and there will be some some good scrutiny because we all want healthy, proportionate regulation. And I think you know that that gives customers confidence. But we don't want, um, members to be negatively affected disproportionately. And we've seen,


Speaker 1:
um, the financial services compensation scheme. The FS CS some of the way the fee funding works on that is disproportionate for our sector. It's not the polluter that pays. Uh, and I think the FS, uh, the FC a have regulated have recognised that rather. And we're hopeful that the incoming consultation paper, which is due soon, will look to, uh, to deal with that and have a more proportionate model for for our fees,


Speaker 0:
out of interest. When you go and chat with the FC a. Does it make it more difficult for you to have those conversations? If somewhere in the back of their mind they're thinking These are the people who've lobbied for us to have some other objectives and are asking for a third party to come and sort of measure tell us whether we've measured up or not?


Speaker 1:
I think, uh, well, their whole job is to to make sure we measure up, isn't it as the broken community? So I think it has to work both ways. We want a really constructive working relationship with the regulator, and I think we do have one now. I think we've got to a space where they're cooperative. They're they're coming in to see our boards and committees. We have regular meetings with them to talk about these subjects. We make recommendations. If we say we perhaps need a time extension to achieve something,


Speaker 1:
then they they would normally cooperate with that and and do that. So, um, although it's a AAA challenging dynamic, I think we're in a in a healthy place and we're in a in a good place going forward that we're gonna have this two way, uh, discussion with the members. We've


Speaker 0:
talked a lot about regulators, but when it comes to insurers, are they providing what brokers need for brokers to be able to thrive in this environment?


Speaker 1:
We all want a world leading insurance market. And so what we've done is we've worked with Christchurch Consulting. Uh, and they've done some empirical research for us with over 500 brokers who they've spoken to to really gather their views on on the service area. What do they need? Um, how are things at the moment, you know, where's the benchmark lie?


Speaker 1:
And I think, um, what we've found out a lot of things have found out. But one of the interesting things is about E trade. Lots of insurers encouraging E trade brokers actually like it. 68% of brokers use E trade on a very regular basis more than every week, lots of them every day. But 60%


Speaker 1:
of them have said quite a few is set out of scope. That doesn't have the liability limits that they need. I think we want some more flexibility. So it's about how do we work with insurers constructively to identify where in these areas that we can work better and really, you know, lead the world in insurer service going forward.


Speaker 0:
And finally, you've told us a little bit at the start about your first seven weeks in the job. But what does the next couple of months hold for


Speaker 1:
you? Well, the next couple of months is a really interesting time. We'll be launching the, uh, the new, uh methodology on fair value for members, but we'll also be going out into the regions. We've got a a big tour around the whole of the UK. We've got 12 different destinations. We'll be going out and meeting hundreds of members. So, like at a town hall will be here


Speaker 1:
what they want from us. We can update them on the latest issues. We'll have some other interesting guest speakers, so we're really looking forward to that. Also, things like party conference season as well. So we'll be engaging with all the politicians, particularly ahead of a general election. Uh uh, probably next year. So a very busy and interesting time this autumn.


Speaker 0:
We have to leave it there. Graham. Thank you very much.


Speaker 1:
Thank you.

With an update on the 2023 Manifesto commitments and insights into future plans at the organisation, the newly appointed chief executive gives his views.

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