Upon the door of every cottage: Protecting the public through general insurance

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Against the backdrop of continuing public dismay and disenchantment with the broader financial services sector, the job of making sure general insurance is facing up to the challenges ahead is pressing. Our report, Upon the door of every cottage... Protecting the public through general insurance examines a number of these challenges through the contributions of leading industry figures.

Insurance plays as pivotal a role in society in the twenty-first century as it did when Winston Churchill gave his famous "upon the door of every cottage and the blotting book of every public man" speech in 1909. Now, as then, we rely on insurance for so many aspects of our lives. The insurance industry has made major strides, collectively as a sector and individually as firms, to improve standards - as demonstrated by the Aldermanbury Declaration in 2010.

However, the PPI mis-selling and collateral damage from the banking crisis have challenged public confidence. A debate is clearly at hand, extending across three broad fronts:

- Changes in the insurance market and society more generally, with mass-market commoditisation and emerging challenges.

- Issues about how insurance is developed, priced, marketed and sold to the public, be they retail consumers or businesses.

- How to respond to these issues, including the role of statutory regulation, industry-led initiatives and professional standards.

Our report sets out some of the challenges facing our market and contains contributions from all corners of the insurance landscape, as well as our own analysis. We are taking a fresh look at what we as an industry need to do in the future and in doing so stimulating thinking about solutions that lead to better outcomes for the insurance profession and the public at large.