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60 Seconds with… Geoff Hall, managing director of Berkeley Alexander

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The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act was introduced on 6 April. What difference does it make to insurers and anyone advising on insurance?

What it does is take away the duty of disclosure from the client and places it on the insurer and therefore the adviser. It requires the insurer to ask all the appropriate material questions as opposed to putting the onus on the client to divulge to the insurer anything that might be material that the insurer hadn’t asked for. So the insurer has to be specific about the questions that they ask. If the client still deliberately misleads the insurer then the claim can be turned down. But if at the time of the claim some information turns up that the insurer didn’t ask for then they can’t use that as the basis of declining the claim.

When the downturn struck more brokers started to sell general insurance and protection – are they still as keen?

What we’re finding is that the advisers who are selling general insurance now are the ones that have always sold it. There are clearly less advisers in the market and perhaps their work load is higher than it was because there are fewer advisers, more customers and the regulatory paperwork is higher. Perhaps they are not having the time to spend on selling GI. But GI, be it household or accident, sickness and unemployment cover, is a valuable product and it is something that advisers should be doing more of.

 

What impact has all the regulation surrounding protection and the adverse publicity on payment protection insurance claims had on the take up of the product?

I think the additional regulatory requirements, particularly on the ASU style of policies, has put some advisers off selling it. On top of the misselling scandal and all the bad publicity I think has been the final nail in the coffin for a lot of advisers. But there are still brokers out there selling it, it’s still a valuable product to the right customer and is a product that needs selling not buying.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Do it properly and correctly the first time” – my first boss taught me that and it’s stayed with me all my life.

 

What did you want to do as a job when you were younger?

Professional footballer – I am mad about football.

 

Which three people would you invite to a party and why?

Muhammad Ali – he’s always good for a story or two. Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and probably Richard Branson as you would learn alot from him.

 

If you could have any super power what would it be?

To see into the future – it would be good to know what’s going to happen.

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