Legal & General go it alone: what now for the Association of British Insurers?
The future of the Association of British Insurers is an uncertain one after one of the main players in it - Legal & General - decided to go solo. L&G decided that it would be in the best interests of shareholders and policyholders if they cancelled their membership.
A few weeks ago, the company said that they wanted the trade body to be "a more forward-looking organisation", so it isn't too much of a surprise.
Nigel Wilson, Legal & General's chief exec, said: "Our public policy work increasingly involves sharing commercial aspects of our business with government, which, for very obvious reasons, not least competition law, we cannot share with competitors."
"We believe that, increasingly, engagement with government, regulators, quangos and other external bodies will be on a case-by-case basis going forward."
The ABI have been having a rough time lately as it is, with the insurance industry looking at huge regulatory changes, which include reforms in the last Budget which promised structural changes to the insurance sector.
For the time being, Admiral and Allianz have no plans to ditch the ABI, and it looks like Axa will be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. Aviva and Prudential haven't given their thoughts on the matter, but if Legal & General start making serious money and having more freedom, are we going to see the insurance equivalent of a Premier League breakaway where they can all start calling the shots more frequently?
Would that be good for consumers? It could go either way.