The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has defended its decision not to attend the launch of a white paper on the income protection (IP) market, an absence described as "embarrassing".
Assistant director Nick Kirwan says the launch clashed with the trade body's annual protection development committee meeting, adding he would otherwise have attended.
Speaking at the launch, Roy McLoughlin, a member of the Income Protection Task Force (IPTF) and a co-author of the white paper, was critical of the ABI's non-appearance while other members, including Clive Waller, also voiced their displeasure.
The paper, the second launched by the IPTF, aims to promote what it calls "genuine" IP and seeks to propel the product to the front of consumers' and advisers' minds.
But Kirwan says the ABI was not in a position to re-arrange its meeting, adding the association "wholly supports" the work of the IPTF. He also says IP was discussed in the ABI meeting.
"Our protection development committee meeting was arranged a year in advance and unfortunately it clashed," he says.
"If we had started re-arranging it the attendance would have got shot to pieces. It was very important we had everyone there.
"We wholly support what the IPTF is doing and I'm looking forward to receiving a copy of the paper. In fact I checked my inbox straight after the meeting to see if I had a copy."
McLoughlin, a protection specialist IFA with London-based Master Adviser, said: "It [the ABI's absence] is embarrassing for them. They are supposed to be representative of our industry. Income protection should be an integral part of that and our so-called trade organisation aren't here."
Clive Waller, senior partner at CWC Research, asked the audience before the launch: "Is there anyone from the ABI or FSA here? and received a hushed response.
But Peter Le Beau, another co-author and chief compiler of the white paper, said the IPTF values the ABI, adding the task force "can't really move forward without the acquiescence and support" of the trade body.
The IPTF's second white paper is seeking to establish, among other things, a "kitemark" for income protection "to ensure consumers know what they are buying", ways to address the "vacuum" left behind by the demise of the payment protection insurance (PPI) market, and a campaign for employees to receive an annual statement of sick pay entitlement.
It also outlines plans to train hundreds of advisers across the UK on how to sell "genuine" IP.
For a full report of the IPTF's second white paper, see this week's Professional Adviser magazine, out Thursday. To subscribe, free for financial advisers, click here.IFAonline
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