HC Deb 01 November 1989 vol 159 cc315-6
14. Mr. Nicholas Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to regulate the conduct of loss adjusters.

Mr. Redwood

It is the responsibility of the professional associations of which they are members to maintain the professional standards of loss adjusters.

Mr. Baker

Is my hon. Friend aware that loss adjusters acting for insurance companies frequently browbeat and bully innocent claimants? Will my hon. Friend remind insurers that their duty is to recompense people who have suffered losses that are covered by insurance policies? Does my hon. Friend agree that practices of the kind that I have outlined should be drawn to the attention of the Director General of Fair Trading?

Mr. Redwood

I am disturbed to hear my hon. Friend's accusations. If he has a particular case in mind he should refer it to the professional body concerned because such bodies have disciplinary powers over their members. If my hon. Friend thinks that the abuses are widespread, he should talk or write to the Director General of Fair Trading because he has powers to negotiate a code of conduct with the professions if he thinks that that is necessary.

Dr. Reid

Many Opposition Members would like to be associated with the genuine compliments paid to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by his Conservative colleagues because we have found out that such compliments are the political equivalent of the last meal of a condemned man. The Secretary of State is not only unique, he is quite brilliant. I would have said "unassailable" but I think that unsaleable——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I gave the hon. Gentleman a chance to ask a question about loss adjusters.

Dr. Reid

Is the Minister aware that if a loss adjuster visited the Clydesdale tube works in Scotland he would find that less damage had been caused over the past five years by accidental death, burglary and fire than by the absolute refusal by British Steel to invest in that tube works? Will the Minister encourage British Steel to put in some investment?