In the year 2000 the EU issued a directive to regulate the provision of insurance products. The UK government’s interpretation of this meant that – in contrast with other European states – freight forwarders were acting as insurance mediators when offering shippers and importers insurance on the forwarder’s Marine Open Cover Policy. As mediators, they were required to register with the Financial Services Authority, a costly and time-consuming business which most small forwarding companies chose not to pursue.
The British International Freight Association’s campaign to exclude forwarders from the directive was led by Ron Willis, founder of R W Freight. After seven years of strenuous lobbying, this campaign was successful, and HM Treasury agreed that freight forwarders would be exempt from the legislation, providing that they held a marine open cover policy.