March 4 2004. New regulations from the Financial Services Authority, which come into play in January 2005, and are set to force all dealers to comply with statutory rules on selling, advising and administering general insurance products.

And if dealers don't sign up for FSA authorisation, they won't be able to sell general insurance products and may have difficulty selling vehicles to customers and earning income from essential profit centres. Potentially they could also stand to lose up to a third of their F&I profits and the worst case scenario is that dealers may find it hard to trade at all.

At the end of last year, Black Horse made a commitment to all its dealers to support them through the change and help to protect the income dealers currently receive from sales of PPP, GAP, warranty and other insurance products. To date Black Horse has already sent out several communications detailing what dealers need to do to become authorised and, in association with several other major players in the industry, Black Horse has also promoted a series of seminars, which took place across the country in February.

The one-day seminars provided dealers with a practical understanding of what they need to do to make sure that they make the right decisions for their business, and if they decide to become regulated, what their course of action should be. The seminars consisted of a series of presentations from expert speakers across a range of major industry providers.

Phil Stones, Managing Director of Black Horse said, "We're confident that dealers who attended these seminars were left with a clear understanding of what the General Insurance Regulations will mean for them. We also provided them with the necessary information to enable them to continue to sell insurance products in a regulated environment after January 2005."

In the meantime, Black Horse is putting all its Account Managers through an intensive training programme about the new regulations so that they are able to help dealers through the whole process.

Key dates dealers need to be aware of:

The Final rules (CP160 and CP187) were published in January 2004 - these are now available on the FSA website. Update to the CP150 Consultation paper will be available from the FSA website in March 2004.

Application for authorisation - packs are now available from FSA. Applications must be completed and returned by 14th July 2004. However, if you send your application in by 31st May 2004 you will qualify for a discount (details of discounts can be found on the FSA website).

Authorisation - If dealers want to guarantee that their application is processed prior to 14th Jan 2005 they must have their completed applications with the FSA by the 14th July 2004.

The introduction of this regulation will, without doubt, have a major impact on how dealers operate and sell General Insurance products, so make sure that you're positioned to sell general insurance products legally in January 2005 with help from the market leaders in point of sale finance, Black Horse.

For further information about FSA please email: or refer to the FSA website: