This is the only way to clean up the mis-selling mess.
Here is a little tale for you about the insurance industry.
A few weeks ago, Admiral made its very decent pledge to give some money back to customers as we were all driving less.
Word on the street was that all the other companies were quite annoyed by Admiral.
As diligent journalists, I had one of my staff call the other major insurers to see what they were doing.
One by one they sent back long emails spouting hollow words about how much they were trying to help customers at this difficult time, and that of course they would give refunds to customers who notified them of a change of circumstances.
So we printed this.
And of course, readers rang their insurers and what do you think they were told? No, of course they could not have a refund.
This is exactly the type of obfuscation, sleight of hand and disingenuous language that is eroding all trust in insurers.
Mainstream insurance is a valuable product, but increasingly consumers think it is worthless, because of behaviour like this.
Better to have been honest from the outset, rather than to undermine the credibility even further.
Spotting a good thing
It is starting to seem increasingly likely that a number of landlords took advantage of the mortgage holiday scheme who may not have needed to.
The idea was that they could skip payments because tenants were no longer bringing in rent.
And yet, anecdotally, some buy-to-let investors have used the waiver to set a bit of capital to one side for future purchases and to do upkeep, which is not strictly what the scheme was for.
Don’t you just love landlords?
James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times