Archive for October 2009

Freight Forwarder Insurance – Cruel twist of freight as FSA pulls back.

After four long years the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has succeeded in its campaign to see freight forwarders once again given the ability to provide insurance to their customers.
Treasury officials confirmed this month that the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) Exemption is now in effect for freight forwarders meaning that they should be able to obtain an open cover freight forwarders insurance policy once again without the having to go through the lengthy and cumbersome Financial Services Authority (FSA) registration.
Introduced in January 2005, the Insurance Mediation Directive meant that many freight forwarding companies began to withdraw offers of provisions of insurance to their customers. With the recent exemption in place many of these are expected to now resume offering these services again.

Controversley however, those freight forwarders who have already gained there license from the FSA will continue to be authorised by the body and are still fully liable for fees unless they were able to cancel their authorisation via the FSA website in the six week timeframe that was given.

freight forwarders insurance cover

The exemption also initially only applies to the actual provision of insurance for existing commercial customers. In particular the exemption is not applicable where a freight forwarder or a storage company conducts business with a private individual. In this instance registration with the FSA is still required for the business to be legitimately authorised.
In relation to the success of the campaign, Colin Baumont, BIFA Director General was quoted as saying that he was “delighted that our campaign to secure an exemption from the requirements of the Insurance Mediation Directive for freight forwarders, which has involved a change in UK legislation, has been successful.”
“BIFA is the primary UK trade association providing effective representation and support for the UK international freight services industry. As such, we provide a conduit through which the views of our members are listened to in many quarters.

“Our success in gaining this exemption was due entirely to our persistence and conviction that we were right to protect the interests of our industry, in the name of freedom to trade and in the face of unfair competition. It is a testimony to the lobbying activities that we undertake on behalf of our members.

“Now, we are investigating the establishment of a Consumer Code of Practice, which, subject to the approval of Ministers, could extend the exemption to freight forwarders’ retail customers at a later date.”
With both major political parties discussing the need for change in the way our industry is regulated this latest withdrawal of powers must be seen as a heavy blow for the FSA. With suggestions in some quarters that the body is in need of a vast overhaul if not being abolished completely and replaced with a more industry specific organisation.
Against a changing face of European legislation and regulation the United Kingdom General Insurance industry is crying out for a lighter touch in terms of guidance and enforcement regarding Freight Insurance. This latest retreat within the sector could be seen as a final role of the dice by the treasury as they endeavour to make the FSA an organisation that can work in harmony with the industry.
However, by leaving a system in place that punishes those that had tried to work with them in the first place, the FSA has once again managed to cause the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

By Kris Oldland

Bespoke open cover Freight Forwarder Insurance is available from Premiercare Insurance Brokers (UK) Ltd.

Cheap Classic Car Insurance Cover

Cheap Classic Car Insurance Cover
By car insurance specialist blogger and expert Dave Healey

Do you own a car over fifteen years old?
Do you own a car which could be considered a classic?
If you do you may well be entitled to cover it under what is known in the industry as a classic car insurance policy. In the past there were many more restrictions on cover under this type of policy and specialist motor insurance brokers and insurance companies were very particular about the type, age make and models of the cars they wished to cover on their books.

Times have changed and technology has led to many more cars now fitting into a bracket that was once reserved for the glamorous, collector and vintage car owners. It is now possible to obtain both cheap quotes and classic car covers online from many providers including the majority of those famous high street brands, who have realised that nearly fifty percent of the cars on the road now fall within the strict underwriting parameters for classic car policies. Consequently premiums in this market, which were always cheaper than standard cover, have become much more competitive in recent years, with the entry into the market of many of the larger insurance companies.

When searching for the right covers it is wise to get a range of classic car insurance online quotes from various different sources. Not all motor companies are the same, and neither are all classic policy conditions.

When applying for a classic quote you should be aware of the varying limits of cover and restrictions that may be put on driving the vehicle. For example many of these policies will only allow you very limited road mileage each year, sometimes as little as 3000 miles per annum. This is fine if you have an expensive collectors car that is garaged throughout the year and only taken out for the odd cruise or rally. The problems occur much more frequently when non valuable classic cars are insured under this type of policy when they should really be covered under a more embracing standard motor insurance. Unfortunately, restrictive policy conditions often only come to light after an accident and a claim is made, rejected by the insurer and leaves the policyholder feeling miss sold and abandoned.

If you have decided that a classic car policy is right for your car, then when applying for quotes online always check that the policy is right for you, the owner as well. Many policies are designed to charge by the lifestyle of the insured and as with all car insurance there is a tendency for cover to be cheaper for older persons and women drivers. Many companies will not issue classic motor insurance to persons under the age of twenty five, although this is changing as well, and there are some very good providers out there who will cover drivers as young as twenty one.

If the value of the car is not particularly high and the replacement costs of parts and repairs does not warrant a specialist policy, you may well be better advised to seek out quotes from a mainstream insurance company. They often have additional online discounts and offers which the classic policy providers are not in a position to offer.

As with all car insurance, what may initially appear cheap at policy inception could cause some unpleasant surprises when it comes to making a claim. After all you only buy car insurance to protect yourself in the event of a claim and a policy is only as good as it’s claims service!

Shop around for specialist car insurance and Compare Classic Car Insurance. Compare prices and insurance covers from both major high street brands and the smaller insurance specialists to ensure you not only get a good deal, but get the adequate levels of cover you require for your classic car, as well.

UK Commercial Insurance Sector Set To Recover

With the UK in the deepest recession since records began in the 1950′s, it is hardly surprising that the Commercial Insurance Sector has seen it’s customer base shrinking faster than the Royal Mail says it is losing hand written letters, and one would have thought that the beleaguered business insurance sector would have little to look forward too in the new year….

However, things are not always what they seem and as Kris Oldland reports, there appears to be green shoots of recovery for the spring……..

SME Commercial Insurance Sector sees promise in 2010


After a year which has been tricky for some and catastrophic for others we could be forgiven for looking towards 2010 with some trepidation and in some of the more morose corners of industry dare we say it, a heavy dose of doom and gloom? Well those hardy soles in the ever exciting SME market are having none of it – despite the sector being hit harder by the recession than most.

At least that is what the results of a recent report from British communication giant BT would seem to suggest.

The 2009 BT Pulse report has revealed that an overwhelming three quarters of SME’s predict the economy will see an upturn in 2010. Further to this over 60% of the respondents were confident about their businesses prospects for the coming year and an impressively confident 35% even predicted their situation will have improved as soon as January 2010.

The report surveyed 7,200 Directors of small and medium sized enterprises and a strategy director at BT commented that the findings “show that the economy is at a tipping point. Despite the obvious knock to confidence, positivity about when the upturn will come is encouraging.”

With 45% of the respondents going as far as saying that they have streamlined their business so that they are now operating even better as a result of the downturn, it seems that many of these SME operators are primed to thrive as soon as the market catches them up.

These bold predictions have also been echoed by the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), who have also recently released a similar statement that “confidence among business professionals has turned positive for the first time in two years.”

However not all quarters of the UK industry are predicting quite such a swift return to the good times as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has issued a slightly more ominous statement that although the recovery may have started, the economy still faces considerable risk.

According to the organisation, GDP will drop by 4.3 per cent this year, followed by growth of 1.1 per cent in 2010 – an improvement on the BCC’s June prediction of 0.6 per cent.

David Kern, chief economist at the BCC, says: ‘While we expect a gradual improvement over the next two years, the pace of UK expansion is likely to be weak by pre-recession standards. It is critical that wealth-creating businesses have adequate capacity to respond to an upturn in demand when the recovery strengthens.’

However despite the general confidence, many SME’s are still walking a dangerous tightrope leaving themselves unnecessarily open to adverse risk as they cut their policies and leave themselves underinsured.

Of course should these buoyant entrepreneurial companies live up to the high expectations they are piling upon themselves then it follows that their insurance needs will grow too and with the aid of a good broker they may just be able to manage the balancing act of ensuring that their cover is adequate and competitively priced.

With the SME sector looking once again to rise like a phoenix from the ashes the role of the high street commercial insurance brokers could once again become a crucial link between the sector and the general insurance industry.

About the Author:

Kris Oldland is an Insurance Journalist with particular interest in Commercial Insurance and UK business Insurance

Payment Protection Insurance – Barclays Challenge Government ruling

Barclays scupper plans for PPI reform

Plans to restrict the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI) at the point when loans or mortgage are granted have been set back following a successful appeal by Barclays bank.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal has now been forced to instruct the Competition Commission to back down from its plan to ban PPI sales such as mortgage protection insurance, at this point of the transaction. The Commission released a statement commenting that it would study the judgement closely before deciding what course of action it would take next. In a carefully worded statement however it was made clear that it was only this one small part of their strategy, to make choices clearer for consumers, that was being affected.

A spokesman for the commission commented “The appeal was upheld on one ground which relates to our assessment of the remedy prohibiting the sale of PPI at the point of sale of credit,” before adding that it was because The Commission had been asked to “reconsider the loss of convenience for consumers of not being able to buy PPI at the same time as taking out credit.”

Intended to allow consumers a cushion for repayment of their credit cards, loans or mortgages should they fall ill or lose their job, PPI has been a bone of contention between insurance companies and banks and finance companies for some considerable time. Early this year the Commission outlined a range of limitations on the sale of PPI with some commentators claiming the lack of competition in the field has led to “persistently high prices”. The Commission had stated that from October 2010, lenders would be unable to initiate a sale of a policy for up to 7 days after granting a loan to combat the “point of sale” advantage that the lenders had gained.

However after challenging the Commission’s plan on four separate grounds – three of which related directly to the point of sale restriction, Barclays have successfully convinced a tribunal that putting this plan into place could put customers who actually wanted to purchase cover at a disadvantage.

Referring to the plans laid out by the commission as a “remedy without consent” the Tribunal concluded that the Commission had failed to take into account the “loss of convenience which would flow from the imposition of the point of sale prohibition”. The Tribunal also added that it was this “constituted failure to take into account a relevant consideration” that meant that the Commission would need to revise its plans once more.

However the overhaul of how PPI sales are regulated is still continuing at a rapid pace as complaints from consumer organisations and those who believe they have been mis-sold PPI grow exponentially. This year alone we have already seen the FSA tell banks and other financial institutions to compensate those who may have been mis-sold policies, re-open the 185,000 old complaints that have been dismissed, and stop selling the much criticised single premium PPI, whilst companies offering help and advice to claim back fees spent on mis-sold PPI has practically become an industry in itself.

Referred to as a “protection racket” in some corners of the industry due to abnormally high cost policies being sold to people who can’t actually make a valid claim under the terms of their agreements PPI providers added excess profits of £1.4bn to their coffers in the heady days of 2006 when the Competition Commission first began making enquiries into the sector.

As Martin Lewis of financial advice website moneysaingexpert.com succinctly commented “Bank-based PPI is a near con – it’s hideously over-expensive, billions of pounds of it have been mis-sold, and the sooner it’s cleaned up and cleared out the better.”

At a time when public faith in the entire banking sector is at an all time low how the public will react to this further delay in cleaning up what is a tainted section of both the banking and insurance worlds’ remains to be seen. However, the general consensus amongst financial commentators is again echoed in Mr Lewis’ comments “It’s a shame Barclays has succeeded in using its lawyers to delay the implementation of such an important ruling”

Whether they have stemmed the tide for good, or as Mr Lewis suggests have simply delayed the inevitable is uncertain, but for the time being the Bank’s are refusing to let this go without a fight.

Kris Oldland

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WARNING DO NOT BUY PPI FROM A BANK – EVER!

Insuranceblogger urges consumers to shop around and buy mortgage protection insurance from independent suppliers after they have researched the market. The point of removing PPI sales from mortgage and loan sales was to stop the consumer from being pressurised into buying overpriced products to secure the loan.

Once again a bank, admittedly not one overly involved in the toxic debt fiasco , but one intricately involved in the collapse of the banking system by it’s failure to step in and rescue Lehman Bros. (until they had collapsed and they cherry picked the best bits!), is allowed to dictate to Parliament and interfere with the due process of consumer law!
Insuranceblogger recommends checking out alternative protection products such as Lifestyle Income Protection Insurance which has wider covers and is not tied to any particular lump sum debt.

Classic Car Insurance – A 20p Tyre Check could save £££’s

20p Tyre Check could save £££’s by Kris Oldland

A recent survey by classic car specialist dealership Motorpoint has revealed that the majority of classic car owners feel that they are footing the bill for those who refuse to get insurance.
Over 80 percent of the recipients confirmed that they believe those caught without adequate specialist classic car insurance cover should have their vehicles destroyed.

This rather satisfactory solution (considering the additional cost these cheats have added to your latest premium,) could soon become a reality as Paul Clark, road safety minister, included this suggestion in proposals he outlined recently.

It comes as part of the new government plans to further enforce the compulsory insurance of all motor cars within the UK. New measures mean that any owner of a vehicle which is taken onto a public road and caught without insurance will at the very least face fines and should they persist in breaking the law their vehicle could well be impounded and destroyed.

In response to the survey results David Shelton, Managing director of Motorpoint commented: “It is clear from our poll that the vast majority of people want something to be done to stop them having to foot the bill for uninsured drivers.”

In other news Which? Car has recently recommended that taking the time to refresh your classic car safety knowledge is a vital way of staying safe, as well as avoiding avoid unnecessary insurance claims – adding that at this time of year ensuring the grip on your tires meets the necessary standards is a good starting point.

According to industry experts TyreSafe, as the weather starts to get wetter and the chances of losing traction and skidding increase, a particularly important test to ascertain the safety of your tyres is to insert a 20p piece into the main grooves of your tyres. If you are unable to see the outer band of the coin the tread is sufficient. If the outer band is visible then it is high time you replaced these often overlooked, yet crucial elements of your car.

Chairman of TyreSafe, Stuart Jackson also added : “Tyres are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road surface so it is essential that they are in a condition that allows them to perform properly.”

Meanwhile, the IAM, (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has highlighted the importance of ensuring that head restraints are correctly fitted – particularly within a classic car. An insurance claim could be the least of a drivers concerns if they are involved in an accident during which their head restraint wasn’t fitted correctly.

Figures released by road safety company Brake earlier this year show that when fitted properly this often overlooked safety device can reduce the chance of whiplash by nearly 24 percent. Alarmingly though this same study showed that nearly three quarters of drivers surveyed had no idea how to adjust the head rests themselves.

Brake”s Fleet Safety Forum has recently launched the Move Up campaign to try and encourage more employers to ensure their workers know what they can do to avoid whiplash injuries.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you have the correct classic car insurance cover is to find a scheme suitable for your particlar model. It’s easiest to use a specialist product and price comparison website to compare classic car insurance such as that provided by Car Insurance TV