Archive for August 2010

Boat Insurance in the UK

With warm temperatures right here in UK, water season is luring the boat enthusiasts. If you are on your boat every day or whether on weekends, you must have boat insurance at least during summer months, and beyond if possible. With this in mind Insurance Blog thought we’d take a look at the oldest type of insurance….

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance is a custom made insurance that covers your boat and this coverage becomes applicable once you have the boat insurance policy from your preferred insurance company. You need to pay certain premium and while the policy lasts, the insurance company will cover all the expenditure that has occurred due to damages resulting from mishaps, accidents or calamities. This insurance also covers damage done by your boat to other boats or people.

Things to consider when buying boat insurance

Different companies provide a variety of policy wording and you may be confused what sort of policy you require. The cover offered by an insurance company and the service provided by it can differ greatly. Hence remember that if you buy a cheap policy, you may end up spending more money in the long run, if you make a claim. The most important points to consider before you buy insurance for your boat are:
• Third party liability: You must always go for liability insurance as this covers you in case you have caused damage to another boat or have caused injury to a person.
• Comprehensive cover: This insurance covers you for any accidental damage, theft, fire and vandalism.
• Theft cover: When your boat is not in use, this policy covers you against theft.

However, each insurance company has different requirements and you have to adhere to them or you may be left uninsured.
Boat Insurance quotes
• Towing: Most policies cover expenses which cover towing waterskiers, kneeboards or inflatable toys, though restrictions may apply.
• Policy excess: This is the amount you have to pay if any claim is made.

Tips to save money on your boat insurance

Another way of reducing the cost of boat insurance policy is going for voluntary insurance excess. But remember that in an event of a claim you will have to pay the excess. So ensure that you are able to strike a balance between cost of the insurance and the excess you choose when trying to reduce your boat insurance premium in the UK.

Once summer months are over and the boat is laid up, it would be foolish cancelling your insurance, but consider laid up cover to protect the safety of your boat. Shop around for a Boat Insurance Quote!

New Risque Compare Car Insurance TV Ad Has The Lads Eyes Spinning!

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It looks like the furry animal and the fat opera singer may have a bit of competition on the TV screens this summer with the launch across the UK networks of the latest Car Insurance TV ad in the media war of the car insurance price comparison websites.
Featuring a spinning attractive buxom lass on fire, the ad has already received large plaudits from the industry agencies who are running around trying to match the inventiveness of the TV channels production team.

So if you haven’t seen her enough on TV already …. here she is again for the benefit of everyone working at Insurance Blog.

Bank of England is Steady at the Helm with Sensible Interest Rate

CPI annual inflation stands at 3.1 per cent, down from 3.2 per cent in June, reveals the latest Consumer Price Index showing that the market will self adjust to inflationary pressures without the intervention of monetary or fiscal policies designed to rock the boat!

The CPI fell by 0.2 per cent between June and July this year compared with no change over the same period a year ago. These 1-month changes are both within the normal range for a June to July period; since 1996, the monthly movement between these two months has varied between a fall of 0.8 per cent and an increase of 0.1 per cent.

Some myopic Internet financial analysts who have been arguing for a base rate increase for over a year are still crying foul……

“Inflation is a stealthy enemy for savers and when rates are low, it quietly erodes the spending power of a hard earned nest egg. Savers may have had a short respite from a marginal fall in inflation, but savings rates have hit a plateau and may be there for a while.

“The average one year fixed bond rate has fallen from 3.07% in January to only 2.54% today and the average five year fixed bond rate has fallen from 4.56% to 4.08% for the same period.

“The average instant access savings rate is still at rock bottom at a rate of only 0.74%. The only trigger for any improvement in savings rates may be a surprise increase in the Base rate by the Bank of England, but this is most likely not to happen soon.”

Stated a recent industry commentator,  who Insurance Blog thinks is living in cloud cuckoo land and who obviously has been sitting on his dwindling nest egg of savings, and foolishly thinks he will survive a double dip recession caused by an increase in Interest Rates!



However the Bank of England sensibly have other ideas, and quite rightly given the downward curve of inflationary pressures have decided to leave things as they are!

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted two weeks ago to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5% and their decision now looks justified with inflation self balancing. The recent inflation has been artificial with rises in the RPI in areas such as fuel and power and food, although where there are alternative suppliers the markets have had to adjust to the temptation of putting prices up to pay for their past mistakes, and the UK Insurance Market is a typical example of this.

The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £200 billion. The Committee’s latest inflation and output projections will appear in the Inflation Report to published on Wednesday 11 August.

The minutes of the Bank’s meeting will be published at 9.30am tomorrow on Wednesday 18 August.

Asbestos Compensation Claims To Cost UK Insurance Companies Dear!

Asbestos Compensation Claims Are an Insurance Industry Time Bomb just waiting to go off  – If the current law is successfully challenged!

By Insurance Blogger

The use of asbestos was banned over thirty years ago, but the UK Insurance Industry now faces a time bomb of claims from people directly or indirectly exposed to the deadly substance.

Asbestos was once hailed as a miracle product but its use has exacted a terrible price for those exposed to it. Diseases caused by ingestion into the lungs such as Asbestosis and Mesothelioma may take over forty years to become apparent, and the true cost of the substance use in damages claims, is only just beginning to occur.

Asbestos has been used by man since ancient Greece for its fire resistant properties, but even then it was recorded that slaves exposed to it were dying from terrible lung disease and breathing difficulties.

In the twentieth century Asbestos was used in all sorts of construction and manufacturing processes. In every public building you would find pipes and boilers covered with the material. Shipbuilders and dockyards were particularly prevalent in its use and it was not uncommon to regularly see old ‘laggers’ and pipe workers coughing up the so called ‘Dockers oysters’. Offices were also exposed to asbestos with the use in partition walls and suspended ceilings. In the home it was used in all sorts of ways ranging from ironing boards to car brake pads and shed roof coverings.

By far the most deadly variety of asbestos is ‘blue asbestos’ of which a single strand in the lungs can cause the deadly disease years later.

The first asbestos related industrial injury claims appeared in the 1960′s and have risen dramatically since then. The use of the material in the UK was stopped by the H&SE (Health and Safety Executive) in the 1970′s but it was only finally banned in 1980. During that time many asbestos removal firms sprung up primarily to remove the substance from public buildings such as hospitals and schools. By 2003 it is estimated that the number of direct asbestosis claims accounted for a payout of over 1.3 billion pounds in the UK.

There are four recognised types of asbestosis related disease ranging from the savage lung cancer mesothelioma which usually kills within a year, through to what are known as ‘pleural plaques’ for which legislation in the UK does not currently allow claims, though this is set to change and could trigger billions of pounds worth of claims.

asbestosis

Pleural plaques are areas of scar tissue on the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

Although not directly covered for claims as the cause and outcomes cannot be proven, UK Insurance companies used to pay out small amounts to compensate for the anxiety of the possibility of the plaques developing into something more serious such as mesothelioma. In 2007 the House of Lords ruled that these conditions are no longer entitled to compensation, though this is currently being challenged by the Scottish Courts and others and is expected to be overturned.

The United States is about twenty years ahead of the UK in asbestos related claims with more than three quarters of a million claims being paid out since 1980. The vast majority of these claims were for pleural plaques and the cost so far is estimated to be around $120 billion, which has been paid out by US and foreign underwriters.

In the UK it is not as easy to bring a claim for asbestosis as it is in America where class actions against the manufacturers of asbestos can sue a multitude of companies who each pay a small amount of damages. In the UK even though more people are expected to die from exposure, causality and proximate cause need to be proved before any legal action can be taken.

The worrying thing for Insurance company claims departments is that the range and spread of claims for asbestosis has changed dramatically in recent years as the true cost is exposed. In the past the majority of claims were from laggers and those directly involved in the use of asbestos, mostly in the industrial parts of the country.

Claims are now being made from all over the UK from for example, carpenters, plumbers, teachers and family members of those who worked with asbestos, such as wives washing clothes and children who greeted their fathers after work.

According to the health and safety executive, the body in charge of workplace safety in the UK, there is still over half a million tonnes of deadly blue and brown asbestos and nearly 3 million tonnes of white asbestos in buildings around the UK. Each year over 2500 people die from mesothelioma.

Although claims for mesothelioma are expected to peak by 2012 as those directly exposed to it will all be dead, the ticking time bomb for all asbestos claims is predicted to continue until 2040. By this time over 200000 claims will have been made which will cost the UK Insurance industry in the region of 10 billion pounds, which the Insurance companies will have to set aside in claims reserves.

Lloyd’s Slips have come a long way to the current Electronic trading

An Explanation of Lloyd’s Slips and how they are used to place Insurance Risks on the London Market

By Dave Healey

Exchanging Slips at Lloyd's 1743

Lloyd’s slips were originally pieces of paper containing all the details of a risk to be placed on the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, although today these are accepted electronically. Lloyd’s slips are documents in a standard format which are intended to assist not only the underwriter giving consideration to the risks presented to them but also the policy drafter and those responsible for checking and accounting for the premium. The slip has to be correctly compiled or it will be rejected.

The slip provides a precis of the risk, but an insurance broker passing the slip on a clients behalf needs to be well briefed with additional facts figures and to have available all relevant material such as survey reports, maps, plans, detailed claim records and any other documents or information which may have a bearing on the risk. The insurance broker when preparing the slip, is required to assemble a balanced and accurate representation of the risk and should anticipate as far as possible questions which are likely to arise and disclose this on the slip. If, however, a question is asked to which the broker does not know the answer, it is his duty to say so and refer back for further information. The need to disclose every material fact must always be borne in mind when completing a Lloyds slip.

Where it is necessary that a risk be spread among a number of syndicates, for a rate to be agreed that is likely to prove acceptable to other subscribing underwriters the lead underwriter, or ‘leader’, must have the confidence of other underwriters. To know which leader to approach first is an important part of the Lloyd’s insurance brokers expertise, though it does not follow that the first underwriter approached will necessarily lead the slip. If high amounts are required to be insured, and a large number of syndicates have to be involved, there is less opportunity for competition. For smaller risks the broker may find a keener rate or better terms by shopping around. The lead underwriter is not necessarily the one who can write the biggest line, though normally he will write a substantial line.

A good insurance broker needs to be a good negotiator. Tenacity is required but not to such a point as will prevent conclusion of the business. The aim is to bring the discussion to such a successful conclusion that both the underwriter and the broker together with his client are reasonably satisfied that the best possible arrangements have been made. There are times when a Lloyd’s broker needs to obtain almost unfairly competitive terms. A co-operative underwriter may provide these, so long as there is a bulk of business which has been concluded at sensible rates.

After obtaining a lead (which may be for only a small percentage), the broker needs to complete the placement. It may be that the risk can be placed using only Lloyd’s underwriters for which a slip will suffice, but sometimes the size of the exposure may necessitate the use of insurance companies in London or even overseas.

A binding authority or a ‘cover’ provides the cover holder with authority to accept risks within the limits and terms set out on the slip. The broking operation here is to negotiate the binding authority, the limits and the terms agreed. No reference is required to the underwriters once the arrangement has been set up though the binding authority will need to be renewed annually.

Line slips, on the other hand, do not give full authority to the cover holder. If a risk is to be placed under a line slip, it is normal that the two or three lead underwriters have to be seen, and they have to accept the risk and its terms and conditions. The remaining underwriters, however, abide by their agreement under the line slip for their stated proportion.

Once an underwriter has signed the slip as accepting the risk from a given date, then the insurance is effective from that date. As soon as the placement is completed, the client will be advised and the slip and its document will go through the policy issuing and accounting process.

The Lloyd’s broker who has placed the risk may sometimes be required to negotiate with the underwriter regarding a claim. However, except for the very smallest broking companies, it is more usual for a special claims broker to be appointed whose sole responsibility is to deal with these items. If loss adjusters or other assessing and negotiating parties are employed by the underwriter, then it may be the broker’s duty to negotiate with them as well. In the event of a claim the slip will be very carefully scrutinized.

In the recent past slips would have to be sent to the Lloyd’s underwriting room itself, but today this would be totally impractical for Lloyd’s to transact insurance business in this manner. Many car insurance syndicates at Lloyd’s have overcome this problem by allowing insurance broker firms to pass slips directly to them. Some of these motor syndicates have actually set up offices in towns around the country and the local motor insurance brokers deal direct with these offices, passing the slips to them to complete the deal. This method now enables Lloyd’s syndicates to easily compete with the large insurance companies on a national scale.