Archive for November 2010

Older new drivers can save money on their car insurance!

Much cheaper quotes if you sit your pass plus driving test – whatever your age!

Old and no discount!

Insuranceblogger has always lived in a city close to bus and train routes so I never felt the need to learn to drive. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to drive I did , but life moves so quickly and before I knew it, I was reaching my forties and  I still had not taken any driving lessons. As public transport was not as frequent and with train prices escalating I treated myself to a driving course and I loved it!

I passed my test with flying colours. Couldn’t believe it first time!

Passing your test is fantastic, but reality hits home when you find out the real cost of driving especially purchasing car insurance, when you are not entitled to no claims bonus. No claims bonus is a way insurance companies reward their customers for not claiming in the year. The more accident free years the larger the discount. I knew that new drivers had to pay more, but I had wrongly assumed that this only affected the youth of this world not me I was nearly forty! My days of fast cars and driving at high speed were long gone I just wanted to be able to get from A to B in my little car.

Luckily, I spoke to a member of my family. He has just passed his test and had found it really expensive to purchase car insurance. He told me that he had taken an extra driving course arranged by the Driving Standards agency and had saved himself a fortune.

When the driver successfully completes the course, the Driving Standards Agency sends a certificate to the driver so that they are able to claim their car insurance discount.

That course can be taken at anytime through the drivers driving career, but it is mainly aimed at new drivers in the first year after passing their test. If the driver has passed their test more than a year ago then it is worth checking first with the car insurance companies if discounts are still eligible.

The problem with learning to drive is that you are taught the basic skills of reversing gears etc but real driving experience comes with time. Do you remember the first time you drove on a motorway? The first time can be pretty daunting!

The Pass Plus scheme is a scheme arranged by the DSA (The Driving Standards Agency). They provide a structured syllabus which gives the person who has just passed their test extra experience they need at a time when they are most likely to have an accident. It concentrates on weather conditions, driving on dual carriageways and motorway driving was really useful. I could not believe how different it is to drive in the dark. I had always had my driving lessons in my lunch break. I even got used to driving on little country roads as well as town roads.

If you are looking for a Christmas present for a new driver young or old , then this is the ideal present. It provides further driving proficiency with the added bonus of saving the driver money on car insurance.

Visit New Driver Insurance to compare quotes from car insurance companies offering discounts for the pass plus scheme.

Specialist Home Insurance is often Cheaper!

It’s that time of year again when frost and ice damages your property and your home is at higher risk to fire and pre Christmas theft!

Home Insurance has really suffered during the recession of the last two years as homeowners have cut out what are often mistakenly seen as marginal expenses. Consequently the potential market is larger now which explains the plethora of Home Insurance ads you see on TV all day long at the moment!

Wherever you live, you should have protection for your buildings and contents and this is of particular importance if you have invested a lot of time and money in your home. In this case you may be much better off if you visited an online specialist home insurer, who can provide you with a range of quality policies to choose from, which will protect ALL of your property.

Specialist Home Insurance is often cheaper if you have own a non-standard construction property which includes a range of covers for buildings of thatched and stone construction through to blocks of let flats. You should also consider going to a specialist home insurance broker or provider if you own a large multi bedroomed house or have specialist contents insurance requirements.

For home owners in the UK, purchasing the best insurance cover is of the most significance. Lots of people individuals, even so, usually do not take the time to examine the terms and conditions proposed by the home insurance policy they buy from a price comparison website. These same persons often realise too late, that their cover is not enough. This is most often the case for those who are in possession of high value homes.  Below is some detailed information about ways to provide proper coverage for a high value home with specialist home insurance.

Specifically What is a High Value Home?

High value homes are buildings which, for a variety causes, retain a worth superior to a typical home. Your property is apt to be though of as high value when the price of rebuilding it should surpass £200,000 or if the contents of your house are assessed for over £40,000. Before acquiring coverage, it’s always a good idea to have your house and contents valued by a skilled appraiser. Only then can you be positive that your cover is sufficient.

The problem with Standard Home or Household Insurance

Most house insurance insurance policies are designed with an average policy holder in mind. The cover assumes a typical family size of 2 to 4 that owns a 3 bedroom residence. While this variety of cover may possibly appear to be relatively inexpensive, there is certainly a reason. These kinds of policies usually have a range of restrictions and exclusions that can prove disastrous if you have a significant loss or claim. …..

Usual Exclusions Established in Standard Home Contents Cover

The upper limits of a standard contents coverage can be too low, meaning that you’re considerably under-insured. In addition, the single object limit on this sort of policy not likely to denote the worth of things in your home, such as jewellery, antiques or paintings. In numerous insurance policies, the single merchandise restriction is as little as £1500, a sum that may possibly not be ample for many high value products. Even when you are able to obtain cover, the Insurance company may possibly enforce severe (and costly) protection conditions, for example mounting new window and door locks, or even an entire alarm system. If you don’t follow these terms, the insurer may repudiate any claim.

What to look for in High Value Home Contents Cover

Lots of high value cover policies offer a set of additional benefits that can be really attractive. For example, your policy may contain legal protection for both you and your family. Yet another quality to seek is “agreed value” cover for high value objects. In this sort of cover, you and the insurer are in agreement on a particular amount of coverage for certain sole items, usually jewellery, fine art or antiques. Then there is “new for old” cover in which the value of articles misplaced or spoiled isn’t reduced, which means that you get the complete value of an insured item and not a proportional amount of it’s current value.

Finally ensure that you read carefully and understand your specialist home insurance policy conditions for high value articles, both in blanket coverage and single article cover.

Insurance company failures predicted as Euro Solvency rules are applied

QIS5 set to see an increase in Insurer failure rates:
As final implementation of Solvency II looms ever closer, more and more industry experts are now predicting a complicated and worrying time for a growing number of insurers. Willis Re have recently admitted their own fears for the UK’s smaller regional insurers, predicting that many more companies are looking likely to fail in QIS5 than did so in the previous such exercise QIS4.

In a recently released report the global insurance brokers reinsurance arm announced that Quantitative Impact Study (QIS) 5 is shaping up to be a far tougher test than its predecessor, of which only 11% of insurers failed. Whilst claiming that the failure rate will be “much higher, especially for smaller regional insurers” the report also warns that the smaller players as well as regulators will have multiple problems particularly when developing and reviewing  internal models. One of the major reasons the report singles out the smaller players is the fact that they are often unable to benefit from the   diversification credits that are available.

Commenting on the report, Willis’ MD for analytics and head of international enterprise risk management, David Simmons said “Solvency II and IFRS will have profound implications for all insurance professionals in Europe, but the repercussions will be felt worldwide with the new IFRS being adopted by most major economies in 2013 and the rise of Solvency II-like regulatory regimes worldwide.”

Meanwhile, the International Underwriting Association (IUA) has warned that the government’s plans to reform financial regulation within the UK are currently being heavily undermined by the demands being placed on insurance regulators as Solvency II implementation draws nearer. With demand for high quality regulators now often comfortably outstripping the supply, a lack of qualified and competent staff is proving to be a very real concern.

With a number of IUA members already having reported delays in approvals of internal models, many fear that the creation of the UK’s latest two new regulatory bodies the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (CPMA) will only serve to exacerbate the situation further.

Citing the FSA’s “declining prestige” as a major contributing factor to the current situation, IUA Director of Government Affairs, Nick Lowe commented that “there is a dearth of qualified and experienced staff competent to supervise the insurance industry.”

Whilst it is clear that the implementation of Solvency II has caused greater demand for regulatory professionals, many in the industry agree with Lowe’s opinion that the dramatic decline in standards at the FSA has meant that “many individuals with the right skills have taken their employment elsewhere.” in recent years.

As Lowe points out “regulators will have difficulty in recruiting people of the right calibre. An imbalance in supply and demand will mean that staff costs will be high.”

Not all corners of the industry are quite so gloomy in the face of Solvency II however and at the recent ABI conference PwC partner Charles Garnsworthy was able to highlight the competitive advantages that may become apparent as the EU directive takes hold.

Discussing the “great opportunities for insurers to transform how investors, analysts and policyholders perceive the security and value the sector adds” Garnsworthy sees this period of regulatory flux as one full of competitive opportunities.

In a bold and positive speech he asserted what he saw as the opportunity to “stand out from the pack” as he urged those insurers present to ensure that they don’t lose sight of the “strategic impact of Solvency II”.

Whilst I personally believe that the wholesale changes Solvency II will create across the entire general insurance landscape will certainly be felt in every corner of the industry, I absolutely agree that it is those companies that embrace the changes, rather than fight them, that  will now flourish.

In  Garnsworthy’s words “Solvency II will be a catalyst for managing risk and capital more efficiently and is a real chance for the industry to send a clear message to the markets that it can respond swiftly and decisively to opportunities.”

Whilst certainly many of the challenges that Solvency II is currently throwing up are extremely daunting to say the very least, the opportunities that are also being created are equally as exciting. One thing is for sure, we are now approaching one of the most crucial periods of change the industry has ever know.