Archive for PPI

Mis Sold PPI? Claims Could Reach Titanic Proportions

PPI Claims To Date Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

Despite the banks and others who missold payment protection insurance (PPI) being forced to pay out over £2 billion to date, it appears from the latest reports and estimates that this could be just the tip of the iceberg as the misselling scandal escalates, with an expected final payout of over £9 billion in compensation. Billions are still waiting to be claimed.

Mis-sold PPI? Claim now before its too late

Last year alone over 200,000 complaints were made to the Financial Ombudsman about individual policies, despite instructions from the FSA for all those involved to deal fairly with their customers.

Both these figures indicate that although most of the major financial institutions and banks that missold PPI are taking some steps to compensate those that they missold the products to, many people are either not being notified that they are due for compensation, or it appears that an even greater amount may not be aware that they even had PPI and that they have been paying for it in charges since they first took out the debt.

It also appears from the number of continual complaints to the Financial Ombudsman that the compensation offered by those guilty financial institutions has been in many cases derisory or insufficient.

This has been particularly the case where individuals have sought to deal with the PPI claims themselves, rather than seek the help of those professional claims teams and lawyers who have years of experience in maximising claims settlements through negotiation and the courts.

The FSA is concerned by the titanic scale of the misselling and has extended the period for which claims can be dealt with in order for the firms and the courts to deal with the high demand.

PPI was missold throughout the last decade by nearly all the major institutions including all the high street banks and most of the mortgage, loan and credit card companies. It was often sold on the back of credit agreements, where it was neither explained properly to the client or the client do not want or need it.

Many people who were aware they had purchased PPI, bought the cover because they feared their credit application would be refused if they did not agree.

In the most extreme of cases it was often sold to people who could never claim, such as those with existing medical conditions, pregnancy or the self-employed.

If you think you may have been missold PPI, Insurance Blog urges you to check the wordings of all your credit agreements and to act quickly to contact a PPI claims specialist to assist you in your fight for compensation.

The iceberg of claims may be melting slightly, however there are rules of limitation under UK law and the right to be compensated for being missold PPI may not be around for too much longer.

Sports Insurance Explained

Britain is one of the World’s leading sporting nations with millions taking part in all sorts of events up and down the length and breadth of the country every day of the year. Surprisingly though many of us take part in sports without knowing the potential risks and possibly life changing consequences that can occur on the local park, playing field or fun run marathon, as easily as they could at Twickenham or Wembley, for example.

All sports involve risks of varying degrees both to those involved in organisation, participation or merely spectating. So in this year of the London Olympics, Insurance Blog takes a look at the different types of risks that players, clubs and coaches may face both on and off the field and the various covers and policies that are available to protect both individuals and businesses involved in sport.

Sports injury and accident insurance is perhaps the most widely sort after personal protection cover by sportsmen and women who wish to indulge in the favourite pastimes without fear that an injury will financially hurt themselves or others. Sports accident and liability insurance policies can be bought by individuals, coaches and sports clubs and is available to adults and children both amateur and professional.

Individual cover
Sports Accident Insurance policies offer a range of protection for loss of earnings or income, personal liability to others you may injure in the course of the sporting activity, physiotherapy for recovery, legal expenses against being sued and various levels of personal accident and injury rehabilitation cover, the cost often dependent upon the type of sport in which the policyholder is engaged. Cover can be purchased for a single day, multiple day event or on an annual basis.
Typically sports liability insurance will cover you against claims of up to £2 million although higher limits of public liability indemnity are available.
Personal Accident cover is available to both adults and children involved in sports and the levels of cover and benefits paid are usually comensurate with the premium charged. If you are injured playing sports you will receive payouts for your injury as defined in the policy.
The cost of sports injury insurance is dependent on a number of factors such as what you do for a living and how much income protection you need, if any. Many policies are flexible and allow you to add additional covers or raise limits, usually for a price.

Sports Team Insurance
This offers exactly the same types of liability, accident and income protection cover as for individuals, however on a team basis with the number of players or squad covered defined by the team sport. Additional covers can include travel insurance for away fixtures, property insurance, and ground cover for clubs. The sports team insurance cover is available for both children and amateur or semi-pro adults teams and premiums vary depending upon the type of sports activity engaged in and the occupations of the players.

Sports Coaches, Instructors and Personal Trainers
If you are involved in sports coaching or training as a business then it is essential that you cover yourself against claims or loss of earnings and if you employ staff to assist, then employers liability insurance is a legal requirement.
Coaches and trainers can purchase annual packages and schemes that are particularly designed with their activities in mind. As with individual sports accident policies, Coaches insurance includes income protection covers, personal accident covers and public liability as standard, which can be extended to cover employees and products where necessary.
A feature of Sports Coach, Fitness Instructors and Sports Trainers package cover that is unique to this insurance is that of advice inclusion which is effectively professional indemnity insurance.
As a coach you are in a position of trust giving advice to those around you who expect the advice and knowledge you pass on to them to be correct and safe. If the advice you give proves to be negligent you could find yourself facing expensive legal action if one of your ‘students’ decides to claim. This advice inclusion protects you against such eventualities.

Sports Business Insurance
If you are in a sports based business you will need a specialist sports business insurance policy. These annual commercial packages offer employers liability usually up to £10 million to protect you against negligence claims from your employees, public liability with varying amounts up to £5 million to proctect your business against claims from the public and product liability if you supply sporting goods or apparatus.
Sports business insurance packages also offer buildings and contents insurance for offices, clubs and sports grounds as optional covers. This type of business insurance is open to sole traders, partnerships, sports clubs and charities and limited companies engaged in sports activities.

Sporting Event Insurance
If you are organising a one off sporting event such as a marathon or kids football match or a five day event of sport such as a surfing or skateboard festival, you will need sporting event insurance. The policies offer basic public liability insurance determined by the number of spectators, which could be fifty or fifty thousand for example. In addition employers liability cover is a must for staff and is usually available as an additional option. Most policies also offer cancellation and pluvial insurance covers, although these can significantly add to the cost of organising the event. Cover is available for single events and is often charged by the day.

Mortgage Companies Attempt To Avoid New PPI Misselling Rules

The availability of mortgages at all levels is essential to kick-start the failing housing market and the industries that rely upon this, from construction to those selling white goods or home insurance. Without readily available and free flowing capital, the UK economy will self implode.

However it now appears that the ‘not so ready to lend’ lenders, principally the banks and building societies who caused the mess in the first place, are now restricting the capital flow further with the provision of ‘new’ products designed to protect their capital and circumvent the recent legislation outlawing the selling of PPI (Payment protection insurance) at point of sale of the loan or mortgage.

Fortunately both the FSA and consumer watchdog , the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) have been keeping a close eye on these activities and have today issued a joint statement warning the providers of these products to obey the rules or face the consequences. Both UK Government organisations are determined that another PPI mis-selling scandal should be avoided as new mortgage protection products emerge.

The two quangos have joined forces on proposed guidelines to lenders in relation to new PPI type products, the responsibility for which can fall within either regulator’s area of operations.

The statement emphasises that now is a key time to reinforce the regulations as the insurance market shifts away from PPI and providers begin to develop new products or product features.

Under particular scrutiny are short-term income protection marketed as debt freeze or debt waiver when included with a credit or loan agreement or mortgage.

Some of the payment protection products that the FSA and OFT considered during the preparation of this proposed guidance are:

Insurance. This includes short term income protection or ‘STIP’, an insurance contract which provides a pre-agreed amount to the policy holder if they experience involuntary redundancy or are incapacitated through sickness or as a result of an accident and may be combined with other forms of insurance cover or include other benefits, and which:

o has a maximum time-limited benefit duration;
o is written for a term which is less than 5 years and not predetermined by the term of any credit agreement or RMC; and
o can be terminated by the Insurer.

Non Insurance the creditor agrees to freeze or waive the requirement on a consumer to make periodic repayments, or to freeze or waive interest or other charges, when a specified ‘event’ occurs, such as sickness or unemployment.

Insurance products are regulated by the FSA under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Non-insurance protection linked to a regulated first charge mortgage contract are also regulated by the FSA. Non-insurance protection linked to a credit or hire agreement (including a second charge mortgage) will typically be regulated by the OFT under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA).

The two organisations will continue to monitor developments in the market, and will take appropriate action under their respective powers where products or practices risk causing detriment to consumers.

The FSA’s guidance stresses that firms should ensure that product features reflect the needs of the consumers they are targeting.

Margaret Cole, FSA managing director, said: “This is the first time that the FSA has issued guidance on the design of a specific product. Firms must learn the lessons of the past and make sure they have consumers’ needs at the heart of new product development.

“That is why we are acting early to ensure firms understand the risks they should bear in mind when designing these products, and how they can manage these risks when developing or distributing the product.

“The FSA cited new forms of payment protection products as an emerging risk in its Retail Conduct Risk Outlook earlier this year, and we are following up on that warning.”

The OFT’s guidance sets out how the OFT considers the Consumer Credit Act applies to payment protection products such as debt freeze or debt waivers linked to a regulated credit agreement, and what firms can do to ensure compliance.

In particular, firms should ensure that consumers are absolutely clear about the nature, price and implications of payment protection products.

For example, if an agreement is offered with an option to choose debt waiver terms, on payment of a fee, it may be necessary to provide financial information including and excluding the cost of the debt waiver.

The guidance also sets out examples of business practices in relation to payment protection products which the OFT is likely to regard as unfair or improper (whether unlawful or not) and so may cast doubt on fitness to hold a consumer credit licence.

David Fisher, the OFT’s Director of Consumer Credit, said: “It is important that the problems encountered with mis-selling of PPI do not arise in relation to new payment protection products.

“Firms need to ensure that they comply with relevant legislation and do not engage in unfair or improper business practices. In particular, they should make clear to consumers what they are signing up to and how much it costs, so that they can make properly informed decisions.”

The consultation will be open for ten weeks, closing on January 13.

With unemployment threatening to reach record levels as the public sector shrinks, it is essential that consumers can purchase protection against accident sickness and unemployment when they commit to a mortgage or large loan. Mortgages must be made easier to obtain and mortgage protection products available to alleviate some of the risks involved in lending for both parties.
There are many established independent specialist companies out there who offer insurance at much cheaper rates than the loan or mortgage providers. Maybe one solution to this ongoing saga would be to outlaw totally the provision of cover for debt by the debt provider and its subsidiaries however they want to dress it up in fancy wordings.

Unemployment Insurance – Last Chance For Public Sector Employees

Unemployment has risen to over 2.5 million in the UK and with the future of many public service workers jobs in doubt, is expected to rise to levels of over three million by Christmas.

Todays official figures show levels of unemployment last enjoyed under Margaret Thatcher’s Tory Government of the Eighties.

Youth unemployment is at its highest level for 19 years.
Womens unemployment is at its highest level for over 23 years.
The public sector is traditionally a large employer of both these groups.
The Governments argument that the private sector creating new jobs will prop up the public sector has proven to be widely inaccurate.
David Miliband pointed out that for every two jobs lost in the public sector only one was being created in the private sector.

The result is that the economy is in a downward spiral and the public sector job cuts are fuelling the maelstrom.
Maybe our public schools are failing as well, because it is obvious that neither David Cameron or the Chancellor bloke, whose name Insurance Blog can’t remember, have even the basic skills in macro economics!

When there was a global depression in the USA in the late 1920′s, FD Rooseveldt’s ‘New Deal’ of public works and public sector employment, brought America out of the downward spiral and introduced infrastructure which gave the post war US a massive competitive advantage.
President Obama has finally realised that cuts don’t work and has announced a massive Federal investment in public works. Alex Salmond, Leader of the Scottish Parliament today said that unemployment was down in Scotland during the last three months due to a large public building program.

David Cameron is carrying on making people and public sector workers unemployed.

If you work in the Public Sector there is still time to get unemployment insurance and income protection however you must hurry.

Income Protection Insurance is available to eveyone in full time employment. As long as you have not been informed by your employer that your job is at risk, you can still take out an income protection policy.

Act quickly and you can protect your mortgage, rent and other regular payments such as council tax, utilities bills, finance agreements and even gym memberships and satellite/cable tv bills. With low monthly payments you have a choice of cover between accident, sickness and unemployment, accident and sickness or unemployment only, with 12 or 18 month benefit options.

Gadget Insurance – Better Security Reduces Theft Risk

Most of us live our lives around our gadgets these days and whether its our 3g mobile, laptop or ipad – it is at risk!

What’s more, in many cases our lifestyles are also at risk as our gadgets carry so much personal and company information and are in effect, our the portals to our social and business lives.

Insurance Blog and if the claims figures are to be believed, half the country, know only too well the pain involved in lifestyle interruption caused by losing a gadget!

The cost of replacing the item can be covered by traditional gadget insurance polices, but insurance as yet does not compensate for lifestyle interruption. So it is good to see alternative methods to insurance being used to tackle this ever growing problem.

Catch That Thief!

The solution to replacing a gadget is to recover it and new security software is already showing some truly amazing results. After all I’d rather get my laptop or phone back than get a new model of market value, as it contains all my personal files and contact details.

Prey Security Software

One solution for PC and laptop theft or mislay is a piece of software called Prey. When you loose your laptop you simply login to your Prey account and activate the device as missing. Sit back and wait for your phone to text. (assuming you haven’t had that stolen as well) and you can login to the Prey website and see a map of just where the device is being used and if its got a webcam you can see who is using it! You’re nicked sonny!

Check out the Prey Software in action on the BBC Video as it catches a real life laptop thief. The video also contains invaluable information on services to protect your other gadgets as well.

Insurance Blog welcomes any measures that help reduce premiums, so we expect all the gadget insurance suppliers to radically slash their rates for those who have anti theft devices for their gadgets!