Archive for Lifestyle Insurance

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!

Critical Illness Insurance Cover – Don’t Leave It Until Its Too Late!

Long term chronic or terminal illness is one of those risks than could afflict us all. It’s really an essential part of health insurance that is often overlooked or not covered, yet if it strikes critical illnesses are the most devastating to you and your family.

With this grim prospect in mind Insurance Blog gets you up to speed on this most essential of modern covers.

Understanding critical illness insurance

Critical illness is, by its very nature, no laughing matter. It might be advisable, therefore, to take critical illness insurance just as seriously.

What is critical illness insurance?

This cover is a form of protection that seeks to provide you with a lump sum payment should you be diagnosed with what is described by the policy as a critical illness.

Such a payment may come in very useful, as one of the consequences arising from a critical illness may be financial disruption to your normal routine. For example, you may not only lose your income (or find it significantly reduced) but at the same time, also find that you’re incurring additional costs for things such as medical aids or home help etc.

The very last thing anyone needs when they’re critically ill, is cause to start worrying about things such as bills and income.

That is why critical illness insurance exists.

What conditions are covered?

You will only be able to know this for sure, by looking at the detail contained within an individual policy or site (one such example may be found at criticalillnessinsurance.com).

As a general principle, a wide range of conditions may be covered including many of the major life-threatening conditions.

Remember though that the conditions covered may vary significantly between policies and providers – it may be advisable to look closely at the conditions covered to ensure that you’re happy that you have the cover you feel you need.

What about existing medical conditions?

Individual insurance providers may have different positions in this respect, however, typically they will exclude pre-existing conditions (or attach special conditions to them).

It is extremely important that any such conditions are openly and explicitly declared at the time you take out your policy or it may prejudice a future claim.

How many times will the policy pay out?

Typically once. This insurance is intended to cover a one-off diagnosis.

There is a form of cover called serious illness insurance that may pay out several times for different multiple conditions when diagnosed. Once again, sites such as criticalillnessinsurance.com may prove to be useful in outlining the differences.

Is such insurance cost-effective?

Both the cover provided and the prices of policies, will vary.

A sensible selection process would involve balancing the two against your requirements, however, in the case of any insurance, it may be difficult to define what cost-effective actually means.

You may sincerely hope that you never need to call upon your critical illness insurance but knowing it is there, may be prove to be priceless for your peace of mind.

Unemployment to hit North of UK First warns Specialist Insurer

As the CON DEM coalition Government budget deficit cutbacks begin to take effect, Insurance Blog asked one of the UK’s  leading Unemployment Insurance specialists to look at where the cuts are going to be made and who is going to suffer……….

UK Government Cutbacks Will Widen the North-South Divide

News of job losses continues unabated. Not so much for those employed by the house builders or major financial institutions, but further down the economic food chain. Those companies such as fashion house Ethel Austin with 300 stores predominantly in the North of England. They called in the receiver in February 2010 and have since set about closing 120 stores and issuing 1800 redundancy notices. They, like many others shedding labour, held on waiting for an upturn in the economy that never came soon enough to save them. Faced with still hesitant consumer spending, their loses continued and creditors ran out of patience. However, for the North, it is about to get a lot worse.

The UK’s fairy tale economy saw a mushrooming of Public Sector jobs over the last 10 years. The broad industrial group ‘public administration, education and health’ covered 7.16 million jobs in 2007, 26.9 percent of total employment (Source: ABI statistics). Since then the Public Sector has grown whereas the Private Sector has been battered by the recession. In 2007 there were substantially less than one million unemployed, in February 2010 this figure had grown to 2.5 million (Source: office of National Statistics) and almost all of these job losses were in the Private Sector. Post election slashing of Government budgets is unavoidable and contraction of Public Sector jobs is now widely forecast. The only question is where the axe will fall.

The North South divide is about to get a lot wider as the cut backs in pubic expenditure will be felt most acutely in the North. Because of their national pay scales, the wages of Public Sector employees have always gone much further in the North. They offer the opportunity to spend significantly more in the local economy than their colleagues in the South, saddled for years with high mortgage costs and rents. This has benefited the money in circulation in the North and the boom in restaurants, bars and countless other businesses blossomed up and down the land. Just how much this was dependent upon salaries paid out of the public purse is about to become far more apparent.

Things have now changed and ‘its grim’ is about to return ‘up North’ because cut backs will be felt disproportionately by the major northern conurbations. Perversely, past efforts of Governments to create jobs in northern Britain are about to make matters worse. The Lyons Review from 2004 had a target to move over 24,000 jobs out of London by this year. However Lyons followed years of relocation of Government functions to the regions that started in the 1970′s. As a consequence, by 2009 in the North West 3.4% of total employment was in the Civil Service. This compares to a more typical 1.3% in Eastern England and just 2.1% in London despite being the heart of Government. (Source: ONS, Civil Service Statistics, 2009).

Politicians pledging to preserve front line services in Health and Education will only mean even more pressure is applied elsewhere. Once again it is the North, specifically core cities that are likely to bear the brunt. Local Government statistics show they employ just over 40 people per 1000 residents in cities across the UK as a whole. However, in Manchester this is nearer 45 and in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle there are over 55 per capita. Clearly these cities offer greater scope for large scale cut backs than elsewhere in the country.

Whether the Public Sector ‘efficiency savings’ manifest themselves in redundancies or just a recruitment freeze, the North’s disproportionate dependency on the public purse will weigh heavily for several years to come. Money will melt from local economies and it follows that particularly smaller or regional businesses will suffer as a consequence.

State benefits paid when out of work are pitifully inadequate to meet the outgoings of the average household. Therefore, should anyone not have savings to get them and their families through six months to a year of unemployment, they should consider Income Protection Insurance. This can be bought for much less than insuring a car. On-line there are Income Protection Insurance providers offering typical policy benefits of up to £1500 per month. This will pay to up to a year and is enough to meet mortgage and other big bills. Dennis Haggerty of income protection specialist iprotect insurance commented “The most popular benefit level chosen by our customers is £1,000 per month, the average monthly premium for this insurance is under £30.”

Income Protection Insurance is only available to people who are in work and have no immediate prospect of being selected for redundancy. So the time is running out for Civil Servants and other people in the Public Sector to secure this cover before the budget cuts for their particular area are announced.

Insurance companies are there to spread the risk of lost earnings. However they will not sell this type of cover to someone who is very likely to be made redundant, just like they decline fire insurance for a house that is already smouldering. With Public Sector jobs looking vulnerable, there has never been a more urgent time for anyone ultimately paid by the taxpayer to consider how they would meet their financial commitments if they were out of work. With a large section of the local workforce suddenly cutting back their spending because they are worried about their jobs, people employed in the Private Sector ‘up North’ should also be thinking how this could affect them and taking steps to protect themselves and their families.

Dennis Haggerty FCII M IDM Marketing Manager iprotectinsurance.co.uk specialises in the supply of low cost on line Lifestyle Protection, Income Protection and Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance.

Key to the success of i:protectinsurance has been the focus upon supplying a product range that is available exclusively on-line. By eliminating the usual costs associated with selling insurance: telesales teams, direct mail, middlemen and commission, i:protect can offer customers exceptional value for money.

The i:protectinsurance product range includes Income Protection / Lifestyle Protection, Mortgage Payment Protection, Gadget Insurance and Mobile Phone Insurance called Phone PLUS

Income Protection Insurance and Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance

Public Sector Employees Facing Redundancy Should Consider Unemployment Insurance

With the recession officially over and 0.5 percent growth in the last quarter of 2009 you might be fooled in believing that unemployment is a thing of the past.
The grim truth is that every day up and down the country people are still losing their jobs in the thousands.

For the Public sector this must be a worrying time. Whoever gets into power come the elections in May, will make public sector job cuts their first priority in order to reduce the massive National debt accrued by so called quantitiive easing.
Civil Servants need to ACT NOW! if they are to protect themselves from redundancy come the Summer of 2010.

Dennis Haggerty Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (FCII) from lifestyle protection company iprotectinsurance explains………

Up until now, Public Sector jobs have largely escaped the ravages of the recession. Although for Defence related jobs, budget cuts have already begun to bite. Because of this, many Mortgage Protection and Income Protection Insurance providers are currently turning down applications from people who work in the Defence industry, believing they now represent an exceptional level of risk. What is meant by risk? The Underwriters think in terms of the number of redundancies made by a specific employer proving much higher than average. The same view is taken about people working for several Councils currently implementing staff reductions.

“Therefore, it is probably the last chance for the majority working in the Public Sector to buy this type of insurance, before the deep post election budget cuts begin.”

State benefits are pitiful compared to the real cost of living for the average family or young couple living in the UK today. When denied their ability to earn a living wage by accident, sickness or unemployment, everyone needs money to fall back on. The fortunate have savings, however the majority will find themselves in real financial trouble within weeks. Research published in 2008 established that most people of working age have less than 2 months wages saved, with 25% reported to have nothing at all. This applies equally to Public Sector employees. Therefore, having an insurance policy that covers all important bills whilst out of work, makes a great deal of sense. For those that need this insurance, get it now before the Underwriters say ‘no thanks’ to all Civil Servants, Local Authority and Health Service employees.

For anyone employed full time (at least 16 hours per week) in the Public Sector and where there are not any reports of any impending threats to jobs, it would be prudent to consider getting a quote right now. If a Government Department or Council for example, has made an announcement regarding cut backs, a recruitment freeze or layoffs, it is probably too late to buy this cover. Without any doubt, now is the time to get a low premium deal, rather than wait for this cover to rocket in price, or applications to be simply denied altogether.

Even those who already have this type of insurance, perhaps just covering a mortgage or a single loan, should check if they have sufficient benefits. For working couples, particularly where the main wage earner is employed, say, by a Local Authority, it could be prudent for them to take out additional low cost cover whilst it is still on offer.

Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI) is designed to cover monthly mortgage payments and can usually be increased by up to 25% to contribute toward other expenses related to the home.

Income Protection Insurance (often called Lifestyle Protection) is very similar to MPPI, however it is designed to replace the majority of net income if the person insured is unable to work. As it pays out for up to a year it is more accurate to describe this as short term income protection insurance. It is not limited to mortgage repayments. However many providers cap their maximum monthly benefits at £1500, some £2000. It is rarely more because the Underwriters make the assumption this would be enough for most buyers to pay their monthly bills.

Most buyers tend to be only be interested in unemployment cover in the mistaken belief health related benefit is less important for them. However there are relatively few providers of unemployment only cover and frequently their competitors will offer full Accident Sickness and Unemployment cover for less! More importantly with 2.4m people in the UK claiming Disability Benefit (Dept of Work and Pensions 2008) the risk of health related claims is greater than many think.

The best rates are available on line where Income Protection and Lifestyle Protection Insurance can be bought without the expense of telephone sales or high commission to inflate the price. Moneysupermarket are a good source of comparison quotes, however the summary of cover should always be read very carefully to ensure what each provider offers for the price, really is like for like.

A web based comparison service is provided by the FSA. This is entirely independent and not trying to sell anything. Their tables also include quality measures, although as a result they are quite complex and therefore not easy to use. However they represent a good place to research a shortlist of suppliers to compare quality as well as price.

Applying for Income Protection, Mortgage Protection or Payment Protection Insurance on-line is a great way to save money. However the acceptance criteria applied by different underwriters varies. If applying on-line does not work out, it may simply mean the applicant is one of many who need advice regarding what to buy.

What a bunch of Bankers! UK Banks challenge PPI ruling

Feelings are running high this morning in the Payment Protection Market and the consumer pressure groups with news that Barclays and Lloyds TSB are challenging the Competition Commission’s ruling to ban the sale of Payment Protection Insurance at the time of sale of a loan mortgage or credit.

Insurance Blogger thinks this is outrageous after years of expenditure on the investigations by the FSA and Competition Commission and others, and the subsequent fines for misselling, that any institution, let alone a largely Government owned institution Lloyds Bank, should have the right to challenge any such decision!

Payment protection insurance lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from specialist payment protection insurance company, Burgesses confirms our viewpoint. She said “These institutions are without morals and intent on putting profit ahead of consumers’ interests.”
“This latest move is a bid by the banks to continue making billions of pounds in profits in order to prop up other failing business areas.
“We all know PPI mis-selling is rife amongst High Street lenders and their resultant profits are obscene. These delaying tactics, lodged to stop the ban going ahead in October 2010, only serve to prove just how shameless these firms are and the extent they will go to protect their ‘cash cows’.”

The UK Protection Insurance sector takes over £5 billion in premiums every year and around 90% of the premiums goes in profit to Banks and Building Societies.

In 2006, the Competition Commission reported the 12 largest distributors made profits of GBP1.4bn – before the recession kicked in and demand for unemployment insurance protection and income protection insurance policies grew.

After a lengthy investigation into anti-competitive practices, the Commission announced in January a series of measures to lower prices and widen choice in the PPI sector.

These included:
axing single premium PPI and replacing with monthly payments.
a seven day ban on selling cover alongside credit.
a requirement to offer PPI separately to credit.

The Financial Ombudsman Service predicted some 30,000 payment protection insurance mis-selling complaints would be received by the end of March this year and confirmed the majority of them can be traced back to High Street lenders.

It upholds at least 90% of cases and in the case of one lender, 100%.

Sara-Ann Burgess concludes: “How can you on the one hand say banks are working to restore confidence and then on the other have two major players challenging decisions in order to maintain gigantic market shares and prevent freedom of choice? Actions are certainly speaking louder than words. These lenders are damaging the financial well-being of consumers and will continue to do so. What’s equally insulting is the fact that Lloyds is paid for by taxpayers and our money is being used to ensure we continue to be ripped off.”

Insurance Blogger couldn’t agree more! The banks created the current recession by the misselling of mortgages and piggybacked missold mortgage payment protection insurance, and now they are trying to retain their ill gotten share of a market that wouldn’t exist if they had done their job properly in the first place.

BancAssurance is a French joke – Keep your noses out of Insurance – Bankers!

For those of you still in a job, we wholeheartedly recommend Burgesses Unemployment Insurance