Archive for Bank of England

Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance Ungoes Rebrand

Have you noticed the large number of prime time adverts on UK television this week for Direct Line?

You know the banal ones featuring Alexander Armstrong of Pointless and Pimms O’clock fame ranting on about ‘you won’t find us one car insurance comparison sites’ and ‘twelve months cover for the price of ten’

No? Well you should take notice of them as you the British taxpayer have an 82% share in their success, for now.

Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance, a subsidiary of RBS the toxic bank bailed out by the UK Government in 2008 and the major reason the Bank of England has had to create over £200 billion of debt, is looking like it is the first of many parts of the operation that will be sold or hived off.

RBSI this week renamed itself as Direct Line Insurance Group and changed its company status to a plc from a private limited company. This move suggests that it aims to openly float on the Stock Exchange although it could be priming itself for a private sale to one of the large multi-nationals.

A question mark hangs over the over famous brands bought by RBSI including ageing dog Churchill and ‘Joanna Lumley’s’ Privilege. Perhaps these could be sold off separately or with their own book of business. RBSI also own the commercial insurance broker only channel NIG, which is the antithesis of Direct line in it’s structural model.

The UK Government has stated that all of RBS Insurance interests must be disposed of by 2014.
Just in time for Scottish Independence!

What are Bankers Good for? Ask a Tradesman!

Now I don’t know how legal this is, but it’s brilliant and so funny!

The guys over at the tradesman insurance quotes comparison site tradesman-insurance.com sent us it!

Watch!

Insurance Blog – keeping up the crusade against rip off banks that we are all paying for now in higher taxes and soon to be higher interest rates!

Someone should tell Cameron that he could get rid of the so called deficit if he sold the Banks that this Country owns!
However it suits his political purposes to line the pockets of his banking prep school chummies with Government money is the form of treasury bonds………

UK Unemployment hits record heights

The UK Government have just released the latest economic indicators from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and it makes grim reading. doom and gloom awaits us all if the trends continue……

If you haven’t taken out unemployment insurance yet, there may still be a little time, although given latest figures you will have to move as fast as the postman with the redundancy notices, as UK Unemployment hit record heights.

Here’s the facts of the state of Britains Economy

These are graphs showing the working age employment rate and the unemployment rate

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to November 2010 was 70.4 per cent, down 0.3 on the quarter.

The number of people in employment aged 16 and over fell by 69,000 on the quarter to reach 29.09 million.

The last time there were larger quarterly falls in the employment level and rate was in the three months to August 2009.

The number of people working full-time fell by 37,000 on the quarter to reach 21.16 million and the number of people working part-time fell by 32,000 to reach 7.93 million.

Part Time Working at all time high!

The number of employees and self-employed people who were working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 26,000 on the quarter to reach 1.16 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

The unemployment rate for the three months to November 2010 was 7.9 per cent, up 0.2 on the quarter.

The total number of unemployed people increased by 49,000 over the quarter to reach 2.50 million.

Male unemployment increased by 43,000 on the quarter to reach 1.48 million and female unemployment increased by 6,000 on the quarter to reach 1.02 million.

Youth Unemployment at record levels!

The unemployment rate for those aged from 16 to 24 increased by 1.0 on the quarter to reach 20.3 per cent, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

The number of unemployed 16 to 24 year olds increased by 32,000 on the quarter to reach 951,000, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.

Redundancies on steady increase.
There were 157,000 redundancies in the three months to November 2010, up 14,000 on the quarter.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (the claimant count) fell by 4,100 between November and December 2010 to reach 1.46 million, although the number of people claiming for up to six months increased by 7,200 to reach 960,300.

The total number of male claimants fell by 6,600 on the month to reach 1.02 million but the number of female claimants increased by 2,500 to reach 439,300.

The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for the three months to November 2010 was 23.4 per cent, up 0.2 on the quarter.

The number of economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64 increased by 89,000 over the quarter to reach 9.37 million.

Early Retirement at Record levels !

The number of people who were economically inactive because they had taken retirement before reaching the age of sixty-five increased by 39,000 on the quarter to reach 1.56 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1993.

Wages Stay the Same!
The earnings annual growth rate for total pay (including bonuses) was 2.1 per cent for the three months to November 2010, unchanged from the three months to October.

The earnings annual growth rate for regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 2.3 per cent for the three months to November 2010, unchanged from the three months to October.

The Oulook.

Very Bleak!  The current situation is comparable to the early Thatcher years and the axe has yet to fall on 600,000 public sector workers. The knock on effects to the high street of this contraction in money flow will damage small to medium sized businesses as demand inevitably drops. Further unemployment within the already contracted private sector is inevitable as orders dry up and the unemployment queues will increase.

All sectors of the economy will suffer from this so called ‘double dip recession’ particularly high end products and high street businesses will suffer. Insurance will not have an easy time either! Already we are seeing once profitable sectors like shop insurance virtually disappear as a viable large market as the number of shops rapidly decreases. When was the last time you saw a high street travel agents or hardware store? The pattern is being repeated across all sectors of the UK Commercial Insurance market.

Coupled with this we are under immense inflationary pressures from energy prices and global food markets which inevitable, although foolishly, will lead to the Bank of England be foreced to politically raise Interest rates. After all, there are no more weapons in the economic arsenal.

Darwinian ConDemNation.

The future is blue and orange and civil commotion – If you are not a merchant banker, are you fit enough to survive?

New Year Recession Fears

Insurance blog thought the silly season was in the Summer, but from the noises coming out of Whitehall and what remains of Fleet St. recently, it looks like it’s begun early!

If all the Economic pundits are to be believed, you would think that the economy was rosy! No chance of a the dreaded double dip recession now ……..

Hmm, what about the 600,000 job losses in the public sector that still have to be made this spring and will have to be paid for out of a shrinking GDP, rising wage demands from the private sector, fuels costs going through the roof and VAT at it’s highest ever 20%!

However you look at the current situation the immediate future does not look too bright!

Amongst all the coalition division and noise about quangos, cuts, student fees, interest rates and inflation, the UK Government has this week raised Insurance premium tax to 6%. With the cost of Insurance already at record highs as companies try to build up lost claims reserves, maybe they thought we’d not notice more indirect taxation!

The future doesn’t look too orange for Corporal Clegg and his Liberal lackies either who are currently enjoying their lowest popularity level for 30 years.

Meanwhile David Cameron is making noises about the housing sector while failing to enforce the necessary lending from the banks that would inject some momentum into a recovery, he has spoken out about plans to clamp down even further on mortgages in the name of responsible lending.

Tory Housing minister Grant Shapps has said that under the new  FSA’s Mortgage Market Review (MMR) proposals, he himself would have failed to get a mortgage.

Now Cameron has said that lenders have already gone too far in preventing ‘good risk’ buyers from getting mortgages.

The Prime Minister warned that the housing market was ‘stuck’ and would not improve until banks and building societies got back to ‘respectable’ lending.  Cameron said the reaction to the crash had now gone too far.

He said: “The pendulum has now swung too far the other way. If you are a single person, you are earning a decent salary, you go to the bank or building society, you are actually quite a good risk, they won’t give you 80% of the value, they won’t give you four times your salary.

“So we are working with them to try and say, of course we don’t want to see the unsustainable boom of the past, but we’ve got to get proper lending, respectable lending, going again.”

Cameron made it clear that he did not want to see a return to 120% mortgages and loans based on seven or eight times earnings.

He said: “We don’t want another housing boom where prices rise out of people’s reach, but the housing market is a key part of the economy. You need a housing market where people are able to sell and people are able to buy.”

Yeah and one where banks lend money! It wasn’t irresponsible lending to UK homeowners that caused the current recession, if this was the case then repossessions would not be at the levels they are! Moreover bad banking and buying toxic debt from the USA were the root cause. With the same people in control, these banks must be forced to lend to both homeowners and businesses alike if we are to see any real recovery in the housing and employment markets in the UK in 2011.

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.