Archive for Recession

Shadow Banks Not Banks To Blame For UK Economic Crisis says FSA

Lord Turner, Head of the Government owned,  insurance broker  subsidised UK financial services authority the FSA, has been busy espousing his thoughts on the current economic crisis and apparently the banks are not to blame for the banking crisis!

It’”s not the banks, its the Shadow banks who are to blame”, cries the Lord. These shadow banks are still out there doing damage’ said the Lord, and one can only suppose from his attack that their activities are outside the control of the current banking reforms, and his influence.

Shadow Banks? What on earth are they then me lawd?

Well according to his honourable lordship in last nights speech,  “In autumn 2008 the developed world’s banking system suffered a severe crisis … but it’s striking that the crisis did not initially seem to be one of banks themselves, but rather of an apparently new phenomenon: shadow banking. So we need to ensure that our regulatory response appropriately covers shadow banking as well as banks.”

(Whooa! Hold on me lawd. What about the activites of RBS, Northern Rock, LLoyds etc etc etc. Insurance blog got sick of writing about the baknks in the autumn of 2008. Read our archives!)

Lord Turner then described shadow banking as activities including securitised lending, hedge funds active in credit markets, investment bank trading of credit securities, the issuance of asset-backed commercial paper and the repossession market.

Hmm, yes that covers just about everything that Banks and Insurance companies do with your money when they take your salary, insurance premiums and mortgage payments.

Which begs the question that those in the UK insurance sector have been asking about the FSA since its foundation in 2005. Just what regulatory powers can the FSA possibly have over the Global Free Market other than being a souped up consumer protection vehicle through the FSCS, beggars belief.

If it is aware of all the shadowplay, which is carried out by all the big groups, banks, insurance and assurance companies and holding companies that the FSA is supposed to be regulating, then just what can it do to avert a future scenario like we saw in 2008?

Insurance blog is still firmly of the opinion that the FSA is full of overpaid, bloated bureaucrats, funded by insurance fees, that is no better than an after the event vehicle and punishment body for money making in  fines.

Face it Lord Turner, the FSA will never be able to tell the City how to do business only maybe how to conduct it!

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.

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.