Tag Archives: Insurance

Insurance

Another £400m Into RBS’ PPI Compensation Fund, Says Missoldppiclaims.info

The Royal Bank of Scotland has earmarked an additional £400m to cover the cost of compensation and refunds relating to mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), says leading PPI Claims Company Missoldppiclaims.info.

The nationalised bank has released figures for the last quarter showing a pre-tax loss of£1.26bn, a proportion of which is due to the allocation of a further £400m to its PPIcompensation fund. In a move echoed around the banking industry in recent months, RBS now has increased its total PPI allocation to now stand at £1.7bn. However, it is unlikely to be the end of the compensation claims for the beleaguered bank.

Its recent computer problems resulted in significant numbers of RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank customers being locked out of their accounts for days, a mistake which has cost£175million so far with a further £50m of compensation put aside.

RBS is also part of an investigation by regulators in the UK, US and Asia – including the fraud division of the US justice department – over the part it played in the manipulation of the LIBOR inter-bank lending rate. With settlement negotiations imminent, the fines that could potentially be applied RBS believe could have a “material” impact on the company.

Despite the problems, RBS showed operating profits for the third quarter increased from£650m to £1bn, while bad debt fell by £159m and staff costs were 5% lower due to a 7% reduction in staff.

Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, said: “The extraordinary challenges which RBS faced following the financial crisis are being worked through successfully. The five year restructuring plan is now in its later stages with important work still to do, including an emphasis on dealing with reputational issues now that the bank’s safety and soundness has advanced so well.”

A spokesperson for leading PPI Claims Management Company, Missoldppiclaims.info said: “It’s good to see RBS recognising its responsibilities towards customers that were mis-sold PPI policies, in particular the responsibility to put customers first and treat them fairly. This can be seen in its decision to increase lending to its business customers even though there was a downturn in loan applications, but it would be good to see a similar helpful response to borrowing for its non-business customers with personal loans and residential mortgages.

The reputational issues Mr Hester refers to are likely to be industry criticisms that RBS customers play second fiddle to the short-term interests of shareholders and staff. As a result, RBS has relaxed its lending position towards its small and medium (SMEs)businesses, which has led to a an increase of new lending by 3% since the second quarter despite a 25% drop in SME loan applications due to the Olympics and doubts over the stability of the UK economy.

Analyst Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There is no doubting the immensity of the task RBS has faced in executing its turnaround plan, nor indeed the progress made so far.”

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NRMA Insurance To Offer Life Insurance

NRMA Insurance’s alliance with life insurance provider TAL will see TAL provide life insurance policies on behalf of NRMA Insurance, with customer policies managed by TAL.

NRMA Insurance Chief Executive Officer Andy Cornish said that the alliance would help make life insurance more accessible for customers.

“Underinsurance is a problem in Australia with around 95 per cent of people not holding adequate life insurance.*

“Our alliance with TAL allows us to address this by offering easy to understand andaffordable life insurance, as well as greater access as customers can purchase life insurance through all of our existing sales channels.

“TAL, like NRMA Insurance has a long and proud history of helping Australians protect their assets, and offer security for them and their families.”

Mr Cornish said the alliance means NRMA Insurance can utilise the expertise of TAL to offer its customers another important insurance product, while also continuing to focus on their core suit of products.

“This alliance will allow us to continue to grow our multi-product, multi-channel strategy,” Mr Cornish said.

TAL Direct Chief Executive Officer John Hoyle said NRMA customers will experience a seamless delivery of high quality service.

“TAL is the market leader in direct life insurance and has a history of successfully partnering with non-life insurance businesses to provide greater access to life insurance for their customers.

“The alliance is a significant partnership. The products and services we provide for NRMA Insurance will be to the same high standard TAL applies to its own business,” said Mr Hoyle.

NRMA Life Insurance is available from 9th October 2012 and customers can purchase online, in an NRMA office or by calling 132 132.

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Ezra Penland Actuarial Recruitment Employs Two; Announces Scholarship Recipient; Sally Ezra Quoted

The Leader in Actuarial Recruitment, Ezra Penland, is proud to announce the hiring of two new employees at the rapidly-growing, Chicago-based firm. Thomas Clohisy joins Ezra Penland as an Actuarial Recruiter. Tom has executive recruiting experience, as well as recruitment business development skills. He was also a successful commodities trader for a number of years, after having earned an MBA from Loyola University and a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. Tom can be reached at tom@EzraPenland.com.

John Gieger joins Ezra Penland as Corporate Librarian and Data Specialist. John earned a Masters of Library and Information Science from Dominican University, as well as a Bachelor’s in Audio Engineering from Belmont University. He has varied experiences as a data manager and a librarian, and brings with him exceptional computer skills and an innate ability for information organization. John may be reached at john@EzraPenland.com.

Additionally, Ezra Penland proudly awards their most recent $500 Actuarial Scholarship to Jordan Nadler. Ms. Nadler is a junior at Missouri State University where she is a Mathematics major with a concentration in Actuarial Science, and she is minoring in Finance and Risk Management & Insurance. In addition to tutoring mathematics, she is a member of the Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity and treasurer of the Alpha Lambda Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, the Risk Management,Insurance and Actuarial Science Fraternity. Nadler has held an internship at American National and will hold an internship at Ernst & Young this summer in New York. She has passed two Actuarial Exams and is pursuing a career as an Actuary.

And, finally, Sally Ezra, Partner at Ezra Penland Actuarial Recruitment, was interviewed in the May-June, 2012 Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. The topic was the “Workers Compensation Predictive Modeling Comes of Age”, and Ms. Ezra discussed the hireability and availability of actuaries with such skills.

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IPP advises agents on Flight Plus Liability as Airlines collapse by the week

Global travel credit specialists and UK market leader International Passenger Protection Ltd (IPP) have highlighted to new Flight Plus license holders that they will be liable for the financial collapse of any suppliers they sell such as Airlines, Hotels, Car Hire Companies, Rail journeys, Amusement parks, Ferries etc.

“Flight Plus presents a fresh direction in giving some form of clearer consumer protection, however we are seeing many agents still not grasping the actual liabilities they could face, no different to existing ATOL holders with agents still convinced that their ATOL covers the collapse of not only them but anything they sell”

“ATOL will only cover the collapse of anything the agent sells if the agent themselves collapses at the same time, otherwise the agent is always responsible for anything they sell which financially collapses which is part of a flight package” continued Mclean.

However IPP’s concern continued with the fact that the new ATOL certificate will only be issued to the public if they buy an ATOL holiday. “This seems to defeat the ultimate objective of an informative sale for all people purchasing travel, it’s a shame the certificate could not have gone a step further to clarify a trip not being protected so consumers can make an informed choice on their purchase and if they wish to protect or not.”

The warning comes as the 8th collapse in a matter of weeks with Air Australia leaving thousands stranded abroad, and with at least one airline collapsing each week in the last four weeks. “Collapses are not just stretching to Airlines, we have seen companies such as Sea Ferries and Hotels collapse or currently in dire financial strain” commented IPP’s Director Paul Mclean.

Protecting agents exposures can be simply covered with an annual policy covering scheduled flights and or end suppliers for very little costs per passenger. But IPP pointed out that agents should ensure they only take out insurance with Insurers whom are UK registered and members of the FSA and it would be prudent for them to check out the credentials of the Insurer providing the cover.

With the eurozone crisis, rising fuel costs and an increased tax burden, IATA forecast Europe’s airlines would lose at the best $600 million this year. The recent collapse of long established caries such as Malev and Spanair demonstrated how even governments are willing to let a state supported airline wither away. Numerous governments have shown their reluctance to continue support national carriers by seeking new investors such as Malev, LOT, SAS, TAP, and CSA Czech Airlines. This does not mean these carriers are at risk necessarily but investment from the banks is simply not there anymore which the whole industry depends on not just airlines.

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Substantial Presentations on Insurance Trends, Emerging Risks and Pandemic Modelling Released by Actuary

Claude Penland, casualty actuary and webmaster, has produced at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia three informative PowerPoint presentations and videos foractuaries, actuarial analysts, underwriters, financial analysts, accountants, consultants, claims personnel and others in the insurance and reinsurance industries.

The first presentation, “10 Influenza Pandemic Models”, profiles models from the Society of Actuaries, Milliman, VirSim, Risk Management Solutions, Military Science, INFORMS, Los Alamos, open source alternatives and others.

The second is entitled “40 Insurance Trends for 2011”. Forty insurance trends are considered, including healthcare, health plan grandfathering, asset quality, Takaful, microinsurance, emerging risks, insurance industry job losses, predictive analytics use, as well as other global insurance and reinsurance trends.

The third presentation is called “10 Emerging Risks for Insurers and Reinsurers”. These risks include infrastructure, cyber attacks, space weather, nanotechnology and municipal bankruptcies.

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Young Drivers Face Catch-22 Conundrum Reports Tiger.co.uk

The recent publication of The AA’s 2010 Insurance Premium Index has again highlighted the growing problem of increased car insurance costs for younger drivers. The Index estimated that insurance for 17-22 year old drivers increased by over 58% in 2010. This equated to a massive £829, increasing average premiums for this age group to over £2,250 – more than the cost of many first cars.

The team at Tiger.co.uk, a motor insurance comparison site, has highlighted another statistic about young drivers that also needs to be considered. The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) has estimated that 5% of motorists – over 1.2 million – are driving without insurance and 20% of these (243,000) are 17-20 year olds.

The same organisation estimates that the high level of uninsured driving has contributed towards the extraordinary level of inflation in car insurance premiums, adding about £30 to the cost of policies for legally insured drivers.

When viewed together these statistics lead to a worrying conclusion: as car insurance becomes increasingly unaffordable for younger drivers, so they may be increasingly tempted to drive without any insurance at all. This, in turn could lead to a rise in uninsured drivers’ compensation costs, again fuelling further increases in car insurance premiums.

A spokesperson for Tiger.co.uk commented: “The relationship between escalating insurance premiums and the growth of uninsured driving is inescapable. It could well lead to a “Catch 22” situation whereby having more uninsured drivers contributes to increased premiums causing drivers, particularly young drivers, to risk driving without insurance – which is of course a criminal offence. We would recommend that young drivers take the following steps to try and get cheap car insurance:

• Use car insurance comparison sites like Tiger.co.uk to make sure you get car insurance quotes and compare policies and get from a wide range of insurers.

• Consider taking the Pass Plus exam after passing your driving test – premiums can be reduced by up to 30%.*

• Have a look at ‘pay as you drive’ policies such as those offered by Insure The Box and Coverbox – both of which are available via Tiger.co.uk’s comparison service (the only car insurance comparison site to offer both of these insurance brands).

• Choose your car carefully – go for something in a low insurance group.

• Drive carefully and build your no claims discount as this can significantly reduce your premiums.”

The spokesperson also reminded young drivers shopping for cheap car insurance:
“Don’t be tempted to get an older driver to “front” your policy for you. This practice of having an older more experienced driver as the main driver on a policy is illegal and can lead to insurance being void.”

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Expanding Insurance News, Web Trends Website Announced at ClaudePenland.com

A rapidly growing insurance news and web trends website was recently created and launched at ClaudePenland.com. This six-month-old website was conceived by Claude Penland, an established casualty actuary with twenty years of industry experience.

Claude writes at least six times a day on the international business issues that he explores daily. These global topics include insurance news (4InsuranceNews.com), insurance startup companies (InsuranceStartups.com), insurance mergers and acquisitions (WhoBoughtWho.com), insurance trends (InsTrends.com), reinsurance news and trends (ReinsuranceTrends.com), web startups (1000Startups.com), web trends (WebTrendInfo.com), web development, pension risk (PensionRiskNews.com), catastrophe risk (CatRisky.com), Solvency II European insurance regulations (SolvencyDeux.com), Takaful (TakafulMe.com), predictive analytics (PredNews.com), risk management (TheRiskNews.com), odd business ideas (OddBusinessIdeas.com), plus finance and investment.

New topics are frequently added to ClaudePenland.com and there is an interesting quote posted every Friday (FridaysQuote.com). 27 separate RSS news feeds are offered.

On ClaudePenland.com/multimedia, informative PowerPoint presentations and YouTube videos authored by Claude Penland are often featured. These include diverse presentations on worldwide topics such as catastrophe risk trends, actuarial news, predictive analytics, the China/Hong Kong insurance markets, reinsurance, social networking startups trends, Solvency II European insurance regulations, Europe’s insurance markets, insurance startups, Bermuda’s insurance market, executive recruitment, the Takaful market, web trends, India’s insurance market, job hunting and technology, web development, insurance mergers and acquisitions, as well as pension risk trends.

All presentations are free to download and share. Claude’s “40 Web Trends for 2011” presentation was recommended highly recently at ClaudePenland.com/recommendations.

At ClaudePenland.com/salary-surveys, compensation surveys are provided pertaining to insurance and reinsurance C-level executives. These surveys were generated from publicly-available U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. They include property and casualty insurance (CasualtySalarySurvey.com), life insurance (LifeSalarySurvey.com), health insurance (HealthSalarySurvey.com), and also property and casualty reinsurance (ReinsuranceSalarySurvey.com).

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LV= Reports That Up To 1.2 Million Over-50s May Use Equity In Home To Supplement Pensions

LV= has revealed that ‘Home is Pension’ is a common mantra among the over-50s workforce in Britain as shown in a recent report published by the retirement specialist. Although 54% of the over-50s believe the value of their home has fallen over the last three years, an estimated 1.2 million ‘HIPpies’ (‘Home is Pension’) may use the equity in their home to help supplement their retirement income.

Only 19% of all over-50s still in work feel that they are financially on track to retire as planned, while the number of working over-50s that believe they may have to delay retirement for financial reasons has increased hugely, to 41% from just 28% this time last year. Homeowners over 50 estimate they have lost £60 billion in property value due to recent volatility in the housing market.

However, this has not put many off using the equity in their homes to help fund retirement, with nearly a quarter of working over-50s considering using some, or all of the equity in their home to fund their retirement. The ‘Home is Pension’ mantra is so valuable to over-50s, that 54% would suggest their children include investment in property as part of their retirement planning.

When working over-50s were questioned about the impact an interest rate rise would have, LV=’s research found that 40% would have to reduce their pension contributions just to meet the higher cost of paying debts. More than four in ten (44%) of all working over-50s and 34% of those aged 60-69 in work, have an outstanding mortgage debt on their home.

Vanessa Owen, LV= Head of Equity Release, said: “It seems to be increasingly commonplace for those approaching retirement to consider using the equity in their property as part of their overall retirement plan. Continuing doom and gloom over volatility in the housing market and seeing some properties fall in value, hasn’t deterred the UK’s “HIPpies” and many are still positive that the equity in their home is their best chance of having a more comfortable retirement.”

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LV= Promotes Best Practice For National Customer Service Week

LV=, the mutual insurance, investment and retirement group, is running a series of training and activities to promote and reward excellence in customer service as part of National Customer Service Week.

LV= is dedicated to delivering the best possible customer service all year round and will be using National Customer Service Week as an extra opportunity to highlight the value that customer service plays within organisations.

In addition to highlighting and rewarding those staff who have demonstrated customer service excellence, the group will be running a series of initiatives during the week such as problem solving training and ‘back to the floor’ sessions for senior management.

Two staff award schemes have been set up to celebrate the week. The LOVE awards are for employees who demonstrate Living Our Values Everyday (LOVE) and the Unsung Heroes awards are for staff to nominate colleagues who have gone the extra mile to improve an internal process or system.

In the general insurance business, each site has initiatives promoting great customer service throughout the week including managers’ mystery shopping and awarding prizes for great examples of customer service, quizzes themed around customer service, dress down and dress up days, job swaps and awards for the friendliest members of the customer service team.

Initiatives being rolled out specifically in LV=’s Bournemouth office include a dress like a rock star day, a ‘Know your Claims’ team quiz and retention spot prizes.

LV= handles more than 18,000 customer calls a day and has won numerous awards for its customer service, including the 2010 Moneywise award for best customer service in car insurance. The LV= general insurance call centre also won call centre of the year* in the 2009 National Customer Service Awards and is short-listed again for the same award this year.

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LV Announces Strong Performance In First Half Of 2010

LV=, the mutual insurance, retirement and investment group, has announced a strong performance in the first half of 2010, with sales and trading profits significantly up on the same period of 2009.

Life cover sales are up 40% to £63.5m on an APE (Annual Premium Equivalent) basis, compared to £45.2m in the first half of 2009. This includes retirement business seeing a 36% increase with an APE of £48.3 (H1 2009: £35.4m) while protection and savings businesses saw a 55% increase with an APE of £15.2m (H1 2009: £9.8m).

General insurance GWP (Gross Written Premiums) were up 37% to £546.4m (H1 2009: £397.5m), this includes including new business GWP up by
39% to £85.0m (H1 2009: £61.3m). The results also confirm that LV= is now fourth biggest private car insurer (according to FSA returns 2009).

In asset management (LVAM), investment performance shows continued strong outperformance against benchmark for the with-profits portfolio. 85% of eligible funds are ranked in the first or second quartile of their peer groups for performance in the first six months of 2010 while H1 2010 sales exceed the total for 2009 (excluding third party institutional sales).

Mike Rogers, LV= group chief executive, commented: “Although the market environment remains challenging, our focus has paid off enabling us to
continue to grow profitably across the LV= Group. Our trading performance in terms of both sales and profitability was significantly up on the same period last year.

“In the life business, pensions and annuities spearheaded a strong performance, driven partly by legislation change moving the retirement age from 50 to 55. Profitability in life was also enhanced by improved cost control and by our development of new IFA accounts.

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LV European Ex-UK Growth Fund Adds Sterling Hedged Share Class

LV= Asset Management (LVAM), the fund management arm of insurance, investment and pensions group LV=, is enhancing its LV= European ex-UK Growth Fund with the addition of a Sterling hedged share class, in response to growing demand from institutional and discretionary clients.

The new Institutional Income GBP Hedged Share Class is a further designation of the Institutional Income Share Class launched last month. It allows clients to mitigate currency risk on their investments but also to express any strong currency views by providing for free switching between hedged and unhedged share classes without having to realise the investment or incur any capital gains tax liability.

Julian Thomas, Head of Product Development and Management, LVAM, commented: “LV= European ex-UK Growth Fund has achieved a remarkable track record of consistent performance for its clients over a number of years. In order to widen its appeal to investors, the Sterling hedged share class aims to reduce the underlying currency risk of the portfolio’s assets by hedging currencies to which the portfolio has material exposure.

“We believe this gives LVAM a competitive advantage by offering a product that few others do, allowing a greater number of potential clients to access the Fund’s strong performance.”

Matthew Wright, Head of Sales, LVAM, said: “We know that there is demand for this type of product from clients and indeed, we already have strong pipeline interest ahead of bringing it to market. This is further evidence that LVAM is prepared to extend the investment options of an impressively performing fund to meet client needs.”

LV= European ex-UK Growth Fund was launched in 2003 and is managed jointly by Mark Page, Richard Falle and Laurent Millet. Last month it secured an OBSR ‘A’ rating and it carries an ‘AA’ rating from Standard & Poor’s. It is the only fund to have outperformed both the benchmark index and IMA Europe sector average in every year since 2004*.

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LV= Reports Kids Come First As Parents Increase ‘Back To School’ Spending To £709 Million

LV=’s new Cost of a Child study has found that parents will spend £709 million* on ‘back to school’ basics including uniforms, stationery, sportswear and winter coats as parents prepare to kit their children out for the start of the new school year. This is equivalent to parents spending an average of £122 on their children. This rises to£139 for secondary school aged children, compared to £96 for infants. Parents living in London spend the most preparing for their kids to go back to school at £158 on average.

Despite many families continuing to feel the squeeze in the current economic climate, 46% of parents expect to spend a greater amount this year on ‘back to school’ items than last year. When asked to consider the financial pressures of kitting their kids out for school, 48% said they are feeling the strain of having to spend ‘excessive amounts’, rising to 64% among parents in the North East.

54% parents are considering using low cost suppliers for back to school items, such as supermarkets to buy basics like uniform and stationery, and 23% are considering second hand items, including hand-me-downs and goods from charity shops or eBay. This rises to 70% and 41% respectively for families in the South East.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said: “It is surprising that many parents are responding to increased money pressure this year by spending more on back to school basics; clearly kids come first despite the downturn. And it’s even more surprising that many parents are spending more despite looking at ways to be frugal and economise, by purchasing from cheaper suppliers such as their local supermarket or eBay.”

The annual LV= Cost of a Child study shows that parents are now likely to have to shell out more than £201,000 on raising a child from birth to the age of 21**. This equates to £9,610 a year, £800 a month or £26 a day. Education (not including private school fees) remains the second biggest expenditure behind childcare, costing parents £52,881 over a child’s lifetime – an increase of 4% on last year.

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LV Research Suggests Equity Release Set To Become Big Growth Area For IFAs

LV= conducted new research at its recent equity release road shows that reveals IFAs believe equity release is set to become a big growth area for their future business, helping to deal with the needs of the UK’s ageing population.

Research amongst IFAs that attended the road shows, which took place in May this year, showed that nearly all (98%) of them believe that there will be a surge in consumers using equity release over the next few years. 35% of the IFAs that attended said that equity release is already a core part of their business.

When looking into the reasons behind the future growth of the market, IFAs cited a shortfall in pension provision as the top reason for a future boost in people releasing the equity from their home, with funding to make home improvements and being able to help family onto the property ladder the next biggest motivators.

When looking into long term care planning, 88% of IFAs indicated that they believed, in the right circumstances, equity release could be the best option for people needing to fund long-term care in the home.

Vanessa Owen, LV=’s Head of Equity Release said: “Advisers can clearly see the importance property will play in people financing their future in and around retirement, and a large number of IFAs now class equity release as core to their business. Releasing the money locked in a home can, under the right circumstances, be a lifeline for cash poor, asset rich people in or at retirement. With people living longer and healthier lives many will want a cash injection to help pay for a standard of living they have grown used to in their working lives as well as paying for home improvements, dream holidays or medical care. People’s homes are often their greatest asset, so it makes sense for them to be able to access that capital when they need it.”

Andrea Rozario, Director General of equity release trade body SHIP, added: “It isn’t surprising that IFA’s believe in the future growth of equity release when you consider the longevity issues we face and the problems this brings. Clearly the shortfall in pensions, along with an increasing need to pay for care in later life is becoming more important for the consumer and turning to their biggest asset, often their property is a logical step. The use of this asset can help alleviate problems for customers as long as they are fully aware of all the options open to them and this is where advisers play a critical role.”

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LV Launches Innovative Recruitment Advertising Campaign

LV=, the insurance, investment and pensions group, has announced the launch of a ground-breaking recruitment advertising campaign. The campaign uses unique technology that enables jobseekers to interact with existing LV= staff and find out about the jobs on offer before even applying.

The poster and taxi campaign includes five different poster designs each featuring a different LV= employee who has their own story to tell. The campaign invites jobseekers to take a photo of the poster with their mobile phone and send the image to LV= via MMS or email, using short code 67777 and adding the keyword ‘LV’. Using image recognition software, LV= will then identify which employee was on the poster, and make a pre-recorded call to the jobseeker in which that actual employee says what they do at LV= and what it’s like to work there.

The campaign features imagery around LV=’s iconic green heart and uses a wide range of media including online, social media, outdoor and the innovative poster and taxi campaign. The innovation is continued on LV Careers where jobseekers can interact with existing staff as well as hear from Mike Rogers, group chief executive and apply for jobs online.

There is also a charitable element to the campaign, as for every text received through the campaign LV= will donate 10p to its nominated charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital.

LV= is currently recruiting for staff in many of its 28 offices across the UK. Locations of particular focus include its head office in Bournemouth plus LV= offices in Bristol, Croydon and Huddersfield. The majority of jobs on offer are within LV=’s general insurance division.

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LV=’s Annual Results For 2009 Shows Strong Growth Despite A Difficult Year

The latest figures show that LV= achieved a rise in its underlying profit across the year from £41.9m to £44.2m (2008: £2.3m) and a loss in 2006, with the general insurance business making a profit of £7.0m (2008: loss of £30.1m), meaning it went into profit one year ahead of plan.

LV='s Annual Results For 2009 Shows Strong Growth Despite A Difficult Year

Mike Rogers, LV= Group Chief Executive, said: “Despite another difficult year of continued recession and market turbulence, the turnaround of the LV= business continues according to plan. Our core mission of helping our members and customers to look after what they love has enabled us to do more business with more customers.”

LV= customer satisfaction results for 2009 increased to 96% overall compared with 2008 and the number of customers and members grew by 12% to over 3.8m (2008: 3.4m). LV=’s financial strength demonstrated across the year enabled significant holdings in long term growth assets (around 74% of the fund at the year end), should also benefit members’ returns in the longer term.

Additionally LV= policyholders with a £50 a month 25 year savings endowment with-profits policy maturing on 1 March 2010 were at least 39% better-off than equivalent policyholders with four major proprietary companies. In fact the with-profits fund investment achieved a return of 15.4%, 2% above benchmark.

Mike observed, “Our strong investment performance underpins solid returns for our with-profits policyholders, ahead of most of the market, and we also remain strongly capitalised. In 2010, trading has begun strongly, with sales in the first quarter significantly up on the same period last year.

“A strong growth in underlying profit reflects our efforts in re-shaping the business and improving our organisational fitness. Improved awareness of the LV= brand, thanks to our distinctive marketing campaigns, has helped to support a strong sales performance across our life & pensions and general insurance businesses.”

2009 also provided LV with widespread industry award recognition for product quality across life & pensions, general insurance and asset management. These include a Moneywise ‘Most Trusted’ award for home insurance, several Which? recommendations and Defaqto 5 Star awards, plus a Best Lifetime Mortgage Lender award from What Mortgage?

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Lloyds TSB Is Searching For The The Weather Photographer of the Year

A leading panel of award-winning photographers and acclaimed meteorologists launched a major amateur weather photography competition – with a top prize of £10,000.

Lloyds TSB Is Searching For The The Weather Photographer of the Year

The Lloyds TSB Insurance Weather Photographer of the Year will run for six months, culminating in a public exhibition in London where the finalists’ entries will be on show ahead of the winner being announced in November.

The winner will be chosen by an expert panel featuring acclaimed weather photographers Roger Coulam and Mark Humpage – who will be looking for images that capture our love of the weather, demonstrate originality and creativity, and chart the ever changing British climate.

In addition, the public will also have the opportunity to vote on their favourite pictures online, with £100 going to the most popular photo uploaded each week.

Entrants can upload their photos at http://www.lloydstsb.com/weathercompetition.

The Lloyds TSB Insurance Weather Photographer of the Year has been organised by the leading insurer, which is proud to sponsor the Channel 4 weather.

Paula Llewellyn, Head of Marketing Services at Lloyds TSB Insurance said: “As a proud sponsor of the Channel 4 weather, we’ve launched the Lloyds TSB Insurance Weather Photographer of the Year Competition so Brits can show us what they love about the climate, and what ‘British Weather’ means to them.”

Lloyds TSB Home Insurance provides cover for a range of weather related problems such as windstorm and lightning damage.

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Solicitors Seeing Rise In Fraudulent Personal Injury Claims

LV= has issued new research revealing that the legal profession has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people attempting to claim compensation from exaggerated or invented injuries.

Solicitors Seeing Rise In Fraudulent Personal Injury Claims

The research reveals that over half of all solicitors (57%) have noticed an increase in the number of prospective clients faking their injuries in order to make a claim in the past ten years.

Among solicitors who have encountered suspect personal injury claims, over half (52%) say the claims are most likely to involve a car accident, with whiplash the most frequently exaggerated injury (46% of all exaggerated claims). Post-traumatic stress was the next most commonly ‘made-up’ injury (21%) followed by strained muscles (10%).

The vast majority of solicitors (89%) feel that the ‘blame culture’ associated with personal injury claims has been exacerbated by the introduction of the ‘no win no fee’ arrangement, also known as the ‘Conditional Fee Agreements’ system.

The LV= research found that over six in ten legal professionals (63%) believe that TV advertising of these kinds of services is one of the key reasons for the increase in people reporting false personal injury claims. The other reasons cited were people thinking it’s an easy way to make money (70%), an increased awareness of the availability of compensation (62%), and the need to hold someone else responsible (49%) if they had been in an accident.

The legal profession is cracking down on cheats as a result of the findings, with the vast majority of solicitors refusing to take on claims, or strongly discouraging claimants if the facts don’t add up.

Commenting on the findings, Asim Butt, a partner from Keoghs LLP, a law firm specialising in the investigation and handling of suspected fraudulent personal injury claims on behalf of insurance companies, said: “The research by LV= supports the experience within our fraud unit that some types of car insurance fraud are now reaching epidemic proportions. Our legal system is intended to ensure that fair compensation is provided to those who genuinely suffer injury or loss as a result of an accident. It is not there to be hijacked by those who wish to abuse the system by pursuing false, bogus or exaggerated claims. Insurance fraud is not a faceless crime; it is an indirect tax on the public, levied by dishonest people and is an unacceptable feature of today’s society that needs to be addressed.”

Martin Milliner, LV= technical claims director, said: “Genuine cases of personal injury where another person or company is at fault are certainly causes for compensation. However, drivers who invent or exaggerate their injuries to make a claim not only break the law but also push up the cost of car insurance premiums for all motorists. We encourage all solicitors to continue to apply rigorous questioning to anyone claiming a personal injury, and to investigate very carefully any concerns they have about the reliability of a claimant’s story.”

Via EPR Network
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LV=, Insurance, Pensions And Investments Group, Has Announced That It Is Opening New Offices In Huddersfield

This is in addition to LV=’s road rescue company, Britannia Rescue, which is already based in Huddersfield town centre, employing around 100 people. The new LV= offices will be in Folly Hall and are scheduled to open in July 2010. This will also become the new home to Britannia Rescue, which will be moving from its current offices in Station Buildings, where it has been based for over 20 years. Having celebrated its 25th year of operation in Huddersfield last year, Britannia Rescue has reached capacity at Station Buildings and needs to move to enable the business to expand further.

LV=, Insurance, Pensions And Investments Group, Has Announced That It Is Opening New Offices In Huddersfield

As well as the Britannia Rescue management team, LV= will open a new 24-hour call centre in Folly Hall to deal with both calls from LV= car insurance customers who have been involved in an accident, and Britannia Rescue breakdown calls. The 24-hour service will also be expanded to LV= home insurance customers during 2010 and the new office is set to become the company’s primary 24-hour call centre.

The new jobs there will be advertised later in the year and will include customer service advisor roles, team leader positions and management opportunities.

LV= is a leading mutual financial group with over 3.6 million members and customers. The company offers a wide range of financial products including insurance, pensions and investments.

The new LV= office at Folly Hall will have the capacity for around 175 people. It is located 10 minutes from the station in a Grade II listed building which has been renovated as part of the regeneration of Huddersfield’s Waterfront Quarter.

Simon Stevens, general manager of LV=’s Huddersfield operation, said: “We are delighted to be expanding in the town. Huddersfield has been a fantastic base for our Britannia Rescue business and with our positive experience here we are confident that Huddersfield will also be a great location for part of the LV= car insurance claimsoperation.

“We are committed to Huddersfield and to providing new jobs in the area. LV= is a fast-growing general insurer and when many other financial companies are making redundancies we are actually expanding. This means that not only is there the opportunity for local people to join us, but there are also great career prospects and the chance to move up in the company.”

Cllr Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “It is excellent news that such a well known and respected company is investing in our area. We have a good relationship with LV= through their Britannia Rescue operation which has been based in the two for many years and we are delighted they have chosen to expand their operation in Huddersfield and create jobs for local people. Working with Kirklees businesses, from small traders to larger organisations, is one of the many ways in which the council continues to tackle the problems caused by the recession.”

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, said: “The fact that LV= is expanding in Huddersfield is an excellent omen. Increasingly Huddersfield is being seen as an exceptional place to live and work, and in which to find talented and hardworking employees. The Folly Hall scheme adds to the innovative regeneration of our waterfront development and I hope that LV= and the town prosper together.”

Via EPR Network
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QuoteBoffin.co.uk Highlights Insurance As One Of The UK ‘s Few Remaining Essentials As Britain Climbs Out Of The Recession

It’s official, the recession that flaunted a stranglehold over the world’s economic superpowers during 2008/09 has finally loosened its grip.

QuoteBoffin.co.uk Highlights Insurance As One Of The UK 's Few Remaining Essentials As Britain Climbs Out Of The Recession

The end of the biggest recession in 70 years doesn’t mean a return to frivolous spending or reckless borrowing however as a continued slump in car sales and slow growth in house prices shows consumers have quickly come to re-evaluate what constitutes life’s ‘bare essentials’.

As the economic climate remains undeniably gloomy, it’s understandable that many consumers will continue to worry about the security of jobs, borrowings and their ability to pay off debts and other household bills.

In light of this, life insurance comparison site Quoteboffin.co.uk is calling for greater emphasis to be put on the importance of insurance with regard to peace of mind and preparing for the unforeseen especially at an already difficult time.

Quoteboffin.co.uk said it acknowledged the pressure consumers are under in light of escalating debts: “Household debt has been growing at a rate of 6.8% a year and with increased borrowing in the form of credit cards, mortgages and loans it’s understandable that many consumers are feeling considerable financial strain like never before.

From as little as £5 a month consumers can invest in affordable insurance packages like life cover and income protection from market leaders such as BUPA, Aviva and Standard Life. With the economy in a continued state of flux, a monthly premium of£5 is a small price to pay for greater peace of mind.”

On a brighter note, the recession can also harbour some positives for the consumer such as greater financial awareness, decreased impulse spending and a move towards taking out personal insurance cover rather than relying on packages that come part and parcel with employment.

QuoteBoffin.co.uk echoed this idea: “Unfortunately the reality of today’s economy means more and more job cuts are a likely to be forecast. People who have been made redundant or shifted role during a departmental reshuffle need to remember that their employment benefits may no longer include financial protection such as life or health insurance.

Consumers need to take control of their money and appreciate that during times of uncertainty increased financial protection such as insurance can easily become one of life’s most important bare essentials.”

Via EPR Network
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quoteboffin.co.uk – New Money Saving Website

As the UK emerges from the recession with economic growth up 0.1% and unemployment falling for the first time in 18 months, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the future and forget to learn lessons from the past.

quoteboffin.co.uk - New Money Saving Website

Although the recession saw a dramatic slump in consumer spending on high end products such as cars, luxury holidays and property, recent trends show this too is on the up with the promise of better times to come.

New money saving website, Quoteboffin.co.uk, is urging consumers not to get carried away however and to remain frugal with their money, especially when shopping around for financial products.

“Consumers shouldn’t perceive the end of the recession as a green light for reckless spending or to become apathetic about what happens to their money. Go online and consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to price comparison sites that can save people hundreds of pounds. Quoteboffin.co.uk in particular helps consumers compare life insurance packages from numerous providers. Saving money on necessities such as life insurance gives people the option to indulge or invest in other areas of their lives which they otherwise might not have been able to do.”

The popularity of the price comparison website is a recession defying success story. Price comparison services are growing at an annual rate of 30% – 50% and became particularly popular during 2007 – 2009 when the recession was at its peak and consumers were eager to save money.

In a nutshell, price comparison services allow consumers to compare financial products from a range of providers. Price comparison websites do not sell the products themselves but source information from retailers from whom consumers can buy from.

Quoteboffin.co.uk emphasises the benefits of such as service in a post recession UK:

“QuoteBoffin.co.uk and its competitors update their databases on a daily basis to ensure consumers get the most up to date prices at the click of a button. Quoteboffin.co.uk in particular is free and easy to use, meaning its never been easier to save money on life insurance.”

Via EPR Network
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