Fortis Insurance UK to rebrand itself as Ageas
Fortis Insurance UK to Rebrand itself as Ageas: Fortis Insurance UK is to rebrand itself as Ageas to highlight its move away from the banking industry. The rebranding will take place in controlled manner and should be complete by early 2011. Fortis has celebrated a 5 fold increase in new premiums during 2008 and had a market share of 4.3% among IFA's by 2009. Chief executive Barry Smith has commented that Fortis has delivered good results throughout 2008 and 2009 despite a difficult market.
Travel experts Thomas Cook have bought travel insurance provider Essential Travel. The insurer was owned by Think W3, who has sold a 100% stake to Thomas Cook. A spokesperson from Thomas Cook commented that the acquisition will allow the group to continue their growth in travel related services, in particular travel insurance.
Chief Executive of Aviva, Andrew Moss has questioned the decision by Prudential to purchase the Asian arm of AIG. He said that growth potential in Europe was more attractive and that regulation in Asia may eat into the potential of the Prudential deal. He has said that regulation in Europe is already focused on the customer, but in Asia this is not yet the case. If this was to change, then retrospective action may be taken to protect the consumer, leading huge payouts. Moss has also failed to rule out a bid for Prudential's UK business after the share price fell last week.
Comparison site Uswitch has found that UK households are more in debt to utility companies than ever before. 21% of people in the UK now owe an average of £132 to energy suppliers and while the numbers of those owing has dropped, the amount each owes has risen. The problem has been put down to the 42% increase in energy costs passed on to the consumer in 2008 and despite small cuts made since, they have had little effect. Ofgem have also estimated that by 2016 the average energy bill in the UK could be as high as £2000 per year, which represents 10% of the average income. This would place many in the situation of "fuel poverty" as assessed by the Government. In addition, comparison site Gocompare has found that 43% of people in the UK overpay on their utility bills, leaving money for the energy supplier to use. 36% also believe that bills are designed to be confusing to keep people in the dark about energy usage.
Richard Kemp from Colchester is campaigning for fair and equal compensation for wounded soldiers with his Lives on the Line campaign. The former army officer is hoping to get compensation payments backdated to 2001 to cover all operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Current rules state that only soldiers injured since 2005 qualify for new rates of compensation under the new Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. Col. Kemp says that soldiers doing the same job are being treated differently and that soldiers sacrifices should be recognised. Col. Kemp's Facebook page has already gained 2442 members and 359 people have signed a petition. In addition 15 MP's have lent their support. The MOD have argued that finding a date which would suit everyone would be impossible.
Insurer Tiger.co.uk has urged its customers to give up bad driving habits for Lent after research showed that road rage, distraction and sleeping at the wheel were some of the habits they admitted to. They found that 35% of women thought they were perfect drivers, while 41% of males felt they were faultless. Managing director of Tiger, Graeme Kalbraier commented that some people may have gotten into bad habits, so now is the perfect time to give them up. †
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