Gerling group on credit watch

Gerling group on credit watch
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has placed all the core insurance subsidiaries of the Gerling group on credit watch with negative implications.

The international rating agency said the move affected all of the Germany-based group's long- and short-term ratings, including its AA- counterparty credit and financial strength ratings.

The credit watch placements follow the decision by the group's reinsurance operation, Gerling Global Re, to revise its estimated net pre-tax losses from the terrorist attacks in the US to between e220m (£137.4m) and e270m (£168.6m) from an original e50m (£31.2m) to e70m (£43.7m).

Groupama car plan
Groupama Insurances has launched a product to cover the business use of privately owned vehicles.

Called the Personal Car Plan (PCP), the product is the result of the trend in companies towards offering staff cash to buy their own cars, instead of providing the cars themselves.

It works by insuring employees' company funded vehicles as a fleet. Groupama said this meant employees who owned their cars could still benefit from the cover of a fleet policy, while employers could be confident their staff were adequately protected.

Clerical Medical rated stable
Moody's has confirmed its ratings on Clerical Medical Investment Group, the subsidiary of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS).

The ratings agency confirmed both Clerical Medical's insurance financial strength (IFS) rating of Aa2 and Clerical Medical Finance's subordinated debt rating of A1. It said the outlook was stable.

Moody's said Clerical Medical had grown significantly in the past five years and now ranked among the top five groups in the UK IFA sector.

Non-life in China for Zurich
Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) has received the go-ahead to conduct non-life insurance business in China.

The group said it was to be granted a licence to open a branch in one of China's “open cities” as a result of China's recent admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and prior negotiation between the Swiss and Chinese governments.

The group has been present in China since 1992, with offices in Beijing, Guanzhou and Shanghai.

75% of UK won't insure credit cards
A survey by credit and debit card protection company Card Protection Plan (CPP) has found only 25% of Britons think they should insure their cards.

This is despite evidence that credit card fraud is on the rise.

CPP chairman Hamish Ogston said: “In March 2001, there was a 24% rise in fraud on lost and stolen cards, equating to almost £100m.

“It's alarming that most Britons will take the unnecessary gamble of failing to insure their plastic.”

The survey of 2000 people also found 84% considered their home to be their most valuable and insurable asset. This was followed by cars, 64%, and families, 52%.

US terror focus at Ferma forum
Keynote speakers at the Federation of European Risk Management Association's (Ferma) forum in Barcelona will focus on the US attacks and their implications.

Ferma has asked the speakers to change their presentations in light of the attacks. The forum, from October 7 to10, will feature a special members-only session so delegates can discuss how to respond to the attacks.

Mlp joins DAS
St Albans-based MLP Legal Protection is to become a division of legal expenses insurance firm DAS.

The move follows negotiations between German financial institution MLP Holdings and DAS's parent company in the UK. DAS said there would be no changes to the management structure or personnel within the company and all key functions would be unaffected.

Seniors plan
Pinnacle Insurance has launched a “cash-back” plan aimed specifically at the seniors market.

Pinnacle said the Senior Health CashBack Plan would contribute towards routine dental and optical costs and specialist consultancy fees.

Pinnacle new products director Tom Claytor said: “It provides bespoke benefits such as cash for surgical appliances, hearing aids and funeral expenses – all for low-cost premiums that do not subsidise other age groupings and their related ailments.”

NU helpline
Norwich Union has launched a vehicle security helpline to offer a package for vehicle security solutions.

Available to brokers, the helpline is manned by specialist staff who are on hand to provide advice on security for vans, trucks, motorbikes, cars and plant vehicles.

S&P withdraws Liberty rating
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has withdrawn its Api financial strength and counterparty credit ratings on Liberty Mutual UK.

The agency said the move was due to insufficient information on the company's “potentially significant” exposure to the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11.

Liberty Mutual UK is the London market operation of Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance, which recently announced that its exposure to the World Trade Centre disaster could be in the range of $200m (£135.3m) to $300m (£202.9m).

S&P said that estimate included Liberty Mutual UK's exposures.

S&P said it would be meeting with Liberty Mutual UK's management within a month and expected to assign interactive ratings to the company shortly thereafter.

IT winner
Premium Credit business manager Mike Healy has won a home computer worth £1,000, courtesy of Insurance Times.

Healy, who lives in Chorley, won the computer, supplied by, after entering Insurance Times' competition at this year's Chartered Insurance Institute conference.

The Axis D800 system includes a games pack, speakers and monitor. It features 128MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive and12x DVD ROM with movie software and Windows ME.