English opens French office

English opens French office
Asset Underwriting has revealed plans to open a new office in Paris, three months after the company began trading.
The underwriting agency was opened by Russell English, formerly managing director of Trenwick International, and property underwriter James Trusselle, also formerly of Trenwick, earlier this year.
It has since put together a programme with the United Nations to insure peacekeeping equipment in East Timor for $5m (£3.4m). Asset already has links in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Pacific Islands and Japan.

Carrot not stick
Groupama has withdrawn a threat to cancel agencies from intermediaries that do not join the GISC by April.
The insurer sent letters to intermediaries in January warning them to join. This was before the implementation of rule F 42 was delayed until September.
Rule F 42 gives insurers the power to withdraw their agencies.
A spokesman said that Groupama had been sending out information packs to “help intermediaries to understand the process of joining the GISC”.

One in ten tell porkies
More than one in ten people admit they have lied on insurance forms, with the figure rising to 18% among 25-34 year-olds, according to the Observer's newspaper's Britain Uncovered poll.
It attributes the greater dishonesty among this age group to increa-singly stringent questions that it says have effectively disqualified those with alternative lifestyles.
Men are more likely to lie than women and northerners are generally the least likely to lie.

Zurich and BoA deal
Zurich Financial Services is teaming up with the Bank of America (BoA) to cross-sell banking and insurance services to BoA's 37 million customer base.
The move follows Zurich's announcement of a similar deal with the Bank of Scotland to distribute its products in the UK.
Zurich said the alliance between its Farmers Insurance Group and BoA was likely to become a model for similar opportunities worldwide.

Key fishing
Owners of expensive cars are falling victim to gangs who steal them from their driveways by hooking the keys through letter boxes with fishing rods, says the Metropolitan police. The cars can then be driven away without activating any alarms on the vehicle. Favourite targets include Mercedes, BMWs and Porsches. In the London Borough of Barnet nearly £3m worth of upmarket cars have been taken in the past year, most thought to be through this method.

Always safe
Groupama Insurances has teamed up with specialist insurer Beachsafe to launch Touchsafe, the world's first secure, portable, fully alarmed safe. The electonically locked safe is only accessible using a personal identification number. A Touchsafe spokesman said that in the highly unlikely event of a thief succeeding in opening or removing a unit, the contents and unit were covered by insurance for one calendar year.

Bupa panel
Bupa has launched a new panel of 110 IFAs who specialise in advising on and selling long-term care insurance. Customers can call a freephone number to obtain advice and the numbers of three IFAs in their area.

Tick the box
Credit insurer NCM is asking UK exporters about their business-to-business trade, receivables management, and use of ecommerce and the internet as part of its Export Survey 2001. Questionnaires are available from www.exportsurvey. com. It asks exporters to assess the service they receive from government, banks, credit insurers and others. The results of the survey will be announced at the end of June.

City merger
City law firms Paisner and Berwin Leighton are merging. The new firm will be known as Berwin Leighton Paisner and will be among the top 15 city law firms. It will have 116 partners and 430 lawyers in total. Both firms have significant insurance practices. Paisner acts for many international and reinsurance companies, London Market companies and Lloyd's syndicates. Berwin Leighton has a substantial corporate property and investment practice advising insurance clients, including Legal & General and Prudential.

ABS grows
Bodyshop network ABS has expanded by adding three new members this month. LA Coachworks of Surrey, Venture Accident Repair of London and Annfield Auto Services of County Durham have joined.

Bigger Aspect
Insurance software company Aspect Software is to invest £7.9m in expanding its operations in the UK and Europe. The investment is being provided by venture capital company 3i and Enterprise Ireland. Aspect Software chief executive Gerry O'Connor said the investment would enable it to develop its London office and existing products.

Racing green
Motor assistance and insurance group Green Flag has renewed its sponsorship of the British Formula 3 Championship for a second season. Formula 3 racing is an acknowledged training ground for Formula 1 drivers. It has produced David Coulthard, Ayrton Senna and 1999 F3 champion Jenson Button. The Green Flag British F3 Championship kicks off at Silverstone circuit on April 1.

New names
Nomen, the London-based name consultant, has launched a one-day service, called Cerjeree, to train clients how to create a brand name. The ten participants will get expert guidance on naming their new brands Nomen has created names for a broad spectrum of companies including Black and Decker, Mercedes Benz, Philips and Armani.