Wasting cash

Wasting cash
Householders are throwing millions down the drain by hiring cowboy contractors, a Norwich Union survey has revealed. UK residents spend more than £3.5bn each year on emergency household repairs, but half of them take on contractors without checking whether they are qualified to do the job.
The survey showed householders think builders are the least trust-worthy contrators, followed by roof repairers. The most trusted contractors were found to be electricians, followed by plumbers.

Low payouts
Employment Tribunals awarded an average of £2,515 for unfair dismissal claims in 2000, despite the government raising the top limit for awards from £12,000 to £50,000, according to government statistics. Out of 2,004 successful cases for unfair dismissal, 42 awards were above £20,000.
The number of cases brought to employment tribunals topped 100,000 for the first time in 2000.
This year the number is expected to reach 130,000.

Gerling has announced a board reshuffle across its offices. Felix Zaccar, chief executive officer of Gerling UK, will be returning to Sydney in July to head up Gerling Australia. He will now hold the posts of managing director and chief executive officer. He will be replaced by Reiner Gleiss, who is currently managing director of Gerling in Munich.

Just 90 days
Coverclick.com is adding a new late payment product, which it claims guarantees the payment of an invoice within 90 days. The cover is designed to ease the cash flow of medium-sized businesses, by paying within 90 days, whether or not the debtor is insolvent.

Welsh wizard
Former Welsh rugby international Jeff Herdman has been voted Director of the Year at insurance, risk management and financial services group Bland Blankart. The managing director of Bland Blankart Leicester was chosen by Bland's other directors as the individual who had contributed most to the success of the company. Herdman, who coached the Barbarians for ten years while running his own insurance and financial services company, said his sports experience had helped him build and motivate his team.

New channel
BHSF Health Cash Plans has expanded its intermediary channel distribution through Policy Master's Mediquote portal. BHSF chief executive Peter Maskell said the company was delighted to be associated with the portal. Policy Master claims Mediquote is the first comparative quotation system giving access to private medical insurance and health cash plans on the internet.

Direct aid
Staff at Direct Line in Manchester have been showing their flamboyant side, by staging themed dress days to help raise £15,000 for cancer research.The 450 staff paid £1 or £2 a time for the privilege.

Hunt for new LMA chief
The Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) has employed head-hunters to find a new chief executive.Earlier this year the LMA appointed a sub-committee to put forward names of possible candidates. The LMA currently has no acting chief executive. The whole committee will stand down at the end of the month before going through a re-election process.

Rain or shine
The Met Office is training business chiefs on how they can use world-class weather data to save millions of pounds in lost revenue. Delegates at the Met Office's London operations centre will learn how the office collects its data, and how this can be used to plan business more effectively and hedge risks against loss. The courses, to run on March 29 and 30, are expected to attract delegates from the insurance and risk sectors.

Speedy drivers
The number of drivers caught speeding has increased by more than 150% over the past five years, according to figures obtained by Longford Insurance. Just 200,000 motorists were caught by police speed traps in 1995, but by 1999 this had risen to more than 500,000 – representing one in 52 drivers.

Alarm to name top man
The Association of Local Authority Risk Managers (Alarm) will be naming its choice of top risk manager at its April conference. Judges from the association are considering a shortlist of nominations before revealing the winner's name at the University of Warwick on April 9 to 10. The winner will be offered a place on an exchange programme with Prima, Alarm's sister organisation in America.

Two in one
Prudential has launched a new intermediary distribution company for the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) market. Scottish Amicable Financial Services combines the existing intermediary sales operations of Scottish Amicable and Prudential. The company will employ 166 field and 70 telephone account managers, providing a portfolio of mortgage, protection and investment products.

More choice
Motor finance provider Singer & Friedlander has agreed an exclusive arrangement with Giles Insurance brokers, the approved insurance providers to the Scottish Motor Trade Association. Miles Roberts, assistant director of Singer & Friedlander, said the deal would increase choice for motor traders facing high premiums.