Rumours are confirmed

Rumours are confirmed
Martin Staples, senior partner at London-based lawyers Vizards, Staples & Bannister, has confirmed the firm is still in talks with Dartford-based firm AE Wyeth regarding a take-over.
Staples described the talks as a preliminary chat and said it was very early days.
He said AE Wyeth had a sound practice and was well regarded in the business.

Found a new job?
Insurance Times will be publishing its IT2 Career Guide in April and is calling on readers to send in examples of their experiences when looking for a new job.
You might have had a nightmare at the hands of a recruitment agency that matched you up to the wrong position or found your dream job through the internet.
Whether good or bad, we want to know your story. You can email your experience to

24-hour GP helpline
NORWICH Union Healthcare customers can get round-the-clock advice from a family doctor by making a telephone call.
The health insurer, which has 550,000 private medical insurance customers, has teamed up with helpline company Infogenie to provide a GP-manned helpline service in the UK. It will be able to deal with 80,000 calls a year, linking up customers with GPs and nurses.

LPSO looks after Germans
Lloyd's Policy Signing Office (LPSO) in Chatham will now prepare German policies.
They were previously prepared in Lloyd's German office in Frankfurt.
The transfer, which takes place immediately, will mean that brokers no longer have to send cover notes to the Frankfurt office. The German office will provide a support role to LPSO by offering guidance in the translation of policies.

Top business
Commercial lines insurer the Underwriter wrote more than £60m of business in 2000, the company revealed.
Keith Rutter, who started the business with colleagues from Independent, attributed the growth to favourable market conditions.
He expects to write approximately £100m of business for the year 2001.

It's a first
Jardine Lloyd Thompson will be making its first appearance at this month's Amuse UK Exhibition.
The UK's leading insurance broker to the amusement industry last year joined forces with UK major leisure player Burke Ford Insurance Brokers, which regularly appears at the annual event.

Funds double at Clerical Medical
Halifax-owned Clerical Medical is set to more than double its funds to £65bn following its acquisition of Equitable Life's investment management business. Clerical Medical increased its flow of UK business distributed through independent financial advisers by 15% to £286m in 2000. However, new business from overseas markets fell by 11% from £75m to £67m last year.

Motor online has added motor insurance to its online personal finance portfolio. Users will have access to quotes from six specialist insurers, enabling them to get a wide choice of insurance, 24 hours a day. Customers who take out comprehensive cover also receive free breakdown recovery for 12 months.

Call for help
Liverpool Victoria, the UK's largest friendly society, has completed its acquisition of protection insurance provider Permanent. New and existing Permanent policyholders can now access Liverpool Victoria's care helpline which offers advice on legal assistance, redundancy and stress counselling.

Rewards for hard work
Town & Country Assistance has launched an awards scheme for the company's 120-strong national repair network. The awards are split into five categories covering customer service, best average repair times, best value, technology and innovation, and the partnership award. Winners will be announced at the end of February.

Raising concern
The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has reacted with disappointment to the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) consultative paper on fee-raising arrangements. AIFA is particularly concerned at the FSA's proposal to end the payment of its fees by instalment. The trade body also calls for a “reality check” in terms of comparing what IFAs would pay under the new FSA regime against the old.

Going east
Loss adjuster Crawford has opened a branch office in Tokyo after being granted a full trading license by the Japanese authorities. Takushi Yamamoto, who was previously the liaison officer for Crawford, is the country manager. Crawford can offer a range of loss adjusting services in Japan, including marine, property, casualty and global risk.

Course notes saved after fire
An A Level student benefited from the expertise of Concept Document Recovery that claims to have saved insurers thousands of pounds.The company managed to recover two years' worth of the student's course notes after they were almost irreparably damaged in a school fire.The Rugeley-based company said it could restore 95% of documents and electrical goods for 20% of their replacement cost.

It's over to the east for Miller
Miller International, part of the Miller Fisher Group, has expanded its operations in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.The insurance services group has opened new offices in Jeddah and Damman, Saudi Arabia, and moved to larger premises in Hong Kong.

Tracker finds 101 cars
Vehicle recovery company Tracker traced a record 101 cars in January, worth a total of £1.8m.
The recovered vehicles included an £87,000 Porsche 996 turbo and a £45,000 Mercedes stolen while the driver was paying for fuel at a petrol station. The finds led to nine arrests. BMW, Mercedes Benz and Porsche were the most popular makes targeted by thieves.

Expansion for Amey Vectra
Disaster recovery specialist Amey Vectra has expanded its service coverage in the south of England with the opening of a new office in Caterham, Surrey. The office with an initial staff of ten, builds on increased demand for the company's services in southern England. Amey Vectra business development manager Cathryn Taylor said the move was a natural step in its progression to become the first choice provider of disaster recovery services.

Fixed prices at Safeguard
Safeguard, the security valuation arm of the Birmingham Assay Office,has introduced a new pricing system. The old valuation system based on a percentage of an item's value has been swept away.
Now, a fixed price of £35 is charged for the first valuation and £10 for subsequent items of jewellery.
Valuations include an assessment by a qualified valuer, the application of an identification mark and entry onto a secure database.