Rest assured of the standard

Rest assured of the standard
Assureweb has launched an industry-standard online comparative term quotation service for independent financial advisers (IFAs) this week.The free service is already supported by 15 major term assurance providers. It will provide real-time quote information, underwriting limits, smoker definitions and critical illness conditions. Assureweb chief executive David Stewart said the policies to go online represented about 98% of the term assurance business placed by IFAs.

Omniquote for Assurelink
Insurance consortium Assurelink has chosen ebusiness services company ICL to provide an online insurance quotation service called Omniquote.This will enable independent brokers in Ireland to access insurance quotes online, giving them a better choice of products and leading to a quicker service for consumers.Assurelink is a joint venture between eight of Europe's biggest life assurance companies and two Irish brokers' associations. The service will be available to more than 1,000 brokers, which will enable Assurelink companies to launch new products more easily.

Seeking legal advice on I2i
A leading software house has sought legal counsel about I2i-Link, the controversial joint venture between six leading insurers and technology giant Misys.The joint venture has upset several software houses and insurers which believe it could be anti-competitive. But I2i claims it has already sought expert advice and says the venture is legally watertight. I2i Link plans to create a single portal through which all general insurance will be distributed. The project starts next summer and is expected to take three to four years to complete.

Groupama follows suit
Brokers say Groupama has become the latest insurer to cull its agency base of those it believes will not cope with the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) registration. The move follows similar steps by Axa, which wrote to 2,500 of its 18,000 intermediaries last week. Groupama was unable to comment.

Bupa wins
Bupa International has won the Best International Healthcare Provider prize for the second consecutive year at the Health Insurance Awards 2000. The awards, presented at the London Hilton last Wednesday, were judged by intermediaries working in the international healthcare market. Bupa International general manager Bill Ward said that to receive an accolade voted for by intermediaries, often insurance providers' harshest critics, was an honour.

Phone rules
Sales that are not conducted face-to-face are now subject to the new Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. The regulations came into effect on October 31 in response to a European Commission directive and will be overseen by the director-general of Fair Trading. They will ensure greater clarity in sales transactions, such as teleshopping and internet purchases but apply only to businesses operating in the European Community.

Sceptre plan
HML brokers can use the HML Sceptre Plan for commercial business cover from the beginning of next year.The new facility, administered by Sceptre Insurance Services, will provide immediate access to major companies for commercial risks. Most quotes will require answers to only six questions, with the most complex risks returned within three days The plan has been designed to meet the needs of commercial and industrial businesses, such as small factories, under one policy.

Kennedys goes Kiwi
London law firm Kennedys is opening a branch in New Zealand, following the success of the Hong Kong office it opened in February. The Auckland office will be headed by existing partner Gary Wadsworth and new partner Mark Dennett, both of whom are from New Zealand.
Both are professional indemnity, construction and information technology risk specialists.

Fire causes £23m damage
A fire at a Croydon warehouse last week caused an estimated £23m worth of damage, according to loss adjusters Maclarens Toplis. The main underwriter is Gerling. Some 30 fire engines and 120 fireman spent more than five hours at the blaze at the Zotefoam warehouse. Smoke from the fire was non-toxic as the factory specialises in fire-retardant foam for furniture. Arson is not suspected.

Audatex chosen
Norwich Union (NU) has chosen Audatex as the sole provider of its vehicle damage estimating systems. AudaWorkstation has been NU's approved estimating system for the past four years. Audatex will also provide training facilities and field support.