It publisher up for top award

It publisher up for top award
Jonathan Shephard, publisher of Insurance Times, has been shortlisted for the Periodical Publishers Association's business and professional magazines award for publisher of the year.

Equifax puts bill recovery online
Equifax has launched an internet service for outstanding bill recovery. Equifax Collect will provide customers with a full proactive telephone recovery, letter collection and solicitor's letters service, automatic monitoring of debt recovery activities and new debts for recovery. Three different levels of service – Equifax Silver, Equifax Gold and Equifax Platinum – will also be offered to customers for a one or two year period.

Bupa screened for fitness
Health insurer Bupa has signed a partnership with Video Networks and LA Fitness to launch a UK interactive TV lifestyle club with a 24-hour, on-demand service for fitness programmes, health information, self assessment services and a member's helpline this summer. Bupa aims to provide content for the health programmes and deliver the 24-hour health helpline which give consumers a range of information on health issues.

Healthy choice for accountants
The Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales has appointed Royal & SunAlliance Healthcare & Assistance as its accredited private medical insurer for member firms. The initiative was prompted by a recent survey which suggested nearly 50% of members felt the existing healthcare arrangements did not provide value for money. The product offers companies and individuals maximum flexibility, transparency and expert support in their choice for private medical insurance.

ERC concern for LTC future
Reinsurer ERC Frankona has raised fears with Alan Milburn at the Department of Health that the lack of a clear government policy on long-term care (LTC) will damage the industry's development of affordable products. Research by ERC has found 52.5% of IFAs expect the LTC market to grow by less than 10% in the next two years while 80% expect it to grow by less than 25%.

Batting opens on industry talks
A major conference for the insurance industry, called Insurance 2000, will be held at Lord's Cricket Ground on November 7-8. The conference will take an in-depth look at the pressing issues of the day.

Hampden takes Names affairs
Lloyd's member agency Hampden Agencies is to take over managing the affairs of 169 Names from Greenwich Lloyd's Underwriting Limited (GLUL). GLUL will remain responsible for those Names who converted their underwriting to limited liability through their Group Conversion Scheme, Grenville.

New face on the block is If P&C
Scandinavia's biggest insurer Skandia P&C has changed its name to 'If P&C' and opened a new office at 40 Lime Street, London. The name of the new leading Nordic specialist in property and casualty insurance comes from a promise: "If anything happens, we will be there to help you." Last week, Insurance Times mistakenly reported the new name was just P&C.

New name for Prime Health
Private medical insurers Prime Health has renamed itself Standard Life Healthcare. The newly-rebranded company also plans to introduce a no claims discount for its private medical insurance products and will continue to offer customers full cover plans and a choice of underwriting. The Standard Life group, which also owns Standard Life Bank and Standard Life Investments, acquired Prime Health in 1994.

Degiorgio wins karting trophy
Darren Degiorgio of National Direct beat off a field of 27 insurance intermediaries and Provident Insurance staff to win their go-karting Grand Prix in Bradford. The event came before a dinner held by the Insurance Institute of Halifax at Huddersfield on March 17.

Eastgate rescue for MAG clients
Eastgate Assistance has launched a rescue package for members of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG). MAG Six Wheel Rescue provides breakdown cover for their cars as well as motorbikes in more than 21 countries in Western Europe.

Golden Award goes to VP/MS
Insurance technology giant PMSC has scooped the Golden Award 2000 for its VP/MS insurance program. The award is organised by the Institute for International Research in Germany. VP/MS was launched in the UK late last year to help insurers save time getting products to market. Bob Oxtoby, PMSC UK's senior business consultant said: "VP/MS was developed in Germany and has been successful over there. This formal recognition of the product's strengths bodes well for VP/MS in the UK." PMSC will be renamed Mynd on May 1 2000.

NIG Polaris pilot completed
NIG has finished piloting a new Polaris version of its Sovereign Private Motor EDI product with several Policy Master brokers. Polaris is an insurance industry initiative to standardise the wording of insurance products. The new product will be available to all NIG motor brokers who use a Policy Master system.

IFS launches insurance portal
An IFA portal that will provide links to general insurance providers has been launched by Independent Financial Service UK. The site,, will also include links to Lloyd's members, general insurers and a range of other information aimed principally at the IFA market.