Caption competition
Check out our web site for this week's picture caption competition. A bottle of champagne for the best suggestion e-mailed to us. Click here for the competition.

FSO workshop on complaints
The new financial ombudsman service (FSO) will hold a workshop on Monday January 24 with the financial sector and consumer bodies to iron out the workings of its new complaints-handling framework. Speakers will include chairman Andreas Whittam-Smith and consumer relations director Christine Farnish.

CFAs could cut out the broker
Conditional fee arrangements (CFAs) will allow solicitors to promote their services on a risk-free basis, cutting out brokers entirely, according to DAS Legal Expenses.

Ray Kneeshaw, DAS sales and marketing manager, said brokers must go on the offensive to counteract this problem, which will increase when Legal Aid is cut in April 2000. "One way to maintain brokers' business is to make pre-paid legal expenses cover an integral, compulsory element of home and motor cover," he said. "Without Legal Aid, the message for pre-paid legal expenses will be stronger than ever."

'More security, vicar' – CGI
Vicars should appoint a security co-ordinator to counter vandalism and theft from church buildings, urges Congregational & General Insurance. The suggestion is made in the insurer's new guide to church security, Safer Places of Worship.

Legal firms are 'ignoring' Y2K
Top-notch legal firms could be exposing themselves to jeopardy by neglecting to have a disaster-recovery policy, according to accountancy firm Grant Thornton. Its Legal IT Interfirm Comparison report finds that almost a quarter of law firms do not have a Y2K contingency plan in place, including 15% of top-tier legal firms. It says these firms have failed to focus on critical IT operations.

More worrying are the findings that 54% of legal firms do not have disaster policies; of the rest, more than half have never tested their plans.

Syndicate 2000 gets approval
QBE has announced that MJ Harrington, Syndicate 2000, has been approved by Lloyd's to accept business for the 2000 year of account. The team will operate as a sub-syndicate of the new QBE "umbrella" syndicate 2999.

Syndicate 2000 will focus on all lines of non-marine reinsurance business. Mark Harrington, active underwriter, will offer "lead line capacity" for all products. Harrington was previously account team manager at Zurich Re in London.

St Paul takes NU portfolio
The St Paul Syndicate Management has acquired the marine portfolio from Norwich Union. The sale completes NU's transfer of former London & Edinburgh business that it identified as non-core.

The acquisition gives The St Paul renewal rights to more than £40 million gross written premium in 1999.

Positive figures
Accidentcare Group has published third quarter results for the period ending September 30. Earlier forecasts have been exceeded and results for the trading period to December 1999 are expected to be up £106,000 on forecasts made in summer.

AUL on move
Agency Underwriting (AUL) has moved its broker travel scheme to Lloyd's syndicate 582, Cassidy Davis. Both companies plan to enhance the scheme and increase customer options.

Watch out for Xmas thieves
The Christmas and millennium holiday is a real opportunity for thieves. Last year 45,000 claims for burglary were dealt with in the run-up to Christmas and the ABI has the following advice:
- Avoid leaving presents in unattended vehicles – if unavoidable lock them in the boot
- Watch out while shopping don't leave parcels unattended
- Keep presents at home out of sight
- Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home if you are going away – tell them to report anything suspicious to the police
- Check your home contents insurance includes cover for presents.

Anakin Seal eases business
Manchester and Leeds-based insurance recruitment agency, Anakin Seal has launched a streamlined business framework.

Director Lorraine German said: "Whereas in the past we have had to separate departments for the legal, insurance and secretarial needs of our clients, we are now refining our operations into two distinct but complementary legal and insurance divisions."

Luxembourg Rendezvous
The seventh Luxembourg Rendezvous takes place between May 23-25, 2000 at the Centre-European. The event for risk managers and risk financiers will include panel debates, speeches, individual presentations and discussions.

Last year's event attracted over 400 participants. Interested parties should contact Susan McMahon at Risk & Insurance Research in London.

RNIC moves into Lloyd's
The marine division of Reliance National Insurance Company (Europe) (RNIC) has left the ILU building to take up a position at the company's box C 344 on Gallery Three in the Lloyd's building.

The marine division will concentrate on underwriting hull and cargo business on a worldwide basis