Brown ignores IPT in speech
The chancellor Gordon Brown made no mention of an increase in Insurance Premium tax in his pre-budget statement on Tuesday. However, this does not mean that there won't be changes to IPT, currently at five per cent, when the Budget is announced next Spring .

Atrium web site launched
Atrium Underwriting has launched a web site that provides a wide range of company information to end users. Included in the site is information on how to insure on-line, details on Atrium's managed Syndicates 570 and 609, and financial records.

Conference places
A small number of places are still available for the Institute of Chartered Accountant's General Insurance conference next Friday, at London's Le Meridien Hotel. Senior industry figures including Lloyd's chief executive Nick Prettejohn, ABI director general Mary Francis, and Sun Life group finance director Julian Roberts will be speaking. Places, at £449 plus VAT, can be obtained from Accountancy Courses & Conferences on 0800 783 5000.

Fairweather buys Burke's
Southern-based Fairweather Insurance Brokers has completed its second acquisition of this year, the takeover of Burke's Insurance Agency of Harrow. The move will grow Fairweather's premium income to more than £7 million in 2000. "The acquisition will give access to new schemes and greater security," said Fairweather managing director John Upton. Earlier this year Fairweather took over Fredericks Insurance.

E-business needs standardising
The majority of financial services intermediaries believe a single electronic proposal product form for all insurance companies is crucial to the future of electronic proposals. A total of 96% said a common system was the best way forward while 94% said their support for electronic proposals would increase if cost and complexity were addressed, according to research by Focus Business Solutions.

New home for ombudsman
The new Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme will be based at CIT Group's South Quay Plaza II in London's Docklands.

Kennedy's hosts PI meeting
City law firm Kennedy's will be discussing the subject of Solicitor's Professional Indemnity after September 2000 on Wednesday November 24. Partners Nick Williams, Simon Gibson and Chris Sharrock will hold the lecture at the City of London Club, 19 Old Broad Street, London. Registration begins at 5pm, followed by the lecture at 5.30pm. For further information, contact Emma Pugh on 0171 689 3116.

ClaimEx targets tricky claims
ClaimEx has launched a new intervention service to help companies and the public get tricky insurance claims settled. The company initially offers a free consultation to assess how a successful claim might best be achieved after which they have the option of going it alone or entering a formal agreement to pursue the claim with the company. The fees are either fee-based or a percentage of the award.

Men more likely to claim illness
Men are 30% more likely to claim for critical illness than women. The findings, part of the first UK research into critical illness insurance, also shows that smokers are 50% more likely to claim than non-smokers. Since critical illness cover began in the 1980s, sales have grown to a peak of 700,000 policies last year. Policies provide lump sum payments on diagnosis of life-threatening conditions. The most common cause of claim for women is cancer with 76%, followed by multiple sclerosis (MS) at 7%. Cancer is the cause of claim for just 45% of men, but 27% claim for heart attacks, nine per cent for strokes and six per cent for coronary artery surgery.

Miller Pycraft's quality mark
Miller Pycraft has achieved ISO 9002 quality accreditation in less than six months following the merger between Miller Loss Adjusters and Pycraft & Arnold earlier this year. "We are working hard to offer all our clients a first rate service. It is a compliment to my colleagues that we have so rapidly been awarded this accreditation," said chief executive Bev FitzGerald.

NU's childhood sickness book
Norwich Union Healthcare has produced a booklet on childhood illnesses which is available free. Playground Plagues deals with everything from lice to verrucas and opens into a colourful chart. NU's research shows that the most common childhood ailment is a cold and almost 30% of children suffer from asthma. However, meningitis is the illness which holds the most fears for parents. For a free copy of the booklet call freefone 0800 122870.

Bennetts lobbies over road spills
Motorcycle insurer Bennetts is lobbying the Government to introduce official guidelines on dealing with diesel spills on the roads. Research shows that 12% of motorcycle road accidents are due to such spills, and yet there is no document which stipulates who is responsible for dealing with the problem. Bennetts is collecting a petition calling on the Government to tighten up legislation. Its campaign was officially launched this month by the aptly-named TV gladiator, Diesel, at the International Motorcycle Show.

Carmichaels in the Midlands
Carmichaels Loss Adjusters has opened a new office in Birmingham Business Park to service the firm's increasing volume in the Midlands and North. Richard Coles, who has 25 years experience as a chartered loss adjuster, has been made manager of the new office. The Midlands expansion coincides with Carmichaels taking on additional staff at their head office in Maidstone. "We have several more senior appointments in the pipeline," said senior partner Paul Rolland. "Our move into liability work is encouraging as it is not only non-climatic but shows that those who predicted the demise of the medium-size adjuster have been proved wrong."

Richard Oliver sails into Reading
Risk management consultancy Richard Oliver International has relocated its headquarters to Reading. The company, now owned by the Willis Group, joins other subsidiaries at The Anchorage in Bridge Street. It provides solutions from strategic consultancy to operational risk.

Morris takes job with Willis
Willis Commercial Network has appointed Nigel Morris as operations director. Morris, assumes that position on January 1, following two years at Perkins Slade.