Also in the news this week ...

High-value personal injury claims soar

The number of high-value personal injury claims has increased 72% over the last five years, according to Thomson Reuters-owned legal publisher Sweet & Maxwell. The number of claims in the High Court with a value of £15,000 or more increased to 1,233 in 2009 from 715 in 2005. Sweet & Maxwell attributed the rise to increased scrutiny by insurers because of a growing number of claims, and a greater propensity to pursue marginal cases.

Insurance was fourth strongest sector in 2010

Insurance was one of the strongest performing business sectors in 2010, according to the latest Insolvency Index from Experian, the global information services company. In 2010, the annual rate of business insolvencies fell for the first time in two years as the financial health of UK businesses improved, the research indicated. The insurance sector received the fourth-highest financial strength score of 84.28. The average financial strength score of UK businesses as a whole fell from 81.16 in January to reach its lowest point of 80.70 in May, but recovered to reach a full-year high of 81.35 in December.

FSA paper cracks down on sale of financial products

Financial products could be banned or their sale prohibited to potentially vulnerable groups of customers, according to proposals outlined in a new FSA discussion paper. The consultation outlines ways that the regulator’s increasingly interventionist approach can be applied to the development of financial products. The approach is designed to nip issues with products in the bud rather than just focusing on problems at point-of-sale. The ABI has warned that the proposals could make it uneconomic for companies to offer products.