Risk and Insurance Article Archive Announced at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia by Actuary

Claude Penland, Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society with twenty years of insurance industry experience, announces his new article archive at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia.

All pieces are written by Claude Penland, with many additional risk and insurance articles planned. Informative pieces in the archive include:

-10 Prominent Influenza Pandemic Models: Death, Disease and Economic Loss Modeling

-20 Insurance Trends to Watch

-More Insurance Trends to Watch for Actuaries, Underwriters and Claims Personnel, Part 2

-2011 Web Trends, Including Social Networking and Venture Capital

-An Exciting Time to Consider the Microinsurance Market

-Annual Property and Casualty Reinsurance Salary Survey

-Handy Executive Recruitment and Job Hunting Tools

-Health Insurance Compensation Survey at Top 10 United States Insurers

-Life Insurance Salaries at the Top Among CEO’s, Chairmen and Others

-Pension Risk Trends: Companies, Governments, Accounting, Oh My

-Predictive Modeling for Actuaries: Eight Great PowerPoint Presentations and Articles

-Property and Casualty Insurance Salaries in the C-Suite

-Recent Activity Among Insurance Company Startups and Branch Operations

-Recent Activity in the Global Reinsurance Market

-Recent Activity in the Takaful (Islamic Insurance) Market

-So Why Do Job Hunters Use Executive Recruiters?

-Social Networking for Insurance Professionals on LinkedIn, Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five

-Ten International Emerging Risks for Insurers and Reinsurers

At ClaudePenland.com, Claude Penland, casualty actuary and webmaster, writes at least six times daily about international risk, insurance, financial and web trends. To subscribe to Claude’s daily digest, visit ClaudePenland.com/subscribe.

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Confused.com Launches New TV Advert

Confused.com has launched its latest advertisement featuring its animated logo Cara singing the classic hit ‘Chain Reaction’, originally penned by the Bee Gees and made famous by Diana Ross. The sixty second advert first aired on 15 February during coverage of the Brit Awards, this year hosted by James Corden.

Following the success of Cara’s first single, ‘Somebody to Love’, ‘Chain Reaction’ is once again voiced by West End star Louise Dearman. Animated and produced by Hornet, with musical arrangement from Spekulation entertainment, the advert will feature living logo Cara singing the catchy anthem before being joined by a backing group of animated singers and dancers.

The Chain Reaction song, originally recorded by Diana Ross, has been selected due to its popularity with music lovers worldwide and was a popular hit in 1985 on her album ‘Eaten Alive’. Confused.com, the UK’s leading car insurance price comparison site, has worked closely with its creative agencies on this advert to ensure it recaptures the energy of the Diana Ross original.

Mike Hoban, marketing director at Confused.com, said: “Confused.com was the first site to offer price comparison. Our latest advert reminds customers of Confused.com’s leadership position in a fun and entertaining way. With 20 million users, up two million since our first advert, Confused.com is once again demonstrating it is the people’s choice for comparison sites and we are really proud of this.”

In addition to the sixty second advert, a thirty second version is also being launched. The new advert can be viewed on Cara’s page on Confused.com and on Confused.com’s You Tube channel.

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Insurance Social Networking, Predictive Modeling and Microinsurance Presentations Available

Three insurance-related presentations and videos have been released for immediate viewing at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia. All presentations are free to download and share.

The first presentation is called “LinkedIn Social Networking for Insurance Professionals”. LinkedIn is the most active professional social network in the world.. According to their press materials, they have over 90 million international members, with roughly half of those members residing in the United States. If you work in insurance or reinsurance as an underwriter, attorney, accountant, actuary, actuarial analyst, risk manager, claims professional, financial analyst, agent or other insurance role, this presentation will list for you some of the more active insurance-related jobs and discussion groups on LinkedIn.

“Microinsurance is Exciting” is the second presentation. Microinsurance is generally designed for low-income businesses and individuals who aren’t typically covered by traditional insurance. It is usually sold at low premiums and low coverage limits / caps. It has a potential eventual annual premium of $40 billion worldwide.

A third presentation is titled “Predictive Modeling for Life, Health and Property & Casualty Actuaries”. This predictive analytics presentation provides eight examples of strong industry presentations and articles where actuaries can apply predictive modeling to life insurance, property and casualty insurance and health insurance / actuarial data.

These presentations were authored by Claude Penland, a casualty actuary and webmaster with twenty years of insurance industry experience. On ClaudePenland.com, Claude writes at least six times a day on the international insurance-related and web-related issues that he explores daily, and regularly posts interesting presentations, videos and articles at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia.

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Vebnet and Towers Watson Announce Partnership Throughout Latin America

Vebnet, a market-leading global technology provider of total rewards and flexible benefits solutions, and Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW), a leading global professional services company, have announced a formal partnership in Latin America.

The partnership combines Towers Watson’s expertise in benefits, investment and communication consulting with Vebnet’s market-leading technology to support organisations that need portal-based flexible employee benefit schemes. Vebnet and Towers Watson have a similar, successful partnership in Asia Pacific.

“The increasing diversity of today’s workforce makes flexibility an essential component of benefit provision and total rewards programs,” said Segundo Tascon, Latin America benefits director of Towers Watson.

“Together, Towers Watson and Vebnet will offer a fully integrated yet highly configurable solution to clients and their employees. Vebnet’s FIX&FLEX is an intuitive and highly configurable technology application that enables companies to provide education and information content through engaging communications and consistent messaging within a common employee brand.”

By combining Vebnet’s technology, bespoke communication programs delivered through multimedia channels and highly experienced consulting and implementation teams, Towers Watson can develop and deliver a differentiated employee benefit strategy and solution to leading companies. This solution can include communications plans, total rewards statements, flexible benefits and online pay slips to bring more choice, empowerment, flexibility and automation to the company’s benefit scheme. The technology can be deployed in multiple languages and currencies and be the application controlling multinational or global employee benefit scheme provision and administration.

This technology currently supports over 260 organizations, covering 400,000 employees. The technology is deployed in over 20 countries and in different languages including Chinese, Thai and Spanish.

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TradingFloor.com Releases Video On European Growth

TradingFloor.com, the home of Saxo Bank’s trading commentary, financial research and analysis, has released a video discussing the current European growth.

The European growth situation is particularly in focus, with quite a bit of key macro data being published which is expected to confirm the ‘growth story’. In the video Mads Koefoed, macro strategist at Saxo Bank’s TradingFloor.com discusses the growth in Europe and in the U.S.

Mads first discusses Eurozone industrial production in addition to the Eurozone and some individual members’ GDP reports. The industrial production numbers of -0.1% were a little below consensus expectations but above TradingFloor.com’s expectations of -0.4%. Even though the numbers had declined, the manufacturing sector is still growing strongly in the Eurozone. The declining numbers are thought to be attributed to the very strong November numbers, which saw industrial production rising 1.4% month on month, so some give back is it to be expected in December’s numbers. The very poor weather in December will also have had some affect on production numbers. Mads expects the numbers to improve for January.

The overall GDP reports were also fairly good and what was expected. Countries like Spain performed better than expected with a result of 2% up. With Germany continuing to drive the Eurozone, Mads predicts a fairly robust growth in the Eurozone in the fourth quarter.

Furthermore, also in focus is a meeting of Europe’s Finance Ministers and any indications of increasing the debt stability of southern Eurozone members. While Mads does not foresee much news coming out of the event, he does foresee them discussing the Germany and France proposal to put in place a measure against debt increase to hopefully ensure a more harmonized corporate tax system in the Eurozone, despite other leaders not being completely behind this.

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Substantial Presentations on Insurance Trends, Emerging Risks and Pandemic Modelling Released by Actuary

Claude Penland, casualty actuary and webmaster, has produced at ClaudePenland.com/multimedia three informative PowerPoint presentations and videos foractuaries, actuarial analysts, underwriters, financial analysts, accountants, consultants, claims personnel and others in the insurance and reinsurance industries.

The first presentation, “10 Influenza Pandemic Models”, profiles models from the Society of Actuaries, Milliman, VirSim, Risk Management Solutions, Military Science, INFORMS, Los Alamos, open source alternatives and others.

The second is entitled “40 Insurance Trends for 2011”. Forty insurance trends are considered, including healthcare, health plan grandfathering, asset quality, Takaful, microinsurance, emerging risks, insurance industry job losses, predictive analytics use, as well as other global insurance and reinsurance trends.

The third presentation is called “10 Emerging Risks for Insurers and Reinsurers”. These risks include infrastructure, cyber attacks, space weather, nanotechnology and municipal bankruptcies.

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Northern Rock Further Improves Its Award-Winning Mortgage Website

Northern Rock has further enhanced its mortgage website, less than six months after scooping a prestigious award for ‘best use of digital’, with the addition of a new video guide, to help home-buyers through the exciting but sometimes daunting journey of buying their first property.

Northern Rock’s mortgage website was launched in April 2010, and in September won the ‘best use of digital’ accolade at Communicate Magazine’s Digital Impact Awards 2010, held to celebrate excellence in digital stakeholder communications. The site was also named among the contenders for the Financial Services category of the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA)’s annual awards last year, and highly commended for best use of technology at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards.

A brand new, animated video guide has now been added to the website, to help steer customers step-by-step through the house-buying process. Using a simple 10-step format, each of the segments covers a different area of the house purchase journey, from setting an affordable budget at the outset, right through to exchange and completion.

The video guide adds a new dimension to the site which is already populated with useful advice and information for different mortgage customer groups. The site also includes a range of interactive tools such as a jargon buster, budget planner and overpayment calculator to help take the complexity out of selecting a mortgage and buying a home. The new guide should prove essential viewing for anyone facing the daunting prospect of looking for a first time buyer mortgage.

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Consumers Can Now Research Specific Providers in the New Reviews Section of CarInsuranceRates.com

Car Insurance Rates has eliminated the need for visitors to go elsewhere to research individual auto insurers online. The site has added an entire section devoted to insurer reviews to help inform visitors’ coverage decisions.

CarInsuranceRates.com (CIRS) has revamped its site to include a section dedicated to reviews of specific providers. Visitors can find information on most major carriers, including Allstate, Farmer’s, AIG, Nationwide, and more. The reviews include information on the carrier’s history, financial standing, reputation, and customer satisfaction ratings.

“After our visitors review car insurance rates on potential policies through our free quote-request system, they typically want to conduct research on individual providers to see which insurer is best-suited for them. Rather than having to go to several different sites to investigate prospective carriers, shoppers can now look up all the pertinent information they need by simply navigating to our new insurer review pages,” explained CIRS spokesperson Nathan Ackerman.

At present, nine reviews are available to visitors, and CIRS hopes to expand the section in the future as additional providers join its referral network. To access the reviews, visitors have only to click the logo of the carrier in which they are interested. The reviews are user-friendly, concise, and informative.

“The new review section is also part of our ongoing effort to make Car Insurance Rates a one-stop-shopping site for auto insurance coverage. These reviews don’t just contain information a consumer would find on the insurer’s official site; they also offer valuable policyholder satisfaction and financial rating information that may otherwise be hard to find. Thanks to this new section, our visitors can now visit only one site rather than dozens in comparison shopping for policies,” Ackerman added.

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Personal Cash Advance Emphasizes Secure Payday Loan Process

Online sites such as Personal Cash Advance offer a secure alternative in the cash advance industry. Company spokesperson Neil Cutting emphasizes the benefits of utilizing the growing Personal Cash Advance website.

“I am thoroughly convinced that it doesn’t get any safer than online cash advances, compared to the alternatives, Cutting said. “We take the time and effort to ensure that our customers receive a first-rate service all the way through.”

As good news about the economy continues to hit the daily press, Cutting foresees positive things in the future when it comes to personal loans. Additionally, most lenders affiliated with PCA will not require potential borrowers to complete a traditional credit check. Instead, the lenders will rely on other criteria, such as monthly income and employment status, to determine applicants’ eligibility.

“It’s one of life’s great ironies that the people who need to borrow money the most can’t get it because they’ve made a few mistakes with their credit in the past. Credit challenges can haunt a consumer for years and preclude applicants from qualifying for traditional bank or credit union loans. At PCA, we understand that a credit score isn’t everything, which is why we’ve broadened the options available to our visitors with imperfect credit,” explained Cutting.

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TradingFloor.com Releases Video on the German Economy

TradingFloor.com, the home of Saxo Bank’s trading commentary, financial research and analysis, has released the video ‘Why the German economy continues to outperform in Eurozone’.

Despite a minor correction in industrial orders in December, the German economy continues to stand out from the rest of the Eurozone members in terms of growth. In the video Mads Koefoed, macro strategist at Saxo Bank’s Tradingfloor.com, discusses the performance of Europe’s largest economy versus the 16 other Eurozone members.

Mads Koefoed discusses two main reasons why he believes the Germany economy is continuing to outperform other countries in the Eurozone. Germany is turning part of its foreign exports away from other countries in the Eurozone and towards Asia. While Germany still continues to do a lot of trade within the Eurozone, by turning to Asia, where more solid growth is taking place, it is doing better than other Eurozone countries that have not moved some of their trade overseas.

Southern countries such as Spain, Portugal and Italy have also seen higher cuts on public spending than have happened in Germany, meaning Germany should recover much stronger.

Mads is optimistic that the economic growth of Germany will continue throughout 2011 and hopefully into 2012, because while Germany is cutting costs, it is not doing it as harshly as other countries.

Northern areas of the Eurozone such as the Netherlands and France are expected to catch up with Germany first, though it looks doubtful whether the southern countries will make real advance any time soon. Mads mentions that other countries outside of the Eurozone, such as the UK, should catch up fairly quickly as well. While the UK may see a weak first half due to the rise in VAT and the public spending cuts, the second half of 2011 should see a strong rebound.

The Eurozone economy video is available to view on the Saxo Bank TradingFloor website.

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Survey Shows Increase in Worries Over Finances and Jobs As Cutbacks Begin

Findings of new survey comprising of 2,000 people reveal concerns as increasing over finances, the economy and job security as Government Cutbacks start.

• Government Cutbacks worry 84% of participants
• 69% reveal they think the extent of the cuts are not being truthfully shared by the Government
• Concerned about the security of their jobs are 56%
• Expecting to be up to £300 worse off every month due to cuts are 77%
• Thinking the cuts by the Government will harm the economy are 50%

07 February 2011 – The new survey saw 2,000 people take part, and showed that due to local authorities getting rid of thousands of employees, inflation going up to 3.7% and unemployment rates in the UK going up to 2.5 million, many are getting rather anxious about the affects of the Government Cutbacks.

DiscountVouchers.co.uk is one of the nation’s top money saving website range, and were behind the national survey. They found that 84% were concerned about the cutbacks being made by the Government; whilst 69% did not really believe the Government is being honest about the depth of the cuts.

Simon Terry, Managing Director of DiscountVouchers.co.uk remarked, “There is a real sense of concern surrounding the Government cutbacks. We have seen that county councils are axing thousands of employees, and with the increase in inflation it is causing many to feel insecure and worried about the safety of their jobs and the state of their finances.”

The new national survey also found that each month 77% of participants are now expecting to be worse of by up to £300. 11% said they believe their figure will be up to £1000 and only 10% said they did not think their financial situation would be affected by the cutbacks.

Also, 50% said they were concerned about how the cuts will impact the security of their jobs. 63% said they worked in the public sector, or were aware of someone else who did, and were concerned about the future of their on-going position.

With many starting to be increasingly worried about their finances and jobs, the survey found many were deciding to delay buying expensive items and even put off major life changing decisions. For example: 40% are now postponing home improvement; 38% will now delay buying a new car or going on holiday; 22% said they will now delay moving house; 17% will not change their jobs at this time; 7% say they are now putting off having a baby; and 7% have decided to hold off on their wedding plans.

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Payday Express Launched A New Website To Improve The Customer Experience When Applying Online For Payday Loans

Payday Express, one of the UK’s leading online payday lenders, recently launched a new website to improve the customer experience when applying online for payday loans.

The company has redesigned its website paydayexpress.co.uk with the aim of making the online application process more straightforward and quicker than ever before.

A major part of the design brief also focused on transparency, as Payday Express aim to make their product offering and all charges as clear as possible upfront to customers looking for payday advance loans. Along with various articles providing general information, they have added a repayment calculator to the Home Page, allowing customers to see exactly what they’ll need to repay if they take out a loan.

The application process on the new website has been improved, enabling customers to apply for a loan and receive an approval decision within the space of a few minutes. The company, however, remains committed to responsible lending. Ashleigh Preston, Marketing Manager at Payday Express said, “Whilst we are focused on making our loan application and approval process as quick as possible, to meet our customers need for fast cash, we are also careful to carry out various checks to assess affordability. We also promote responsible borrowing from customers, encouraging them not to apply for a loan if they are not completely sure they will be able to repay it on payday.”

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Young Drivers Face Catch-22 Conundrum Reports Tiger.co.uk

The recent publication of The AA’s 2010 Insurance Premium Index has again highlighted the growing problem of increased car insurance costs for younger drivers. The Index estimated that insurance for 17-22 year old drivers increased by over 58% in 2010. This equated to a massive £829, increasing average premiums for this age group to over £2,250 – more than the cost of many first cars.

The team at Tiger.co.uk, a motor insurance comparison site, has highlighted another statistic about young drivers that also needs to be considered. The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) has estimated that 5% of motorists – over 1.2 million – are driving without insurance and 20% of these (243,000) are 17-20 year olds.

The same organisation estimates that the high level of uninsured driving has contributed towards the extraordinary level of inflation in car insurance premiums, adding about £30 to the cost of policies for legally insured drivers.

When viewed together these statistics lead to a worrying conclusion: as car insurance becomes increasingly unaffordable for younger drivers, so they may be increasingly tempted to drive without any insurance at all. This, in turn could lead to a rise in uninsured drivers’ compensation costs, again fuelling further increases in car insurance premiums.

A spokesperson for Tiger.co.uk commented: “The relationship between escalating insurance premiums and the growth of uninsured driving is inescapable. It could well lead to a “Catch 22” situation whereby having more uninsured drivers contributes to increased premiums causing drivers, particularly young drivers, to risk driving without insurance – which is of course a criminal offence. We would recommend that young drivers take the following steps to try and get cheap car insurance:

• Use car insurance comparison sites like Tiger.co.uk to make sure you get car insurance quotes and compare policies and get from a wide range of insurers.

• Consider taking the Pass Plus exam after passing your driving test – premiums can be reduced by up to 30%.*

• Have a look at ‘pay as you drive’ policies such as those offered by Insure The Box and Coverbox – both of which are available via Tiger.co.uk’s comparison service (the only car insurance comparison site to offer both of these insurance brands).

• Choose your car carefully – go for something in a low insurance group.

• Drive carefully and build your no claims discount as this can significantly reduce your premiums.”

The spokesperson also reminded young drivers shopping for cheap car insurance:
“Don’t be tempted to get an older driver to “front” your policy for you. This practice of having an older more experienced driver as the main driver on a policy is illegal and can lead to insurance being void.”

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