Insurance News Round-up: A Month in Headlines

How selfies are helping life insurance providers

It’s often said that your life story is written across your face and modern technology can now read your narrative. An American company has developed software named Chronos which can study a selfie to unpick your past and predict your future. The software analyses everything from sinking eyelids to crow’s feet to predict life expectancy. It’s already being tested by a number of life insurance companies as a way to help arrange cover without having a medical examination. Love the idea or hate it; the future’s just around the corner.

Flood risk homes get financial lifeline

Politics today is all about soundbites and it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s a serious pledge and what’s simply hot air. So it’s welcome news when politicians put their money where their mouth is, and that’s what’s happened with Insurance Premium Tax. In last year’s Spring Budget IPT was raised from 9.5% to 10% with the promise that additional funding would go towards protecting homes at risk of flooding. It’s one year on and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association has been quizzing the Environment Agency who have confirmed that the extra funds are being spent on shoring up the country’s flood defences. Better still in the Autumn Statement the government committed to investing £170million in flood defences and resilience measures.

What’s really driving up car insurance costs?

It’s bad news for motorists as a report shows that car insurance costs are climbing. Figures released by a leading insurer reveal that premiums have risen by 16% over the past 12 months, adding £110 to the average policy which now costs nearly £800. The increasing cost of insurance pay-outs is largely to blame thanks to more expensive repair bills and costly changes to compensation claims. As cars get increasingly sophisticated; repair bills get increasingly expensive. Take the bumper as an example: in the not too distant past you might not even bother claiming for a dented bumper, but replacing today’s high-tech bumpers can easily run into four figures. The government has also recently made changes to the way compensation claims are calculated adding an estimated 4% to premiums.

Weird and wonderful home insurance claims

In a bid to prove that truth really is stranger than fiction one leading insurer has published their most unusual claims, and you couldn’t make them up. Take the tale of the peckish pensioner who decided to fix a snack and got a shock when he realised his dentures had slipped under the grill and melted; a £1000 pay-out put a smile back on his face. Then there’s the one about the irresponsible infants, who were left to play in the sitting room, and smeared nappy cream all over the carpet and sofa costing £1386 to clean-up. And finally claims don’t get much stranger than a herd of escaped cows finding themselves cornered in a cul-de-sac causing £7,500 worth of domestic damage. While there is no moral to these stories, except to expect the unexpected, they do illustrate that home insurance covers more than you might think.

New speeding fines will push-up premiums

Motorists are being reminded that last month’s changes to speeding penalties could seriously bump-up insurance premiums. The new sentencing guidelines will mostly affect drivers committing more serious speeding offences, who could be fined 150% of their gross weekly wage and get six points on their licence. Penalty points push-up premiums and one insurer has calculated that six points will add over £300 to a policy. Stricter penalties can only mean safer roads, and of course the easiest way to avoid fines is to drive responsibly within the legal limits.

 

 


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