Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fewer Insurance claims drive sharp rise in profits at Churchill

Fewer home insurance claims despite the dismal weather this winter helped Direct Line Insurance Group notch up a sharp rise in profits last year.

The insurer, whose brands include Churchill, Privilege and the Green Flag roadside recovery service, said it would pay a final dividend of 8.4 pence per share, 5 per cent higher than last year.

It also announced a special dividend of 4p per share, taking...

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New Homes Selling At Fastest Rate Since July 2008

Sales of new homes in January reached their fastest pace since July 2008, reviving hopes of a sturdy recovery in the housing market after growth slowed at the end of last year. New home sales increased 9.6 percent in January to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 468,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, easing concerns that rising interest rates were slowing house sales. Sales fell 3.8 percent in December and 1.8 percent in November. The annual rate is the highest since July 2008, when it hit 477,000 homes. Economists are forecasting sales of new and previously occupied homes to rise in 2014, reports the Associated Press, boosting job gains and improving the economy. The median home price in January was up 3.4 percent from a year ago to...
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Mortgage approvals for house purchases rise

Mortgage approvals for new house purchases climbed to their highest level since September 2007 in January, but lending to companies fell again, industry figures on Tuesday showed. Government incentive schemes such as Help to Buy, which allows buyers to get 95% mortgages, helped drive up gross mortgage borrowing by 38% to £10.8bn during the month against January last year, the British Bankers Association (BBA)revealed. House purchases were up 57% in January, while remortgaging rose 51%, the BBA said. Unsecured borrowing lifted 0.7% over the year. Within that, a rise in card borrowing of 4.5% outstripped a contraction of 2.7% in personal loans and overdrafts. People spent £8.4bn on credit cards, 12.5% up on the same month a year ago. But net lending to non-financial companies fell £317m in...
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UK house sales set to keep on rising, banks say

The UK's property market is likely to keep on growing strongly, mortgage lending figures suggest. The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said total mortgage lending by its members was 38% higher in January than a year ago. The number of mortgages for home buyers which were approved, but not yet lent, was up 57% on a year earlier. The BBA said the revival in activity had been helped particularly by the government's Help to Buy scheme. "Mortgage borrowing continues to rise compared to a year earlier as mortgage assistance schemes help first-time buyers and housing chains more generally," said the BBA statistics director, David Dooks. "Approvals for new purchases have climbed quite significantly and are now at their highest point since September 2007. "Credit card spending is also on the rise,...
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Injuries Board’s personal injury awards up 5.1pc in 2013

The Injuries Board made 10,656 personal injury awards in 2013, an increase of 5.1pc compared to 2012. According to its annual review, the total value of these awards was €243.5m, an increase of 11.7pc on the €218m awarded in 2012. As the number of accidents remains unchanged, this increase is attributed to a higher proportion of claims being processed through the Injuries Board’s lower cost, non-adversarial process and also the delivery of a number of exceptionally high value awards by the board.   The number of new claims received by the board in 2013 – a useful barometer of future award volumes – increased by 5.8pc last year, driven by an 8.2pc increase in motor claims, which are typically of lower value.   The board assesses personal injury claims and...
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Ruling clears way for contingency fee personal injury claims

Personal Injury Bogus ClaimsA Constitutional Court ruling this week clears the way for former clients of personal injury lawyers to claim back what is estimated to be many millions of rands of fees charged on a no-win, no-fee basis that exceed those set by law. Personal injury lawyers typically help road accident victims to claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF). The RAF paid out R12.5 billion in compensation last year, and Deon Francis, a director of Hogan Lovells, which has been acting for the RAF, says it is conceivable that five percent of this compensation, or R600 million, represents fees above the legal limits. The Constitutional Court this week unanimously found that it is not irrational for the law to regulate how much a...
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Aviva customer car insurance accident details stolen

Aviva is writing to tens of thousands of motorists after concerns that two employees sold details of people who had recently had accidents to claims companies. Hundreds of them have since received calls from firms to persuade them to make personal injury claims. The employees have been dismissed and police have arrested two people on suspicion of fraud. Aviva has apologised to customers and alerted the authorities. Unexplained calls Bryan Comley has had his car insured with Aviva for several years. Two years ago he was hit by another motorist. No one was injured and the claim was quickly settled. However, soon afterwards, Mr Comley started receiving calls to his mobile from claims companies, saying there were thousands of pounds set aside for him because of the accident. He thought that Aviva had...
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Volume of house sales in Dublin rose 17% last year

Dublin saw a 17 per cent increase in residential property transactions last year compared with 2012, and the total value of those transactions grew by 34 per cent, according to new analysis of the Residential Property Price Register (propertypriceregister.ie). The figures compiled by property website myhome.ie reflected increased activity in the property market with an overall increase in property sales in every Dublin postcode apart from Dublin 10. The greatest number of sales, which include apartments and houses, took place in Dublin 15 with 697 transactions, Dublin 14 (649), Dublin 16 (605), Dublin 18 (522) and Dublin 6 (512 ). Read more about how Volume of house sales in Dublin rose 17% last year via Volume of house sales in Dublin rose 17% last year - Irish Homes...
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House sales spike in last quarter

In the last quarter of 2013, there were just over 4,800 residential property sales recorded which is a 28% increase over the year and a 16% increase over the quarter. The number of sales is the highest quarterly figure since 2007. The figures are published in the Northern Ireland Residential Property Price Index (NI RPPI), produced by Land & Property Services (LPS) in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA). The statistical information examines every sale in Northern Ireland from HMRC and LPS data. House prices also increased by 4% over the year. Prices of properties recently sold are under half of their peak value before the crash. DUP Finance Minister Simon Hamilton welcomed the firm evidence of growing confidence in the Northern Ireland housing market. "I...
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Personal Injury sitting of the High Court had to be housed at the former Customs House

FINE art was the backdrop for legal affairs this week when a sitting of the High Court moved to the award winning venue of the Hunt Museum and Restaurant. Amid valuable paintings from the National Gallery’s Chester Beatty collection along with many items making up the curators choice, legal battles over personal injury claims were won and lost in what has long been regarded as the most distinguished 18th century building in Limerick. Such was the demand for space at the offices of the Courts Services adjacent to City Hall in the wake of last week’s floods and storms, that the personal Injury sitting of the High Court had to be housed at the former Customs House designed by the Italian architect, Davis Ducart, in 1765. Once...
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