Seen & Heard: Fexco founder backs home insurance venture

Homeguardian promises faster underwriting and claims decisions

Fexco founder Brian McCarthy is backing a new home insurance venture that promises faster underwriting and claims decisions, according to the Sunday Times.

Homeguardian aims to settle claims of up to €5,000 within three days. Eleven brokers, mostly in Dublin, are already selling its cover, and another 20 are awaiting appointment, the paper reports.

Owens McCarthy, a loss-adjusting and claims management business backed and chaired by Mr McCarthy, handles claims. He also helped to arrange underwriting for the venture through CBL Insurance, a New Zealand-based firm whose deputy chairman Alistair Hutchinson is chairman of a Fexco subsidiary.

Owens McCarthy has been saying that insurance companies here are using low premiums to lure customers into policies on which it may ultimately prove difficult to claim.

Strike to cost Aer Lingus €10m Friday's planned cabin crew strike over rosters could cost Aer Lingus €10 million and has already disrupted the plans of 28,000 passengers, the Sunday Business Post reported.

Sales of insurance policies that allow travellers to rebook when a strike threatens their flight have jumped 10 per cent over the past 10 days, according to one underwriter who spoke to the newspaper.

The Business Post said the airline would take a hit of "at least" €6.5 million, based on an analysis of its plan to lease aircraft to deal with the disruption. However, extra costs associated with wider disruption and loss of sales are likely to push this number closer to €10 million.

The airline has already rebooked or refunded 18,000 of the 28,000 passengers that had originally arranged to fly with it on Friday.

It plans to hire a number of Boeing planes from British operator, Titan Airways, which provide aircraft and crew at short notice, and an Airbus from Lisbon-based Hi-Fly to cover its Portuguese routes.

The latest strike threat is over cabin crew rosters.

UK government seeks to boost lending to SMEs The British government plans to get tough with banks and to urge them to boost lending to small and medium-sized businesses ahead of the publication of a report this week that is expected to show the sector feels shut out by financial institutions.

The survey, commissioned by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne and carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, will rank banks according to how well they are meeting SMEs' needs, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The UK treasury is expected to demand greater competition in lending to small business ahead of the report’s launch on Wednesday.

The chancellor and his department colleagues are also expected to throw their weight behind a new independent website designed to give clarity around the services smaller enterprises receive from their banks.