The new Bribery Act received royal assent in April and replaces the fragmented Prevention of Corruption Acts of 1889 to 1916. Under the Act, a financial or other advantage will be considered a bribe

IPT and Hidden Costs of Insurance

The cost of Insurance is more than the costs of paying claims and expenses

The government announced an increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in their Budget statement earlier this year.  The amount has gone up from 5% to 6% and this will apply from January 2011. The tax on travel policies will go up from 17.5% to 20%.  These increases are unavoidable and unlike VAT cannot be reclaimed.  All accounting transactions from January will include the new figures.

The VAT increase will hit the insurance industry as well.  They are in the ‘Exempt’ category and have to pay VAT and cannot offset it against purchases.  This impacts on their costs and also the cost of many claims as repair bills and professionals’ fees are subject to VAT.  We do not know yet whether this will be absorbed or passed on in higher insurance premiums.

Insurers also have to include in their premiums a number of other changes which have increased rapidly in recent years.  One of the largest are payments to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.  This fund provides compensation to customers when a Financial Services Company or Insurer goes bust.  Under current rules, Insurers have to pick up a substantial amount of the bail out costs of Icelandic Banks and Bradford & Bingley etc., these costs have to be funded out of insurance premiums paid by customers.

If an Insurer ceases to trade, the Scheme pays for the vast amount of outstanding claims for personal clients and businesses under £2m turnover.  It also covers all Third Party motor claims and claims from employees for all businesses.  The scheme applies to UK Insurers and most overseas companies operating in the UK.  The cost of this can be sunstantial.

Motor Insurers also have to pay out to any person who has a claim against a motorist who was uninsured or did not have valid insurance at the time of an accident.  They can recover these costs from the offending motorists but this is often impossible.  This is a substantial part of all motor premiums.

The recession has increased the percentage of uninsured motorists and the number of Financial Service Companies going out of business.  Once again this puts pressure on insurance premiums.

There are specialist covers available for environmental impairment risks and these should be considered for any business where a potential hazard exists.  BP may be an extreme example but a small company could be equally threatened as a result of a leaking tank, an unfortunate spillage or a long forgotten disposal of materials which were considered harmless then but now regarded as toxic.

If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to conact us.

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