Monday, 15 February 2010

Bye Bye Bank of Scotland

Although banks are generally an easy target for criticism, I'm genuinely saddened to hear of the withdrawal of Bank of Scotland Ireland and Halifax from Ireland, for two primary reasons: -

(1) Bank of Scotland's entry really did shake up the Irish mortgage market. When they arrived here, they undercut Irish banks' mortgage rates across the board and forced the incumbents to compete. The Irish customer won as a result of this competition, through lower repayments.

(2) At a personal level, it's a difficult time for the 740 or so staff who are losing their jobs. This is not a good time to be looking for a new job in banking or financial services and I genuinely wish them well.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Yes, policies do pay out.

I sometimes hear criticism levelled at the insurance industry in general that insurance companies will do their level best to wriggle out of paying claims. In my experience, a reputable insurance company won't attempt to wriggle out of a genuine claim, where the client has kept fully and honestltly to their side of the contract.

So I watch the actual claims statistics published by the various insurance companies with interest - not a ghoulish interest but rather as a reminder of what insurance is really all about.

In 2009 Irish Life paid out a quarter of a billion euro in death, specified illness and income protection claims to five thousand Irish Families. That's just one company, albeit a BIG one in terms of market share. But there's nearly a hundred families a week that were undoubtedly glad that they didn't reject the idea of insurance as a waste of money.