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					The Professional Insurance Broker
The official magazine of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association

                                                             Issue 20 • Spring 2008
Chairman’s Remarks

By Jack FitzPatrick

Welcome to the Spring ‘08 edition of The Professional Insurance       obtain quotes online.
                                                                      On the Mortgage front, our top priority will be to continue to highlight
PIBA’s philosophy is to be a strong and unified voice for             our members’ grave concerns on the issue of commissions and
Independent Brokers and to focus on issues key to our members’        clawbacks through representations made to lenders. We have made
profitability and well-being. As ever, the PIBA Committee and         some progress in discussions with certain lenders on the agency
Executive have a challenging and busy year ahead on several           agreement issue and our aspiration is that 2008 will see the
fronts – some of which I will briefly touch on below.                 implementation of our first meaningful lender partnership agreement.
In the Legislation and Compliance area we will continue through       I am delighted to announce that we will be staging our first PIBA
our representation and lobbying to positively influence the           Conference on April 24th next at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin.
legislative environment for Brokers. Our main focus in 2008 will      An Tánaiste, Brian Cowen T.D., has kindly agreed to make the
be on the following three areas:                                      opening address and we have lined up the irrepressible George
 ! The Financial Legislation Advisory Forum (on consolidation         Hook as our keynote speaker. The aim of the conference will be to
   and modernisation of financial services legislation)               give brokers tools and concepts to enable them to expand the
                                                                      profitably and value of their businesses. We have a fantastic line-
 ! The ‘Review of the insurance intermediary market’ working
                                                                      up of speakers who will cover topics such as fee-based financial
                                                                      advice, how to maximise the sale of your practice, using software
 ! The impending second draft of the IMD Regulations.                 as a financial planning tool and ways to attract more high net
On the Life side, we are at an advanced stage of bringing a service   worth clients. It will be a very practical and informative session and
(“OmniBroker”) that will replicate that of Omniview, in conjunction   I would urge as many brokers as possible to come along to what
with Best Advice and the Life Offices.This will be provided free of   promises to be a brilliant day. Full details including a special early-
charge to our members.                                                bird offer will be communicated shortly and the conference is also
                                                                      open to non-PIBA members at a higher fee.
A new web engine for General Brokers (“PIBA Sure”) will be
launched in the coming weeks. When set up this will enable            In closing, may I wish you and your staff and families prosperity
subscribing members to significantly reduce the cost of processing    and good health and a peaceful and enjoyable Easter and I hope
private motor business by allowing clients to submit details and      you all find our latest edition to be an interesting read.

   PIBA's Next Steps                                                                                                                    5
   New PIBA Professional Indemnity Scheme                                                                                               6
   Delivering into the Legislation Core                                                                                                 7
   Current Irish Housing Market                                                                                                         9
   PIBA Sure — Online Quote Engine for Motor Insurance                                                                                 10
   Pierre & Vacances — Invest in Tourist and Leaseback Properties                                                                      11
   New Ireland Assurance — Celebrating 90 years in business                                                                            12
   Managed Funds — the right choice for investment clients?                                                                            13
   The recruitment process                                                                                                             15
   PIBA Service Excellence Awards (photos)                                                                                             16
   WageProtector                                                                                                                       18
   Meet … Bernard Sheridan, Head of the Consumer Protection Codes Department at the Office of The Financial Regulator                  20
   Where now for UK commercial property?                                                                                               22
   Future developments in the non-standard mortgage market                                                                             24
   OmniBroker from Best Advice                                                                                                         25
   Capital Secure Bonds                                                                                                                26
   Joe Grogan talks to PIBA                                                                                                            27
   IIB Homeloans                                                                                                                       28
   PIBA Broker Conference announcement                                                                                                 28
   Mortgage Brain offer three month free trial to new customers                                                                        29
   PIBA Activities                                                                                                                     30
   Challenging Times                                                                                                                   31
   Updates                                                                                                                             32
   Crossword                                                                                                                           32

                                  By Emer O'Flanagan

                                  Earlier this month, the Financial Services Ombudsman spoke at length about the forthcoming court battle between his office
                                  and Davy stockbrokers. Ombudsman Joe Meade ruled that Davy had sold unsuitable investment products for                                      500,000 to
                                  Enfield Credit Union in Co. Meath. That ruling has now been challenged by Davy stockbrokers.

                                  However in addition to appealing the ruling, Davy is also challenging the constitutionality of the Ombudsman's powers. Mr
                                  Meade said the Davy challenge was in effect "setting aside" his office. He said that if it succeeded, all of the consumer
                                  protection given to the financial services area following the scandals in the 1990s would be "put at nought".

                                  In his ruling, Mr Meade held that the Enfield Credit Union was not informed of the real nature of its investment in three
                                  perpetual bonds. The Ombudsman said the bonds were "at a level of risk which did not ensure security of capital" and were
                                  unsuitable for this credit union. He ordered Davy to pay the credit union                        500,000 in exchange for the three bonds and to
                                  refund all fees and commissions. Mr Meade confirmed the bonds were worth around                               330,000 at the latest figures he had.

                                  This situation raises serious questions for all members of the public. While Davy stockbrokers is entitled to appeal the decision
                                  of the Financial Services Ombudsman, challenging the constitutionality of the Ombudsman’s powers would seem to be
                                  reaching a new level of goalpost shifting. The office of the Financial Services Ombudsman cannot be treated in his way unless
                                  we are saying consumer protection is no longer important.

                                  Regulation has been difficult for small brokers. However the challenges set by the compliance requirements of the Financial
                                  Regulator’s office have been taken on board by brokers and changes brought about by ever-increasing regulatory requirements
                                  have been embraced. Regulation of financial advisors is important – so why do Davy feel they are not answerable to this office?

                                  Under more usual circumstances a complaint of this magnitude brought against a small practitioner could result in the Financial
                                  Services Ombudsman imposing a “suspension of all business transactions” until a satisfactory outcome could be agreed by all
                                  parties concerned – how long might that take? Certainly challenging the powers of Mr Meade’s office would not be an option.

                                  It is in this context that the Davy challenge is worrying. It is not in the public interest that the powers of the Financial Services
                                  Ombudsman be challenged in this way.

                                  Committee Members                                                        Sub-Committee Chairmen
                                  Jack FitzPatrick                Chairman                                 Life                                                Michael Hoare
                                  Liam Carberry                   Vice-Chairman                            General                                             Tom O’Keefe
                                  Michael Hoare                   Secretary                                Mortgage                                            Jack FitzPatrick
                                  Derek Fitzgerald                Treasurer                                Legislation                                         Liam Carberry
                                  Jarlath Jordan
                                  Michael Leyden
                                  Tom O’Keefe
                                  Niall Lynch
                                  Fergus Hanly                                                             Chief Executive: Diarmuid Kelly

The Professional Insurance Broker
14B Cashel Business Centre, Cashel Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12 • Tel: (01) 492 2202 • Fax: (01) 499 1569 • e-mail: • Website:
Chief Executive: Diarmuid Kelly
Editorial Group: Jack FitzPatrick, Edel Morey, Paul Kelly, Janet Furlong. Editor: Emer O’Flanagan
Publisher: Salient Print Management, Naas, Co. Kildare. Tel: (045) 866057 & (087) 254 3463. Design: Salient Print Management, Naas, Co. Kildare. Tel: (045) 866057 & (087) 254 3463
Views expressed by contributors or correspondents are not necessarily those of PIBA or the publisher and neither PIBA nor the publisher accepts any responsibilty for them.

                                                                     The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                                     3
            PIBA’s Next Steps

            By Diarmuid Kelly, Chief Executive, PIBA

The IBA (having initiated the process) voted against the merger      with the closure of Assurelink and the introduction of
in December after a fourteen month period of negotiation,            clawback on pensions and other commissions. The Life
consultation, due diligence and formal drafting of proposals.        Committee is up and running addressing these and other
Many PIBA members were rightly indignant at the perceived            issues and is soon to be strengthened with a full time
waste of time and resources with this process. However it was        manager dedicated to this area. We will be aiming to meet all
the right decision to explore the creation of a unified body to       Life Offices on a quarterly basis, keeping well ahead of issues
represent all Brokers and many positives have come from this         in this sector, negotiating benefits for our members, keeping
process which will strengthen PIBA.                                  them informed and having a proactive media strategy for life
                                                                     and pensions. This will be in addition to our work in the
First amongst these was the creation of a Life Sub-Committee         Mortgage and General Broking sectors.
to cover issues relevant to Life and Pensions Brokers. With the
life agency agreements spanning a period of over ten years’          Second is the separation of representation and networking.
work, the main committee’s work had been diverted into               PIBA Mortgage Services will now be encompassed in PIBA
other priority areas. Committees had been established for            Network Services and all commercial and scheme activity will
other areas (mortgages, general, legislation) but paradoxically      be channelled through this source. The aim of this will be to
not for life and pensions. The need for a dedicated committee        scale up and maximise the business potential of members
focussed on life and pensions issues came home to roost              through increasing margins and widening access to products.

                               SO, THE NEW STRUCTURE OF PIBA WILL LOOK LIKE THIS

                            PIBA COMMITTEE                                                         PIBA
                             (Board of Directors)                                         NETWORK SERVICES BOARD

         LIFE           MORTGAGE               GENERAL      LEGISLATION                       PIBA                OTHER
         S-C              S-C                    S-C            S-C                     MORTGAGE SERVICES    COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES

                               S-C = Sub-Committee

We believe that this refinement of PIBA’s structures will serve       first meeting between PIBA and IBA but some (large) IBA
our members even better and enable the organisation to               Brokers had a different take on the meaning of equality
continue its expansion into the future. Our aim is to be relevant    between members. The recent IBA article on the result of the
and effective in all areas of a Broker’s business.                   merger had Orwellian tones – “All Brokers are equal but some
                                                                     larger Brokers are more equal than others”!
PIBA members were willing to give a unified body an
endorsement but felt no imperative to do so. The debate on
                                                                     That said, relations between PIBA, IBA and IMAF are better than
the relative influence of SME Brokers versus larger Brokers
                                                                     ever. As the sun set on the merger that never was, the reasons
(turning over 1m) was a key part of the merger process. The
                                                                     for Broker unity came into sharp focus with proposals to
ultimate irony of course is that approximately 90% of IBA
                                                                     change mortgage commissions. That issue is ongoing but let’s
members fall into the SME category.
                                                                     hope that Broker bodies can co-operate across the key issues
The principle of one member, one vote was agreed at the very         of concern for all Brokers.

                                        The Professional Insurance Broker                                                              5
                New PIBA Professional
                Indemnity Scheme
                By John Collier, Associate Director, H.W. Wood

    H.W. Wood is an independent Lloyds Broker and is a member of
    the H.W. Wood International Group. H.W. Wood International's
    British company is based in the Baltic Exchange, just a few metres
    away from Lloyd's in the heart of the United Kingdom's financial
    centre in the City of London, offering a full range of insurance
    services to a diverse client base.

    We take pride in our unrivalled reputation for providing insurance
    broking and risk management services to companies in the
    following sectors: property, construction, European and global
    multinationals, fine art and collectibles, and industrial and
                                                                           in masterminding the rating and policy coverage from the initial
    commercial organisations of all sizes including pension funds and
                                                                           stages when I first negotiated terms in the London markets. Chris
    local authorities.
                                                                           brings significant knowledge and experience in understanding the
    I have had the pleasure of working in partnership with PIBA for        members' needs through cost effective insurance solutions.
    over seven years in arranging Professional Indemnity Insurance for
    member firms. During that time premium rates have come under           Benefits of H.W. Wood
    intense competition from opportunistic insurers offering short          ! Further reductions in rates
    term fixes, only to then step away from offering cover at all. This
                                                                            ! Excess down to 1,000 from 2,500
    leaves the assured high and dry when the market starts to change
    or claims materialise.                                                  ! Excess is      2,500 in respect of Financial Services
                                                                              (discretionary power over clients' investments)
    The Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) was adopted in January          ! No claims bonus applicable at renewal (5% to 10%) subject
    2005. Most countries have strived to adopt the new rules, while           to minimum premiums
    others have been very slow in rolling out the new mandates. One
    key aspect of this was making Professional Indemnity Insurance          ! Web based quote system. Immediate response and policy
    mandatory for all firms: cover must be for at least 1,500,000 in          documentation (obtained electronically) – currently under
    the aggregate per year with the basic policy coverage including           development
    libel and slander as well as loss of documents.                         ! Automatic policy renewal with direct debit mandates

    The market for Professional Indemnity cover for Brokers for many        ! Short Yes/No proposal form
    years was in a monopoly-like situation with one provider                ! Competitive Directors & Officers cover.
    dominating the supply of PI to intermediaries throughout Ireland.
    This provider in turn used this strong position to offer terms and     We are very keen for all members to take advantage of the only
    premium rates which were excessive and unnecessary for this            fully endorsed PIBA Professional Indemnity facility and would like
    particular product. PIBA sought to solve this problem and went to      all members to contact our PIBA team at H.W. Wood Limited to
    market in order to create market competition for PI almost four        ensure we work together to support you and your insurance
    years ago. Since then rates have gone down substantially with          needs both now and in the future.
    improvements in the range of covers also being offered to Brokers
    through the PIBA membership schemes over the last few years.

    As the only officially endorsed broker to PIBA members, H.W.
    Wood Limited offer a long term commitment with stable and              Please Contact H.W. Wood Limited
                                                                           38 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8BH
    consistent rates in partnership with Dual Corporate Risks Limited
    and ARCH Insurance Europe Limited, building exceptional cover,         Tel :     0044 0207 398 9000
    guaranteed rates and service and support through a specialist          Fax :     0044 0207 398 9001
                                                                           Web :
    International Lloyds broker that places in excess of £300 million of
    business in the market. We also have the financial stability,          John Collier:
    resources, proactive professionalism and expertise in converting       Maurits Kleingeld:
    nearly every enquiry we receive from PIBA members.                     Bernard Chant:
                                                                           Or alternatively you can obtain proposal forms and information on
    The policy coverage has been specially negotiated with                 the scheme by contacting Enda Burns or Paul Kelly at (01) 492 2202
    underwriters at Dual Corporate Risks Limited with Chris Fletton        or emailing either of them at or
    who takes a special interest in PIBA, having been instrumental

6                                            The Professional Insurance Broker
           Delivering into
           the Legislation Core
           By Liam Carberry, Chairman, PIBA Legislation Sub-Committee

In the last few years, we have seen copious amounts of              PIBA is delighted to have Diarmuid Kelly (CEO) on the forum.
legislation,    regulations    and    policies   affecting          Participation on this forum is imperative to ensure that the
intermediaries, which have ultimately impacted on the way           foundations of the new framework include the Broker’s
business is interacted with consumers. The bottom line is           standpoint.
that a Broker now operates in a complex environment with
aspects of its actions coming within the remit of many              Review of Insurance Intermediary Market Working
different regulatory bodies including the Department of             Group
Finance, the Financial Regulator, the Pensions Board, the           In the Financial Regulator’s Strategic Plan 2007-2009, the
Financial    Services    Ombudsman,        the  Pensions            Financial Regulator outlined its intention to undertake a review
Ombudsman, the Data Protection Commission, the                      of the insurance intermediary market, with completion of the
Investor Compensation Company Limited and the National              project anticipated to be September 2008.
Consumer Agency.
                                                                    Jack FitzPatrick (Chairman) and Diarmuid Kelly (CEO)
Since the Central Bank took over the regulation of                  participate on the working group on behalf of PIBA and the
intermediaries in 2001, PIBA has consistently tackled the issue     forum meets monthly.
of over-regulation. Recently, PIBA raised various issues on
unnecessary and burdensome regulation with KPMG, who                The issue of categorisation and classification is one of the
have been appointed by the Industry Panel to undertake a            major areas of consideration for the group. PIBA has
survey to identify such industry issues.                            consistently lobbied for the removal of the MAI/AA tags and for
                                                                    the return to the term ‘Broker’ — a term which is recognised by
Regulation that is unnecessary and burdensome results in            both the industry and consumers. This forum represents a
higher costs for the Broker with little or no benefit to the         further opportunity to push for a term which aptly describes the
consumer. Unnecessary regulation undermines the integrity of        role of the Broker.
the Broker market and compromises the ability of the Broker to
service its clients effectively and efficiently.                     In recognition of the need for consistency of categorisation
                                                                    across the insurance and mortgage sectors, the classification of
In an effort to stay on top of regulation, regular meetings are     mortgage intermediaries is also being considered within the
facilitated with the Pensions Board, the Financial Regulator and    scope of the project.
the Department of Finance to address and tackle issues of
concern.                                                            Other areas within the scope of the project include the role of
                                                                    intermediaries, the relationship with insurers, the relationship
  But last year saw the creation of two of the most important       with consumers and issues regarding sales and marketing.
  working groups which delve deeper into the legislative and        Other activities of intermediaries such as trusteeship, incidental
  regulatory mindset. These groups, called the ‘Advisory            business etc. will also be considered.
  Forum on Financial Services Legislation’ and ‘Review of the
  Insurance Intermediary Market Working Group’, will                  The outcome of the review of the insurance
  significantly impact on the regulation of the Broker industry.       intermediary market will ultimately affect how Brokers
                                                                      compete in the market and will roll out the very essence
                                                                      of what a Broker is.
Financial Services Advisory Forum
The forum, set up in April 2007, will look at the consolidation
                                                                    PIBA intends to raise issues of pressing importance to the
and modernisation of all the various pieces of financial services
                                                                    Broker industry such as price discrimination between direct and
legislation into a harmonised and integrated cross sectoral
                                                                    Broker channels and production thresholds to retain agencies
legislative framework.
                                                                    and to obtain certain levels of commission, among others. A
You might recall back in 2004 when the Minister for Finance         level playing field is the ultimate goal.
invited submissions on how best to consolidate and simplify the
                                                                    The momentum to tackle regulation has not lost force. It is
current legislative framework, PIBA made a submission that
                                                                    deepening and widening.
highlighted various anomalies and inconsistencies of the
regime, particularly with the double regulation of the Investment
Intermediaries Act and the Insurance Mediation Directive.

  This forum, comprising all major stakeholder interests,
  has now been established as the engine of the reform

                                      The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                  7
            Current Irish Housing Market

            By Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, IIB Bank

The current weakness in the Irish housing market reflects a            These elements will lead to a marked deterioration in Euro area
combination of negative influences. Probably the most                  growth prospects and an associated easing in future inflation
important of these was a deterioration in affordability. This was      risks. As a result, I think the European Central Bank will soon be
driven by a relatively speedy doubling of interest rates through       cutting interest rates. Because the risks of a further downleg to
2006 and 2007 that came in the wake of a period of sharp               global growth from a further deterioration in financial markets
and accelerating increases in house prices. As a result,               and/or the US economy can’t be excluded, I think markets will
significant strains on purchasing power began to emerge. While         focus on the possibility of a sequence of ECB rate cuts during
I expected that this would prompt a slowdown, the extent of            2008.
the recent downswing has been a good deal greater than I had
envisaged. I think this owes much to a sharp deterioration in          A more favourable interest rate outlook would come as
confidence in the Irish economy in general and the housing             unexpected good news to many young borrowers. Indeed, Irish
market in particular. Through the course of 2007, Irish                consumers began the year braced for an interest rate climate
consumers substantially and repeatedly downgraded their                that is altogether more threatening than now seems likely. In a
views on the long term health of the Irish economy and, with it,       survey taken in early January seven out of ten Irish consumers
the sustainable trajectory for house prices. In addition,              said they expect rates to rise in the coming year. The delivery in
uncertainty about property taxes, which fuelled hopes for a            coming months of what might be seen as the first in a
potentially dramatic drop in the ‘up front’ costs of house             sequence of rate cuts could be an important element in an
purchase, further discouraged potential buyers.                        eventual turnaround in consumer sentiment towards the Irish
                                                                       housing market.
With borrowing power constrained, house prices falling, a
persistent possibility of radical changes in property taxation and     Another factor that could offer support to the market later in
the outlook for the Irish economy seeming to deteriorate on a          2008 is the prospect of a significant cutback in housing supply.
daily basis, it is scarcely surprising that the Irish housing market   The marked step-up in the pace of housebuilding in recent
has undergone a dramatic change of late. The key question is           years is widely cited as leading to a significant degree of over
whether the forces that fuelled the deterioration through 2007 are     supply at present.
likely to continue to exert a forceful negative influence in 2008.
                                                                       It is clear that builders have responded aggressively to this
Policy makers, financial markets, businesses and consumers             emerging imbalance and have sharply cut new housing starts.
right around the world are currently grappling with the threat of      As a result, new supply is likely to fall well below long term
recession. Signs of significant weakness in the US economy             demand in both 2008 and 2009.
have sparked dramatic cuts in US interest rates in recent
months. The scale and speed with which US policymakers                 In coming months worries about the health of the Irish
have responded strengthens the view that interest rates here           economy and some further slippage in prices may continue to
will be on a declining trend in 2008.                                  deter some prospective purchasers. However, with house
                                                                       prices returning to attractive levels, a tentative improvement
Although conditions in the US are significantly worse than on this     could emerge.
side of the Atlantic, economic activity in Europe is also set to
weaken. The Eurozone economy faces (i) a sharp downswing in            While confidence in the Irish housing market is unlikely to
its two largest trading partners that has been amplified by a          improve rapidly, a clear turn in the interest rate cycle, a further
strengthening exchange rate (ii) deteriorating financial markets and   small easing in house prices in coming months, an improving
tightening lending standards in the Eurozone and (iii) weakening       trend in affordability, a sharp reduction in supply and signs of
consumer and business sentiment. To these restraining factors          resilience in the Irish economy suggest that after a challenging
must be added the eventual impact on activity of a sharp rise in       start to the year, 2008 could end with the Irish housing market
ECB interest rates between end 2005 and June 2007.                     on a steadier footing.

                                        The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                    9
                 PIBA Sure – Online Quote
                 Engine for Motor Insurance
                 By Enda Burns, Business Development Manager, PIBA

     As private motor insurance premiums fall it is becoming more
     and more difficult for General Insurance Brokers to turn a profit.
     Compounding this is the fact that, with the introduction of full-
     cycle EDI, Brokers are now finding themselves doing even more
     work to process the business, resulting in increased costs. PIBA
     Sure is the first step towards providing PIBA members with a
     solution to the problem of decreasing profits on private motor

     The initial concept of PIBA Sure came from discussions with
     members who were either breaking even or turning a loss on
     their private motor business. As an essential service to existing
     clients and a lead generator for new business curtailing the
     business was not an option. It was decided that PIBA should
     act to facilitate members in this difficult market.

     Initial discussions with Brokers identified two areas of difficulty.   applies for cover an email is generated and sent to the Broker.
     Firstly, the cost of processing the business was too high and,         Once the attachment on this email is opened, all details are
     secondly, the commission being paid to Brokers was too low.            automatically inputted onto the Broker’s Relay system. The
     Both issues require immediate attention.                               application can then be forwarded onto the Insurance
                                                                            Company. Brokers will also have the option of allowing client’s
     The concept of PIBA Sure was seen as an answer to the                  to pay for the cover online. All premiums are collected by the
     increasing costs associated with processing the business. PIBA         Broker and all commissions are paid directly to the Broker.
     Sure is an online quote engine for private motor insurance.
     Rather than manually processing the business Brokers will be           PIBA Sure is open to all PIBA members who use the Relay
     able to direct clients to a website which will allow the client to     system. We are due to launch in early 2008 and the web
     get quotes and apply for cover.                                        address is

     There are two functionalities of the PIBA Sure quote engine:

      ! Decrease Overheads
        The primary function of the website is to reduce the                For more information on PIBA Sure or to find out how to sign
        administration costs of processing private motor business.          up please contact Enda Burns on (01) 492 2202 or by email
        Participating Brokers can place a link on their own website         at
        and direct clients to this link. Any client directed to PIBA
        Sure in this manner will be automatically assigned to the
        introducing Broker, ensuring that clients are retained. The
        client then inputs their details, gets a quote and can apply
        and pay for the cover there and then. This significantly
        reduces the staff time spent providing quotes and                    PIBA Representation of General Insurance Brokers
        arranging cover.
                                                                             It is our intention in 2008 to significantly increase our activities
      ! New Business                                                         in representing the interests of General Insurance Brokers.
        The website will also provide new business opportunities             PIBA Sure is the first step in providing solutions to the
        by giving access to the online market for motor insurance.           problems faced by our members in their everyday activities.
        Anyone accessing the website directly for a quote will be            Other activities planned for 2008 include developing an online
        assigned a Broker in their area and that Broker will deal
                                                                             quote engine for Home Insurance, a review of commissions
        with the application. We will be looking at developing this
                                                                             on private motor, regular CPD events and networking
        area once the website is up and running.
                                                                             opportunities. We are currently in the process of creating a
     PIBA Sure operates through the Relay system. It will link into          database of General Insurance Brokers. If you would like to be
     each participating Broker’s individual Relay system providing           kept up-to-date on General Insurance issues please contact
     clients with Broker-specific quotes. While PIBA will look after the     Enda Burns on (01) 492 2202 or by email at
     administration of the website the clients will deal directly with
     their appointed Broker. Once a client receives a quote or

10                                           The Professional Insurance Broker
           Pierre & Vacances – Invest in
           Tourist and Leaseback Properties
           By Niamh Erbek, Ireland Manager, Pierre & Vacances

Pierre & Vacances, which was founded in 1967, are the               available for up to 100% of the property price (and 104% on
European leaders in the construction and management of              one special property: the Moselle project which benefits from
tourist and leaseback properties. The company is listed on the      an additional local government subsidy). There are various
French stock market and has an annual turnover of 1.5               ownership formulae with different annual rental returns
billion. Pierre & Vacances literally means “stone and holidays”     depending on whether the client wants to have any personal
as investors buy their properties in holiday destinations where     usage of the property.
rentals are managed for them, capital appreciation potential is
strong and there is the opportunity to benefit from personal          Moselle Project
usage. P&V’s expertise is threefold and they have three main
complementary businesses, P&V Property Development, P&V               ! 104% Mortgages are available with our Moselle Project,
Property Investment Sales and P&V Tourism (property rental              which has huge benefits to offer.
management).                                                          ! 4.5% Guaranteed Rental Income index linked for 9
Pierre & Vacances are uniquely and very importantly the
developers and the managers of the properties they sell, with         ! 2% Deposit payment
6.6 million clients staying in their 250 residences in six            ! Quarterly rent payment
European countries each year; so they have a very clear vested
                                                                      ! 8% Discount given by the local governor
interest in the quality of the construction, location and ongoing
maintenance of the properties.                                        ! 19.6% Vat Saving

  Main features of a leaseback property with P&V                    VAT Benefit
                                                                    Clients may sell their property at any time (privately or through
  ! Freehold Property
                                                                    P&V’s very efficient re-sales department) and there is no VAT
  ! Guaranteed Rental Income for a minimum of 9 years,              clawback as long as the new buyer continues with the lease
    which is index linked                                           agreement. * Property prices in France have appreciated at
                                                                    between 10 and 20% per annum in the last 6-7 years and
  ! VAT of 19.6% is automatically paid by Pierre &
                                                                    while this excellent growth is slowing (6-7%), France still
                                                                    represents an extremely attractive and stable property market
  ! Fully Furnished property, and re-furnished after 9 years        which is also due to benefit from new measures to be
    free of charge                                                  implemented by the new President.
  ! Holiday Occupancy optional                                      Brokers introducing P&V leaseback properties as an investment
  ! Maintenance and Management fees are free of charge              option to their clients are paid generous commissions for those
                                                                    clients who proceed based on the full purchase price of the
  ! Insurance is covered by P&V                                     property (not just on the cash amount invested) while all of
  ! All running costs are covered by P&V for 9+9 years              the specific questions, associated paperwork and
                                                                    administration are carried out by a P&V account manager. The
                                                                    most successful seller of P&V investment property in the world
Investors are guaranteed annual returns of up to 4.5% of the
                                                                    with annual sales of 300m is a network of brokers in France
property price, which is index-linked to the Dwellings Rent and
                                                                    and we want to replicate this success in Ireland.
Construction Index, which helps inflation-proof returns. The
return is provided irrespective of tourist occupancy, protecting
investors from fluctuations in tourist demand or downturns in
the property market and therefore provides a definitive income
stream in an appreciating asset. This income is net of all costs
                                                                    We will soon be launching an initiative with PIBA on behalf of
so investors do not need to worry about typical property
                                                                    its members in March. If you would like further information
ownership issues such as maintenance, repairs or upkeep costs
                                                                    please contact PIBA, or Niamh Erbek of Pierre & Vacances, on
of the property, communal areas, facilities or finding rental
                                                                    (01) 483 0847 or (087) 243 9555.
tenants throughout the whole lease period.
                                                                    * The French government will refund the VAT (11-19.6%) to investors, which
French Mortgages
                                                                    represents a significant saving on the purchase price to investors. (The VAT
Clients investing in a P&V leaseback property can invest with a     rate for new build properties is 19.6% and for refurbished properties it varies
mixture of cash and borrowings and French mortgages are             between 11-14%.)

                                      The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                               11
                 New Ireland Assurance —
                 Celebrating 90 years in business
                 By Denis Kelleher, Head of Broker Sales, New Ireland Assurance

     The year 2008 marks New Ireland’s 90th year in business as a             New Ireland has always taken great pride in its strong service
     life and pensions provider in Ireland.                                   ethos. Our nationwide offices in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick,
                                                                              and Sligo afford us the opportunity to provide excellent service
     Established in 1918, New Ireland was the first Irish-owned life          from our headquarters in Dublin and on a regional basis.
     company to operate in Ireland. New Ireland Assurance’s
     genesis lies in the national resurgence of the 1916 era, and             Throughout the years New Ireland Assurance has continued to
     subsequently, its roots are intrinsically nationalistic. It began as a   be an industry leader, financially strong and committed to the
     small company just as the tide of national resurgence was                broker market. As we celebrate our 90th birthday, I would like
     beginning to flow with full force. In fact, most of the original         to personally thank you for your support and loyalty.
     members of New Ireland’s committee of management include
     a number of significant figures within Irish history.                    Borrowing from the words of former Managing Director M.W.
                                                                              O’Reilly in 1960, our current Managing Director of New Ireland,
     For example, Sinn Féin were long advocates of the formation of           Brian Forrester, adds his thoughts on this momentous occasion:
     an Irish concern to compete with the foreign companies
                                                                              “Today, facing a new decade, we stand solid and firm in the
     providing life assurance solutions to Irish earners. They believed
                                                                              economic life of the nation, in which during these ninety years,
     that this money should be invested within Ireland, contributing
                                                                              we have ever striven to play our part in strengthening and
     to our economic growth.
                                                                              rehabilitating the social, economic and cultural resources of
     However, the moving spirit in the formation of New Ireland was           the people of Ireland. Life Assurance offers the safest and
     Mr Michael W. O’Reilly. When he was interned in 1916 in                  easiest way of providing for both the present and the future;
     Frongoch, Wales, after taking part in the fighting of Easter Week,       and we can provide for any and every need.”
     O’Reilly often discussed the idea with fellow prisoners,
     including Michael Collins and Dr Jim Ryan (who went on to
     hold a number of Ministerial posts in subsequent Irish

     Following his release, O’Reilly followed through on his plans
     and New Ireland Assurance Collecting Society was established
     on the 5th of January 1918. The presence at this meeting of Mr
     Eamon de Valera, President of Sinn Féin, indicated the
     importance that the leaders of the nation had begun to attach
     to the formation of an Irish life assurance company.

     New Ireland continues to reside at its headquarters on Dawson
     Street, a prominent building that the company has occupied for
     over 85 years. Today the company goes from strength to
     strength, from just £1,000 in assets in 1918 to over 13 billion

     Our country has changed dramatically in the last 90 years, with
     few life companies standing the test of time. Our promise to
     our clients “You enjoy today, we look after tomorrow” reflects
     our history, reputation, and solid success in providing
     meaningful insurance solutions, enabling people to financially
     prepare for and protect their future.

12                                            The Professional Insurance Broker
             Managed Funds – the right
             choice for Investment clients?
             By Jonathan Daly, Product Solutions Manager, Eagle Star

For many years, Managed Funds, which invest in a mix of                  Resilience in difficult circumstances
equities, property, bonds and cash have been by far the most             Managed Funds tend to invest in a well diversified mix of equities,
popular choice for clients investing in regular or single premium        bonds, cash and possibly property. They are usually globally
pension products.                                                        diversified and investors will not be overly exposed to the poor
                                                                         performance of one sector. 2007 is perceived as a very rocky year
Managed Funds have a proven record of delivering consistently
                                                                         for investments, particularly in Ireland where the ISEQ index
strong returns, with moderate levels of volatility and few big
                                                                         tumbled by more than 30% over the course of the year.
surprises. While some Managed Funds have performed better
than others, most have demonstrated an ability to deliver real           The resilience of Managed Funds can be seen by looking at their
returns to clients over the medium to long term.                         performance over the last year:
However, for Life Investment Bond business, it is interesting to                                                 01/01/2007 to 31/12/2007 *
note that the choice of investments made by clients is much more
                                                                         Managed Balanced Average                                    – 3.7 %
varied, with only a minority of clients opting for Managed Funds.
Each month, a new investment option appears to be the “flavour           Eagle Star Performance                                        0.8 %
of the month” – you see all sorts of different funds becoming
popular e.g. Geared Equity, Indian Equity, Chinese Equity,               While any negative return is disappointing, a fall of less than 5%
Commercial Property, Smaller Companies, Mega Cap and so on.              does not seem disastrous, given the general backdrop of doom
The fund choices available to clients continue to proliferate, it        and gloom.
seems, on a monthly or even weekly basis. Funds with names
including words such as alpha, beta, high-yield, multitrack, zonal,
etc. are now available in the market. Each of these funds perform
different and useful purposes. For example, they could be used as        Overall, therefore, Managed Funds deliver the strong inflation
“satellite” funds in a “core plus satellites” investment strategy.       beating returns and moderate risk which most clients are looking for.

With such a wide variety of funds available, it is now possible for      It may be tempting for clients to invest in whatever fund is
an independent advisor to design sophisticated investment                currently “flavour of the month”, but it is well to remember that
strategies, which are tailored to the specific needs of individual       the fund which has gone up 50% in the last year may just as
clients. However, it is clear that an independent advisor would          easily fall by 50% in the next year. It can also be tempting to try
need to spend many hours researching all of the available funds,         to time the markets so that you invest in the right investment
as well as analysing in detail the risk attitude and requirements of     theme at the right time. In practice, however, this is a difficult art
the relevant client before they could design such tailored               to master and you may lose as many times as you win. Fund
strategies. This is generally neither practical nor feasible for         Managers invest time and skill in setting the asset allocation of
anything other than high net worth clients.                              their Managed Funds, moving between sectors and between
                                                                         asset classes in attempting to get the best returns for their clients.
It is therefore worth considering whether Managed Funds can              While they do not always get it right, the best active fund
deliver the levels of risk and return which are suitable as a core       managers have shown themselves to have the ability to deliver
holding for most clients.                                                consistent returns in challenging investment conditions.

Most clients investing in unit-linked bonds are typically looking for:   The potential for steady, well diversified returns that Managed
                                                                         Funds offer justify their careful consideration for anyone with a
 ! a return which beats inflation over the medium to long
   term, and                                                             lump sum to invest in a unit-linked bond. There is no
                                                                         fundamental reason why Managed Funds should not be as
 ! a reasonable level of risk.                                           popular for Life Investment as they are for Pension Investment. It
                                                                         is likely that, particularly given recent market turbulence, the
Strong returns from Managed Funds
                                                                         recent trend for investing in a multitude of oddly named and
                                                                         difficult to understand funds will be replaced with a trend
                                          01/01/1993 to 31/12/2007
                                                      (% annualised) *
                                                                         towards the ready-made diversification, resilience and strong
                                                                         returns which Managed Funds have proven they can deliver.
 Managed Balanced Average                                          9.9

 Eagle Star Performance                                           12.5

Throughout this 15 year period, which includes several periods of        * Source: MoneyMate.
market turbulence, such as the bursting of the dot com bubble in         Warning: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future
2001/2002 and the recent “Credit Crunch”, Managed Funds                  performance. The value of an investment may go down as well as
have still delivered returns well in excess of inflation.                up.

                                          The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                       13
           The recruitment process

           By Rachel Doyle, Manager, PIBA

When the new regulations came into place for Brokers in 2001        Preparing for the interview
there was a realisation that the administration work in             Call each candidate and arrange a date and time to meet. Give
Brokerages was going to grow. A number of Brokers who had in        yourself plenty of time between interviews so you are not
the past no need for staff found that they would need to take       rushing. Request any qualification certs or references that you
on someone in order for their business to grow.                     would like the candidate to bring along to the interview.
For most Brokers the process of recruiting and training new staff   Look on the Internet for sample interview questions; these
was an alien task. Getting the right person is extremely            are very useful in identifying personal skills where the
important within any organisation but particularly in a Brokerage   applicant does not have much work experience. If you know
where the principal would have to trust the employee to work        what type of person you need the questions will assist this
on their own initiative while the Broker was out of the office      process. Decide whether you are looking for someone with
meeting clients.                                                    good analytical skills, good communication skills, good
                                                                    negotiation skills or good people skills.
To ensure you attain the right candidate for your company there
are a number of simple processes that if followed will help.        Some companies use profiling to assess individuals' core skills
                                                                    in order to get the right fit for a position. Be aware that it is very
How am I going to recruit?                                          easy to employ candidates who are very similar in profile to
Firstly, decide what avenue you are going to use to recruit the     yourself; this is not always a good decision as the skills you may
candidate: direct advertisement or recruitment agencies.            require for the role may not be the skill set that you boast
Local recruitment agencies can take some of the burden of the
process away from you by accessing the candidates. The cost         Also prepare a document that outlines a number of attributes
of using an agency is usually based on a percentage of the first    you are looking for and how you would rate them; these can
year’s salary.                                                      be experience, industry knowledge, interpersonal and
                                                                    communication skills.
What am I looking for?
                                                                    The Interview
Secondly, you should draft a job spec for the position. This
should contain a brief introduction about your company, outline     Hold the interview in a quiet room where you know you will
the position, specify the type of person you require, the           have no disruptions. Explain to the candidate the running order
qualifications and experience you deem necessary, other             of the interview. It is good to begin with a brief introduction
attributes that would be desired but are not compulsory, key        about the company, yourself and the position. Then move onto
functions of the job (in bullet points), starting salary, how to    the applicant's CV and ask questions in relation to gaps
apply (cover letter, CV), who to contact, how to contact them       (between jobs), roles and courses.
(email, post) and where they can find out more about the
                                                                    Take notes of answers to your questions and rate the candidate
company (company's website address).
                                                                    on the attributes such as experience etc. from 1-5 (1 being
When drafting the job spec put in any positives such as benefits    excellent)
(flexitime) or subsidising educational courses such as the QFA
or the CIP.                                                         Finally
                                                                    Ensure that you can work with this candidate on a daily basis
When you receive the applications for the position you should       and that they will give the right impression of your company to
divide them up into a number of categories: Definite, Maybe         your clients and the industry.
and No. Take the job spec and write a list of attributes that are
compulsory and others that are desirable and cross reference        Make an offer to the candidate, obtain at least two written
the CV’s against the list. Candidates who have all compulsory       references and follow them up with a phone call. Prepare a
attributes should be put into the ‘Definite’ category,              contract that outlines the obligations of the employee and
candidates who have some or slight variations of the                employer.
attributes should be put into the ‘Maybe’ category and
                                                                    Embrace this new and exciting expansion to your business!
candidates who do not have any of the attributes should be
put into the ‘No’ category.

Check the ‘Definite’ category and pull out any CV’s that also
have some of the desirable attributes; these candidates should
be interviewed first.

                                      The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                      15
                                        Service Excellence Awards
     24th January 2008, Crown Plaza Hotel, Santry

                                                                                                                        Jack FitzPatrick
                                                                                                                                         (PIBA Chairman)
     Derek Fi                                                                                                           Michael Brenna
                tzgerald                                                                                                                 n (CEO, Eagle Sta
                           (Fitzgera                                                                                                                       r Life)
                                     ld Harne
                                                tt), Emer
                                                                   an   (Priorite
                                                                                  Con   sulting)

                                                                                                                                                           (IIB Homeloans)
                                                                                                                                               n McAlinden
                                                                                                                                 rd Sloane, Joh
                                                                                                              Mark Crowley, Richa
           Eimear O’Brien, Darren Martin, Helen Keane (Standard Life)

                                                                                                           Jack FitzPatr
                                                                                                                        ick (PIBA Chair
                                                                                                           Joe Meade (Fi                man), Janet Fu
                                                                                                                         nancial Service               rlong (PIBA)
                                                                                                                                         s Ombudsma
                                      A CEO)
                           Kelly (PIB       an)
                  Diarmuid y (CEO, Hiberni
                  Stuart P

16                                                                            The Professional Insurance Broker
                                                                                                                                                                         el   Doyle (P
 Jack Fitz
           Patrick                                                                                                                                               an, Rach
 Charlie           (P                                                                                                                             G   areth Eg
         Kiernan IBA Chairman)                                                                                                           Furlong,
                   (Director                                                                                                   ly, Janet
                             of Sales,                                                                              , Paul Kel
                                       IIB   Homeloa                                                        Minnock
                                                    ns)                                          rns, Ciara
                                                                                          Enda Bu

                                                                                               Enda Burn
                                                                                               Dermot N (PIBA), Shane Sulli
                                                                                                       utley (Sta            van (CEO
                                                                                                                 rt Mortgag           Springboa
                                                                                                                           es), Marc           rd
                                                                  ringb   oard)                                                      Murphy (E )
                   on (Springboa
                                rd)                   Munnelly (Sp                                                                            rgo)
      Suzanne Gibs                      ages), Denise
                        chy (Start Mortg
      Marie -Louise Cona

Sonya Bradley (C
       Reddy      om
             (Profile pliance Solu
                      Design       tio                                                                                                                                  eloans)
                             s), Bri ns), Elaine                                                                                                              r, Nua Hom
                                                                                                                                                   ing Directo
                                    a n Mc       M
                                          Neilis aher (IBA)                                                                      tzpatric  k (Manag an)
                                                , Haze                                                                  Declan Fi             A Chairm
                                                      l Rock                                                                        trick (PIB
                                                             (IBA   )                                                   Jack FitzPa

                                                                        The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                                     17
                   Protecting your client’s wages in the event of illness or injury
                 By Saragh Fitzpatrick, Income Protection Specialist, Friends First

     Nobody wants to think about what life would be like should                  Friends First) as suffering from mental incapacity due to
     disability or illness strike. According to research, less than 15%          an organic brain disease or brain injury which:
     of workers in Irish companies would receive sick pay from their             — Has affected the life assured's ability to reason and
     employers for more than 6 months. This means that 85% of                      understand
     private sector employees would be fully reliant on the State
     Illness Benefit if ill or injured. In 2008, this would entitle them         — Requires constant supervision
     to just 10,268 p.a. for a single person. Those who are self-                — Requires the assistance of another person.
     employed are not eligible for even this benefit.
                                                                           Full details of the Functional Assessment Test are
     As brokers, most of you are familiar with the concept of              available on request.
     Income Protection, and how valuable it is as a best advice
     protection solution for your clients. Friends First currently         Product Details
     offer Income Protection to four separate classes of                   To take out WageProtector, the client must be aged
     occupation. Classes 1 and 2 refer to professional or more             between 18 and 54 and the maximum benefit available is
     office-based workers, whereas Classes 3 and 4 refer to the              175,000 p.a. (subject to a maximum of 75% of current
     more manual workers.                                                  earnings less any Social Welfare entitlements). The plan is
                                                                           sold on a reviewable basis, with a 3% p.a. indexation option
     In our experience, although the need for income protection is
                                                                           available. It also comes with hospital cash and waiver of
     often greater among Classes 3 and 4, standard Income
                                                                           premium benefits as standard. It is available with a ceasing
     Protection has not been very attractive to those occupations,
                                                                           age of 55, 60 or 65 and must be taken out for a minimum
     mainly due to the higher cost involved. With this in mind,
                                                                           of 5 years.
     Friends First have developed WageProtector: this is a more cost
     efficient alternative to full Income Protection aimed at skilled      All premiums paid on the policy are eligible for tax relief at the
     manual occupations.                                                   policyholder’s marginal rate, up to 10% of their total earnings.
                                                                           Benefits received by the policyholder while on claim are
     The idea behind WageProtector is to provide all customers with
                                                                           treated as normal taxable income and assessed for income tax
     own occupation cover for an initial period to help them get
                                                                           under the PAYE system.
     back on their feet after a disability, while ensuring that people
     who are severely disabled continue to have an income until              EXAMPLE OF COST
     retirement age.
                                                                             Bob is a self-employed bricklayer (Class 4 occupation), currently earning
     WageProtector offers dual benefits: initial “Transitional Cover”,         1,000 p.w. At 30 years old and a non-smoker, he decides to protect 50%
     for 24 monthly payments, and full “Disability Cover”, available         of his earnings, i.e. 500 p.w., with a 13 week deferred period, to a ceasing
     after that point to successful claimants, up to their selected          age of 60, and elects to take up the 3% indexation option.
     ceasing age.                                                            Benefit Amount                                 26,000 p.a. (or 500 p.w.)
     Transitional Cover is assessed based on the policyholder’s              State Illness Benefit, 2008                              0 (self employed)
     ability to do their own job. This benefit gives the policyholder        Gross premium                                                   82.04 p.m.
     the opportunity to either recover or prepare for an alternative         Net premium (after tax relief at 41%)                           48.40 p.m.
     job. After this initial period, Disability Cover may apply. This
     cover is assessed based on our “Functional Assessment Test”, a
                                                                           WageProtector is designed specifically to fit the wage
     simple, easy to understand set of physical and mental ability
                                                                           protection needs of self-employed skilled trades such as
     tests, as summarised below:
                                                                           electricians, tilers, plumbers, and other “one man in a van”
      ! Physical Health Assessment                                         occupations earning an income of less than c. 80,000 p.a.
        The client is assessed based on his/her ability to carry out       This segment of the market have a great need for Income
        everyday physical activities, such as: walking (for more           Protection; however they are also the segment that find the full
        than 200 metres), climbing (a flight of 12 stairs), lifting /      Income Protection product too costly. WageProtector provides
        carrying (a 1kg weight for 5 metres), operating controls           a very concrete alternative cover for this market.
        (such as light switches or taps), writing, hearing, speaking,
        seeing, and recognising money.

      ! Mental Health Assessment:                                          For more information, please contact Karen Gallagher
        To satisfy this test the Life Assured must have been               on (086) 857 4869, your Friends First Account Executive or Sales
        diagnosed by a Consultant Psychiatrist (acceptable to              Support Team.

18                                           The Professional Insurance Broker
                                                                                         Meet …                                          Bernard Sheridan                                                      Head of the Consumer Protection Codes Department
                                                                                                                                                                                                               at the Office of the Financial Regulator

     Q Bernard, thanks for taking the time to talk to us              putting in a strong protection framework and reviewing the         intermediary and the product provider. This model of                  Q What do you see as reoccurring issues in the industry
     today. Maybe you can start off by giving our readers some        prospectuses and other fund documentation. I also spent            engagement on the key issues will, I believe, lead to a               and how can the industry counteract these?
     background information about yourself?                           some time on monitoring compliance with our requirements           more effective outcome both for consumers and
                                                                                                                                                                                                               While it is still early days regarding the Code there are a
                                                                      by conducting inspections.                                         intermediaries.
     I was born in Co. Dublin but grew up in Cavan and later on in                                                                                                                                             couple of issues which I believe intermediaries should pay
     Navan Co. Meath. I am part of a very large family with both      I moved from there to the Investor Compensation Company            We intend to carry out consumer research to:                          particular attention to. Transparency about the charges
     politics and GAA dominating my early youth. I worked for a       in 1999 to act as Chief Operations Officer. I was responsible                                                                            imposed for the product or service offered needs to be
     short while in the family’s small construction firm before                                                                          ! Explore consumer understanding of the terms used to                 improved on. The Code contains a number of requirements
                                                                      for ensuring that the company was adequately funded and
                                                                                                                                           describe insurance and mortgage intermediaries; and
     joining the Central Bank. I am married with three children and   also that the claimants in respect of the failed firms were                                                                              but the important message is that charges must be disclosed
     I live in Dunboyne, Co. Meath.                                   being looked after. I moved from there to the Retail               ! Explore consumer awareness of:                                      in advance in a way that seeks to inform the customer. The
                                                                      Intermediaries Department in 2001 at the time that the                                                                                   second issue relates to the disclosure of conflicts of interest.
                                                                                                                                              – the services provided by intermediaries,
                                                                      Central Bank took over responsibility for regulating the sector.                                                                         These can arise when the firm or individual selling the
     Q Can you give us a brief description of the role you                                                                                    – how intermediaries are remunerated,                            product provides other services and may have another
                                                                      On the establishment of the Financial Regulator in 2003 I
     hold within the Financial Regulator’s office?
                                                                      became head of the newly formed Consumer Information                    – the relationship between the intermediary and the              interest in the transaction. It is important that the firm makes
     I am currently the Head of the Consumer Protection Codes         Department before moving to my current position in 2006.                  consumer, and                                                  it clear for the customer the nature of the service provided
     Department at the Office of the Financial Regulator. My                                                                                                                                                   and if it is regulated or not. Also the firm must clearly state if
                                                                                                                                              – the relationship between the intermediary and the
     department is responsible for monitoring and enforcing                                                                                                                                                    there is any conflict of interest and must obtain the
                                                                      Q How do you think the Consumer Protection code has                       product producer.
     compliance with the Consumer Protection Code and other                                                                                                                                                    customer's consent in writing that it is in order to proceed.
     consumer legislation in the area of financial services. Our      been received? In your opinion how effective has it been           The Working Group hopes to issue a report with
                                                                      to date?
     work is focused on the relationship between the firms and                                                                           recommendations in September 2008.                                    Q Do you use a Broker?
     their customers and includes setting the relevant standards,     I believe the Code has been very well received. We have
     carrying out reviews and inspections to monitor compliance,                                                                                                                                               Yes I use a broker for some of my insurance cover. I am very
                                                                      established a very strong consumer protection framework
     working to improve transparency of financial products, and       here in Ireland and while that is good for consumers, it is also   Q What does your department hope to achieve in the                    pleased with the service provided and I think customer
     approval of bank charges as well as a number of other key                                                                           coming year?                                                          service plays such an important part in retention of business,
                                                                      good for the industry in terms of reputation and the level of                                                                            and my experience has been very positive.
     projects including the review of the insurance                   confidence consumers can now have when buying financial            Monitoring compliance with the Code is our key objective for the
     intermediaries market. The range of firms now supervised         products. The benefits of the framework here are even more         year. We have undertaken a number of themed inspections in
     by the Department includes intermediaries (including             evident when you consider recent international events,             2007 and this work will continue in 2008. We believe that by
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Q And finally Bernard what do you make of the newly
     insurance and mortgage), banks, insurers, investment             particularly the sub-prime crisis in the US. Most of the                                                                                 appointed Irish Football manager?
                                                                                                                                         examining key issues and providing feedback to industry of our
     business firms and moneylenders. Our responsibilities have       provisions of the Code had already been applied to the             findings, we will help to ensure that the required standards are      I have some concerns about the level of expectation that has
     recently been extended to the conduct of business of             intermediary sector and therefore the impact of the Code has       being met. Areas being considered for review include suitability of   developed around his appointment. A few weeks ago the
     stockbrokers and also other retail credit firms including non-   been greater in other sectors. In general we are pleased with      product and complaints handling. Progress on the review of the        general consensus was that we do not have the quality
     deposit taking lenders.                                          how industry has responded and we appreciate the efforts           intermediary sector as outlined above will be important as well as    players needed to be successful but it now seems that the
     We work closely with our colleagues in the Prudential            made by the various representative bodies, including PIBA, to      advancing our work on transparency. We are also engaging in           manager can work miracles over a very short period. I think it
     Department as well as the Consumer Information                   encourage their members to buy into what we are all trying to      consultation on a new code for moneylenders as well as a              would have been better to look at a longer term appointment
     Department, which allows us to identify current key consumer     achieve.                                                           voluntary code for the core services of credit unions.                with the priority aim of developing the skills at underage level.
     issues through their interaction with consumers. We also work
     closely with the Financial Services Ombudsman and the            Q How do you think the review of the insurance
     Pensions Ombudsman.                                              intermediary market is progressing?

                                                                      I am very pleased with progress on this project. The scope
     Q Could you tell us a bit about your career path and             of this project covers two main areas, intermediary
     what led you to your current position in the Financial
                                                                      categorisation and transparency for the consumer. A review
     Regulator’s office?
                                                                      of the categorisation of mortgage intermediaries will also
     Prior to joining the Central Bank I worked for short periods     be considered as part of this project. We have established
     in the family firm and also Dublin Corporation. I was            a High Level Forum and a joint Regulator/Industry Working
     attracted to the Central Bank partly because of its              Group, consisting of members from relevant representative
     commitment to staff development and I achieved both a B          bodies, including PIBA, to consider the issues in more
     Comm in UCD and a MSc in Investment & Treasury in DCU            detail. These groups will meet to work on this project over
     while working in the Bank. When I joined the Bank in the         the coming months. Three meetings of the joint
     1980s the International Financial Services Centre was being      Regulator/Industry Working Group have been held to date
     established and the development of the international funds       and the Working Group will meet once a month until the
     industry had started. I worked in the area responsible for       end of August. The issues currently being discussed
     authorising these funds and even back at that time our           include intermediary categorisation, the role of the
     focus was on protecting the investors in these funds by          intermediary and the relationship between the

20                                        The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                                                                     The Professional Insurance Broker                                                   21
     Where now
     for UK commercial property?
     By Graham Fox, Investment Sales Manager, Irish Life

     The UK commercial property market has certainly seen some
     very tough times over the last six months; in fact since the
     closing quarter of 2007 we have seen prime yields in UK
     commercial property move up by almost 1% with secondary
     yields pushing up on average by almost 1.5%. This has
     caused substantial shifts in the value of the underlying
     properties, resulting in property values across all sectors and
     regions falling between 15-30% on an un-geared basis. The
     global credit crisis has been a key factor in pushing yields
     higher as debt backed investors no longer had easy access to
     borrowings to transact deals on the ground. In fact as the
     cost of borrowing became more expensive the margins for
     property deals in the UK became very tight. Where debt
     backed investors were able to borrow 95% of the value of
     the property a year ago financial institutions were now only
     willing to lend 75% of the value of the property with the           Looking more specifically on a sector basis:
     investor having to generate 25% equity. As a direct
                                                                          ! Office – Consensus estimates for rent increases in 2007
     consequence of the financial crisis, as opposed to issues
                                                                            for the West End and City offices were 18.6% and 14.2%
     with UK property investment market fundamentals, there is a
                                                                            respectively. The credit crisis has had a very negative
     lack of confidence amongst the property investment
                                                                            effect on jobs growth within the financial and business
     community and as a result many valuers continue to move
                                                                            sectors of London which has resulted in a downward
     yields out and to comment that each property sector is
                                                                            revision of rent increases to 4.2% and 3.5% respectively.
     continuing to trend ‘weaker’. This created an almost perfect
                                                                            Nationally the picture is mixed but many office centres’
     storm which turned sentiment in UK commercial property
                                                                            vacancy rates continue to decline, with shortages of
     very negative very fast. If you look back over the last fifteen
                                                                            supply of Grade A stock emerging in some markets,
     years the UK commercial property market has fallen by such
                                                                            encouraging some new development activity.
     levels before, but this has usually occurred over a one to two
     year period. The speed of this fall has certainly surprised          ! Retail – According to the IPD the retail sector was the
     many property experts.                                                 worst performing sector over the last 12 months, with
                                                                            consumer spending slowing as the UK economy starts to
     If you look through the negative short term sentiment on               slow.
     the market the long term underlying fundamentals remain
     the same. The outlook for the UK economy is still                   In conclusion, the short term outlook remains cloudy for UK
     reasonably positive with more interest rate cuts expected in        commercial property and more volatility is expected, but the
     2008. The relative attractiveness of the UK commercial              longer term outlook is brighter. With regard to individual
     property market will once again start to exert itself: in fact in   properties it is important to remember that the tenant remains
     recent weeks institutional investors have started to look at        unchanged and more importantly the long term lease has not
     the UK commercial property market on a very selective               changed.

     One positive that has come out of the weakening market has
     been the re-emergence of property funding. The 5 year swap
     rates have fallen to 4.95% (12/02/2008) and the IPD all-
     property equivalent yield (taking into account the lag) has
     climbed to around 6.33%, giving the first real positive yield gap
     for some time and making property finance sustainable even
     when you allow for an increase in Bank’s margins.

     Coupled with this reversal in the funding market many believe
     that the property investment market has overshot on the way
     down and as a direct consequence there has been a lot of
     commentary this month about ‘opportunistic funds’ waiting in
     the wings to take advantage of this overshot.

22                                          The Professional Insurance Broker
                 Future developments in the
                 non-standard mortgage market
                 By Declan Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, Nua Homeloans

     The Irish housing market and by association the Irish mortgage          giving even short term loans to newly established businesses but
     market has generated a lot of discussion and press coverage with        the specialist lenders tend to look at each case individually and
     doom and gloom and predictions on possible recession. The               assess the applicant’s affordability to check if the loan can be
     latest Irish Banking Federation (IBF)/PricewaterhouseCoopers            serviced. The interest rates may be higher but after a couple of
     (PwC) Mortgage Market Profile 1 shows that while new lending            years, once the customer establishes a credit record, they can look
     continues to moderate to more sustainable levels, particular            to move on to a lower rate.
     segments within that market are growing strongly.
                                                                             In 1994, Ireland was the only country in the EU with a negative
     The IBF report shows that first-time buyers are maintaining market      migration rate. 3 However, this has changed significantly over the
     share and that remortgage activity is growing strongly. 37,719 new      last decade. Non-Irish nationals are tentatively estimated to have
     mortgages to the value of some 8.3 billion were issued during           accounted for 48,400 or 71.6% of the annual increase in the
     the fourth quarter of 2007, bringing to 158,098 the total number        numbers in employment in 2006. 40,100 of these came from
     of new mortgages issued in 2007 to a value of 33.8                      the twelve new EU Accession States. Non-Irish nationals equate to
     billion. First-time buyers have increased their share (by volume) of    10% of the overall population in Ireland, (4.8% in 2002) so this
     the total mortgage market to 19.3% in 2007, which is up from            continues to be another major area of opportunity and growth.
     18% in 2006.                                                            Specialist lenders accept applications from non-EU nationalities
                                                                             with Stamp 1 and Stamp 4 status. We have seen a steady stream
     The level of remortgage activity continues to increase and now
                                                                             of these types of applications with good credit history, trying to get
     accounts for 16.4% of all new mortgage lending (by volume) in
                                                                             on the property ladder here in Ireland and establish roots.
     2007, compared to 13% in 2006. In the fourth Quarter of 2007, it
     stood at 19.4% of all new mortgage lending (by volume): its             Providing consistently high service standards will need to be a
     highest market share to date. There have been various campaigns         strong focus area for specialist lenders in 2008. Nua Homeloans
     introduced over the last 6 months promoting mortgage switching          was delighted to receive the PIBA Award for Service Excellence in
     and encouraging cutomers to do a health check on their mortgage         the specialist lender category. This award recognises the huge
     to see if there are savings to be gained and we can only conclude       effort we have made to provide a quality service to our panel of
     that these have been successful. At 19.4%, residential investment       brokers and their customers.
     letting (RIL) has retained its share (by value) of the market from
     Q3 to Q4 2007.                                                          We have just recently upgraded our Online Application System to
                                                                             allow brokers to submit a full application and attach scanned
     Commenting on the data, IBF Chief Executive, Pat Farrell, stated:       documents. We have also launched a near prime product aimed
                                                                             at the self-employed/self-certified market with no adverse credit
       “Our data is wholly consistent with all other indicators of
                                                                             history, with excellent rates and no loadings. We will be
       housing market activity in showing that the mortgage market
                                                                             introducing other initiatives and products throughout the year as
       continues to adjust to more sustainable levels of new lending.
                                                                             part of our service focus.
       That said, within a market that continues to grow in absolute
       terms and now stands at 140 billion, the first-time buyer             We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the PIBA
       share is staying consistently strong, the residential investment      members for their continued support and look forward to
       letting segment is proving resilient and activity in the switching    strengthening our relationship throughout 2008.
       market is intensifying.”

     So how does this affect the non-standard mortgage market and
     how is it going to develop?

     The non-standard mortgage market has huge potential. The                1   Press release issued by Irish Banking Federation 13 Feb 2008. Source:
     number of specialist lenders in Ireland has grown over the past   

     few years and this growth has brought an increased level of             2   Central Statistics Office: Quarterly National Housing Survey Q4 2007
     awareness of the offering and a welcome solution for those                  Source:
     previously ignored by the mainstream lenders.                           3   Irish Entrepreneur Magazine, October 2007 Issue.

     Huge opportunities lie with the self-employed sector, in particular
     those looking to self-certify their income. Ireland’s entrepreneurial
     spirit has really grown over the last number of years. The number
     of self-employed persons increased by 27,900 to 352,800 in
     2007, representing over 40% of annual increase in employment, 2
     so this is a huge growth area and one target that is currently
     overlooked by the mainstream lenders. Banks are very wary of

24                                            The Professional Insurance Broker
OmniBroker from Best Advice

By Sean O'Flaherty, Senior Account Manager, Best Advice

Having access to your up-to-date client data is a key
requirement of any brokerage. When the Life Offices
announced therefore that they were closing down the
OmniView service from Assurelink on the 31st of October last,
it created a major problem for brokers.

While many of the Life Offices have their own broker websites
to source client policy data, there was still a need to have a
service that sourced the data in real time from each of the
providers, appearing in one single client view for each broker.      ! Live policy data from overnight feeds from the Life
Finding the Solution                                                 ! Automatic client matching.
Having previously been successful in gaining support from the        ! Reporting facility to generate and store policy
Life Offices for the launch of FreeQuotes, which is a direct           documentation for clients.
replacement of OmniQuote, PIBA and Best Advice have again
come together in partnership to promote an alternative to the        ! History of values and other policy changes.
discontinued OmniView service.                                       ! Marketing reports e.g. upcoming maturities and
We are very pleased that we received both the financial and
technological support of the key Life Offices to produce and         ! Client Correspondence section to store documents,
launch OmniBroker from Best Advice.                                    records of conversations, contacts etc.
                                                                     ! Insurer Correspondence section to save contact details
What is OmniBroker?                                                    for each Life Office.
OmniBroker is a new on-line client management tool,                  ! Seamless link to produce, transfer and save quotes and
providing the Intermediary with live client details from the main      research reports for users of Best Advice and FreeQuotes,
Life Offices in one single client view. At its core, OmniBroker        thus completing the cycle from research tool to client
receives live overnight data feeds from each of the companies.         management tool.
The seven leading Life Offices (Canada Life, Eagle Star,
Friends First, Hibernian Life, Irish Life, New Ireland and          How secure is my Data?
Standard Life) have all agreed to partake in this initiative and    In order to satisfy the security requirements of the Life Offices,
will be providing live feeds.                                       Ernst & Young were commissioned to carry out a rigorous
The system also has the facility to include, by manual input,       security audit on OmniBroker. Changes have been made at our
policy data from providers who are not listed above.                end and the system is now fully in compliance with the Ernst &
                                                                    Young report.
Is there a Cost?
                                                                    What training do I receive?
No. Due to the foresight shown by PIBA and Best Advice, and
with the financial support from the Life Offices, the service is    OmniBroker is extremely easy to use and navigate. Automated
available free of charge to all Intermediaries regulated by The     tutorials are incorporated into the system, which will take you
Financial Regulator.                                                through all aspects of the service. In addition you can log
                                                                    questions and suggestions through the support log which will
You do not need to be a user of Best Advice or be a member          be answered without delay.
of PIBA to have access to OmniBroker. Both organisations
obviously hope that this initiative is seen as evidence of our      How do I access OmniBroker?
commitment to the broker community.                                 In order to become a registered OmniBroker user you are
                                                                    required to complete a Registration Form. This form is available
What are the key features of OmniBroker?                            from Best Advice. Simply contact or
OmniBroker is a client focused management package that              phone Niall on (01) 4960006. He will take you through the
provides:                                                           process and provide you with a demonstration if required.
 ! Client Data such as Name, Address and Contact details
   which automatically stream into the system for all clients
   based on information held by the Life Offices. There is
   minimal input needed from the broker.

                                      The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                  25
                 Capital Secure Bonds
                  Capital Secure Bond Specialist Fund Managers BCP Asset
                  Management report on why Capital Security is compelling
                 By Trevor Cullen, Investment Director, BCP Asset Management

     The need for Capital Secure bonds in every investment portfolio      providers prior to making investment decisions. The underlying
     has become very evident over the last few months. The                assets in today’s investment offerings will differ from
     carnage and turmoil seen in world stock markets and to a             yesterday’s offerings because investment opportunities change
     degree some property markets has stopped most investors and          continuously. However consistency is possible through a firm’s
     advisors in their tracks. CFDs, the ‘flavour of the month’ during    established team of fund managers and their skill in identifying
     the bull market, are now being labelled as ‘wealth evaporators’.     asset classes to wrap in a structured product.
     Investor confidence has been affected due to financial write-
     downs declared by international banks involved in sub-prime          BCP has specialised in Capital Secure bonds for the past sixteen
     lending. This was compounded by the delayed action taken by          years; their track record in this field is exceptional. Investors in
     Governments to inject confidence into financial markets.             their bonds have received a gain over 90% of the time.
     Similarly sentiment towards commercial property values have
     been affected. We at BCP believe this situation has created            %    Compare Past Performances                                      Returns from 8/08/2002 to 11/02/2008
                                                                           100                                                                  Source BCP Asset Management and Moneymate
     value opportunities over the medium term in world stock
     markets. We believe now should turn out to be an excellent             80

     time to enter markets. Capital Security makes the investor's
     decision easier and gives brokers an excellent product choice.
     In my 20 years experience in our business I have learnt that the       40

     easiest way to lose clients is to lose them money.

     How They Work                                                          0
                                                                                   CF        WPF       FTSE100 FTSE WI            GM          MC       DJES50      ISEQ              IPFs        BCP
                                                                                 Fund h

                                                                                             Fund t


                                                                                                               Worl FTSE

                                                                                                                               Man teed

                                                                                                                                          Cau ged

                                                                                                                                                      STO URO



                                                                                                                                                                                                   Bon le
     Capital Secure bonds or structured products are generally pre-



                                                                                                                       d ex









                                                                                                                                                          XX 5

                                                                                                                   d In

                                                                                                                                                        DJ E

                                                                                                                                                                                            Gro CP Do

     packaged investments that derive their return from equity



     derivatives. They tend to offer a full or partial ‘Capital
     Guarantee’ and tend to be over a fixed investment term. Many
     will double, triple or quadruple the market growth up to certain     The above table compares the most recent matured capital
     limits.                                                              secure bond (8/2/2008) to other funds and stock markets.
     The majority of bonds work where the capital is placed on            Who Can Invest?
     deposit and the investor forfeits their deposit interest and some
                                                                          The following types of contracts are available to invest new or
     capital in exchange for the terms offered with the bond. These
                                                                          switch existing holdings into:
     terms vary greatly from one bond to another, for example at
     present BCP have two growth versions: an income version and
                                                                           Investment Clients                                                         Pension Clients
     a specialist ‘Bank Stocks’ Bond. The selection process of the
     underlying assets is as vital as the structure itself. The outcome     !    Individuals                                                          !   Personal
     of this process will reflect the fund manager's skill set and past
                                                                            !    Companies                                                            !   Company
     performance. Most structures do not suffer currency exposure
     and will average gains and losses in the final 6 or 12 months.         !    Charities                                                            !   Self-Administered
     Charges and commissions tend to be covered within the terms            !    Credit Unions                                                        !   ARF/AMRF
     offered so there are no bid offer spreads or exit charges. Gains
     on deposit based bonds are subject to DIRT where applicable.           !    Non-Residents                                                        !   Buy-Out Bonds
     Qualifying Pension, Credit Union, Non resident investors etc.
     should receive gains without tax deduction.                          The Current Offerings
                                                                          Currently there are bonds to suit most investors' needs, be
     Past Performance
                                                                          they an ARF or Credit Union investor seeking income, a
     An investment track record built up over time is evidence of a       pension investor nearing retirement seeking capital security or
     fund manager’s expertise and experience in all market                your everyday investment client seeking growth not risk.
     conditions. It is key information for any investor in order to
     assess a fund manager's knowledge and success. While past
     performance is not a guide to future performance it is evidence
     of performance. Our regulator does not insist fund managers
     display their past performance; however it is probably prudent       For further information contact BCP Asset Management on
     for advisors and investors to seek this information from product     (01) 668 4688.

26                                          The Professional Insurance Broker
             Joe Grogan …

Q JOE, FROM 2005 TO JANUARY THIS YEAR YOU HAVE                        the interests of its members. As active participants PIBA can
HELD OFFICE AS CHAIRMAN OF THE INSTITUTE's CPD                        promote and create awareness of the competence and
COMMITTEE. HOW HAS CPD DEVELOPED UNDER YOUR                           professionalism of the general insurance industry to the benefit
GUIDING HAND?                                                         of PIBA individual members, PIBA employers, industry and
                                                                      commerce in Ireland generally. PSAB–GI offers PIBA a unique
In 2003 the Institute restructured and expanded its programme
                                                                      opportunity to engage with industry on matters of CPD in a
of education and qualification opportunities to significantly
                                                                      meaningful way.
enhance the professional potential of all members. The
Certified Insurance Practitioner (CIP) qualification was created
as a stepping stone to professional qualifications such as the        Q MARSH IS ONE OF IRELAND’S LEADING INSURANCE
Joint Financial Services Diploma (JFSD) and the Advanced              BROKING COMPANIES WITH A LARGE NUMBER OF
Diploma (ACII). The Institute committed at that time to deliver       STAFF. WHAT PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES HAVE
a Continuous Professional Development programme to support            MARSH PUT IN PLACE TO ENSURE CPD COMPLIANCE?
its new suite of qualifications.
                                                                      Marsh Ireland currently employ over 200 staff in Ireland,
In 2006 the Institute launched its first CPD scheme to its            assisting clients from our offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway,
membership. With the transposition of Minimum Competency              Limerick, Belfast and Derry. With such a large number of staff
Requirements into Irish law in July 2006, it was critical that we     working in a regulatory environment we needed to find a user-
put in place a process that allowed CIPs and other members of         friendly and practical solution in order to allow our staff record
The Insurance Institute of Ireland to meet their obligations and      CPD and for our compliance department to monitor their
develop their knowledge base.                                         progress. The Insurance Institute of Ireland has invested heavily
                                                                      to provide Institute members with a robust and fully functional
                                                                      CPD support tool.
MINIMUM COMPETENCY?                                                   Q ON A PERSONAL NOTE, WHAT HAS YOUR
                                                                      CHAIRMANSHIP MEANT TO YOU?
In preparation for the roll-out of regulatory requirements from the
1st of January 2007, much work took place behind the scenes in        My own personal history with the Institute goes back some
order to guarantee that all our members were informed about           time. I have, at varying times, been both a member of the
their CPD requirements and that sufficient CPD provision was in       Dublin Institute and lectured on behalf of the Institute. I was
place. The Institute’s communication plan included workshops          very proud to hold the office of President in 2005, which
and local Institute presentations, and most employers were met        enabled me to give back to the Institute, and to the industry,
with on an individual basis to ensure that the Institute could        something to reflect all that I have received from it.
provide services to help match their CPD needs.
                                                                      Q NOW THAT THE PSAB–GI IS IN PLACE, WHAT WILL
The CPD Committee has helped the Institute rise to the
                                                                      THEIR MAIN REMIT BE?
challenge of minimum competency standards. These
requirements represent a major change in the landscape for both       Firstly it is important to recognise that this group is a Board with
the Institute and industry and therefore in 2007 the Institute took   a group of nominated Directors and an independent Chairman.
the bold step of working hand in hand with all key stakeholders       The Board’s primary objective is to implement and maintain a
to establish an independent board, The Professional                   programme of Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Standards Advisory Board — General Insurance (PSAB-GI).               and all related activities for holders of the CIP (Certified
                                                                      Insurance Practitioner) qualification. Going forward the Board
From incorporation on the 23rd of February 2008, the IBA, PIBA,       will be given the task of investigating failures by holders of the
IIF, III and the QFA Board under the independent Chairmanship         CIP qualification to submit their annual returns. The Board will
of Mr Tony Culley, Allianz, will work together to implement,          then proceed to make recommendations to the Institute where
maintain and supervise compliance of Continuous Professional          sanctions are necessary. The Board is mindful however that
Development for all CIP holders in General Insurance.                 CPD is still at an embryonic stage of development in general
                                                                      insurance and periods of “grace” may be required to facilitate
Q HOW WILL PIBA BENEFIT FROM PARTICIPATION AT                         ease of compliance in the early years.
Participation at PSAB – GI level offers PIBA enormous
opportunities to shape the future of CPD policy and provision in

                                       The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                     27
     IIB Homeloans — Putting Brokers First
     IIB Homeloans has continued where it left off in 2007 by
     winning the 2007 PIBA Service Excellence Award, and we would
     like to take this opportunity to thank all the PIBA members for
     voting us Number One for the second year running.

     No other bank is as committed to helping you build your
     business than IIB and we continue to look for opportunities to
     add even more value to your business.

     In addition to the team of Mortgage Managers on the road IIB
     Homeloans have recently set up a dedicated Broker Sales

     Headed up by Mark Crowley, the objective of the team is to
     look after brokers that are not serviced by the Mortgage           IIB Homeloans Broker Sales Team
     Managers on the road, offering brokers:                            Left to right: Ashling Murphy, Mark Crowley, Joan Walsh, Mark Bloomer

      ! A friendly direct point of contact via phone and/or email
        for all your run-bys and other queries
                                                                       Our continuing objective is to improve and enhance the service
      ! Someone to champion your cases                                 we offer our brokers, providing each and every one of you with
      ! Great service experience                                       a first class service.

      ! Help in developing your business through training              For more information or for details of our services contact us on
      ! New and existing product updates                               (01) 664 6000.

      ! Rate updates
      ! Peace of mind that you will be looked after professionally,    IIB Homeloans —
        promptly and efficiently.                                      A One Stop Shop for all your Mortgage needs

          We at PIBA are delighted to announce the launch of our first Annual Broker Conference for
          Insurance and Mortgage Brokers in association with Best Advice, which will be held at The Four
          Seasons Hotel, Dublin on Thursday the 24th of April 2008.

          It will focus on sales and business development strategies to enhance the value of your practice,
          such as:

           ! How to position your business to sell to High Net Worth Clients
           ! Introducing a Fee-based Service (while still being primarily paid by commission offset!)
           ! Using innovative Technology Tools to increase client loyalty and profit per sale
           ! Valuing and Selling your Brokerage.

          We are delighted to announce that George Hook, currently Ireland’s most sought-after public speaker,
          has been confirmed as keynote speaker for the event, which will be opened by An Tánaiste, Brian
          Cowen, TD.

          This will be the definitive conference for the Broker industry. Be sure to sign up now!

          To attend or for further information please contact Edel Morey in the PIBA Offices on (01) 492 2202,
          or by email at

          Also please visit to see updates on the day’s schedule!

28                                        The Professional Insurance Broker
            Mortgage Brain offers three month
            free trial to new customers
            By Michael Quinn, Managing Director, Mortgage Brain

Mortgage Brain is the most widely used and preferred provider of
point-of-sale, compliance, mortgage research and electronic
trading products and services for mortgage brokers. Mortgage
Brain Ireland now has over 350 brokers with over 700 users, and
processed over 3 billion of mortgage transactions during 2007.

The broker solution includes an easy-to-use customer database            As margins come under pressure, now is the time to cut out
and contact management system that ensures that data is                  costly processes and move into the electronic age. Technology is
entered only once and can be re-used many times, helping to              becoming a much more important productivity tool in our
improve efficiency across your organisation. It also offers the          industry, not just for brokers but also for lenders, as many still
most comprehensive and easy-to-use remortgage facility in the            have paper processes which are slow and costly to operate.
market, allowing you to demonstrate to your clients the benefits
of remortgaging. You can also target specific customer groups            Kieran Tansey, Associate Director at Haven Mortgages, EBS
with product offerings tailored to their needs.                          Building Society’s broker focused subsidiary, commented,
                                                                         ‘Mortgage brokers now account for upwards of 50% of all
Choose the most appropriate mortgage for your client by                  mortgages taken out in Ireland and we exist to exclusively serve
researching all available products from lenders. You can create a        their needs. Technology has allowed us to deliver faster answers
personalised mortgage quotation for your customer and print or           and a speedier process, all of which allows brokers to deliver a
email the results. This is the best way to ensure that your              better service to the end-borrower. The speed and ease of our
recommendations to clients are based on the most                         electronic application system has directly contributed to
comprehensive knowledge of mortgage products in Ireland.                 increased conversion rates for Haven Mortgages and as such is a
                                                                         key element of our service proposition to mortgage brokers.’
The Workflow module combines a document and compliance
management system that helps brokers to be sure they fully               Irish brokers are embracing the technology and its benefits.
understand the customer’s needs and recommend the right                  Additionally, over 80% of all mortgage transactions processed in
product, supported by clear and professional documentation.              the UK via the mte platform now go straight through to lenders'
This will assist you in ensuring that no stage of the compliance         back office systems with no human intervention. Lenders need
process is missed or forgotten.                                          to recognise the productivity opportunity and act on this soon;
                                                                         otherwise costs will escalate and margins deteriorate even
The system provides mortgage brokers, their clients and lenders          further. An industry solution will mean that ‘one size suits all’ and
with a win-win proposition. For the brokers, it gives them a full        deliver better broker service at lower overall cost.
back office system with instant access to the entire range of
mortgage products available in the country. It is the consumer
that is the big winner as it ensures they receive better choice,
faster service and more comprehensive advice at no extra cost.           To avail of your free trial, please contact Mortgage Brain on 01-
And for lenders, it means they can reduce costs, provide brokers         465-9333 or email
with the most up-to-date information about their latest mortgage
offerings, and conduct business electronically through an industry
standard trading exchange.

Mortgage Brain processed over             3 billion in mortgage
transactions during 2007. Irish brokers are embracing the
technology and its benefits. The Mortgage Trading Exchange has
a key role to play in improving the productivity of the Irish
industry, as both brokers and lenders can obtain substantial
productivity gains. In these challenging times, cost and service
will be key factors in maintaining profitability. A timely opportunity
now exists for lenders to leverage the activities currently
performed by mortgage brokers and provide a significant
reduction in acquisition costs. An industry standard is a much
more efficient way of achieving these productivity gains;
otherwise proprietary solutions will abound and total costs will
increase, not reduce. I hope that lenders can now see that this is
an industry trading exchange which underpins productivity gains
and is open to all to participate in.

                                         The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                       29
                    PIBA Activities

            Date Subject Matter                                      External Party                        Attended by

     04/12/2007 Schemes                                              Eagle Star Life                       Diarmuid Kelly

     04/12/2007 Business Development                                 Relay                                 Enda Burns

     06/12/2007 Business Development                                 BHP                                   Enda Burns & Paul Kelly

     12/12/2007 Legislation                                          Department of Finance                 Liam Carberry
                (Advisory Forum on Financial Services Legislation)

     14/12/2007 Business Development                                 Irish Life                            Diarmuid Kelly

     17/12/2007 Business Development                                 Hibernian General                     Enda Burns & Paul Kelly

     19/12/2007 Mortgages                                            EBS                                   Diarmuid Kelly & Rachel Doyle

     08/01/2008 Business Development                                 Hibernian Life & Pensions             Paul Kelly

     09/01/2008 Legislation                                          Financial Regulator                   Diarmuid Kelly, Liam Carberry, Ciara Minnock
                (Review of Insurance Intermediary Market)

     14/01/2008 Business Development                                 Imagine                               Enda Burns & Paul Kelly

     15/01/2008 Mortgages                                            Leeds Building Society                Rachel Doyle

     16/01/2008 Legislation                                          Tánaiste, Mr. Brian Cowen             Diarmuid Kelly
                (Advisory Forum on Financial Services Legislation)   (Department of Finance)

     17/01/2008 Business Development                                 Friends First                         Enda Burns & Paul Kelly

     23/01/2008 Business Development                                 Pierre & Vacances                     Enda Burns, Paul Kelly, Liam Carberry

     23/01/2008 Legislation                                          Department of Finance                 Diarmuid Kelly
                (Advisory Forum on Financial Services Legislation)

     24/01/2008 Business Development                                 W.H. Wood                             Enda Burns, Paul Kelly, Liam Carberry

     29/01/2008 Mortgages                                            Mortgage Brain                        Rachel Doyle

     07/02/2008 Legislation                                          Financial Regulator                   Diarmuid Kelly, Liam Carberry, Ciara Minnock
                (Review of Insurance Intermediary Market)

     07/02/2008 Legislation                                          Industry Panel                        Liam Carberry

     07/02/2008 Business Development                                 Cardif Pinnacle                       Enda Burns & Paul Kelly

     08/02/2008 Legislation (Unnecessary Regulation)                 KPMG                                  Diarmuid Kelly, Liam Carberry, Ciara Minnock

     15/02/2008 Legislation                                          Financial Regulator                   Jack FitzPatrick, Diarmuid Kelly, Ciara Minnock

     19/02/2008 Legislation                                          Patrick Neary (Financial Regulator)   Jack FitzPatrick, Diarmuid Kelly, Liam Carberry

     20/02/2008 Business Development                                 Eagle Star Life                       Diarmuid Kelly, Enda Burns, Paul Kelly

     22/02/2008 CPD                                                  Insurance Institute                   Enda Burns & Liam Carberry

     26/02/2008 Training                                             Cardif Pinnacle                       Paul Kelly

30                                                            The Professional Insurance Broker
           Challenging Times

           By Sandra Maher, Managing Director, Inspire Financial Options

The Celtic Tiger has softened somewhat lately to become           The following are the THREE EASY STEPS to financial
the Celtic Kitten. This has changed the playing field in          planning which the company uses and which can be found
mortgage brokerage. No longer is it a seller’s market. It is      on our website
now a market more amenable towards the buyer. This
                                                                   ! STEP 1 : Call or e-mail us
change in the status of the Irish economy has manifold
                                                                     Whatever your financial need we will discuss it in detail
permutations. It is necessary to be as flexible as the
                                                                     with you and find the most appropriate solution.
bamboo branch in order to survive the current climate. As
brokers we are like referees in a fiscal tug-of-war, ensuring      ! STEP 2 : Listen
balance and fair-play on each side, constantly monitoring            When you give us the details we listen to what's most
the shifting struggle between the client and the lending             important to you.
establishment. I will outline some of these challenges in the      ! STEP 3 : Results
next few paragraphs.                                                 We find the best financial package with confidential
                                                                     expert independent advice.
Challenges facing me when dealing with clients —
                                                                  After all of this we keep you continuously updated on your
 ! Growth
                                                                  proposals and policies. Being see-through is our motto!
   Finding new customers and growing the business.

 ! Retention                                                      Retention: Retaining these customers is critical. People's
                                                                  financial needs change all the time so it is essential to be in
   Pleasing and keeping the customers we have.
                                                                  contact with them during the year to review their financial
 ! Profit                                                         situation and see what else they might need. At Inspire
   Making sure the business expands and at the same time          Financial Options it’s the human touch that counts. We’re
   making more profit to facilitate this escalation.              committed to providing excellent customer service and insist
                                                                  on providing a personal professional service for all our
 ! Buyer's Market
                                                                  customers. We bring a fresh approach to financial planning.
   It is a buyers market at present but it won’t always be
                                                                  Our service provides the best of each financial option
   that way. There are always peaks and troughs in the
                                                                  available whether its savings and investments, mortgages, life
   economy; currently we are at the bottom of the trough
                                                                  cover, income protection, pensions or asset finance. We keep
   and on the way up again. Like the waxing and waning of
                                                                  up-to-date with new product offerings from the various
   the moon or waves crashing on the shoreline, the
                                                                  institutions in order to assist our clients to evaluate all suitable
   economy is no different, and why should it be any other
                                                                  options and make an informed decision. Having a good CRM
                                                                  system also really helps.
 ! First timers
                                                                  Profit: We respect the bottom line and keep an eye on the
   First time purchasers are beginning to buy, as there is
                                                                  costs, especially advertising, which can be very expensive and
   good value for money out there, but they also have their
                                                                  sometimes not very productive. Being a member of Business
   challenges, among which are the following: Trepidation:
                                                                  Network Ireland (BNI), “The” business referral organisation,
   uncertainty of obtaining a mortgage, and how much they
                                                                  and the Chamber of Commerce has helped my business to
   will get. The perception of too much red tape and what
                                                                  grow. I have found that a good referral is very beneficial as
   documentation they require. How much the mortgage
                                                                  the person that has referred has recommended us. Word of
   will cost, including house insurance, and life assurance.
                                                                  mouth is always the best form of marketing.
   What is the best type of mortgage to take out? Should
   they go for a fixed rate or a tracker, and what do these
   rates mean any way?

This is where all my challenges have to be met. When people
want to buy a house they want to get the right advice, right
now, so listening to what is most important for them from the
outset is the key. Explaining the process to them step by step.
Saving the customer time – by being able to buy all products
under the one roof. Being in constant contact until the deal is

                                     The Professional Insurance Broker                                                                   31
                     Date Event                                                            Time                                  Speaker / Venue

       Mon 31 Mar 08 Business Protection                                                   04.30 pm to 7.00 pm                   Eleanor Hendy & Stephen Lane
                                                                                                                                 IMI Conference Centre, Sandyford Road, Dublin 16
                             (2 formal CPD hours)                                                                                Co. Dublin

         Thu 10 Apr 08 Pension Overview & Portfolio Construction                           05.00 pm to 07.30 pm                  Frank Wright
                                                                                                                                 Radisson SAS Hotel, The Loop Road, Letterkenny
                             (2 formal CPD hours)                                                                                Co. Donegal

         Thu 24 Apr 08 PIBA Annual Conference                                              08.00 am to 02.00 pm                  Brian Cowen, Diarmuid Kelly, Brett Davidson, Leonard Mills,
                                                                                                                                 Paul Armson, George Hook
                             (Formal CPD hours – TBA)
                                                                                                                                 Four Seasons Hotel, Simmonscourt Road, Dublin 4
                                                                                                                                 Co. Dublin

                                                                                                                                                                                            CR OM
                                                                                                                                                                                              OS P E
         Win a 2-Night Break* in the

                                                                                                                                                                                                SW TIT
         Brehon and Angsana Spa

                                                                                                                                                                                                    OR ION
         * The package comes with two nights bed and breakfast and one evening meal.

         The Kingdom of Kerry is the home of some of the most majestic and regal scenery in Ireland,
         and the jewel in the crown is Killarney National Park. Celebrated in words and music, Killarney’s
         lakes and dells are the centrepiece of 25,000 acres of woodlands and mountains and provide
         the magnificent setting for The Brehon and Angsana Spa.
         It is not enough that a hotel be located in one of the most beautiful places on earth; the hotel
         must be worthy of its surroundings. The Brehon is a luxurious, award-winning hotel of unique               Simply complete the crossword puzzle and send your entry along with the form to:
                                                                                                                    Crossword Competition, c/o Salient Print Management, 37 Woodlands, Naas, Co. Kildare.
         grace and elegance set amid Killarney’s alluring landscape, where each guestroom and suite
         reflects a contemporary blend of beauty, style and space. Recently rated Ireland’s Best Four Star          Entries to arrive not later than 30th April 2008.
         Hotel by Fáilte Ireland, The Brehon and Angsana Spa offers luxury, pampering and fine dining in            Name:
         Ireland’s most spectacular natural setting.
         The atmosphere of sheer luxury is further enhanced by the Angsana Spa, the European flagship
         of the famous Thai celebrity haunt The Banyan Tree. Choose to relax in the Angsana Spa which               Address:
         provides a sanctuary for the inner self. The experienced Thai therapists offer a range of holistic
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         T: (064) 30700 |                                                                         Phone:

                 1              2              3               4             4              5                       General Knowledge Crossword
          6                                                           7                                             Across                                        Down
                                                                                                               6. Places where films are shown (7)       1. Female fox (5)
                                                                                                               7. Young female horse (5)                 2. Freeing a city that has been
                                                                                                               9. Strong cotton cloth used for making       besieged (6)
           9                            !           1 10
                                                                                                                  jeans (5)                              3. And 12 Across. Tom Cruise movie
                                               11                                                             10. Count Dracula, for example (7)            (3,2,3,6)
                                                                                                              12.   See 3 Down                           4. Fastener for locking together two
                                                                                                              14.   Another word for the metallic           toothed edges on a jacket (6)
                                                                                                                    element mercury (11)                 5. US state....or a Spanish adjective
                 13                                                                                                                                         which means 'flowery' (7)
                                                                                                              18.   US President who was assassinated
                                                                                                                    in 1865 (7)                          8. Models walk down it to display
          14                    15                                           16
                                                                                                              19.   Country of the Leaning Tower of         clothes (7)
                                                                                            17                      Pisa (5)                            11. Device which people blow to make
                                                                                                              21.   Oval fruit which has a thick yellow     a loud, high sound (7)
          18                                                          19                                            skin and sour juice (5)             13. Largest planet (7)
                                                                                                              22.   Stone structure used as a burial    15. Bird which puts its eggs in other
                                                               20                                                                                           birds' nests (6)
                                                                                                                    place for kings and queens in
                                                                                                                    ancient Egypt (7)                   16. Background actors in a film (6)
          21                                           22
                                                                                                                                                        17. Presley or Costello (5)
                                                                                                                                                        20. Substance for staining or colouring

     Lucky Winner ! The lucky winner of our Winter ’07 competition was: John Wixted, Phoenix Financial Services, 2 Wexford Road, Arklow, Co.Wicklow

32                                                                             The Professional Insurance Broker

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