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Flood insurers challenged to lower premiums

Rescue workers walk down a flooded street
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

The National Flood Forum is challenging the insurance industry to reconsider its approach to flood protection measures.

As we have heard in the news, severe flooding has hit parts of England and Scotland and there are further flood warnings in many areas this weekend.

Money Box has learnt that different insurers are taking very different approaches to the work homeowners are investing in to protect their homes.

These flood protection measures can cost tens of thousands of pounds, but in some cases they seem to be making no appreciable difference to the premium or excess customers are being charged.

Now there are calls for the insurance industry to change its approach. Bob Howard reported.

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Cashback websites - opportunity for fraud?

Twenty pound notes
Thieves are able to claim the cashback without buying the product

Getting paid a financial reward for buying something online sounds too good to be true.

When a consumer clicks on a link from a 'cashback' site to a retailer or service provider, in order to buy anything from insurance to a phone contract, the consumer is paid a commission.

The problem is, with some sites offering rewards of up to £70 to buy products through them, is it encouraging fraudsters to get in on the money-making action?

Money Box heard from a listener who was sent a home insurance policy after someone hijacked her identity to make a false application, hoping to pocket the reward from a cashback website.

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Misleading financial adverts?

Santander logo
Santander says that its adverts are clear and fair

A Money Box listener has contacted the programme about two current account adverts, which have irritated him.

The bank running the promotions - Santander - says they are clear and fair.

But compliance expert Adam Samuel said they are classic examples of a common problem - what the large print gives, the small print takes away (with apologies to the Book of Job).

The Financial Services Association has a hotline number for reporting potentially misleading adverts: 08457 300 168.

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Inflation

Cars for sale on a forecourt of a car dealership
Annual inflation for second hand cars in October was 13.2%

For months now, economists have been warning about the danger to the UK economy of deflation, a decrease in the general price level of goods and services.

But now inflation is going back up.

For the first time since February, a key measure of UK inflation has risen. The Consumer Prices Index climbed to 1.5% in October, that is up from 1.1% in September.

Fuel prices, and the cost of second-hand cars contributed to the inflation figure.

So what is the outlook over the next few months? Will inflation become a problem, to be made worse by the rise in VAT in January, next year.

Money Box spoke to Liam Halligan, chief economist at Prosperity Capital Management.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday at 1204 GMT and repeated on Sunday at 2102 GMT.



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