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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 189

Date:- 26 February 2005

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NEW research from AXA Insurance reveals that the majority of commercial insurance brokers believe that their SME clients are under-insured. Around half believe that their SME clients do not have enough insurance for their working premises and 55% claim that they need more cover for their motor fleets. Some 56% of commercial brokers interviewed felt that their clients were under-insured with regards to protecting themselves against any loss of income that might occur as a result of a disaster striking such as a fire or theft of stock on a large scale.

20% of brokers felt that SMEs needed to increase cover for their premises by between 11% and 20% and 1 in 4 said that they needed to increase their insurance for loss of income by the same level.

Colin Calder, head of broker development, AXA Insurance said:- "Unfortunately very few small to medium sized businesses review their risk management programmes and in some cases, they don't even have any. This means they may not be aware of the many risks that they face or the chances of these happening. This can result in a huge problem of under-insurance which helps explain why so many businesses never recover from disasters."

With regards to under-insurance on a sector basis, AXA's research revealed 41% of brokers feel retailers faced the biggest problem. This was followed by 32% who chose manufacturing and 27% who said wholesale.

In terms of why so many SMEs are underinsured, brokers identified the following factors:- 

Reluctance to pay premium for correct level of insurance 85% 
Lack of understanding about real cost of assets 81% 
Lack of understanding of insurance 77% 
Poor risk management practices 57% 
Poor advice from advisers 52% 

AXA provides a range of insurance and risk management services to employers and it has recently developed a free guide to help them reduce the level of risk they are exposed to. The Business 4 Tomorrow guide can be requested on CD or by downloading from AXA's small business website

Tots learn lingo the Liverpool way

TALENTED toddlers will show off their Spanish skills in front of an international audience this week.

Youngsters, as young as 3, will be reciting nursery rhymes and singing songs in Spanish at St Austin's Catholic Primary School which is a Centre of Excellence for teaching languages.

It is all part of Liverpool's award winning modern foreign languages initiative, and is attracting global attention thanks to a British Council seminar being held in the city this week. Education experts from all over the world are travelling to Liverpool to learn more about the scheme. 

The 32 delegates will spend the next couple of days visiting primary schools, watching foreign language lessons and seeing for themselves why the initiative has been so successful. 

Councillor Mike Storey, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said:- "This is a great scheme that gives children as young as three the chance to learn a foreign language. The younger they start learning to speak Spanish, French or German, the quicker they pick it up. This will give them a flying start to becoming fluent in a European language later on in life. It's wonderful that we have visitors from around the world coming to this city to study the work we are doing. It is a real credit to the high standards of education in this city." 

Primary schools in Liverpool were the first in the UK to teach French, Spanish or German. Ten schools are Centres of Excellence, where pupils learn a specialist language from the age 3 to 11.

Executive Director for Education and Lifelong Learning, Colin Hilton, said:- "Our Centres of Excellence are at the cutting edge of learning foreign languages. Thousands of youngsters will become bi-lingual. There is a big demand these days for workers with language skills and a more skilled workforce will surely help the regeneration of the city."

All the delegates who have travelled from countries such as Kenya, Poland, Spain and Chile will enjoy a civic reception at Liverpool Town Hall this week.

The primary modern foreign languages initiative began in 2001. The DfES named it a 'Good Practice Project' and it was the winner of the Local Government Chronicle Innovation of the Year award.

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