ABI Supports Government Pensions, Climate Change Proposals

November 20, 2006

Following the delivery of the annual “Queen’s Speech,” the Association of British Insurers noted that it contains two Bills of particular interest – “the Pensions Bill and the Climate Change Bill.”

The speech, although delivered by Queen Elizabeth II, was written by the governing Labor Party, and contains the agenda and proposals that it intends to present to Parliament over the next year.

Chris Kenny, the ABI’s Director of Life and Pensions, indicated that the “Pensions Bill represents an important step on the long road to reforming Britain’s pensions system. We support the establishment of a Delivery Authority to oversee the introduction of Personal Accounts. Much more work is needed to get the fine detail right and, crucially, the Government must ensure that the existing pensions market, which serves millions of customers well, is able to prosper.

“We also support moves to link the Basic State Pension with earnings, gradually increase the state retirement age and make the whole system fairer for women and carers. But if the Government is to achieve the aim of getting more people saving more for their retirement, the Bill must contain firm measures to reduce means-testing in the pensions system.”

Jane Milne, the ABI’s Head of Property Insurance, delivered the ABI’s position on the climate change initiative as follows: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that Britain, and the world, faces. We support the Government’s plans to set targets and establish the Carbon Committee to give advice on reducing carbon emissions, but firm action is needed too.

“Climate change means, amongst other things, that the risk of flooding will increase. Managing the risk will enable flood insurance to remain widely available. Urgent action is needed here – we believe that Government spending on flood defenses needs to increase by 10 percent a year to £750 million by 2011 to deal with that risk.”

The ABI has issued its own study of the dangers of increased flooding in Eastern England in a report using data compiled by Calif.-based Risk Management Solutions (See IJ Website Nov.10).

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