News

Aviva has been forced to set aside almost £100m after two former workers in its fund management arm breached its trading policy.   

Surveillance fears force Norwich to scrap 'pay as you drive' car policies

Britain's biggest insurer Norwich Union has withdrawn one of its flagship car insurance policies less than two years after its launch.

After the floods, a new storm is gathering over Westminster

The pledge made by insurers to cover high-risk homes is at breaking point, and as the industry counts the cost of claims, it is running out of patience with the Government. James Moore reports

Questions of cash: Beware fake emails that demand money

Q. Ever since typing my name into Google out of idle curiosity, I have been receiving emails from it demanding money or it will stop my ads. I do not have any ads, but its emails are non-reply and attempts to contact it are ignored. When I am abroad, accessing these emails costs me money. Help! SP, Guildford

Aviva cuts 1,800 insurance jobs at Norwich Union

Aviva is cutting up to 1,800 British jobs at its Norwich Union business as it seeks to streamline its general insurance operations. Britain's biggest insurer will cut the administration jobs by 2010 as it slashes its customer service and back office centres for general insurance from 22 to seven.

1,800 insurance jobs set to go

Insurance group Aviva today warned it expected to make between 1,500 and 1,800 redundancies by the end of 2010.

Questions Of Cash: The bank is holding money due to me

Q: I am executor of my late mother's will. I wrote to Alliance & Leicester on 8 March, enclosing a probate certificate and requesting it to close her account and transfer the balance of more than £100,000 to an executor's account with Lloyds TSB. I phoned on 19 March to check on progress and was told – after 40 minutes of being transferred between staff – it had probably not even opened my letter yet. More than a month later I phoned again and was told that the probate form was received in their office at the end of March, but nothing further had happened. I was told my call would be treated as a formal complaint and A&L promised to phone back, but did not do so. When I next phoned, I was told it had 56 days to process my complaint from the date it was registered, which had not yet been reached. I was told brusquely that when customers repeatedly phone up to complain it delays the bank dealing with others who are in the queue ahead of them. I find it unbelievable that a bank can hold on to money in this way against my wishes and instruction. VD, Lydney.

MPs grill Prudential and Aviva on inherited estate

Prudential told MPs yesterday that it did not have excess capital in its with-profits fund to pay out as a special distribution to shareholders.

HSBC facing probe over lost customer data disc

Banking giant HSBC today faced the prospect of an investigation by the City watchdog after admitting it had lost a disc containing details of 370,000 customers.

Athletics: Williamson secures 60m slot alongside Chambers

Simeon Williamson will team up with Dwain Chambers after being selected for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad to compete in next month's World Indoor Championships in Valencia.

Housing sale and rent-back sector commits to new code of practice

The controversial sale and rent-back sector – which buys people's houses at knockdown prices and then rents them back to the former owners – is to develop a new voluntary code of practice, in a bid to raise standards and prevent further mis-selling within the industry.

Athletics moves to ostracise Chambers

Dwain Chambers may have forced his way back into the British team, but the 29-year-old sprinter faces a bleak future as a professional in the light of yesterday's confirmation by the man who coordinates athletics meetings across Europe that athletes convicted of doping are no longer welcome to participate.

Chambers picked but not backed by British selectors

Britain's selectors bowed to the inevitable yesterday as they grudgingly accorded Dwain Chambers a place at next month's World Indoor Championships.

Selectors expected to play it safe with Chambers

Whether Dwain Chambers is to be or not to be in the British team for next month's World Indoor Championships in Valencia will be revealed this afternoon. And while it may be nobler for UK Athletics to resist his claims – given he is ineligible for Olympic competition after serving a two-year doping ban and has subsequently harmed the sport with his comments – it will be safer for the selectors to confirm the 60 metres place that, in normal circumstances, he would have claimed automatically by Sunday's victory at the Norwich Union World Indoor trials.

Norwich Union accused of being tightfisted over surplus cash

Norwich Union's latest offer to distribute £2.3bn in accrued excess assets to more than a million policyholders and shareholders has been dismissed as tight-fisted by consumer group Which?.

World Trials: Sotherton leaps into action ahead of confrontation with Kluft

The last time Kelly Sotherton was seen in an athletics arena she was stepping on to the rostrum at the World Championships in Osaka last summer to collect the heptathlon bronze medal. Six months on, the Birchfield Harrier was getting back into the competitive groove yesterday, taking her first step towards challenging for bronze, silver or even gold in Beijing.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there