Tag Archives: Association of British Insurers

The Update

This is not about specifics; this is about the latest updates on a few sides. First we get back to ‘The successful and the less so‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/26/the-successful-and-the-less-so/). We had the rundown on the Marvel movies and Spielberg’s Ready Player One. My view remains the same, the three movies were awesome and there is no denying that. What is however a shift is the impact that the Avengers: Infinity War had, I knew it was going to be big, but a 3 day global total up to April 29th of $640,000,000 (rounded down) is beyond what I would have ever expected (read: imagined). The total revenue of Ready Player One was surpassed in 3 days with 20% to boot. It will get worse (depending on your point of view). You see, I am hearing all around me that people want to see it again. There was so much to see. So not only will it surpass the one billion dollar marker in a 10 day stretch, the revenue of Infinity war on 4K and Blu-ray will surpass most records to date. It could even spell a drive for people to look for a 4K TV and a HD 4K player merely for this movie alone. So if there is a Christmas release planned, it will likely be a $999 deal for the 4K TV, the 4K Player and the movie, all neatly gift wrapped. Those who do not have a 4K TV at that time might leap at the option offered. Techspot gave us “the movie’s Sunday box office performance – Infinity War reportedly raked in a whopping $69.2 million, breaking yet another domestic record“, implying in part that the movie is set to break the records that the number 3 top placed movie has, as Infinity war is likely to surpass it. I don’t think that it will make the current number three sad, it took three years for a movie to do that and records were always meant to be broken at some point.

The second update is on ‘Flames of the blame game‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/27/flames-of-the-blame-game/), you see, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/c532579a-416d-11e8-803a-295c97e6fd0b) has an issue with data sharing and the Kensington and Chelsea council has been fined £120,000. Now we can have all kinds of thoughts yet the quote “the perception that a large number of properties were left unoccupied by wealthy foreign owners — provoked greater scrutiny of the borough’s housing situation amid calls for empty homes to be used to house evacuees, and criticism of the approach of the Conservative-run council to public housing provision and maintenance” implies that there is a much larger issue in Kensington and Chelsea and that certain steps are being taken. They got an opening to make a shift and the Grenfell disaster gave them an option. The interesting part is that this goes back to 2017. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/02/revelations-about-empty-homes-in-grenfell-area-simply-unacceptable) reported “Labour has condemned as “simply unacceptable” the 1,652 unoccupied properties in the London borough where the Grenfell Tower fire took place, calling for government action to bring them back into use“, which is as I see it, hypocrisy at best. You see the previous Labour government under Tony Blair was very eager to call in the investors, yet down the line no one wants to pay for the fallout. This did not start recently, this has been going on since the late 90’s, the EU reported in a paper  (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/events/2003/workshop/woodetal.pdf) by Forrest Capie, Geoffrey Wood and Frank Sensenbrenner by the City University, London: “confirmation is provided by the complete absence from mainstream political discourse is the notion that “multinationals” have somehow taken over, or impeded the actions of, national government. All this exemplifies, we conjecture, the relaxed attitude of a major foreign investor. At least at present levels, no-one much worries about “who owns” British industry, so long as British residents have savings somewhere. Foreign ownership is a non-issue in Britain“, a non-issue? Really? This was given in February 2003, so this has been going on for a while and yes the short term gain was clearly seen, millions upon millions, yet the long term play starting 5 years ago, when we see that 1650 unoccupied properties in one council alone is costing the infrastructure, 1650 households not needing energy, not needing food, not needing services, so those services in place is one thing, the fact that this group should be supporting half a dozen shop chains is now off the table. The UK did this to them self when they forgot basic math. So when we learn the setting of ‘a man’s home is his castle‘ and ‘trespass is actionable per se’, we see that these people have painted themselves in a corner. So even when we saw last year “London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said he would make proposals this year to find a more effective way to tackle the issue” he basically doesn’t have a leg to stand on and now the council might have given it to the press, so that the journalists, in the light of the Grenfell disaster can up the ante by emotional reporting, and it only costs the council £120,000 to allegedly start using the press as a tool of convenience. This allegedly setting is seen in the Financial Times quote ““at the time of the security breach, the feeling of social inequality was running high in this wealthy borough. Such disclosures therefore required guidance and oversight,” the ICO said“, it seems to me that someone decided to play judge and jury on a setting that the government, especially the previous Labour government enabled in the first place. It is not a fluke; there is a whole range of insurances that are covering this. UKinsuranceNET is merely one of many examples. Most are immediately covered by ‘Owner is working away‘, ‘Non-UK residents are accepted‘ as well as:

  • Ensure that you have a friend or family member inspect the property regularly. A minor continual escape of water left for a period of months can devastate a property. This is why escape of water is not usually covered with unoccupied insurance policies without terms and conditions applying.
  • Home emergency cover, should a plumbing or electrical fault occur the person who is looking after your house will appreciate this. Remember standard home insurance will not provide cover as extensive as an unoccupied insurance policy.
  • Speak to your local council; you may be eligible for a reduction in your council tax.

So there is not just an issue, it is a much larger market, you see Huw Evans director general of the Association of British Insurers could have told them that when he had that large issue on the Grenfell building when he was talking about inadequate fire testing.

Yet in all this, these people will not learn. Now, I will accept that Mayor Sadiq Khan cannot be blamed in any way for the latest issue, oh yes, you see with: “London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already given his approval for the scheme“, yet the clarity (that in a very rare instance, the Sun brought), by giving us “Chelsea stadium plans hit by £1b sale of England home to Fulham and NFL owner Shahid Khan“, so even as we accept that ‘Shad Khan, is a Pakistani-American billionaire and business tycoon. He is the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League‘, he is still a foreign investor and whatever happens next (besides the setting that if the sale goes through), billionaires tend to be modestly serious people and spending £1,000,000,000 on a building implies he can do with it what he wants. If he wants to turn it into a fabulous new Mosque (merely a speculative thought), there might be little to stop him. You can’t play your games on whining games regarding empty house penalties, whilst you are willingly, knowingly selling to a foreign investor. It seems that the slippery legislative slope they put themselves on could be the start of a lot more court proceedings and when you have a large number, followed by 9 zero’s and only after that a decimal point, you could hire 5 lawyers and give them one clear job description: ‘rain proceedings on these councils‘ and you’ll get £400 an hour for as long as you can do that. It could lock a council in legal proceedings for decades. Now that is merely my speculation, but there is a precedent. The ICBA reported a variant in 2016 with “Unlike the patent troll problem that ICBA fought all the way through Congress, however, this new crop of law firms is relying not on flimsy patent claims, but on detailed arguments that are already making headway in the courts“, when you consider that part, how vulnerable would any council or borough be? A dozen cases per council would lock up their legal division for up to two years at least. It ends up that close to nothing could be achieved. Now this is all merely speculation, but it is not that far-fetched with the Guardian reporting on “The number of solicitors qualified to work in England and Wales has rocketed over the past 30 years, according to new figures from the Law Society. The number holding certificates – which excludes retired lawyers and those no longer following a legal career – are at nearly 118,000“, so with 118,000 of them having hungry mouths to feed and the need to get revenue, do you still think that my view is far-fetched?

The Grenfell disaster is making all kinds of issues a lot more visible, one of them has been not to rely on foreign investors and their impact to such an extent, it has been an issue for close to well over a decade and not these birds have gone home (outside the UK) to roost, or is that to roast in the sunny sun at a tropical beach?

So in this, when I saw John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing minister state ““there were about 200,000 long-term vacant homes around the country, “including those bought and left empty by speculative investors”“, as well as “Labour would allow councils to charge a 300% empty-homes premium on properties that have been empty for more than a year and ask them to prepare empty-homes strategies to bring homes back into use in each area. We would also reverse the Conservatives’ weakening of councils’ powers to introduce empty dwelling management orders to bring homes back into use“, at what point would he also state that the previous government under Tony Blair got much (if not most) of  that damage done by opening the flood doors of foreign investors? In this, the end is nowhere in sight and even the councils realise that they are fighting an uphill battle against foundational legislation as the UK has had it for generations. It was part of the sales pitch that sold it so well, unravelling that would end up being devastating to the UK economy and these players know that (read: should truly be aware of the hazards) very well.

In finality there is the update on ‘Ferrari Mario (2018)‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/28/ferrari-mario-2018/). This is a larger one, because Phil Spencer according to several sources is setting the stage that Microsoft is having its own JRPG on the Xbox One. This is not something to sneer at. In one set of minds it is almost ludicrous and suicidal to go that way, but it is not anyone making that play, this comes from Phil Spencer and he knows games. So there is a play and it is about to be made. Now JRPG games tend to be a real game changer, it is a niche market that has a massive following. If Microsoft pulls that off, it would be such a blow to gaming (to their benefit), one that no one saw coming to that degree, this is the kind of victory shot that Microsoft desperately needs and if they do pull it off it will be a massive one! With that one ‘rumour’, one that came in several ways from Phil Spencer, towards several medium we see that Microsoft is starting to fight back, they will still take massive damage over the coming year but as to the options that limits deadly damage to the Xbox console this is certainly one that will have a large positive impact for Microsoft. Now, I refuse to go into the ‘what if it is a bad game‘ shot, because in the first I haven’t seen it, we will in 5 weeks see either something playable or a serious trailer/teaser that could bring the house down. In the second because JRPG are a vast setting of options and they are not all alike, what is a given is that when it does come it needs to be on a level of excellence that the JRPG fan expects, in story, in user experience, in graphics and atmosphere, to pull it off outside of ‘excellence driven Japan‘ has never been seen as an option, so the pressure will be on for Microsoft. If they do, then it will be one of three essential niche victories they will need, not to stop Nintendo, because that is a lost race. What will matter that three to four of these games would allow Microsoft to optionally regain the number two spot in the future, yet my personal forecast (speculative prediction is more accurate) is that they will need 3-4 of these games to be released in the next 18 months to pull that off, if they haven’t started on the additional 2-3 games at present, they might be too late, but let’s wait to see what the E3 brings before locking that gate, it is only fair that Microsoft gets that option to present that to us.

Three updates that needed to be made as the issues I talked about earlier are getting more traction and they are showing us the change that will come, even as the hearing into Grenfell aren’t seen for close to a month, the media is looking at many sides, many issues and Grenfell will be pulled into every emotional issue these politicians need, Jeremy Corbyn seems to live off that vibe, even as his co-players are not that enthusiastic to mention the previous Labour blunders that caused some of the damage we are seeing now.

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Flames of the blame game

The Guardian gave us a story on Wednesday and it was a story. Now, we can argue that there are more than a few markers in place, So when we see “The British system for fire testing building materials is utterly inadequate and underestimates the ferocity and spread of real blazes, a study commissioned after the Grenfell Tower disaster has claimed“, that might be good and proper (still debatable), yet the part that seems to be skated over, the icing of denial so to say is the facts that I had were a given in June 2017. They were in the Reynobond PE brochure. It has two important messages. The first being ‘This test method measures flame growth on the underside of a horizontal test specimen, using the Steiner tunnel test‘, that is interesting as we know that cladding tends to go vertical, so why not do a vertical test? The second was “It’s perfect for new and retrofit projects less than 40 feet (three stories) high“, these two alone should have stopped the dangers in its track. A request for a vertical flame test for the Grenfell building, as well as the need for a written confirmation that Reynobond PE was in fact the acceptable option for this building. Merely the application of common sense in the entire matter and the article by Robert Booth should have reflected that. So when I get to read “But they fail to reflect how materials burn in the real world, according to a highly critical report published on Wednesday by the Association of British Insurers (ABI)“, I start wondering who the stooge is that is taking the heat for the massive blunders that got 71 people charcoaled. I saw that within 5 minutes whilst reading up on the basic facts on the matter that basic issues had been negated, or merely ignored. So it is not what the ABI is suddenly preaching on how systems were outdated, it was the mere application of common sense and the lack of it within the council (or is that the KCTMO) to sign off on these matters got 71 people murdered, because when we consider the absence of common sense, they are not people, or victims that were killed, they ended up being the collateral damage of a mass murder, that is how we should see it, and that is how I personally regard that to be. When we consider “a building is significantly more flammable than the British Standards Institution test BS8414 shows“. When we consider the Evening Standard in August 2017, where we see “Alison Saunders said that although investigations were at a “very early stage” gross negligence manslaughter was among the offences that prosecutors will consider if police find enough evidence“. The mere documents I found (product brochures), seem to hold that part of the evidence, unless proper fire testing was done and Raynobond had given a written guarantee that Raynobond PE would suffice for the additional 21 storeys, there is a first setting of evidence that ‘gross negligence manslaughterwould already be an option that seems to fit (for now). Yet the Guardian also had important goods on June 16th 2017. With company director, John Cowley stating “Omnis had been asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower“, so as we move from Omnis Exteriors to Harley Facades, where was the council in all this? So when we see “the Fire Protection Association (FPA), an industry body, has been pushing for years for the government to make it a statutory requirement for local authorities and companies to use only fire-retardant material. Jim Glocking, technical director of the FPA, said it had “lobbied long and hard” for building regulations on the issue to be tightened, but nothing had happened“, we see that the law had been inadequate for a long time, yet in addition to this This against the latest article where we see “The BS8414 test is overseen by the BSI, a private company appointed by the government as the national standards body. The panel that drew up the rules for the test include representatives from the plastic foam insulation industry. The BRE, which carries out the tests, is the former government building research station that was privatised in 1997“.

You see, these two statements are the actual ballgame now. When we consider that: “as the UK’s National Standards Body, the BSI is also responsible for the UK publication, of international as well as European standards. BSI is obliged to adopt and publish all European Standards as identical British Standards (prefixed BS EN) and to withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict“, so when we accept that and also accept that “Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries, said he was appalled at the fire at Grenfell Tower and said tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there. US building codes also restrict the use of metal-composite panels without flame-retardant cores on buildings above 15 metres” a statement that the Guardian gave in June 2017, we see that there is a massive amount of systemic failures. With ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, there is an implication that whilst the BSI was ‘privatised’ it never ended up doing its job (a speculative assumption that seemingly holds water after reading several accounts). The massive requirement for much higher fire protection levels imply just that and in all this, people hid behind a veil of insecure assurances and in all this ignorance is not a defence, not by my standards and not in court.

So when we take a look at that fire test that the BSI has (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4KA8S4yLoI), I personally get the feeling that Raynobond PE was never properly tested in this way (or any way for that matter), not before the fire at least, so when we look at the mess of interactions, I wonder what it will take and that too was covered by the Guardian when we see the quote “Cressida Dick, said on Wednesday that detectives were a long way from passing files to the Crown Prosecution Service and that she had asked for extra government funding over several years to help cover the costs of the inquiry“, I think that it goes further than this, the entire sales trajectory, the entire consultancy path from deciding on the parts to be ordered and the implementation of it all shows to be a clear factor and all the documents give rise to a much larger problem. When we see the mere interaction that the BSI is claiming to have and what we get as response from Germany (a EU nation) implies that the foundation of fire protection is just not there. The statement by the Fire Protection Association (FPA) bears this out.

The final part is the impact of choice. ITV gave us “The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation – which managed and maintained the council’s housing stock – decided to put the contract back out to tender and Rydon ended up agreeing to take it on for £8.7 million“, which puts the KCTMO in the hot seat, almost literally. You see the cost cutting had influence on several fronts and there is no way that it was all personnel. They also gave us “On Thursday night Rydon repeated its assertion that all the refurbishment work carried out at Grenfell Tower met both building and fire regulation standards and was signed off by the council. Grenfell Tower was built in 1974. The refurbishment project was, in theory, an opportunity to retrofit the building with a sprinkler system but it wasn’t taken. I’m told the idea wasn’t even discussed“, so which ‘fire regulation standards‘ were signed off on and who signed off on it? As we see that there is a huge discrepancy on the fire regulations at all, we can make the assumption that the council, or their representatives will now need to rely on large levels of ‘miscommunication‘, to avoid having to stand in the dock. More important, there is a desperate need to get these documents collected and soon, before they accidently go missing through the use of ‘Miss Filing‘ and her alleged ability to conveniently place documents, that poor lady does get blamed too often for too many things, ain’t that the truth!

In this I will end with the setting that Huw Evans, the director general of the ABI opened. He gives us the quote: “This latest research is yet more evidence that fundamental reform is needed to keep our homes and commercial premises safe from fire. It is a matter of urgency that we create the right testing regime that properly replicates real world conditions and keeps pace with building innovation and modern design“, yet as the director general of the Association of British Insurers he should have been aware, clearly aware that is that the task of the BSI, The British Standards Institution is to ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, and with the quotes seen, as well as presented settings regarding the prohibition panelling which we got from Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries regarding ‘tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there‘, we need to wonder how cladding is set (if it is set) in Europe as per the European Committee for Standardization. Yet none of these spokespeople seems to make reference to that did they? That is the setting we see and we see it from several sources, which now gives the question in all this, what is Huw Evans actually targeting, because it is not merely the overhaul of BS8414. The mere lack of mention in the cladding process because when we see the mention of the Hackitt review (independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt, at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668831/Independent_Review_of_Building_Regulations_and_Fire_Safety_web_accessible.pdf), that part is not merely showing parts of the entire matter to be a joke, the findings on page 67 of that report “Contributors believe products are marketed with specification data presented in ways which can easily be misinterpreted. Indeed, individual elements are often used as part of compound systems that are not fully tested as systems“, the findings I had from one brochure (Raynobond PE) shows that the cladding should never have been used in the first place. In addition on that same page we see “The standards of workmanship for the installation of some safety-critical products (e.g. cladding) is not made explicit in the Approved Documents“, which is odd to state the least, I get that it is in the report, yet the fact that the KCTMO might not have set minimal levels, whilst approving a party for £2.5 million less should have been foremost on their minds. In addition, the application of: ‘the Approved Documentsmight be valid, but it leaves me with a whole range of additional questions. Here is that report: Attached

And we need to consider on page 6 “I am aware that some building owners and landlords are waiting for direction from this review on what materials should be used to replace cladding that has been identified as inadequate“, shows that whilst the Europeans have settings for standards on fire prevention, the BSI has not set the target that high, even as we saw ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, giving us more questions regarding the BSI, as such it seems that the tenants are in a much more dire situation, because there is every chance that Huw Evans, the director general of the Association of British Insurers is all about the insurance part and what he sees so far could spell that the overall insurance of apartments in high rises are prone to larger insurance premium increases than one would usually expect and there is a precedent for Huw to do just that, even if we do not grant insurances any consideration in the most optimum of times, they do have the right to up the premium if the risk warrants it, so in that regard, well over 350 buildings are loaded with tenants that will see their premiums spike as per next year’s insurance bill, that is, if the ABI is willing to wait that long, because that is at present not a given. Not when you tailored yourself for the Financial Times interview on April 25th.

Even I had not predicted the Grenfell situation to be a mess so complete that one might actually wonder how anyone has any value regarding safety or quality, it seems that there are many tainted sides to all this and that just like the blogger who in 2013 got the Metro to give us (at http://metro.co.uk/2017/06/14/council-threatened-blogger-with-legal-action-over-grenfell-tower-warnings-6708453/) “A local blogger who highlighted the danger in Grenfell Tower was sent a legal letter by lawyers working for the local council – accusing him of defamation and harassment” as well as “The letter, which was allegedly sent in 2013, was sent by a solicitor working for Kensington Town Hall. The local group behind the blog alleged that there had been serious failings on fire safety“, this was published Wednesday 14th Jun 2017, whilst the letter was from 2013, if the Grenfell Action Group can produce that letter for the media, we have the partial evidence of a much larger issue, the issue that certain dangers were optionally, optionally because the refurbishments were not completed until 2016, an actual danger. If any of the elements of the blog are shown to be there at the night of the fire, we see more than a systemic failure, we see clear Kensington Council acts that were in place to minimise exposure of dangers. And in that I will state that it only holds grounds if the letter and the 2013 blog show elements that were a true fact after the fire. The mere fact that the council struck out to a blogger is an actual concern as well. This is not about freedom of speech, it is the fact on what was written, but I need both to ascertain whether the Metro had anything viable at that time.

With so many fingers in several pies and so many ‘considerations’ of the pastries that is set on a large table named Grenfell, there is the danger that any interaction and any connected evidence will delay official acts, investigations and proceedings more and more is now a serious consideration whether in the end prosecution of any party remains viable. It would upset so many players but the question is realistic enough and that is not a good thing, not in this time and place.

 

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