Tuesday, 26 May 2015

opt out of cold calls (UK)

Just discovered this - do you get annoying cold calls?  You can add yourself to a UK opt out register!

http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/whatistps.html

I added my mobile to this a few weeks ago, and haven't had a cold call since. Result!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

EIOPA QRT codes

For those of us still versed in the old EIOPA QRT lexicon, here is a quick ref guide to the Newspeak:

Template current code Template old code Template name
S.01.01Content of the submission
S.01.02Basic information - General
S.01.03Basic information - RFF and matching adjustment portfolios
S.02.01BS-C1Balance Sheet
S.02.02BS-C1DAssets and liabilities by currency
S.03.01BS-C1BOff-balance sheet items -general
S.03.02BS-C1BOff-balance sheet items - List of unlimited guarantees received by the undertaking
S.03.03BS-C1BOff-balance sheet items - List of unlimited guarantees provided by the undertaking
S.04.01Country-K1Activity by country
S.04.02Country-K1Information on class 10 in Part A of Annex I of Solvency II Directive, excluding carrier's liability
S.05.01Cover-A1APremiums, claims and expenses by line of business
S.05.02Cover-A1APremiums, claims and expenses by country
S.06.01Assets-D1QSummary of assets
S.06.02Assets-D1List of assets
S.06.03Assets-D3Collective investment undertakings - look-through approach
S.07.01Assets-D1SStructured products
S.08.01Derivatives-D2OOpen derivatives
S.08.02Derivatives-D2TDerivatives Transactions
S.09.01Profit and LossIncome/gains and losses in the period
S.10.01Assets-D5Securities lending and repos
S.11.01Assets-D6Assets held as collateral
S.12.01TP-F1Life and Health SLT Technical Provisions
S.12.02TP-F1Life and Health SLT Technical Provisions - By country
S.12.03Best estimate by currency and country - Life
S.13.01TP-F2Projection of future gross cash flows
S.14.01TP-F3Life obligations analysis
S.15.01TP-F3ADescription of the guarantees of variable annuities
S.15.02TP-F3BHedging of guarantees of variable annuities
S.16.01TP-F4Information on annuities stemming from Non-Life Insurance obligations
S.17.01TP-E1Non-Life Technical Provisions
S.17.02TP-E1Non-Life Technical Provisions - By country
S.17.03Best estimate by currency and country - Non Life
S.18.01TP-E2Projection of future cash flows
S.19.01TP-E3Non-life insurance claims
S.20.01TP-E4Development of the distribution of the claims incurred
S.21.01TP-E6Loss distribution risk profile
S.21.02TP-E7ANon-life underwriting peak risks
S.21.03TP-E7BNon-life underwriting mass risks
S.22.01Impact of long term guarantees and transitional measures
S.22.02Projection of future cash flows (Best Estimate - Matching portfolios)
S.22.03Information on the matching adjustment calculation
S.22.04Information on the transitional on interest rates calculation
S.22.05Overall calculation of the transitional on technical provisions
S.23.01OF-B1Own Funds
S.23.02OF-B1Detailed information by tiers on own funds
S.23.03OF-B1Annual movements on own funds
S.23.04OF-B1List of items on own funds
S.24.01ParticipationsParticipations held
S.25.01SCR-B2ASolvency Capital Requirement - Only SF
S.25.02SCR-B2BSolvency Capital Requirement - SF and PIM
S.25.03SCR-B2CSolvency Capital Requirement - IM
S.26.01SCR-B3ASolvency Capital Requirement - Market risk
S.26.02SCR-B3BSolvency Capital Requirement - Counterparty default risk
S.26.03SCR-B3CSolvency Capital Requirement - Life underwriting risk
S.26.04SCR-B3DSolvency Capital Requirement - Health underwriting risk
S.26.05SCR-B3ESolvency Capital Requirement - Non-Life underwriting risk
S.26.06SCR-B3GSolvency Capital Requirement - Operational risk
S.26.07Solvency Capital Requirement - Simplifications
S.27.01SCR-B3FSolvency Capital Requirement - Non-Life Catastrophe risk
S.28.01MCR-B4AMinimum Capital Requirement - Non-Composite
S.28.02MCR-B4BMinimum Capital Requirement - Composite
S.29.01VA-C2AExcess of Assets over Liabilities
S.29.02VA-C2BExcess of Assets over Liabilities - explained by investments and financial liabilities
S.29.03VA-C2CExcess of Assets over Liabilities - explained by technical provisions
S.29.04VA-C2CDetailed analysis per period - Technical flows versus Technical provisions
S.30.01Re-J1 - BasicFacultative covers for non-life and life business basic data
S.30.02Re-J1 - SharesFacultative covers for non-life and life business shares data
S.30.03Re-J2 - BasicOutgoing Reinsurance Program basic data
S.30.04Re-J2 - SharesOutgoing Reinsurance Program shares data
S.31.01Re-J3Share of reinsurers
S.31.02Re-SPVSpecial Purpose Vehicles
S.32.01G01Undertakings in the scope of the group
S.33.01G03(Re)insurance individual requirements
S.34.01G04Non-(re)insurance individual requirements
S.35.01G14Contribution to group TP
S.36.01IGT1IGT - Equity-type transactions, debt and asset transfer
S.36.02IGT2IGT - Derivatives
S.36.03IGT3IGT - Internal reinsurance
S.36.04IGT4IGT - Cost Sharing, contingent liabilities, off BS and other items
S.37.01RCRisk concentration

Source - Navigating through the Solvency II reporting and disclosure package (19th Dec 2014)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Entrepreneur Toolkit

Setting up your own business?  Kickstart the process with this UK-centric quickstart guide!

Choose a company name & domain
This should be done in parallel (presuming you want identical name & domain).  Resources:
www.namecheap.com - domain registration (price dependent on domain - £3 to £300 or more)
www.companieshouse.gov.uk - start a limited company.  £15.

Choose a hosting provider
www.hostgator.com

Expense management system
www.expensify.com

Turn email into snail-mail
www.pc2paper.co.uk
www.simple-fax.co.uk (also allows faxes to be sent from email, but is more expensive for letters)

Business Cards - moo.com

Accounts - xero.com

Accountants - capricaonline.co.uk.   Do NOT USE SJD Accountants!!  They are bloody awful.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Bitcoin Workshop in Bristol - Sat 01JUN13 1200hrs

For Bitcoin enthusiasts - be advised that there is a Bitcoin Workshop being held in Bristol at 12 midday on Saturday 1st June 2013.  
The venue is Cafe Kino, and the topic is "How to Buy, Sell and Host Bitcoin".

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Insanity

About 20 minutes into my first Insanity session, I puked.  Then - 10 minutes later - puked again.  It may have been the Lucozade, it may have been the early start, but afterwards, I swore never to do it again!

This was forgotten one month later, when - after a belly full of beer - an Insanity advert came on the TV.  I announced then and there that I would complete the program!  Reality kicked in the very next day.



So what is Insanity?

It's basically an 'at home' fitness program.  Watch the video, do the drills (monkey see, monkey do).  The only equipment needed is as follows:

 - Cross trainers (there is a lot of side to side jumping - my running trainers split after just 4 weeks)
 - Pen and paper (for recording results of your 'fit test').
 - Water (lots of it!)
 - Towel (for mopping sweat.  I'm not kidding.)

The program goes like this:

Month1 

Month 2

So there are 55 days of workouts during the 63 day program.  Some of those days, as you can see, involve two workouts.  The asterisk (*) above shows where workouts can be swapped for longer / harder ones if you were lucky enough (like me) to have the 'deluxe' edition.

During month 1, the sessions are between 40 minutes and an hour.   During month two, the sessions range from 55 mins to over 1.5 hours.  Each session will involve a "warm up", which will ensure that you are effectively broken before you even begin!  Followed by stretches, and then the -real- circuits.

None of the circuits are that hard.  Individually.  It's the stacking of the sessions, coupled with minimal breaks, that leaves you gasping on the floor like a goldfish!

That however, for me, was not the most insane thing about Insanity.

What is so insane about Insanity?

To put it bluntly - fitting it into your life!  This is what takes serious willpower and commitment.  After a session, you need to wait another 10-15 minutes just to stop sweating.  So overall - excluding shower time (presumably you'd do that anyway!) - you are looking at fitting in between 55mins and 1hr 45mins of additional activity, 6 days a week for two months!
Not only that - you need space.  Enough to properly jump around in.  I have been travelling a lot, which has meant occasionally lifting up the bed and moving it into the hallway to make room!


Places I have done insanity:

  • Kendal
  • Halifax
  • Catterick
  • Bristol
  • Swindon
  • Longmoor
  • Minehead
  • Paignton
  • France (Paris)
  • Germany (Dusseldorf)
  • On the beach
  • In the dark (with a head torch)
  • Outside in the rain



The verdict

There are many critics of this program, and many have started it.  However - very few have finished it!  I would say this has got nothing to do with 'fitness' and everything to do with.. willpower.  It takes serious willpower to complete the 63 days.

At the end of it, you most certainly will be a lot fitter.  You will experience the incredible satisfaction of recording your final fit test score.  But - best of all - it will be over!!  And 'normal life' can resume..





Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Online Storage

Have you ever bought a new laptop PC?  Or felt the need to access your files from another device - such as your phone?  Or a work computer?

Wouldn't you agree that its an absolute pain to have your files stored somewhere you can't access them?  Like on a broken PC?  Or a laptop that has been stolen from you?  (Imagine losing all those photos - forever!)

Of course there is an answer, and its been around for years.  You should be storing ALL your important documents in the CLOUD!

Thankfully this is easier than ever with a whole range of providers offering free services (such as google docs).  However there are a couple which I think are worthy of special mention:

SafeSync

I subscribe to SafeSync, and get 100gb of storage for approx £50 per year.  SafeSync offer great services such as ability to share documents with non-subscribers, retrievable backups, android / iphone access, search facility and the ability to play videos / music etc direct from source (ie without downloading).  SafeSync are - quite simply - the BEST storage providers on the web (and in fact cheaper than DropBox for paid services).



DropBox

Whilst I think SafeSync is the best option for storing (precious) documents online, the fact is that most people don't like to pay for stuff!  Which is why DropBox is my second recommendation.  The great thing about dropbox is not that you get 2gb of storage for free (you get this with google docs), but that you can then use referrals to increase this up to 18gb.



Both DropBox and SafeSync offer applications which can be downloaded to your pc, so you can still work offline (away from the internet) and have the peace of mind to know that all your files will be backed up in the cloud as soon as you reconnect.

Never lose a photo again!  Click to join up:



Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wordpress accepts Bitcoin

News just in - the worlds 22nd most accessed site in the world now accepts Bitcoin!  Why?  Because it allows access for bloggers from approx 60 countries that would not otherwise be able to use their services, due to the restrictive policies of Paypal and credit card companies.

Besides - Paypal is expensive!

As noted on the WordPress website, it is still not particularly easy to get hold of Bitcoins.  However one mechanism that you could use is Bitmit - basically 'ebay for Bitcoin'.  You can even sell cash for Bitcoins!  Alternatively, MtGox - the worlds biggest Bitcoin exchange - allows bank transfers from most major countries.  For business owners out there - they even have an app you can use to receive Bitcoins as payment..