The US Small Business Administration’s Regional Administrator for New England, Jeanne Hulit is encouraging survivors affected by Tropical Storm Irene in the State of Vermont to register for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and return completed SBA disaster loan applications to get the help they need. The SBA’s low-interest disaster loan program is the primary source of federal funds for long-term recovery for uninsured damages caused by a declared disaster. ‘We are coordinating recovery efforts with our SBA Resource Partners along with federal, state and local stakeholders in the declared disaster area to ensure affected survivors receive proper assistance from the SBA. Taking time to complete and return the loan application package to the SBA is an important part of the recovery process,’ Hulit said.Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and private non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million for physical losses and working capital needs. Interest rates are as low as 2.5 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. ‘The SBA District Office and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network in Vermont are reaching out to local businesses to make sure they have access to federal resources to help them recover from the disaster,’ said SBA Vermont District Director, Darcy Carter. ‘We encourage all small businesses affected by the disaster to stop by the Disaster Recovery Centers where they can ask questions specific to their situation and get answers right on the spot from the disaster center staff.’ Area advisors from the VtSBDC network are available to assist business owners evaluate their situation and prepare documents needed for disaster loan applications. In Vermont, call 1-800-464-7232 or visit www.vtsbdc.org(link is external) and click on ‘location’ to find the advisor in your area. ‘Our team of experienced business professionals can help devastated individuals examine the overall condition and health of their business, and review options for the future,’ said VtSBDC State Director, Lenae Quillen-Blume. ‘The local advisor is in contact with Disaster Recovery Center staff and has an understanding of programs available and requirements of them.’ The disaster declaration covers the counties of Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington Windham and Windsor in Vermont, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private non-profit organizations in the following neighboring counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans in Vermont; Berkshire and Franklin in Massachusetts; Cheshire, Grafton and Sullivan in New Hampshire; and Clinton, Essex, Rensselaer and Washington in New York. To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 800-621-FEMA (3362), (TTY) 800-462-7585 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Additional information on the loan application process and the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer ServiceCenter at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to [email protected](link sends e-mail). Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/(link is external). The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is October 31, 2011.The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 1, 2012.
The decision to use two insurers was made after a lengthy competitive tender process and led the scheme, with advisers LCP, to negotiate preferable agreements with both parties.Despite the addition work involved in the use of two insurers, the arrangement still offered the best overall value, and puts it in good standing to insure further tranches of liabilities in future.Heath Mottram, chief executive at the fund, said the insurance contracts further build on the fund’s strong de-risking foundations.“The transactions are the result of significant work by the Trustee over the last six months, including a thorough selection process and negotiation of competitive pricing and terms,” he said.The ICI fund’s move to insure £3.6bn of liabilities overhauls the previous UK record of £1.5bn in a single scheme transaction, which was between the EMI Pension Fund and Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).Clive Wellsteed, partner at LCP and lead adviser to the trustee on both deals, said the fund used its scale to negotiate the very competitive terms agreed by the insurers.“It demonstrates the appetite of mature final salary schemes to de-risk their pensioner liabilities and shows how transactions can be successfully structured at a scale not previously seen,” he said.Wellsteed also highlighted the significant interest of insurers operating in the market, with both Legal & General and Prudential outstripping their entire volume of bulk annuity business from the previous two years in this single deal.Legal & General wrote just over £2.3bn of buy-in and buyout business since the start of 2012, according to LCP, although it did conclude the purchase of Lucida, adding a further £1.4bn of written policies. Prudential wrote £566m over the two years, as the total bulk annuity market reached £11.8bn.“This is certainly a statement of intent by the insurers as well, who will have had their appetite wet by last week’s Budget, and will now consider diverting their focus from individual annuities towards the bulk annuity space,” Wellsteed said.Last week, the UK government announced plans to overhaul the at-retirement DC market, removing compulsory annuitisation for defined contribution savers, potentially hitting the sale of individual annuities by insurance companies.This led to several calls from industry experts that the bulk annuity market would see additional competitive pricing, particularly from those insurers with a heavy reliance on individual annuity sales, such as Prudential and Legal & General. ICI Pension Fund has moved to insure £3.6bn (€4.3bn) of its liabilities, securing contracts with Legal & General and Prudential as pricing and appetite in the market continues to benefit larger schemes.In a novel deal, it sees ICI insure a significant chunk of its £10bn in relatively mature liabilities, with its membership split between 50,000 pensioners and 10,000 active and deferred members.Two insurers will take on the buy-in tranches, with Legal & General taking on £3bn and Prudential the remaining £600m.The scheme, and its sponsor AkzoNobel, which merged with ICI in 2007 to form the current company, said the deal was struck to improve the security of member benefits and reduce risk in the fund.