Monday 23 February 2009

New Managing Director for Letsure

Barbon Insurance Group has announced the appointment of Ian Fraser as Managing Director for its Letsure division
jml Property Services have been Letsure Landlord and Tenants insurance introducer agents since early 2002 and had been offering these products via a dedicated link to the Letsure website. Erinaceous Insurance Services the parent company of competitor HomeLet bought Letsure and from October 2007 jml Property Services were no longer able to make FSA compliant introductions to the Letsure website as these had to be referred to the HomeLet site.
Erinaceous Insurance Services Limited started tol operate as Barbon Insurance Group Limited from August 2008 following the sale to an investment company owned by three major UK banks - HBOS, HSBC and Lloyds TSB.
The press release from Barbon says"Ian brings almost 20 years insurance industry experience to this key role and will be responsible for increasing focus on the operational and organisational development of the Glasgow-based business, in line with Group objectives.

"I have joined at an exciting time for Letsure and look forward to the challenge ahead," commented Ian. "Having listened to what customers had to say about our fantastic tenant referencing service, it was already apparent the business has some really great people. We will continue to work as a close team to give our customers exactly what they need and demand in today's market.

He continues: " Growth will come from up and cross selling opportunities plus the current infrastructure provides a great base for developing new and innovative products and services. This will be vital in helping us achieve and maintain competitive edge whilst increasing market share to become the UK's leading let property insurance specialist."

Immediately prior to joining Letsure, Ian headed up his own consultancy. Previous to this, he spent eight years working at Kwik-Fit Insurance where he was responsible for significantly increasing sales of general insurance products. He started his career at Swinton Insurance before becoming a Financial Advisor at United Friendly."
This is very good news for jmlProperty Services as within a couple of weeks, they can introduce Landlords and Tenants to Letsure products again via a dedicated link to the Letsure website.

3 New Directors appointed at Barbon Insurance

Barbon Insurance Appoints New Directors for Compliance, IT and Finance. Kate Coulson is to become Compliance Director. According to the Barbon Insurance Group press release, Kate will be joining Barbon after a successful career in Compliance at HSBC Bank - culminating in her current role as Head of Compliance for HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd.

Rachael Bishop is to become IT Director. Rachael Bishop has a wealth of specialist IT experience to the position. During her early career, she played a pivotal role in the start up of Hastings Direct, progressing through the company to the position of Group IT Director. Her next role was with Lloyds TSB where she headed up IT.

Finally Andrew Jenkinson is Finance Director. He has held several senior financial positions within the insurance industry, most recently as Finance Director at broker Thomas Miller Group.

Barbon Insurance Group comprises six strategic business units located in Croydon, Bordon, Lincoln, Chelmsford, Bournemouth and Glasgow. The company’s market leading brands include Keelan Westall, Cadogan Keelan Westall, Deacon, Cadogan Hanover Park (SaifInsure, TruckInsure, Plastech, Performance Media and CareAssured), HomeLet, Letsure, BibaLet and Farr.

jml Insurance are introduction agents for their HomeLet and Letsure brands

Thursday 19 February 2009

Holiday Home Insurance outside the UK and Ireland written in English

Overseas holiday home ownership is at an all time high and numerous owners have problems with foreign languages, so it is vitally important that their insurance policy is written in English.

The problem for many holiday home owners is that once they have found their dream property it's absolutely crucial that they get it properly covered. Without the right insurance policy, they could have problems when they come to claim and find out you don't have the cover they thought they had.

The property owner needs to choose an insurance company with the policies written in "plain English". jml act as introducers to a number of specialists including Intasure, Andrew Copeland International, Devon Direct and Ember JD Insurance Brokers. They have been introducing holiday home owners to these products for the past three years and numerous insurance policy sales have been made as a result of their introduction.

Philip Suter of uk said "Wherever you choose to buy your holiday home, you're not going to live there full time and need to know your investment is properly protected. Having the right insurance is all about understanding what assets you own, what liabilities you are exposed to, and what external events can occur which will put you at risk.

Local insurance policies can include variations and exclusions relating to burglary, accidental damage or personal liability claims. Some of these might not include water supply or gas supply pipes or electric cables to the property becoming damaged. There might be restrictions on you letting out the property as a holiday rental or longer let. Other policies might only give a maximum of 90 days un-occupancy at a time and this is not very satisfactory if you have left your holiday home in August and don't return till the end of January for example.
It is imperative that you check all the details ("small print") thoroughly and if need to keep the electricity on to keep the heating or burglar alarm working, make sure you let the insurance company know this from the start."

Taking the appropriate action from the start will avoid problems when a claim occurs particularly if there was a fire caused by an electrical fault and under the terms of the policy, the electricity was meant to be switched off!

A client should never assume that what is covered under their UK home insurance will automatically be covered abroad, as the expectation of what should be standard cover differs greatly country to country, so that is why it does help having the policy written in English.
When the client arranges cover they must make sure the buildings costs are for the correct cost of rebuilding. Many people think that they should get building insurance at market value. If your property was worth €190,000 last year and maybe the market price has gone down to €170,000 this year, it won't affect the buildings costs.

Remember they would already own the "land" the property is situated on and so assuming the property was destroyed by fire the insurance has to cover the removal or repair of the building shell and the erecting or repair for the replacement. The sum insured should be sufficient to rebuild all buildings as well as all outdoor structures such as swimming pools, terracing or perimeter walls.

If property owners are having difficult putting a price on the rebuild, they should take advice from the insurance company. They must provide them with the dimensions, basic materials the property is constructed with get help from the insurance company. A specialist who covers a lot of countries should have comparables.

Philip went on to say " Don't forget to insure contents as well, they should be insured for their replacement value as new and one final reminder is that most policies will provide liability cover to protect the owner of the holiday home should someone be injured by, for example, a falling roof tile, tripping over a loose paving slab etc. if you rent out your property, or if you employ domestic staff, you should check that you have cover in place should a guest or an employee get injured."

Many of the holiday home specialists that you will find today not only cover holiday / second home property outside the UK, but also in the UK. Their policies are designed for that specialist market and one company is now offering policies for holiday home owners own UK main residence.

Of course these insurance companies are not only targeting the holiday home market outside the UK, but also some are targeting owners of main residence properties situated outside the UK. There numerous "ex pats" who have moved to Spain, France, Italy and other locations and they are often happier dealing with an insurance company back in the UK, particularly if they have language problems in the country they now live in. Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Tenants should Insure against recession related crime

Following the release of Home Office figures in January 09 showing a significant increase in burglaries, the UK's leading insurance provider for the lettings industry HomeLet is urging tenants to make sure their possessions are properly insured.
The figures, published in January, showed a 4 per cent increase in domestic burglary between July and September last year compared with the same three months in 2007 and gave the first official indications that the economic downturn has coincided with signs of rising crime.
Managing Director of HomeLet John Boyle said: "It is unfortunate but not surprising that as the recession deepens and unemployment rises there has been an increase in the number of burglaries.
"We would always advise tenants to take out specialist insurance, as it can also cover them for accidental damage, but in the light of these figures from the Home Office it is more important than ever that tenants are adequately insured."
"Conventional home contents policies will give a basic degree of cover for most insured perils but are not specifically designed for tenants and there can be some major gaps in the cover they need."

As well as protecting the contents of the property against theft by forcible means, HomeLet's Tenant's Contents Insurance can also cover tenants should they accidentally spill a glass of red wine on the carpet or burn the kitchen worktop for example.

Many people don't realise that if they're living in a rented property their landlord can take the cost of the repairs for damage to the contents, building, fixtures and fittings out of their deposit.

There are countless examples of tenants who have experienced a loss or damage to the property through, burglary, fire, flood or other insured risks and have been horrified to discover they have been left with the cost of replacing the items themselves.
A new £1.6million national crime prevention campaign has been launched on the 17th February by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
The adverts will appear in national and regional newspapers, television and radio over the next eight weeks.
They will carry simple messages about how the public can make their homes safer and protect themselves from opportunistic criminals with the strapline "Lets Keep Crime Down". According to the British Crime Survey 36 per cent of burglaries occur in properties with unlocked doors and windows and this new campaign aims to make people aware of the very simple steps they can take to protect their homes and valuables.
The new campaign is part of government action aimed at helping people to increase their personal security and avoid becoming victims of crime during the economic downturn.
It uses materials from the successful Let's Keep Crime Down campaign, which won an Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Gold Award in 2008 for demonstrating advertising effectiveness.
The launch follows the burglary summit held at the Home Office on 4 February, which saw representatives from the public, private and voluntary sector meet to discuss practical ways they could help.
Source: Homelet and The Home Office

Tuesday 10 February 2009

In the Property Game?

This is the headline in the rather neat Insurance Company’s brochure that I came across last week. The theme is one of a chess board with the line “Protecting your every move”.

The brochure goes onto say that the UK has seen a massive increase in the number of property investors in recent years. As on of them, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to protect your investment, whoever your tenants are.

Whether you’re simply letting out a second home or have several properties ready for your retirement nest egg, you need insurance that totally tailored to your needs.

Apparently 53 per cent of all UK Landlords are not insured for the risks they are exposed to. That is really worrying. Even with properties going down in value in the UK at present, they still should be adequately insured.

In my time as a letting agent I have come across numerous landlords who have taken out buildings insurance and not bothered with contents. Why, well the reason I was given was that “I am letting out the property on an unfurnished basis, so why do I need contents insurance?”

I used to say to the client, supposing there is a burst pipe and your ceiling came down (as I have come across on several occasions in my career) and the property suffered a lot of water damage.

The building insurance would cover, the ceiling, the flooring below the carpet, but not the client’s carpet or curtains. The client would often reply, well if it did happen we can claim on the tenant’s contents insurance. Unfortunately that would not have been possible as the carpet and curtains belonged to the landlord and the landlord would end up paying out for replacements.

Many of the specialist insurance landlord and tenant rental insurance companies now offer limited contents insurance for landlords. This is a very good idea as naturally the premiums are cheaper.

Many Landlords don’t realize that like agents fees, mortgage interest on investment properties, insurance premiums are tax deductible in the UK which saves more money.

There really shouldn’t be a reason why a Landlord is not adequately insured these days. They should have public liability insurance which normally comes with the buildings cover, but until there is legislation in place making it obligatory like with gas safety certificates and energy performance certificates there will still be numerous Landlords who choose to take the risk without insurance.

It is very easy to buy insurance and property insurance sites like act as introducers for Tenant and Landlord rental specialists like HomeLet and Endsleigh. You can usually make arrangements on line and pay on a monthly or annual basis using credit, debit card or direct debit.

Don’t forget to make the correct move and keep your investment rental property properly insured.

Thursday 5 February 2009

In 2009 only a few tenants are properly insured in the UK

With the growth of the UK’s rental market, it is unfortunate that so many tenants are not insuring their possessions.

All tenants are at risk from theft and damage to their possessions, as well as their landlord’s contents and something as simple as a spilt glass of wine could mean the loss of their deposit. From a spilt glass of wine to an iron mark on the carpet, accidents can happen whether you are renting or not. However if you happen to be living in rented property, a tenant might not realize that the landlord can take out the cost of repairs for these accidents from the deposit.

Although tenants are usually advised by the letting agents and get information from the Internet, they still don’t realise that the landlord’s insurance won’t cover them if they accidentally damage the rental property and it certainly won’t cover them if their own belongings are stolen.

Nationally in the UK that only ten per cent of tenants have appropriate insurance in place, meaning that ninety per cent don’t have adequate insurance to cover their contents.

Tenants often neglect to buy contents insurance, many simply don’t know that it’s available or in some instances they assume that they’re protected by their landlords insurance, which isn’t the case.

A typical Tenant’s contents insurance policy will offer cover for:

Accidental damage to their landlord’s property – for example if the carpet is ruined with red wine or coffee. They won’t we risking their deposit.

Audio and electrical equipment, credit cards, money, bikes and frozen food.

Items in the garden and outbuildings and even iPods, handbags when they are away from home.

Theft by forcible means, collision by aircraft, vehicles or animals.

Part of the problem why tenants don’t take out insurance is because they think that because they are renting, they haven’t got many possessions. Even if they rent in a furnished property, whereby the landlord’s insurance will cover the landlord’s furniture, they forget the other small items they have.

These often include a new TV, a laptop computer, games console, an ipod or cd player clothes, food in the freezer and that bicycle.

It is very easy to buy insurance and property insurance sites like act as introducers for Tenant and Landlord rental specialists like HomeLet and Endsleigh. You can usually make arrangements on line and pay on a monthly or annual basis using credit, debit card or direct debit.

Tenants must remember that they have to keep up the payments on their insurance. If they don’t pay their monthly payment, the cover naturally stops.