Monday 23 March 2009

Letsure Property Insurance now available again via jml Insurance in the UK are very pleased to announce that as long term introducer agents for Letsure Property Insurance in the UK they can now offer the product once again on their websites.

In 2002 when was launched Letsure Landlord and Tenants insurance was the first product to be offered with the first commission payment arriving in July of that year.

Philip Suter had originally introduced Letsure to Frank Farr & Sons when he set up their residential letting office in 1984. Letsure was used for tenant referencing together with the sale of Landlords and Tenants insurance. When he established the JNP Partnership’s letting office in 2001 the Letsure agency was established there.

With the introduction of the Internet, it was the logical step to introduce Letsure products on the web site. In 2007 Letsure was bought by the parent company of their main competitor HomeLet. By the October all insurance dealings from the Letsure website were transferred to HomeLet which by coincidence jml has been an introducer to since late 2002.

In early February 2009 Ian Fraser the newly appointed Managing Director of Letsure contacted jml Property Insurance to find out if they could introduce the Letsure product once again as they used to be a major agent.

Philip Suter of jml said” I was delighted to receive Ian’s call and to have the opportunity of having the Letsure products back on our sites again. Letsure is a very long established brand leader and we have just got the dedicated links to their site working”

Letsure are offering landlords, tenants and UK holiday home or second home property insurance. They have a simple quotation system that can be accessed via the website.

More information can be found at the jml-property-insurance website

Sunday 22 March 2009

Home Insurance – How to choose the right cover

Sainsbury’s Finance magazine “Spring Ideas” arrived in my letter box a few days ago.

There is an interesting article on making sure that your property is fully protected. It is full of useful tips and advice illustrated below. The article reminds us about the floods of 2007 that could easily happen again and that there are currently more than 1.7 million UK homeowners without buildings insurance and one in four households has no contents insurance. Many of those who do have contents insurance underestimate the value of what they own by an average £9,000!

Naturally when money is tight as it in the present climate, it can be tempting to cut costs on insurance. Malcolm Tarling of the ABI (The Association of British Insurers) has reminded consumers that by underinsuring could have serious consequences as you would not have enough money to replace belongings.

The article with the ABI’s input lists four main points to consider:

1: Chose the policy on the level of cover it provides – not just on price. The cheapest option can be false economy.. Read the policy carefully before you buy so you know exactly what you’re covered for and what exclusions apply.

2: Make sure the sum insured is adequate for your needs. This will be the most the insurer will pay out if everything you own is totally destroyed so it will be up to you to make sure its is enough. For buildings it should be the full cost of rebuilding your home and of course remember this is not the same as market value. You can use the ABI’s online calculator to work out the right sum (Visit

Alternatively for total peace of mind consider choosing a policy that offers unlimited buildings cover. When arranging contents, the sum should be enough to replace all the possessions inside your home form carpets and clothes to TV’s audiovisual equipment to kitchen appliances. The ABI say that as a guide the average home currently has around £38,000 worth of contents, however to work out the amount for an individual home, you need to list all your own belongings – quite a task. The ABI have produced a leaflet entitled “Is your Home Underinsured” and you can download this at (

3: Consider whether you need extra cover. Ask yourself whether you should pay an additional premium for accidental damage cover. Check the exclusions carefully as not all policies will cover mishaps such as damage to soft furnishings or damaged caused by botched DIY or pets. Also consider whether you need to add personal belongings cover to protect expensive items like jewellery, laptops and mobile phones when they are not at your home.

4: Shop around for the best deal. Malcolm Tarling of the ABI says that different insurers specialize in different risks, so you will need to look at the options from insurance brokers to online and high street insurance providers so that you make sure you get the right cover at the right price. He also goes on to remind the consumer that some insurers may charge extra if you want to spread the cost of payments and pay monthly. He also says that you shouldn’t be afraid to switch providers, because even if your policy is not due for renewal for a few months, if you find the right offer it can pay to switch early.

After these very interesting points provided by the ABI the Sainsbury’s Finance “Spring Ideas” article provided a very useful “Policy checklist”

Remember that the cheapest quote doesn’t always offer the most comprehensive cover: check policy exclusions and excesses carefully.
Check the sums insured to make sure they’re adequate for your needs.
Check whether the policy offers new for old cover, or makes a deduction for wear and tear.
Check single item limits and whether you can cover high-value items.
Consider whether you need optional extras, such as extended accidental damage cover.
Check whether the policy offers an automatic seasonal increase in contents cover over the Christmas period.
Check whether the policy offers a no claims discount – and if so how it works and whether you can protect it.
Check whether there is an extra charge if you want to pay by monthly direct debit.
Finally check whether there’s a discount if you buy combined buildings and contents cover.

That is a very good aide memoir for anyone looking for home insurance. I was interested to see the point about checking about “a no claims discount” Karen Preston who is Head of Customer Development stated in her “Welcome” on page 3 that “Have you ever wondered why no-claims discounts are the norm for car insurance – but not when you buy home insurance? In fact one in four home insurance policies fails to offer a no-claims discount, which means customers are missing out on potentially huge savings. What’s more, of those insurers who do offer a discount, 74% provide no details on how it works, making it difficult for customers to understand their position.

Sainsbury’s thinks this is unfair and has issued a challenge to other providers to make their policies on no-claims discounts less confusing”

It will be interesting to know how they get on and what type of reaction they get. No doubt in organization like the ABI or British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) get involved on behalf of the industry there will be more weight for such a campaign

Whatever you don’t forget to take out your property insurance whether you are an owner occupier, or renting or letting. Insurance is one essential you can’t afford to be without today.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Big rise in cannabis 'factories' be vigilant warns Landlords Organisation

The National Landlords Assocation (NLA) has issued a warning to Landlords to be vigilant of the way their properties are used, following a BBC report into cannabis factories. According to the report, 29 police forces across the UK revealed a sharp rise in cannabis being produced in ‘factories’ inside rented housing. Although this is not a new problem, the NLA is reminding landlords to be aware of what could be going on behind the doors of their properties.

In June 2008, Aviva (Norwich Union Insurance) issued a press release stating that Residential may not be covered if their property is damaged by tenants using it for cannabis production.

In his career as a letting agent, Philip Suter of jml Property Services has come across tenants who had set up a small factory in an attic in Thame in Oxfordshire and in a garage in Iver in Buckinghamshire.

The NLA report warns Landlords to be on the look out for the following:

Strong smell of de-odourisers or air fresheners to disguise the smell of drug production
Lights being left on all day and night and curtains and blinds drawn
A sudden jump or fall in electricity bills
Possible rewiring
High humidity in the property

The Aviva/ Norwich Union report says: Listed below are some common trends to help identify the typical methods for growing cannabis.

Cannabis plants are typically grown in individual pots throughout the property, with walls, ceilings and doors lined with plastic or polythene.
Windows will normally have blinds or curtains closed to obscure any activity.
The plants are irrigated through pump spray guns, such as those used in a domestic garden, rather than having garden hoses plugged into a sink or basin
High powered lighting is installed in each room and the electricity has probably been tampered with to bypass the meter.
A considerable amount of condensation is produced
A pungent smell, which may be noticed through the walls of adjoining properties but ducting and extractor fans are installed and fed through the chimney or flue to prevent this.

Landlords if you are managing the letting of your property carry out regular inspections and make sure your letting agent carries out thorough inspections if the agent is managing a property. If you or the agent can't get into an individual room, outbuilding or garage, it could mean that your tenants have a cannabis factory set up. There course can be a totally innocent reason for not being able to gain access. Take care and don't risk your insurance.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Rentguard Property Insurance now available via jml Insurance in the UK are pleased to announce that they have just been made introducer agents for Rentguard Property Insurance in the UK

The Rentguard Insurance has range of products & services covers all aspects of residential & commercial lettings as well as Owner Occupier Insurance and UK Holiday Home Insurance.

With such a buoyant rental market in the UK are delighted to offer these products from Rentguard Insurance.

Philip Suter of said” it makes sense to have a good choice of products for Landlords and Tenants and the Rentguard Insurance’s products are very good value for money for Landlords, Tenants and property owners”

Philip went onto say “Depending on which product you are looking for, all you have to do is click on the “Get a Quote” logo and you immediately enter the Rentguard site and can get a quote or arrange cover within seconds”.

Chirag Patel, National Account Manager of Rentguard said,” We are delighted to work with We know they have been very successful introducing Landlord and Tenant products since 2002 and we have excellent products which will benefit landlords and tenants UK wide. We look forward to developing a close and long lasting working relationship with”

Rentguard is a trading brand of RGA GROUP LTD. They are Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and adhere to the codes of practice of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Insurance Ombudsman scheme (IOB). They are also members of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA).

More information can be found at the jml-property-insurance website

Monday 16 March 2009

Liability Insurance

With the recession biting the larger building firms are laying off workers. To continue earning members of the building trade need to go self employed The vital issue is liability insurance. If you have a clean record this is no problem

BUT for the 30% of the UK population with a criminal record or poor claims record rather than hope your cover is ok YOU DO HAVE TO DISCLOSE YOUR CONVICTION WHETHER ASKED OR NOT !!! Most insurers will not quote

At last there is a solution the NEWHOPE range of insurance for ex offenders now includes cover for all tradesmen including less than usual occupations we will not load for conviction

The BESPOKE range of less than usual cover all caters for less than usual occupations.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Car Insurance and Home Insurance from The Co-operative now available via the jml Insurance site

The Co-operative Car and Home Insurance products have just been added to the site. As with any products on the site being adcvertised acts purely as an "Introducer" under the terms of FSA (Financial Services Authority ) regulations, so a customer leaves the jml-insurance sites and goes to the individual providers site like The Co-operative for example. All dealings take place between the customer and the insurance provider.

According to the The Co-operative Insurance, it is the only provider in the UK with a customer-led Ethical Engagement Policy, reflecting their customers' views on a range of ethical issues from human rights to the environment and animal welfare. The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is part of The Co-operative Group, the UK's largest consumer co-operative. CFS is the group of businesses that includes The Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) and The Co-operative Bank including smile.

The Co-operative Group is a family of businesses that share the same co-operative way of doing things. That means offering an excellent service to their customers, selling their products in a fair and honest way, and being committed to supporting communities on their doorstep and beyond.

In July 2008 The Co-operative Insurance Voted Best Online Motor Insurance Provider by Your Money Awards. Now in their eleventh year the Your Money Awards are the longest standing and most highly coveted awards in the industry. The objective of the awards scheme is to reward those providers of financial services who have excelled in their field over the last 12 months.

The Co-operative retail market is now much larger as the completion of the purchase of competitor Somerfield. The Somerfield name is set to disappear from the high street very shortly. It is now . Britain's fifth-biggest food retailer.

Saturday 7 March 2009

Why use a letting agent to let your property in the UK and when you do, make sure that the agent is qualified

Landlords and Homeowners often have full time jobs as well as buy to let investments, it is therefore frequently the case that with so many demands on their time they cannot always be available to handle day-to-day events connected with their property.

If this sounds like you then using a letting agent offering full property management could be an essential and economical way of ensuring the smooth running of a tenancy, while protecting the property and still making a profit.

Whilst letting your property through a specialist letting agent is not strictly necessary, a good agent will take some of the effort out of the job of finding and selecting tenants, drawing up tenancy documents, and the day-to-day maintenance of the property.

Because you are quite literally placing your property in their hands, the choice of a letting and managing agent is as important as in choosing any other professional such as a solicitor or accountant.

Unfortunately demand for property to rent has encouraged many firms and individuals to set up as letting agents many of them are completely unregulated and have little or no experience, do not operate bonded client accounts or are bound by any code of practice. Remember, as the landlord you may be personally liable for any mistakes made by your agent. So choose carefully.

Many of these firms setting up are Estate Agents who have been unable to survive in business because of the downturn in the housing market in the UK. They have gone into the lettings business and a lot of landlords believe they are highly experienced.
A recent example of a prospective landlord believing this was because this person saw numerous boards up in the area. The landlord was told that the agent had been in business locally for many years. In fact the agent had been a practising estate agent for many years but had only set up a sales and letting agency in the last eighteen months.
You don't actually know how experienced the agent is at letting houses, just like if an experienced letting agent attempts selling them.
Ideally you should seek an agent who belongs to ARLA - The Association of Residential Letting Agents. ARLA is the only professional self-regulating body to be solely concerned with lettings. ARLA agents are properly trained to their high standards and ARLA believes that Lettings agents should be required to take a professional qualification before they are allowed to set up shop in the High Street.
Examinations are held regularly and membership rules require all member offices to have professionally qualified staff. Members’ client bank accounts are required to be audited annually ensuring that they conform to a stringent accounting practice.
An ARLA spokesperson has recently said "The fact that at the moment anybody can work as a lettings agent is ludicrous and, more to the point, dangerous as it may create great risks for consumers in the current climate.the standards of the lettings profession are upheld without exception – this means compulsory training and qualifications for anyone wishing to let a property on behalf of another, as well as Client Money Protection, Professional Indemnity Insurance, and audited client bank accounts.
Many agents hold client’s funds mixed in with their own business funds and this offers no protection if the agents business fails."
The UK Government needs to introduce regulation with the compulsory licensing of agents. This will set professional standards for the industry is the first step to eliminating the cowboys. ARLA is not the only professional association in the UK.
There is also NALS - The National Approved Letting Scheme which is an accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents offering peace of mind to landlords and tenants in knowing that they are dealing with a firm which agrees to meet defined standards of customer service.
Unfortunately in 2009 it is not obligatory for an agent to be a member of ARLA, NALS or the RICS (Royayl Instistute pf Chartered Surveyors).
If you are letting out your property, use a qualified agent and remember to make sure you take out the appropriate Landlord Insurance.

Debenhams Pet and Wedding Insurance now available via

Debenhams the UK Department store group's Pet insurance and Wedding insurance are now availbe via

Vets' bills can be very costly. There is no NHS for your pet! A 24 hour stay in a vets can cost in excess of £240.00! For a small monthly payment why not have peace of mind in case your pet is taken ill or is involved in an accident?

There is no NHS for pets, so you make sure your family pet is properly covered in case of accident or illness.

Getting married — Have you thought about taking out wedding insurance? Cancellation - Wedding attire for main wedding party - Wedding rings, cake and flowers - Wedding presents including money and gift vouchers - Photographs including failure of prints and videos - Transport - Failure of any supplier -Legal expenses for contractual disputes - Public liability - Stress counselling.... Find out more.

These are two very important areas that people should remember to arrange. are introducers to Debenhams Pets Insurance and Debenhams Wedding insurance.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

If you stop paying your tenants insurance you won't be covered

As HomeLet Tenant and Landlords introduction agents, we at jml Property Services are receiving a lot of copy notification letters from HomeLet administration as tenants are not making their monthly payments.
If they don't keep up the payments, cover will cease and if there is a claim, then they won't be covered!!

This is a typical example of these copy letters:

1st March 2009

Dear Agent,

Policy Numner: PHL1XXXXXX
Risk Address: XXXXXXXX
Policy Holder: Miss G.......M........

We refer to the above mentioned policy and must confirm that we have been unable to collect the premium instalment of £1.95 which was due on 1st March 2009.

To ensure continuance of cover,we will attempt to collect the outstanding amount from the client't credit/debot card account over the next 10 days. Thereafter the regular monthly premium will be collected on the normal collection day.

We must inform you that failure to maintain monthly instalments could result in the cancellation or voidance of the client's policy in accordance with policy terms and conditions.

Should you have any queries on this issue please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Services Department.

Yours faithfully


This is for £1.95 such a small sum to pay, however if she does not pay it, her insurance cover ends.

Another letter for a renewal says:

We refer to the above mentioned policy which fell due for renewal on the 23rd February 2009. Please note that the renewal premium due has not been paid and as a result the policy has lapsed.

Make sure you keep up your insurance payments Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today

Monday 2 March 2009

AIG Insurance reports record $61.7bn loss

The Amercian Insurance giant AIG (American International Group) has reported a loss of $61.7bn (£43bn) in the final three months of 2008 - the largest quarterly loss in corporate history. AIG has already received $150bn in financial support - the biggest bail-out by far of any US company.

The fourth quarter 2008 adjusted net loss, was $37.9 billion or $14.17 per diluted share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $3.2 billion or $1.25 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2007.

The company will receive an extra $30bn from the US government as part of a revamped rescue package. Under the deal, the third government rescue of AIG since September, the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve will provide around $30bn in fresh capital to the insurer, lower the interest rate on a $60bn-loan and ease the terms of a $40bn preferred share investmentUS officials fear that a failure of AIG would be disastrous for both the US and the global economy.

The latest package involves the Federal Reserve taking stakes in its American Life Insurance and American International Assurance businesses.

According to a report in the Insurance Times, the group is also separating out AIG UK, a general insurance business, by creating a new holding company to be called AIU Holdings.The establishment of AIU Holdings, Inc. will assist AIG in preparing for the potential sale of a minority stake in the business, which ultimately may include a public offering of shares, depending on market conditions.

“AIG is executing one of the most extensive corporate restructuring programs in history,” said Edward Liddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AIG. “The formation of AIU Holdings, Inc. will help protect and enhance the value of these key businesses, and position them for the future as more independently run, transparent companies.”

When it is formed, AIU Holdings, Inc. will be a unique leading franchise with more than 44,000 employees and 500 products and services serving 40 million commercial and individual customers in 130 countries and jurisdictions.

AIG UK Limited who are part of the American International Group, Inc., (AIG) are underwriters to insurance4carhire products and Direct Travel Insurance are underwritten by AIG UK Limited. Both of these products are available via who are introducers for and Direct Travel Insurance.

Now angry leaseholders kick back at the brokers

Now angry leaseholders kick back at the brokers
This was a headline in The Observer on the 1st March 2009. was told in advance that an article would be appearing as acts as Introducer to Ember JD Insurance.Brokers. Ember's insurance broker, Neil Cook advised us that he had been contacted by Jamie Elliott of the Observer.

The article was reporting that Flat owners could be paying up to double the best rates for buildings cover, thanks to hidden commission being shared out between brokers and managing agents

It appears that owners of leasehold flats are paying up to double the market rate for buildings insurance because brokers are paying "kickbacks" to the block management property agents who manage their homes.

Some insurance brokers are choosing the insurer that pays the most commission, instead of the company that offers the best value - and then sharing this commission with the managing agent.

This has been a major concern for Neil Cook as reported in a press release in November 2007
The report goes on to say that Insurers who pay the most commission are often also those who charge the highest premiums. Although leaseholders bear the extra cost, they rarely find out about the inducements because there may not be an invoice and the inducements do not appear on their service charge statement or other documents.

This must be normal as a representative from advised that with flats their company are involved with they have absolutely no idea who the insurance company used are as the block management companies involved just send out an annual request for ground rent service charges and insurance and the item insurance would just be mentioned in the annual accounts.

Neil Cook, of Ember JD Insurance Brokers, has been approached by an increasing numbers of leaseholders who are being charged significantly above the going rate. Neil said "I see a lot of inflated premiums for blocks of flats where it just doesn't add up, and there is no way the broker has sought the best deal," he says. "Sometimes it is as much as double but, typically, the premium is about 30% above what you would expect to pay."

The Observer’s report went onto say that one leaseholder, who does not want to be named, learned he was paying over the odds only after he and other residents took over the management of their south London flats in October last year. The leaseholder said "When we got hold of the paperwork we saw that the company that managed the block was paying £6,632 a year for buildings insurance, without too much difficulty, we managed to get the premium down to £3,731."

He claims that when he sought quotes from insurance brokers, two out of the eight he called asked if he wanted a payment for himself. "I was surprised they were suggesting I take a payment from them that would not appear on any of the paperwork," he says. "I wasn't doing this just for myself and, of course, I refused."

To see whether or not this experience was exceptional, The Observer’s reporter approached eight insurance brokers on the pretext of insuring a block of 20 flats.

There obviously is a problem here and Leaseholders should ask their block management agents for details of the insurance if they feel the amounts are excessive. Normally block management agents will provide copies of quotes for re-decoration, carpeting and other repairs for leaseholders says Philip Suter of, so there shouldn’t be a reason why they can’t be provided with insurance information.

If you are not happy with the Block Management agent, get together with other leaseholders and the elected Directors of the block’s company and appoint new agents. Most blocks of flats have a residents company that the agents actually work for and the Directors are usually some of the leaseholders.

Philip Suter went on to say “Most block management agents in my experience do not necessarily charge very high management fees for the amount of work they carry out during the course of the year so this is why they are probably trying to gain additional revenue from the insurance policies they arrange for the various leaseholders”For more information about Insuring your Block via Ember JD Insurance Brokers click here