Tuesday 28 December 2010

Consumers deceived by price comparison websites warns Essential Travel 70% of travel insurance policies deemed worthless

December 22, 2010 - 70% of travel insurance policies deemed worthless - Consumers duped by price comparison websites warns Essential Travel 70% of travel insurance policies deemed worthless

Guerilla marketing by price comparison websites has conditioned UK consumers to believe they save money by searching the entire market to find the cheapest prices. Leading travel essentials provider EssentialTravel.co.uk warns holiday makers this is not always the case and travellers should take care when searching for holiday insurance.

Stuart Bensusan explains “Companies on these so called ‘money saving’ websites are operating under several trading names, so whilst a top ten search gives consumers the impression that they are viewing a range of prices from ten different providers, in reality the ten insurance “brands” on display are actually owned by a small pool of three or four companies. In some cases it’s as few as two separate providers. Where’s the comparison in that?”

A quick search for the cheapest travel insurance policies on Go-Compare reveals its top ten policies are supplied by just two different companies and CompareTheMarket shows only three. This means if consumers were to purchase a policy from inside the top ten results on Go-Compare there is an eighty percent chance that they will have purchased a policy from the insurance provider Drakefield and a twenty percent chance they would have purchased a policy supplied by Citybond insurance.

On CompareTheMarket.com there is a sixty percent chance of purchasing a Rock Insurance policy and a thirty percent chance of purchasing a Blue Insurance policy.
Furthermore, the emphasis on price on comparison websites is leading holidaymakers to select the cheapest option rather than the insurance policy that best suits their needs.

“Insurers can only offer the exorbitantly low prices appearing on these sites by levying extremely high excesses on policies.” discloses Bensusan.

“Consumers aren’t always aware of the level of cover afforded by these cheaper policies; for example, whilst Moneysupermarket.com offers the lowest priced policy at £27, it has the highest excess at £300. A review of our recent claims showed 70% of them were for amounts totaling less than £300, which means that had those customers purchased this particular low cost policy they would have had to stump up the entire cost of the claim themselves. By spending just £28.35 more on their annual travel insurance policy, customers can reduce the excess to only £90 on items such as baggage, where claims tend to be for lower amounts.”

Bensusan concludes “Consumers need to be wary of websites claiming to offer an overview of prices across the whole market. The cheap policies displayed on these sites are inexpensive for a reason and don’t represent value for those that need to claim. We strongly urge holidaymakers to speak with a travel insurance expert rather than relying on misleading price comparison websites.”

Essential Travel was established in 2001 and EssentialTravel.co.uk is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies. The core products offered include competitively priced, fully comprehensive travel insurance; airport car parking; airport lounge access; airport hotels; car hire; and car hire excess insurance.

Source: Essential Travel

Friday 24 December 2010

Mary Dhonau resigns from the National Flood Forum

Neil Cook a specialist insurance broker with TR Youngs Insurance Brokers sent us this piece of news late yesterday afternoon.

Mary Dhonau has tendered her resignation from the National Flood Forum and will leave us on 11th February 2011. She will be on special leave of absence until then.

The Trustees and staff of the NFF are very sad that Mary has decided to leave. She has almost single-handedly brought the plight of flood victims to national attention. Her passion has come through in everything she has done. Her media exposure and recognition is huge.

She was awarded the OBE last August – it was very well deserved.

Charles Tucker the Chairman of National Flood Forum said " We wish her every success in the future. Mary will leave a big hole behind her, but both Trustees and staff of the NFF are satisfied that we can meet all commitments entered into. Our other staff – Paul Hendy, Heather Shepherd and Amanda Davies – are highly skilled and knowledgeable about community impacts of flooding. Trustees bring additional skills that will help to sustain the Charity until new permanent arrangements are made."

Enquiries about operational matters where you would previously have dealt with Mary
should now be addressed to Amanda Davies (amanda.davies@floodforum.org.uk )
Enquiries about strategic issues and stakeholder relations should now be addressed to the Chairman, Charles Tucker (charles.tucker@floodforum.org.uk )

The NCE website says " Mary’s home in Worcester has been flooded internally with raw sewage on many occasions. During autumn 2000 she was flooded twice to a depth of about 3ft. On this occasion many of her neighbours were also flooded. Mary led the fight - and won to make the water company concerned accept responsibility for the situation. She was delighted to be asked to officially open the £1.3 million sewage pumping station, which has put a stop to a long history of flooding. She did however refused to have the pumping station named after her!

Mary went on to form ‘Worcester Action Against Flooding’ which has an excellent working relationship with the E/A, Severn Trent Water and the Local Authority. As a result of this close partnership, Worcester was selected and successfully trialled a temporary defence, the kite marked geo-design barrier This first saved homes and businesses from Flooding in February 2004 and kept a main access road into Worcester open. Hylton Rd in Worcester is now protected by an earth bund which was paid for with local levy funding.

Originally Mary was the community group’s director and has been the chief executive for 4 years. Mary has made many appearances on national TV and radio representing the ‘flooded community’ and through TV has been able to promote ‘flood awareness’ and ‘self help’ She has been a studio guest amongst others on BBC Breakfast News, GMTV, ITV’s ‘This Morning’ News night and even the ‘Richard and Judy Show’ (!) During a flood Mary regularly speaks on national TV and radio talking about just what it’s like to be flooded and giving advice on how to manage the initial effects of being flooded.

Mary is responsible for facilitating the NFF national conference~ a unique event Which gives an equal platform to those who manage flood risk and those who are at risk of flooding. She is also editor of the quarterly NFF newsletter. Mary is a regular speaker at flood risk conferences and keeps the plight of the flood victim high on the political agenda. She also promotes the use of ‘flood resistance (protection) and flood resilience’. Mary was the driving force behind the much acclaimed ‘blue pages’~ the leading directory of flood protection products and services. She was also co author of the joint ABI/NFF guidance of repairing a home following a flood. Mary has acted as a witness to Sir Michael Pitt who conducted the independent review of the 2007 floods and to the EFRA committee, the Welsh sustainably committee and to several local authority scrutiny’s into the 2007 floods including that of Gloucester.

She was invited to represent the NFF at 2 ‘floods summits’ organized by Hilary Benn following the publication of the Pitt report. And was a keynote speaker at the Defra 2010 conference Mary also represented the community voice at the government led ‘insurance flood summit in autumn 2010. Mary was part of the consortium to review the literature for resistance and resilience advice with CIRIA and Wolverhampton University. Mary is on the steering committee for Exercise Watermark, the Cabinet office steering group for community resilience, she represents the NFF at the joint Defra/EA stakeholder group and has worked with Defra promoting the householder flood protection grants.

Mary is a firm believer in ‘partnership working’ and continues to encourage all those effected by flooding (whether as a victim or as an Agency that manages flood risk) to work together managing flood risk. Mary was awarded an OBE for services to the environment in the Queen’s birthday honours list of 2009.(Source http://www.ncefloodmanagement.com/whos-speaking/mary-dhonau-obe )

If you live in area liable to flooding and are looking for insurance and would like to contact Neil Cook or one of his colleagues, please follow this link http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/displayproduct.php?id=259&sec=1

Monday 20 December 2010

December news from HomeLet Landlord and Tenant Insurance

As HomeLet agents we have just been sent the December 2010 "December's Landlord Lowdown"

The information is so good that we have to share it with Landlords and Tenants in the UK.

The Buy-to-Let Market finally on the up. Good news for landlords! In the last quarter, BTL borrowing has increased by 33% compared to the same period last year. A total of £2.8bn was advanced to investment landlords in the three months to the end of September, the highest amount since the final quarter of 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The CML said the rise in lending during the third quarter, which was 12% up on the previous three months, was driven by ongoing strong demand for rental property as many first-time buyers struggled to get the mortgages they needed to buy their own home.

It is now the 20th December and Christmas is fast approaching, which usually means a rush for many tenants to get into their property and to make it homely before the big day. Although Christmas is a very happy time of the year, as a responsible landlord there are some additional concerns to consider…

Will your tenants have a safe Christmas? Unfortunately more people become injured and die from house fires over Christmas and New Year than at any other time of the year. Faulty Christmas lights, unattended candles, electric blankets and cooking pans are the main culprits. As a responsible Landlord you must ensure that you have installed working fire alarms on every level which must be checked regularly.

Along with this, Landlords should make sure they have comprehensive buildings insurance that covers for the event of fire. A policy should also include owner’s liability. 2000 people a year are admitted to hospital due to accidents that occur whilst putting up Christmas decorations. If they incur these accidents whilst using your step ladder they could choose to sue!

This month’s Cover Lowdown: Accidental Damage: any landlord will know that to ensure your margins are protected, you must prepare for every eventuality. It’s a fact of life that accidents happen. A glass of wine knocked onto a cream carpet, a bath that’s over flowed and caused a leak, or a Christmas candle that’s caused a burn mark on the wall. None of this damage is intentional, but that doesn’t make it any less costly to put right. HomeLet offers a very comprehensive Accidental Damage cover that protects your building up to the insured value of the property click here for more

Are your gas fires 100% safe? Every year 50 people die and hundreds are injured from carbon monoxide poisoning. This time of year people are putting their gas fires on for the first time since last winter. It’s almost impossible to spot whether any carbon monoxide is emerging from a gas fire. It is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’; it is tasteless, odourless and colourless and can kill in two hours. As a landlord you must by law have your gas appliances checked every year by a registered gas installer. In addition, there is also an option to install a CM detector for full piece of mind.

Freezing temperatures this time of year can cause havoc bursting pipes and tanks. If your tank bursts in your attic, water can cascade through the house bringing down ceilings and causing thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. Are you properly covered if the worst was to happen due to the harsh British winter? And if your boiler were to break, and leave your tenants without heating or hot water, do you have the plans in place to rectify the situation quickly and cost effectively? Please click here to see how we can assist you in reducing these risks and protecting your investment.

For more Information about HomeLet Landlord and Tenant insurance products floow this linkf you are link http://homeletuk.com/cgi-bin/alpha.cgi?agentschemeno=1501435

Sunday 19 December 2010

How the award winning managing agent proved his true colours !!

The residents Association of a tower block on the south coast approached an insurance broker of great repute, earlier this year to ask their help in getting vast insurance premium reduced the block of flats was paying in excess of £100,000 a year for the buildings insurance to the freeholders of the property.

We won't say who the freeholders were but the client property was by the sea so near salt water the freehold was not sea water !!

The broker actually saved the clients in excess of £60,000 premium all was well every one was very happy.

THEN it got dirty !!

The managing agent who was alleged to be of great repute and promised never to take commission on insurance premiums worked with another insurance broker who undercut the premium although it was with the same insurer which wrong doing here as there is solid gentleman’s agreement that insurers should not quote the same risk at different prices The good broker then helped the client buy agreeing to reduce their commission and reduced his premium further.

The Managing agent used every trick he could find such as blaming the freeholder for want to use the broker he suggested of course DISPTE ALL assurances to the contrary the managing agent did get a kickback in conclusion the clients had to pay an extra £3000

The good news is that the broker did do their best to help the residents association get a super premium and as usual all the complaint about managing agents and freeholding companies are TRUE.

Source: Neil Cook

Looking for insurance for blocks of flats? Visit http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=68&sec=1

Travel insurance for skiing holidays

Sunday 19th December 2010; Day 2 of the busiest weekend for people travelling before Christmas. This year however it is worse than last year in the UK. There was some snow about , however not like this year where it covers the majority of England, Scotland and Wales and across the sea into Ireland, Belgium, France and The Netherlands.

Many airports in the UK were closed yesterday and it looks like there be others closed today or part of the day.

If you are about to set of your holidays, it is essential that you have travel insurance. Many insurance companies will cover you for:

•Missed departure?
•Lost your passport?
•Personal money stolen?
•Damaged your ski equipment?
•Personal Accident?
•Abandon your holiday before you leave the UK
•Catastrophe — fire, flood, earthquake or storm
•Medical Emergency — Hospital — Emergency Dental Treatment
•Legal Advice

At this time of year there are lots of people who combine a Christmas break with a skiing holiday. Schools have broken up a few days ago now and there is a clear week before Christmas and after.

The jml insurance website has a great selection of insurance companies advertising Travel insurance and Ski, winter sports insurance for British and Irish residents and these companies include: Essential Travel (including insurance for Irish residents), Direct Travel, Endsleigh, Staysure for the over 50’s, Simple, Quotezone, Travel Plan Direct, Kinsure Emergency Medical Insurance, Protect your holiday - Financial Failure Travel , Travel Insurance Medical Insurance, JS Insurance Travel Insurance, Insureme4.co.uk Travel Insurance, Primary Travel Insurance, Devon Direct Insurance Services and Kidnap and Ransom Insurance via Equity & General Insurance Services.

For more information visit: http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=10&sec=8

Friday 17 December 2010

Councillor wants to build houses in flood risk area

The "Irish Times" reported an interesting story on Thursday 16th December 2010 -"Councillor seeks permission for houses in area prone to flooding" Apparently a member of Clare County Council in the Republic of Ireland who had flood problems last year has put in a planning application for five detached on a site prone to flooding next to his home in Ennis.
The report on the left shows a photograph of Fine Gael Councilor Tony Mulqueen walking along in waders and had to access his house by dingy.

Water levels had risen around 76cm around his home in December 2009. A decision on the application is due next month and the Department of the Environment does have guidelines on areas prone to flooding so it will be intersesting to know if he obtains consent.

If you are experiencing problems getting insurance cover for properties in flood affected areas in Northern Ireland, England, Scotaland and Wales then you need to contact Equity and General Insurance Services. Their expert insurance broker is Neil Cook and the insurance company advertises on the jml-insurance.co.uk site. http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/displayproduct.php?id=259&sec=1

Villa in Quinta do Lago Portugal for sale at €10 million

The December 16th 2010 "Irish Times" property page had a headline "€10m for Quita villa". Apparently according to the report the villa in the Algarve, Portugal once owned by the late Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna is up for sale.

It is located in the popular resort of Quinta do Lago and is being marketed through Quinta do Lago Real Estate. It has a floodlit tennis court, four hole putting green and a solar heated swimming pool. The accommodation offers six double bedroom with ensuites plus a number of reception rooms.

If you can't actually afford a €10 million price tag you can rent a great selection of villas and apartments at Quinta do Logo and other fabulous destinations in the Algarve by visiting the jmlvillas.com holiday homes self catering holiday rentals site. Follow this link - http://www.jmlvillas.com/country/Portugal

If you are fortunate enough to own a property in the Algarve and are searching for property insurance written in English take a look at this link http://www.jml-property-insurance.co.uk/overseas_property_insurance_2.htm

Finally don't forget your travel insurance Visit
http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/products.php?id=8 for a great selection of insurance companies advertising their products.

Monday 13 December 2010

Drying out Flooded Buildings

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published an interesting summary of guidance on dealing with flooded properties which may well prove valuable in the months ahead. It is entitled "Guidance and standards for drying flood damaged buildings Signposting current guidance – BD2760"

You can download this by following this link HERE

This is not formal advice in itself, more a signpost to the various pieces of advice out there and the areas which still need work. There are some useful flowcharts and an overview of different methods of drying and moisture testing.

According to ne commentator "It is not a publication for the faint-hearted though and assumes a fair degree of technical knowledge."

If you have concerns about flooding and insurance why not contact insurance broker Neil Cook . Follow this link

Thursday 9 December 2010

Mundys Estate Agents win five-star UK property award

10th December 2010 - Mundys estate agency received the top award for the third year in a row for the Best Estate Agency in Lincolnshire at the UK Property Awards.

Pictured on left Mundys' Senior Partner Philip Barnatt receiving the award for the Best Estate Agency in Lincolnshire from Maryam Nemazee, political, business and economic news presenter; and Helen Shield, Chairman of Judges for the International Property Awards.

Estate agency Mundys has been judged the Best Estate Agency in Lincolnshire for the third year in a row at the prestigious UK Property Awards in association with Bloomberg Television.

Mundys was presented with five stars at a high-profile event at the Lancaster London Hotel on Saturday 27th November.

The fact that Mundys has won one of these coveted awards is proof that Lincolnshire is capable of triumphing within the highly competitive UK property arena.

The awards are open to every estate agent in the UK and Mundys was one of only a select few to be awarded five stars and therefore rejudged to find the ultimate world’s best.

“We are so pleased to win this award, especially as it has completed our hattrick having also been voted best in Lincolnshire in 2008 and 2009,” said Senior Partner Philip Barnatt.

“Agents are judged on their professional qualifications and training, quality of customer service, innovation and creative approach, all of which we take great pride in, and I am sure this greatly helps our customers get the very best out of their move.

“I would like to say a big thank you to my colleagues at Mundys who have worked incredibly hard during what has been a difficult time for the UK property market. They have risen to the challenge and it’s a credit to them that we have still managed to triumph in what is a very tough competition.”

Stuart Shield, chairman of the International Property Awards, said: “Now approaching its 17th year, this is the world’s most prestigious competition with the prime aim of distinguishing the best real estate professionals across the globe in residential and commercial categories.

“In our quest to find the most outstanding projects and property professionals from around the world we were fascinated to discover that the total value of the award-winning projects was over $100 billion.

“This helps to contrast with the bear market approach to the property market in general. There are some incredibly strong roots being established for the future growth and generation of properties that are more attractive to look at, safer, kinder to the environment, smarter and able to deliver a better quality of life for those who live and work in them.”

The International Property Awards cover both residential and commercial categories. Top scoring entries from all the different regions (Arabia, the UK, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe and Africa) are re-judged to find the ultimate World’s Best in each category.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Essential Advice For Accidental Landlords

With the housing market stuck in the doldrums and the demand for rental properties increasing, the number of accidental landlords is on the rise
once again. Research conducted by ARLA showed that more than a third (34%) of member offices surveyed during Q3 2010 saw an increase in the number of rental properties coming onto market because they couldn't be sold.

Becoming a landlord however is not an easy option as a Lincoln-based lettings management company is urging first-time landlords to consider all factors before committing to renting out a property.

Lighthouse Property Services reports that owing to the recession and the decline in the housing market a new wave of ‘accidental landlords’ is springing up all over the UK, and many entering the rental market for the first time are finding that the process is not as simple as initially thought.

“Research conducted by ARLA has revealed that over a third of member offices surveyed during Q3 2010 saw an increase in the number of rental properties coming onto the market because they couldn’t be sold,” says Tim Clark, Managing Director of Lighthouse Property Services.(pictured above).

“For some entering the rental market can be a daunting prospect. Therefore it is essential that any prospective landlord entering the rental market for the first time considers a number of issues.”

According to Tim the first consideration should be whether or not to actually rent out the property in the first place, as having tenants could potentially prevent homeowners from selling. However a property that is already occupied with tenants could be a selling point and therefore is not necessarily a negative factor.

The second issue is to remember that this is a business decision and there is no room for sentiment. Landlords need to divorce themselves from any emotional attachments to their property.

Legally homeowners will need to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage, and the advice is to thoroughly research all options and get quotes from a number of brokers.

Practical matters such as properly checked appliances and the amount of paperwork can also be a minefield to the first-time landlord.

Many first-time landlords employ the services of a specialist letting agency. These companies can alleviate some of the difficulties associated with renting property and deal with the majority of practical issues and paperwork for you – for example, lodging the deposits, co-ordinating repairs and dealing with emergencies.

They can also help with testing all the gas appliances and electrical supplies which all landlords are legally required to do.

Tim also raises one other vital point which should not be overlooked; “If you are reliant on the rent to cover your mortgage remember the two are not inextricably linked and rental insurance could be a safer option. Lastly if you do decide to instruct an agent to look after your property always chose an ARLA registered one.”

Source 8th December 2010 from Lighthouse Property Services who were established in 2001 and is a residential and student lettings agency operating in Lincoln.

If you are having to let out your property do make sure you have proper landlords insurance including rent protection / guarantee policies. To find out more follow this link http://www.jml-property-insurance.co.uk/Landlords_Rent_Guarantee_insurance.htm

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Keswick woman uninsured for three months after struggling to renew her home insurance

Neil Cook an insurance broker, spotted this article in the "News & Star" on the 25th November 2010.

"Battle to insure Keswick floods flat"

A Keswick woman was uninsured for three months after struggling to renew her home cover because she had been flooded twice in six years.

Maria Harrogate, 54, of St Kentigern’s Close, lives in a ground floor flat and was flooded in 2004 and 2009.

Her insurance company paid out both times, but when she tried to renew her home insurance in August she was refused because she was in a high risk area.

She said: “There was about three feet of water in my house last year and I lost everything.

“I walked out with medication under one arm and my dog under the other.

“It was like someone coming into your house and wiping out your life.

“Since I was told I couldn't renew I rang everyone in the Yellow Pages trying to get cover.”

Maria was eventually given the number of Rugby insurance firm Equity and General Insurance Services and her prayers were finally answered.

She was told they could insure her if she got a flood guard fitted to a patio door.

The firm put her in touch with Flood Master Limited which gave a guard free.

The insurers then arranged for the guard to be fitted by a local company and decided to match Flood Master’s generosity by giving Maria a year’s free insurance.

Maria said: “It was the best Christmas present anyone could have given me and I can’t praise the two companies enough.”

Have your say........on the News & Star Blog: no this was genuine the reporter will gladly supply my contact details we are truly helping flood victims no stunts just true help- Posted by neil cook on 2 December 2010 at 12:28

Source: News & Star

Looking for Insurance for your property - Flood damaged property and Household Insurance Follow this link