Friday 16 December 2011

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme from Rentguard News

  Just come across this piece from Rentguard Landlord and Tenant insurance.  Government payments to help people afford to stay in their home should go directly to the lender rather thanthe Landlord Insurance holder – according to What Mortgage– according to What Mortgage.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced this week that it’s launching a Call for Evidence on how the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme could be improved in the future.

But while Ben Wilkie, editor at What Mortgage, thinks the principles behind the SMI are good, the scheme must ensure funds are used directly to help struggling homeowners keep their property – rather than to pay off other debts.

He says: “The whole point of Support for Mortgage Interest is that people don’t lose their homes, but having the money paid directly to the claimant could increase the number of people who do”.

However, Mr Wilkie also notes the SMI could be changed to include a charge on any homeowners who use the scheme and later benefit from property price rises.

In other landlord insurance news doing the rounds today, it’s being reasoned that buy-to-let lending looks set to make up a larger percentage of the mortgage market next year.

David Whittaker is managing director at Mortgages for Business, and he thinks the current “soft” state of the UK mortgage market suggests the share of buy-to-let lending could increase this quarter and throughout 2012.

He says: “Historically, [buy-to-let lending] ran at about 13 per cent of the market, but dropped as low as eight and a half or nine per cent of the market in 2009, so you could say that all it is doing is re-establishing its status quo relationship with the residential mortgage market as a whole.”

The comments follow the announcement that Paragon Mortgages has won the ‘best buy-to-let portfolio lender’ title at the Your Mortgage 2011-12 Awards.

And despite all the hype, it seems the promise of the Olympics has had no effect at all on the London rental market from the point of view of any buy to let insurance holder. is an online letting agent, providing letting agent services to 31,829 landlords across the UK.

Daniel Burgess is managing director of, and he says: “The Olympics is the last thing on the minds of landlords or tenants. Getting through the next three to six months is what people are thinking about.

Discover the wide selection landlord insurance available from Rentguard and see how cost effective the all-rounded residential landlords insurance can be. - More Information Here

Source:  Rentguard Insurance

If you live in a "flood area" it could be a complete "no go area" says some insurance companies

Neil Cook an insurance broker who specialises in areas like flood affected property insurance, ex offender insurance and a lot more is a regular contributor to this blog.

He has just contacted saying that "I am hearing yet more and more reports from clients saying  that certain parts of the country are now complete no go areas because of either flood risk (such as SL6 5ND a rather nice part of  Maidenhead) rather than wasting clients times and effort just say to them we KNOW A MAN WHO CAN !! "

He goes onto to say that "rather than worst case of selling them worthless cover IE without flood or subsidence or a vast excess and premium any excess over £1500 is totally unacceptable".

So if you are having problems obtaining cover, or cover with a very high excess, contact Neil for more information.

How do I do this? Follow this link please  

Friday 9 December 2011

HomeLet insurance raises money for the Nomad Trust of Lincoln

HomeLet the specialist landlord and tenant rental insurance company has raised money for a charity based close to their Lincon offices

The Nomad Trust is a Christian based registered charity which provides welfare services in the City of Lincoln for those who are homeless or otherwise in need.

HomeLet  insurance has raised £4,000  in just five months at various events organised by members of staff, including a cake sale, quizzes and a Halloween fun-day that included a fancy dress competition and trick or treat game.

This staggering amount of cash is more than half of the £8,000 target HomeLet has set itself to raise by April 2012. The cash will then be spent on a mini bus for the charity’s service users to travel around the area for journeys, such as to job interviews, to help people move off the streets and begin to lead a more normal life.

The Nomad Trust is a Lincoln-based charity that helps homeless people in the area from all walks of life to regain their independence and self-respect. For the past 26 years, the organisation has been helping homeless and vulnerable people in Lincolnshire by running an emergency night shelter and charity shop. The Trust’s workers also support its service users by offering life skills and resettlement advice when they are able to move into their own home.

HomeLet announced its support of The Nomad Trust in May 2011. Its employees are set to raise money for the charity for three years, and a calendar of events has already been organised so another £1,000 is raised in time for Christmas.

Brenda Shiels, Service Manager at The Nomad Trust, said: “For HomeLet to have raised more than half of the amount needed to buy the new minibus already is a fantastic achievement. The vehicle will be a massive benefit to our service users who struggle to travel to different places once trying to rebuild their lives. Therefore on behalf of The Nomad Trust I would like to thank everyone at HomeLet for all their hard work and generosity.”

John Boyle, HomeLet’s Managing Director, said: “Raising the money at so many events has not only been enjoyable, but also very gratifying as we know the cash is going to be spent on local people who are finding it hard to get themselves out of a traumatic and difficult situation.

“We’re now confident we can raise even more than the £8,000 needed for the minibus, so we can help this very worthwhile cause assist as many local homeless people as possible over the next few years.”

 Find out more here about fundraising for The Nomad Trust Here

Source HomeLet Insurance

If you are a landlord (or tenant) looking for HomeLet specialist rental insurance click on the logo below

Latest HomeLet Rental Index is out now

Seasonal trends see rents dip across UK as the latest HomeLet Rental Index shows that average UK rental amounts have decreased in eight of the 11 regions, including London, as part of a seasonal dip.

According to HomeLet Landlord and Tenant Insurance  

■The average UK rental amount fell in October, when compared to September by 2.5% to £763pcm

■Despite falling, the average agreed UK rental amount in October 2011 was still 4.2% higher than rents recorded in October 2010

■Rents in London are still 23% higher than October 2009, and remain 8.8% higher than 2010

■The number of tenants sharing a property has increased in the last two years. The average number of tenants per property was 1.7 in October 2011, compared with 1.4 in October 2009

■Greater London has the highest level of sharing in the country with an average of two tenants per property

■Average UK tenant incomes dropped from September to October by 0.6% to £27,201

■18 – 21 year olds have seen the largest drop in income over the past year. Incomes for this age group have dropped by 5% in October 2011 when compared to October 2010

■The percentage of 36 - 45 year olds renting after living at home with a relative has risen from 18% in October 2009 to 23% in October 2011

If you are a landlord (or tenant)  looking for HomeLet specialist rental insurance click on the logo below

Source: Homelet

HomeLet Insurance wins a national award for its innovation within the lettings industry

The specialist insurance company HomeLet for Landlord and Tenant insurance has won the Innovation category at this year’s 2011 Landlord and Lettings Awards.

In addition to this, HomeLet Insurance was a finalist in the Insurance Services, Supplier and Website categories.

The Innovation award recognises the supplier that has been most innovative in their sector, and HomeLet was praised in particular for the launch and success of its new referencing product, Optimum. Optimum was launched earlier this year and has not only achieved 150% above predicted sales figures, but also been very well received by customers.

As well as offering a robust tenant reference, Optimum offers the unique guarantee – if any tenant referenced through one of two HomeLet checks, Insight and Enhance, either default on their rent within 12 months of moving into the rented property, HomeLet will evict them – for free.

The increase in sales has also seen an increase in customers, with the company’s 1,000th customer being welcomed to HomeLet in October.

Kyle Clark, who works for Homes4U – the 1,000th letting agent to partner with HomeLet, said: “Signing up with HomeLet couldn’t be easier. We signed up online and processed our first reference that day. To be their 1,000th customer is a privilege; although I’m sure there will be hundreds more to join before the year is out!”

HomeLet puts this success down to a number of factors; increased demand for rental properties, the importance of using a reputable letting agent and referencing supplier, its innovative products and services, and the fact that many more landlords are asking their letting agents for HomeLet by name now.

John Boyle

Managing Director of HomeLet, John Boyle, said: “I am delighted at our success at last week’s Landlord and Lettings Awards that recognises our innovative contribution to the lettings industry. It is not only testament to the hard work of our team who’ve developed the product, but also our customers who’ve used HomeLet to reference potential tenants.”

Heidi Abbott, HomeLet’s Operations & Marketing Director, who collected the award, said: "To win the Innovation award was a fantastic result in itself – however, to be finalist in three other categories reflects the commitment we continually dedicate to our customers to make sure they receive the best possible service.”

jml Property Services have been HomeLet agents since 2002 and market the products for the company on the jml insurance and property websites. Find out more details HERE

Source: HomeLet Insurance

Lettings agency is now 10 years Old

South Buckinghamshire Letting agents, The JNP Partnership have just passed the ten year milestone.

In the summer of 2001 the Directors of the JNP Partnership, a very well known firm of estate agents in South Buckinghamshire took the decision to open a lettings office to cater for the expanding rentals business in the area.

Philip Suter who had previously established a residential lettings department in 1984 for Frank Farr & Sons, a firm of long established estate agents in the Slough / Uxbridge area, joined JNP in early November to launch the lettings office.

Philip a landlord himself and via his own company jml Property Services has been a member of the NLA (National Landlords Association) since the early 1980s when it was known as the Small Landlords Association.

Over the past ten years the JNP lettings office has grown from a small “add on” department employing two members of staff to a highly profitable operation employing some 10 members of staff.

Philip still acts as a Consultant for JNP, but the day to day running of JNP Lettings is the responsibility of Lettings Manager Vicky Lyle.

Vicky Lyle Manager JNP Lettings

Vicky has a strong Lettings background having a couple of her immediate family members as seasoned Landlords and having been a tenant herself for a number of years. She has worked for several years within the Lettings Industry, mainly working within the High Wycombe area for another major High Wycombe letting agent before joining JNP two years ago, but having also gained valuable experience working in North London and Hertfordshire.

In 2010 a few months after joining JNP, her lettings department portfolio nearly doubled overnight with the addition of the Philip Green and Partners High Wycombe letting business. Along with this additional portfolio came Lettings Negotiator Adam Green, Property Manager Julian Britton and Administration Manager Angela Wilson. Other members of the team include Doreen Coburn, Trefton Joyce, Charlotte Moxon, Jo-Anna Warren and Wendy Buckley who has been managing the landlord and tenant accounts for over four years.

Vicky said ”The rental market is very positive at the moment and with plenty of investment potential with new developments being built (and sold by JNP New Homes) we are increasing our portfolio of let property from an excellent tenant base”.

“We have a very experienced team who are kept up to date with legislation by following ARLA training courses. There is a constant change of legalities that can affect residential lettings, however this minefield is not so bad for experienced staff like ours to tackle and advise our clients on.” 

Stephen Grace MD JNP

Managing Director of The JNP Partnership is Stephen Grace. Stephen has been an agent since 1993 and with JNP since 1998 and he also spent eighteen months running the JNP lettings office.

Stephen said ”I am very proud of the way in which the JNP letting business has grown. We are now the number one choice for clients in the area letting out their property.”

“The JNP Letting Business has become such a major and integral part of our company. I am delighted with the achievements made to-date and am confident in Vicky and her team continuing to lead the way as the chief local lettings agent and their on-going success.”

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, JNP has been running some special promotions. For Landlords and Tenants and will be holding an anniversary evening for clients in mid December.

Apart from being a member of the NLA, Philip has been associated with ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) also going back to the early 1980’s when he brought Frank Farr into ARLA membership. He was involved with the ARLA Council in the late 1980’s responsible for a membership drive and recollects going to one of the SLA meetings that was chaired by Geoffrey Cutting and Lillian Cline and introducing the Chairperson of ARLA to the NLA.

Commenting on JNP Lettings 10th anniversary, Philip said “JNP are now the first choice for hundreds of landlords and tenants in the High Wycombe area. They have a very professional team and I wish them even more success in the future”.

More information about The JNP Partnership

The JNP Partnership is the trading name of JNP Estate Agents. It was established in 1994 fast becoming a very well known firm in South Buckinghamshire, Chilterns and the Thames Valley area with sales offices in High Wycombe, Hazlemere, Prestwood, Princes Risborough and Stokenchurch. It has a specialist New Homes Department, operates The Fine and Country estate agency is Hazlemere and Princes Risborough and is shortly launching an Auction department.

JNP’s residential letting office is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) and MyDeposits (the Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme). Website:
Source JNP Estate Agents Ltd

Thursday 8 December 2011

Winter is here again so is condensation

Winter has finally arrived and so will the condensation problems in rental properties.

Last winter working for a letting agent carrying out routine property inspection visits, a lot of people were compaining about "damp".

Unfortunately in so many properties fresh air does not get. Gone is the era of the old Victorian house with fireplaces in several rooms and floorboards not being fully covered in thick carpet and windows not being one hundred percent sealed when shut.

You now have a situation of double glazed windows, well insulated walls, floors and ceilings and people not letting in fresh air and keeping heaters turned up high.

Yes there are problems with damp problems being caused by slipped roofing tiles, drainage pipes leaking and a lot more, however so many tenants do not open windows to change the air. Heating costs never go down and they are worried about these and don't want to let the cold air in, even for a few minutes.

I came across one flat after Christmas last year and noticed the living room window looked rather odd. Initially I thought it was Christmas decorations and then was told by the tenant that she had put cling film all over the windows to keep the place warmer. The property actually had double glazing and the cling film was causing a build ip of condensation. The tenant was using the trickle vents and do not know what they were for.

Trickle vents are normally at the top of mist modern double glazed windows and doors and let a small amount of fresh air into the room.

When letting a property it is useful to leave notes on how to prevent condensation and list the daily routine.

External bathrooms - open the window for a few minutes after a bath or shower has been taken.

Open windows when cooking.

Make sure any washer dryers are properly vented.

If any black moud appears clean it up and make sure there is proper ventilation in wardrobes, in particular those on outside walls.

Don't hang your washing out todry in front of heaters in the rooms.

Suggest or provide a dehumidifier if the property is likely to suffer from condensation problems.

It is true that a lot of properties can have condensation problems, but it is often the occupiers that cause them. I was involved for several years with the management of a "HMO - House in multiple occupation" divided into several bedsits. Some tenants kept the sah windows slightly open and never had problems. I recollect one large unit whereby the wall were rotting below the windows. A previous couple of tenants had never had a condensation "damp" problem. 

The Environmental Health Officer was called in as the tenant claimed the property was unfit for habitation. The first thing the EHO said was take the heavy duty plastic off ftom the windows as they were completely sealed and could not be opened. It did the trick.

We have more information on the jml Property Services website on this subject here. 

Monday 28 November 2011

Use Your Head campaign from Essential Travel Insurance

Essential Travel which is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies has issued a press release at the end of last week. is pioneering a new policy discount to encourage skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets on the slopes to launch as of 21 November 2011.

As part of its "Use Your Head" campaign will be working with mountain sports retailer Ellis Brigham and brain injury association Headway to educate skiers and snowboarders about the importance of head protection this season by offering a 15% discount to those willing to wear helmets. is also offering a 10 per cent discount on helmets in store or online at Ellis Brigham to every customer who buys winter sports cover. These discounts were prompted after 75% of's customer base admitting they would wear a helmet if a discount was levied against policies

The leading travel insurance provider has also enhanced its winter policy this year to ensure better cover for ski equipment, piste closure and ski packs.

The Use Your Head campaign was originally launched last year after 40% of Essential Travel's ski and snowboard customers said they would not be wearing a helmet despite 75% admitting to suffering an accident on the slopes that was serious enough to warrant medical assistance.

18.2% surveyed after the Use Your Head initiative last year said they wore helmets for the first time last year.

Stuart Bensusan from Essential Travel commented:"Following the initial success of our inaugural campaign last year we've decided to take serious action and lead from the front by being the first insurance specialist to offer discounts to skiers and snowboarders willing to wear helmets.

"An alarmingly high percentage of people are still intent on not wearing helmets and the reality is they save lives."

"Our survey showed over 65% of those individuals in a ski related accident believed that wearing a helmet lessened the severity of their injuries. We are urging skiers to recognise the importance of wearing a helmet for protection and to start placing the same value on helmets for winter sports as they would for cycling."

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway, said: "We are delighted to see the number of skiers and snowboarders wearing helmets increasing year-on-year."

"Even a minor blow to the head can have major consequences, and even the most experienced of skiers are at risk of falling at some point during their holiday."

"By offering reduced premiums, is providing an incentive to its customers to wear a helmet, but the ultimate incentive should be protecting your delicate brain from injury."

Mark Brigham, Founder of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports says: "Ellis Brigham are delighted to be involved with the Use Your Head campaign for a second year. Helmets have become the norm on skiers large and small in recent year, they are now lighter, better ventilated and much more comfortable and we encourage their use." has launched a dedicated "Use Your Head" micro-site which features full details of the Ellis Brigham discount and Headway charity donation as well as snow injury facts and testimonies from customers who've been injured on the slopes. was established in 2001, The company  is one of the UK's leading online travel essentials companies. The core products offered include competitively priced, fully comprehensive travel insurance, since 2001, Essential Travel has insured over 2.5 million holidays,  airport car parking; airport lounge access; airport hotels; car hire; and car hire excess insurance.

Travel Insurance: You can find out more about EssentialTravel's travel insurance products by following this link

Car hire excess Insurance: What are about great value  car hire excess insurance  that starts at £1.94 a day? Find out more here

Friday 25 November 2011

Endsleigh insurance were shortlisted for Landlord and Letting award

Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd were shortlisted as a finalist for 2011/12 in the Insurance Services category of the prestigious Landlord & Letting Awards.

Oliver Romain, editor of Landlord & Buy-to-Let Magazine and lead judge for the Awards, commented: “The Landlord & Letting Awards are the premier nationwide private rented sector awards in the UK, and it’s great to be able to recognise and reward the best in the industry. This year’s response was phenomenal, with over 1000 entries received across the various categories, so Endsleigh has done brilliantly to be shortlisted.”

All industry achievers got together to celebrate at a gala dinner - hosted by property investor and TV presenter Melissa Porter –held at Birmingham NEC on Wednesday 16th November, 2011.

Vikki Jefferies, Market Development Manager said: “We are thrilled to be a finalist: it really is testament to our hard work and commitment. We really enjoyed celebrating our success at the dinner, and will definitely be putting every effort in to ensure that next year we walk away with the winning trophy.”

Other insurance companies shortlisted in the insurance sector were: Countrywide Residential Lettings, Services, Just Landlords, HomeLet, Total Landlord Insurance and Residential Landlords Association and the winner was Just Landlords.

Part Source: Endsleigh Insurance 

Sorry can no longer quote for your property in a flood risk area

This is what insurance broker Neil Cook keeps on being told by clients who finds his specialist insurance services via the advertisements on the jml Insurance websites.

He says that many of the established insurance companies are not happy to continue insuring clients who live in flood risk areas, or the premiums and excesses have gone through the roof and floor!

He says "An insurance broker with considerable web presence and many great claims on quality and service has been insuring some clients for years with some insurers who are not renewing any household business.
We are hearing from an increasing number of these insurance companies clients that in the past have had flood or subsidence claim who are sent a short impolite letter saying in short sorry go away we cannot help you any more that’s very distressing and worrying !!!! and appalling service too at best if you are luck they will offer a quote that’s much, much more expensive with HUGE flood or subsidence excesses.

Our expert providers will gladly give clients in that situation a sensible affordable quote"

Want to find out more about how Neil Cook can help? Follow this link 

Do you hate call centres and robots?

Neil Cook a well respected insurance broker has just sent us this message.

Would it not be such a fantastic joy if when buying complex insurance that you don’t have to spend hours on the phone to a call centre youth who asks ever single question on a script and after a frustrating what seems like weeks they say sorry I cannot help, or will need mountains of complex paperwork first if you feel brave enough you supply surveys reports etc often you have pay for these too you then wait weeks for a call back that does not happen or when they do yet more paperwork is asked the final premium is vast and the terms are horrific

In truth it is possible One simple call to a true INSURANCE Hero will take just moments and quite often a quote can be given in seconds

Please watch this video to see that insurance HERO in action HE is real and does exist he is not just another call centre ROBOT HERE

To contact Neil Cook, please follow this link to find out how he can help with your insurance and he will phone you back personally.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Another person with a Criminal Record has a problem with a Comparison Insurance web site

We have just received this email from Neil Cook, Insurance Broker who specialises in insurance for people with criminal records and their families.

"I just had a client on the phone , who had a very serious criminal conviction, he had gone to the usual comparison sites for car insurance, filled in all the details, there was a question “ do you have any NON MOTORING CONVICTIONS” he answered this question yes, rather than rejecting all quotes it did give premiums.

Millions of people like him are fooled by comparison sites into buying cover, he assumed that the comparison site would inform the ultimate insurer about the conviction BUT in truth they don’t !!!! comparisons sites make a hefty fee for selling a policy that’s in truth all they are interested in.


Source Neil Cook - To contact Neil if you are looking for ex-offenders insurance - problem property insurance (subsidence - flood area etc) plus many other specialist types of insurance follow this link.

HomeLet rental Index October 2011 is out

This month's report shows...

The average UK rental amount fell in October, when compared to September by 2.5% to £763pcm.

Despite falling the average agreed UK rental amount in October 2011 was still 4.2% higher than rents recorded in October 2010

Rents in London fell month-on-month, for the first time in a year, by 3.98% to an average of £1,158pcm

Rents in London are still 23% higher than October 2009 and remain 8.8% higher than 2010

The number of tenants sharing a property has increased in the last two years. The average number of tenants per property was 1.74 in October 2011, compared with 1.4 in October 2009

Average UK tenant incomes dropped from September to October by 0.64% to £27,201

Incomes for those aged 18 - 21 have dropped by 5% in October 2011 when compared to October 2010

The percentage of 36-45 year olds renting after living at home with a relative has risen from 18% in October 2009 to 23% in October 2011

To find out more about HomeLet Landlord and Tenant insurance Click on logo above

Friday 11 November 2011

Those with Landlord insurance are reporting they’re increasingly positive about the outlook for the buy-to-let market in the UK.

Rentguard's Media page are running a report today (11th November 2011) saying "Landlord insurance holders are reporting they’re increasingly positive about the outlook for the buy-to-let market in the UK.

At least that’s according to the latest Landlord Survey from specialist lender CHL Mortgages.

The study reveals that 72 per cent of all respondents say they’re feeling positive about the future of buy-to-let.

That is up from a figure of 67 per cent in the summer of 2011 – and up 64 per cent compared to 12 months ago.

Increased positivity from buy-to-let sector landlords was also visible with a rise in the number of landlords who plan to buy more investment properties.

The research finds that 35 per cent of respondents planned to make further acquisitions, up from 33 per cent, over the summer months.

Landlord insurance holders were also more positive about current demand for rental properties.

As many as 88 per cent report their rental income is sufficient to cover their mortgage payments, as well as management and maintenance fees.

Those who are looking to purchase more property say they are still constrained by both a lack of available funding for both new purchases and remortgage (40 per cent) and the high deposit requirements (37 per cent) that come with buy-to-let products.

Only 7 per cent cite a lack of available stock as a reason why they are unable to purchase.

CHL believes this is further proof of the growing demand for private rental properties and that rental yields for residential investment properties continue to increase.

80 per cent of buy to let house insurance hodlers are not making any overpayments on their borrowings.

If the Bank of England were to increase Bank Base Rate to 5 per cent over the next couple of years, 31 per cent said they would have to increase rents to cover their mortgage.

Jannie Vermeulen is Head of Credit Risk at CHL Mortgages.

Says: “We normally only conduct our Landlord Survey every year however with this extra iteration we wanted to gauge whether the growing positivity we had witnessed during the summer had increased just three months later.

The research reveals that buy-to-let landlords are increasingly bullish about the state of the sector and their place in it.

Discover the wide selection landlord insurance available from Rentguard and see how cost effective the all-rounded residential landlords insurance can be Here".

Rentguard offers


Commercial Property Insurance
Legal Expenses with/without Rent Guarantee Insurance
For Owners (Private Residences)
For Tenants
Holiday Home Insurance
Rentguard Insurance – Home Insurance

Rentguard Insurance – Portfolio and Blocks of Flats Insurance Insurance

Rentguard Ltd is a subsidiary of RGA GROUP LTD, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Rentguard was established in 2000 and provides a unique range of insurance products and services to the residential & commercial lettings market. Rentguard’s position as underwriting agents ensures that it remains focussed on providing a quality service to its business partners and to their clients and customers.

The Rentguard brand has become synonymous with value-for-money and excellent client support, with products that are easy-to-understand and require minimal administration. Rentguard products are underwritten by leading UK underwriters. It is committed to the development of close working relationships aimed at raising the image of its business partners, as much as reinforcing its own commitment to excellence.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Small firms must prepare now for winter weather

Accountants Cannon Moorcroft of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire have just sent their e-newsletter. This article caught my eye.

"Small businesses are being urged to prepare now for winter weather, as the unseasonably mild conditions across the UK look set to end later this month.

YouGov data shows that 13 per cent of small businesses said they were 'seriously' impacted by last winter's bad weather and 37 per cent said they experienced weather-related problems.

As a result, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to start planning ahead by making sure their premises are winter proof, insurance is up to date, and contingency plans are well thought out.

The last two winters have seen arctic conditions, with ice and snow causing havoc, and this December is likely to start with severe frosts.

Commenting, head of campaigns at FPB, Jane Bennett said: "Disruptive snowfall hampers deliveries, triggers heating and power failures, and can sometimes mean employees can't get to work,"

"The past few winters have demonstrated just how susceptible the UK is to extreme weather, and the cost to business quickly runs into millions. When infrastructure grinds to a halt staff can't get in to work, and that's a body blow which hits small firms with fewer staff the hardest.

"It's essential small businesses do all they can themselves to mitigate the impact, and being proactive now will mean not having to rush out a last minute reactive plan on the eve of bad weather, which may not be all that effective.

"It worth remembering prevention is also better than cure - something as simple as making sure water pipes are lagged could save a business thousands in lost revenue if it has to close because of flooding. Businesses need to think about their contingency plans now to ensure they aren't put out of action by another nasty winter," she added"

This is a very important reminder not only for business people, but also all property owners including Landlords letting out their property.

If the property is empty between tenancies either have all of the water in the property drained out (It is no good turning off the stop cock if all the tanks and radiators are full of water as otherwise as soon as it gets warmer these will burst). Alternatively if you are trying to let the property it is more inviting if the heating has been left on, however it is well worth checking out the insurance situation with your insurance company.

If you are a tenant going away over Christmas / New Year or an owner occupier do make sure that the property is properly heated whilst you are away. Quite often it can be fairly mild just before Christmas (although this was not the case in 2009 and 2010) and it turns much colder whilst you are way. It is a good idea if possible asking a friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on the property and if there are signs of it getting really cold, adjusting the heating levels accordingly.

jml Property Services have a large selection of Landlord and Tenant insurance companies advertising HERE and for business and homeowners HERE

Flood Insurance - Questions and Answers

Have just been sent some information on Flood insurance by experiended specialt insurance broker Neil Cook

His first point of call was The Environment Agency. They have a very interesting and useful website explaining how they work with the insurance industry. They have a page to help people in areas that could be affected by flooding. "Prepare for flooding by following some simple steps to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business" Find out more Here

You can also find out if your property is in an area at risk of flooding and as a lot of people are struggling to find suitable insurance they have a section on this. They suggest: Talk to one of the brokers who specialise in properties that are difficult to insure. You should be able to find these brokers in the Yellow Pages. - Contact the ABI or BIBA and the National Flood Forum (NFF). Of course there is another way, contact a specialist broker advertising on the jml Property Insurance website Here 

The Consumer Magazine "Which" was next on the list.

Which has a page on their website "Buildings insurance explained - Flooding and subsidence"

The article talks about advice to find out if a property is in a risk area and links the visitor to the Environment Agency (above). They have some useful information "How to make your home more flood resilient

1) Replace timber floors with concrete and covering with tiles

2) Replace chipboard/MDF kitchen and bathroom units with plastic equivalents

3) Move boilers and electrical points well above likely flood level

4) Install one-way valves into drainage pipes to avoid sewage backing up into the house"  On the same subject at the jml Property-Insurance website there is a very helpful page "Flood Insurance Products" It is well worth visiting HERE 

The Which site can be accessed HERE

Which has another useful page entitled "Buildings insurance explained" - One of the items is "Q: If I live in an area at risk of flooding, will I still be able to get insurance?

A: Currently, there’s an agreement between the government and insurers that insurers will continue to offer cover to existing customers living in areas at high risk of flooding so long as the government commits sufficient money towards maintaining and improving flood defences. (see the rest HERE)

So if you are looking for "Flood" insurance or need help, it might be worthwhile contacting Neil Cook for some helpfull advice and save money. Click Here for Contact Info

More flooding in the South of France kills 3

We have just received this enews letter from The Riviera Times / Riviers Zeitung from the South of France.

They are running a rather worrying headline "France floods kills three" - Three deaths have so far been reported in the Var as part of ongoing torrential weather conditions. Apparently a homeless German was found dead on Saturday 5th November and  a couple aged in their 70s from Bagnols-en-ForĂȘt were found dead in the early hours of Sunday 6th November.

The weather was becoming very wet at the end of the G20 summit in Cannes at the end of last week and reports from a correspondent in Grasse on Saturday said there was a lot of water pouring down the hilly streets. Weather conditions are now improving according to Meteo France with a lot of sun this weekend again and temperatures reaching 19 degrees in the Nice area. To see the Riviera Times report in full Click Here

If you have a holiday home or main residence in the South of France, make sure that you are properly insured. Having difficulty understanding your French insurance policy wording? Why not take out a policy written in English from an UK based insurance company? Find out more Here

What about if the property is in the UK and you are having difficulty getting or finding reasonably priced insurance for properties in flood risk areas? Take a look at this section of the jml-insurance website Here

Make sure you have adequate property insurance this winter. It could be a long hard never know.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Fraud Conference 2011 - Neil Cook was a guest speaker

jml Property Insurance blog site Friday 19th August 2011
Back in August we featured on this blog a piece aboit Insurance Broker Neil Cook who was going to take part in the Fraud Confernce in October. (See blog Here)

Neil has now sent us further information about the event.

Fraud event: Disagreement over point to target fraudsters

Application fraudsters are ‘hiding behind the web’ but disagreement reigns over whether to target scammers at the point of quote or sale. Panellist Steve Sweeney, head of motor insurance at Money Supermarket, said his firm is working towards stamping out fraud at the point of quote but needs the help of the industry.

“The internet is a soft touch,” he conceded, “as it is more problematic to lie to someone face-to-face. This is not about eradicating people’s ability to buy insurance but, if people want to tell lies on online channels, then we can stop that. We have to bring things up the value chain to point of quote.”

Matt Gilham, head of financial crime at Esure, added that underwriters face difficulties because they do not have the customer’s payment information, while customers take advantage of 
aggregators being volume-driven and “hide behind the web”. He said insurers must decide whether they want to tackle insurance fraud at point of quote, by giving or declining one; at point of sale; or afterwards.

“It comes down to the underwriter, what they want to achieve and at what point their acceptance of risk lies. Is it turning away business before you quote or having procedures in place to challenge applications and issues such as non-disclosure?”

Neil Cook, head of specialist risks at TR Youngs, said: “If the insurer does not want to sell that person insurance, then the aggregator should not do it. Otherwise reputations suffer and more people get angry with the insurance industry.”

T R Youngs Insurance Brokers (Allystyles Insurance) advertises their specialist insurance products on the jml insurance website - Products include business insurance, Ex-offender  insurance, Northern Ireland residents insurance, Flood damaged property insurance,  Underpinned - Subsidence Property Insurance and a lot more. Neil can be contacted Here

Allstyles Insurance have recently started promoting their Scooter and Motorbike Insurance on the jml Insurance site Find out more Here

Wednesday 2 November 2011

More from HomeLet Insurance Rental Indexes

The August HomeLet Rental Index highlighted  that:
• Average rents across the UK are now £791 per month, an increase on July 2011, meanwhile average salaries have dropped slightly

• London is continuing to set new records with rents standing at £1,202 – up 4% compared to last month and an increase of over 12% since August last year.

• Rents in London are now a record 52% higher than the UK average

• Tenancy lengths are decreasing – there are now only two of the twelve regions in the UK where average tenancies are more than two years – this compares with seven regions in 2009

• There is a large gender pay-gap, with average salaries for men being 40% more than women

• Younger women (aged 18 - 25) are more likely to rent than younger men – but this trend

reverses when tenants enter the 26 - 35 year age group

• On average the North East is home to the oldest tenants in the UK, with the youngest living in

London and Northern Ireland

• East Anglia has seen a dramatic increase in both rents, and average salaries over the last month

To view this index please Click Here
Meanwhile the September HomeLet Rental Index has just been released and reveals some very interesting statistics about the lettings industry – specifically this month about young people. According to the latest report, London is now home to the youngest and most affluent tenants in the UK.

It also shows that an increase in youth unemployment and the continuing difficulty in getting on the property ladder may be forcing people to stay at home and remain in the private rented sector for longer.

With regards to rental prices, the average UK rental cost fell in September, when compared to August, to £788. This is only the second month-on-month fall in agreed rental prices in 2011. However, despite falling slightly, the average agreed UK rental amount in September 2011 was still 4.5% higher than rents recorded in September 2010.

If you are looking for Landlord or Tenant Insurance pay a visit to the HomeLet Insurance site HERE