Monday 28 February 2011

Essential Travel promotes No ski helmet? No ski insurance

Stuart Bensusan a co founder of Essential Travel was featured in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph.

In an article entitled "No ski helmet? No ski insurance" Stuart Bensusan told The Sunday Telegraph he was working to make his company the first to adopt a policy of ''no helmet, no head injury cover''

According to the report "He also hoped to get the policy adopted by his parent company, the Thomas Cook Group, and thereby push all other insurers into following suit. If successful, it would be the biggest step yet towards helmets becoming effectively compulsory for skiers and snowboarders."

Essential Travel was was launched in 2004, the result of a dynamic merger between Essential Travel, co-founded by Stuart Bensusan, Richard Hannan and Philip Jordan, and Online Essentials, owned by Simon Purnell and Stephen Smith. The two teams saw the opportunity that the internet presented to bring great value travel essentials straight to the consumer in an easily accessible format.

In March 2010, became part of Thomas Cook, the second-largest leisure travel group in the UK.

Amongst the products provided by Essential Travel are Travel Insurance and car hire excess insurance.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Ian Fraser of Letsure featured on IFSDG site

Came across an intersting interview with Ian Fraser the Managing Director of Letsure Landlord and Tenant insurance. It is featured on the IFSDG (INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT GLASGOW) website.

Ian Fraser joined Letsure back in December 2008 and on the 22nd January 2009 Barbon Insurance (That also owns competitors HomeLet and Rentshield Direct) announced "New Managing Director for Letsure" The Press release said "Ian brings almost 20 years insurance industry experience to this key role and will be responsible for increasing focus on the operational and organisational development of the Glasgow-based business, in line with Group objectives.

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

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

Looks like everything is going to plan as the interview "IFSDG: How many people work at Letsure?

Ian Fraser: Workforce has grown from 41 in Dec 08 to 84 in Dec 10

The company has grown well in Glasgow. You can read all the details Here

If you are a Landlord or Tenant or have a holiday home in the UK and require insurance click here

Flood stories flow in

We are being kept very busy with a selection of stories supplied by Neil Cook of Allstyles Insurance (T R Youngs Insurance Brokers). Neil has been involved with assisting clients in areas that a liable to flooding in the UK.

Flash flood warning for southern England -The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning across a swathe of southern England running diagonally from Land’s End to Wash

Coastal towns such as Lyme Regis are expected to be battered by strong winds (Getty) Britain is braced for flash flooding as heavy storms are forecast for Sunday night.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning across a swathe of southern England running diagonally from Land’s End to Wash.

Coastal regions popular with holiday makers are expected to be battered by strong winds, while up to three inches of rain is expected to fall.

A Met Office spokesman said: “There is a high risk of severe weather affecting parts of southern and eastern England during Sunday night and Monday morning.

“Heavy rainfall overnight may give 20-30mm of rain quite widely and 50-80mm locally. This rain will be accompanied by strong, possibly gale force winds.

“The heavy rain could lead to flooding in some areas and cause disruption to outdoor events and transport networks.”

The south west and central southern England will bear the brunt of the weather, with heavy winds are expected to peak at 45mph near Southampton.

Back to July 2007 - If a deal between the Government and insurers fails, policy costs will jump

Back in April, the Met Office was predicting a long, hot summer. Instead, we’ve been deluged by rain with tens of thousands of people affected by flooding in the North of England, the Midlands, the South West and the Thames Valley.

In the aftermath, many homeowners have been left facing a financial catastrophe. Abbey estimates that as many as 5,000 of those affected by the floods have no home contents insurance. “For some people, home insurance is considered an optional extra,” says Prasad Shastri, head of insurance marketing at Abbey. “The recent flooding demonstrates how important it is to take out a policy that will comprehensively cover you.”

Because the level of claims is so high – the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says the total cost is about £1.5 billion, while Norwich Union alone has around £150 million of claims – it is likely that insurance premiums will rise across the board. David Ross, of Norwich Union, says that it is “inevitable” that premiums will creep up, although he expects the increases to be relatively modest. Moreover, they are unlikely to happen immediately. In fact, if your insurance company tells youthat your premiums are rising now because of flooding claims, they are talking “absolute balderdash”, says Richard Mason, director of the price comparison website, Insuresupermarket.

“Claims have not yet been settled. They take a while to filter through the system. We probably have six to twelve months before we really start to see the knock-on effect,” he says.

While most price increases should be relatively modest, Mr Mason says there is a danger that premiums could rise dramatically in affected areas. “At the moment, ABI members have a gentlemen’s agreement with the Government, by which insurers agree not to pull out of flood risk areas, or to raise prices significantly, so long as the Government contributes £200 million a year to flood defences,” he says. “However, if the Government reneges on the agreement, we could see prices in some areas go up tenfold.”

The average cost of settling a claim for a flooded house is £30,000. As insurers estimate that houses in risk areas will flood once every ten years, the contents’ premiums for those houses should be, in theory, £3,000 a year in order to cover the risk. In fact, they are about a tenth of that. You should, however, keep an eye on your home contents’ premium, even if you do not live in a flood risk area.

Recent research by Defaqto, the financial product research business, shows that price comparison websites, such as Insuresupermarket, have increased competition for new customers, while existing customers can often be penalised.

“It appears that loyalty never goes unpunished,” says Brian Brown at Defaqto. “Rewards are only available for the disloyal.” According to Confused. com, another price comparison site, homeowners can save 45 per cent on their contents cover by shopping around – equivalent to £151 a year.

But there are other ways of cutting the cost of cover. Installing burglar alarms or superior locks, raising the excess on your policies and paying annually, rather than by direct debit all help to reduce premiums.

Make sure too that you are not underinsured; if you are, your insurance company may only pay out a part of your claim – or may even not pay out at all.

And remember that your home contents are probably worth more than you think. A survey this month from Endsleigh shows that even students need to think carefully about their level of cover. The average student takes more than £4,000 of possessions to university, says the study. But despite the relative value of their possessions, one in three felt that paying for insurance was an unnecessary expense.

How to cut the cost of cover

Compare deals at comparison websites, such as and

Check the whole market. Certain insurers, notably brands owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, including Direct Line, are not listed on comparison sites.

Establish whether any comparison sites you use give estimated prices, or actual quotes. Quotes are guaranteed at and

Contact the insurers who give the best quotes to ask whether you are eligible for any offers or discounts. Haggling on price is quite acceptable.

Cut your risk. Make sure that approved locks are fitted on your doors and windows and consider installing a NACASS-standard burglar alarm. Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme – and informing your insurer – can also help.

Avoid claiming, where possible. Cashing in on a small mishap will hit your no-claims discount.

CASE STUDY: “We are surprised at the size of our claim”

It has been a devastating time for Barbara Maxfield, 68, and her husband Terrence, 70, from Toll Bar, in Doncaster.

“We live in a bungalow at the lowest end of our lane, so the flood water went right through our house,” Mrs Maxfield says.

“We were given only half an hour’s notice that our home was at risk, “ she says. “We did as much as possible – stacking things up to try to put them out of the way – but we never dreamt how high the flood water would rise. We have lost everything. All our belongings are in black bags in a skip outside the house.”

The Maxfields, left, who have lived in their home for 40 years, have been told that it could be up to a year before they will be able move back in. “We are looking for a caravan, at the moment, because we would prefer to be on the property to keep an eye on it, but there is none available. It would seem that a lot of people have had the same idea.”

The Maxfields’ possessions were fully covered by their home contents policy from a major insurance company which has, at least, provided some consolation.

“We did have full insurance, I took out as much as possible,” Mrs Maxfield says, although she says even they are surprised by the size of their claim. “Until everything is gone, you just don’t realise how much of value you have in your home.”

Insurers axe flood cover on homes

In a rebellion against spending cuts, insurers are refusing to renew policies if improvements have not been made to flood defences.

The Environment Agency estimates that 500,000 homes are at high risk of flooding

Insurers are refusing to renew buildings insurance for some flood victims because of a lack of spending on defences.

It comes as the government considers asking local communities and businesses to pay for millions of pounds of flood defences.

Maria Harrogate, 54, from Keswick, in Cumbria, made a flood claim in 2005 and again in 2009.

When her policy was due for renewal in 2010, Canopius, her insurer, removed flood cover saying there was no evidence of improvements in flood defences. It is the first sign that insurers are starting to rebel against spending cuts.

The Environment Agency estimates that 500,000 homes are at high risk of flooding.

This would normally make them difficult to insure but, under a “statement of principles” agreed by the industry and the government, insurers are committed to renew buildings insurance cover for existing customers, and extend it to buyers of their properties, provided there is adequate flood defence spending in place. The agreement ends in June 2013.

Earlier this month the government announced cuts to flood defence spending that would average 8% over the next four years. Spending on new defences will fall by £95m in the next tax year — a 27% reduction. Many projects have already been shelved, including schemes in Leeds, York, Thirsk, in North Yorkshire, and Morpeth, in Cumbria.

If you want to contact Neil Cook about Flood Insurance follow this link.

Also if you have personal exp[eriences about difficulties getting insurance for flood affected property in the UK

There are over 40 articles, blogs and press releases on Flooding Problems in the UK listed at

Middlehaven Development cover up

Just been sent this article by insurance broker Neil Cook.

"Middlehaven Development cover up?" About flooding in Middlehaven in Middlesbrough.

Well worth reading and see this in full at

In the meantime if you are wanting more information on insurance for propertties in flood affected areas follow this link

Monday 21 February 2011

Flood-hit property owners have cover pulled from them

An article written by Ali Hussain appearred in yesterday's (20th February 2011) edition of The Sunday Times. Entitled "Insurers pull cover for
flood-hit property".

The information was provided by Neil Cook an Insurance Broker with TR Youngs (Trading as Allstlyles insurance), but unfortunately some of the information was not correct.

Below is the article that has been corrected by Neil Cook

Some of Britain’s biggest banks are refusing to renew buildings insurance for homes at risk of flooding, despite a government agreement with the industry to protect more than half-a-million vulnerable properties.

A customer of HSBC was refused cover because his home was deemed too risky. The bank passed the policy to a different underwriter and declared that the customer was no longer its responsibility. A Lloyds customer was unable to sell his property because the bank would not extend cover to the purchaser.

The lack of cover has forced some homeowners to knock tens of thousands of pounds off their asking price to secure a sale. That means bargains for buy-to-let landlords, who are able to use commercial insurance cover.

The Environment Agency estimates that 500,000 homes are at high risk of floods. This would normally make them difficult to insure but under a “statement of principles” agreed by the industry and the government, insurers are committed to renew buildings insurance cover for existing customers — and extend it to buyers of their properties — provided there is adequate flood defence spending in place.

However, the government has slashed spending by 27% to £259m in 2011-12 and multi-million-pound defence projects in high-risk locations such as Leeds, Morpeth, Thirsk and York have been shelved.

Last week, the government finished a three-month consultation on renewing the agreement when it ends in June 2013. Malcolm Tarling at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “The cuts are not helpful in securing a new agreement.”

Some insurers are already reneging on the agreement, according to industry experts. Neil Cook at TR Youngs , the specialist broker, said he had dealt with about 200 cases related to non-renewals because of floods in the past 12 months, and the “vast majority” of these involved policies issued by high street banks.

Neil Stoker, 48, of Morpeth, Northumberland, was refused flood cover by HSBC when his policy came up for renewal. He had made a £58,000 claim after severe flooding in September 2008.

HSBC said it no longer had any responsibility to cover his home because it had transferred some of its buildings policies to an underwriter, Hardy, in January 2009. “We ceased underwriting household insurance cover at the beginning of 2009,” the bank said. “As such, the terms applied on any subsequent renewals are a matter for the new underwriter.”

Maria Harrogate, 54, of Keswick, Cumbria, was refused flood cover by Canopius when her policy was due for renewal last year. She made claims for flood damage in 2005 and 2009. When the policy ran out in August, the firm refused to include flood cover in the renewal because it said there was no evidence of any planned improvements in flood defences in her area. Harrogate instead found flood cover through specialist broker Neil Cook.

Rias, her previous broker, said: “Until June 30, 2013, Rias and its panel of insurers has committed to continuing to offer flood cover to existing domestic customers at significant flood risk, provided the Environment Agency has announced [flood defence] plans and notified the ABI of its intention to reduce the risk for those customers. Unfortunately, at the time of Mrs Harrogate’s renewal, Canopius, and other insurers, did not have this confirmation.”

Alasdair Turnbull, 64, also from Morpeth, said his flood cover was stopped after he made a £96,000 claim from Castle Cover, an over-50s specialist. The policy was initially underwritten by Axiom. However, Axiom said it had stopped providing services for Castle in 2009, meaning that Turnbull is no longer its customer.

Axiom said it would have continued covering Turnbull if he had approached it directly. However, the letter he received from Castle informing him that flood cover was being withdrawn read: “Axiom and Castle Cover will not be offering a renewal policy this year.” It advised him to “seek alternative insurance”.

Charles Robinson of Rikard, an estate agent in Morpeth, which suffered extensive flooding in 2008, said only five floodaffected properties in the town had been sold since. Three of these went to buy-to-let investors who were able to secure commercial insurance policies.

Peter Harvey, 41, a fund manager, and his wife Venetia, 40, were unable to sell their home in Aldworth, Berkshire, last year because their insurer, Lloyds TSB, would not extend buildings cover to a potential buyer. The property was flooded in 2007 and Lloyds paid a claim of more than £60,000.

The couple eventually found another insurer, through TR Youngs, that would pass cover to a new buyer. They completed the sale last month.

Lloyds denied it had refused to extend cover to the potential buyer because of the flood claim but would not specify the reason for its refusal.

Richard Benyon, environment minister, told The Sunday Times: “I am working closely with the insurance industry to ensure flood cover continues to be provided beyond 2013. Helping people reduce the chance of their home being damaged by flooding is important and can help keep insurance widely available and affordable.”

Be prepared for the worst-case scenario
How can I get cover?

If a mainstream insurer refuses to cover you, or raises your excess to unmanageable levels, it is worth approaching a specialist such as. Mary Dhonau, a floods specialist ( Can I check if I am at risk?
See the flood map at

Find out more about Insurance for flood damaged Property Here

Wednesday 16 February 2011

More than 2 million people have used credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent

Research carried out by Shelter, the housing charity, showed the number of people who’re using credit cards to pay their rent has increased by 50% in a year. With the average credit card interest rate now standing at over 16% this can often exacerbate the tenant’s debts, and suggests that keeping a roof over their head has become a daily struggle for millions across the country.

Lots of tenants and homeowners are aware of the possibility they could lose their home, but when they’re faced with the choice of either making a late payment, or using a credit card, it’s a simple decision. But, in today’s economic climate this could lead to problems down the line, especially if their credit has run dry.

With an increased threat of unemployment and rising interest rates, Shelter are warning that many people will be starting 2011 with the threat of homelessness hanging over them. Credit cards may ease your immediate problems but can create greater problems in the long run. The charity is urging these people now relying on credit to keep their home to seek advice urgently, and the charity provides free advice on debt and housing issues.

As housing and living costs continue to increase, the research also highlights some of the risks people are taking as they forgo essential items to stay afloat, such as their home insurance.

According to the findings, more than a fifth of the population (22%) don’t think having home contents insurance is important, although nearly 80% of people say they’d be unable to afford to replace expensive items without it.

Lee Mooney, Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “The results of our research with Shelter highlight the extent to which people are now feeling the pinch and show that a large number of people are being forced to spend more money than they can afford.

“Although times are tight and the vast majority of people don’t have spare cash, it’s important people prioritise what they need above what they want in the year ahead. It’s worrying to see that such a high proportion of people don’t think having home insurance is important, as without it they could be left open to serious risk and further unaffordable expenditure in the long run.”

If you are a Landlord - Tenant - Homeowner remember "Insurance is one essential you can't afford to be without today"

Eviction for Tenants!

The HomeLet Landlord insurance Newsletter for agents has an articele "Evict"

They say...Even the most robust references can’t guarantee a tenant’s circumstances won’t change and for those landlords who find themselves with a problem tenant who fails to pay their rent, HomeLet brings the most expert service available to help regain possession of their investment property.

HomeLet have been helping Landlords evict unwanted tenants for over a decade and so their specialist legal team have more experience than anyone else.

They understand that dealing with a problem tenant can be an upsetting and not to mention worrying time. But with HomeLet they will take the strain from the property owner and their professional and friendly team will guide you through the whole process to ensure the property is returned in the quickest time possible.

What happens if a tenant fails to pay the rent and a landlord doesn’t already have cover?

Stage 1

Once you’re sure you’ve tried everything, our one off first stage fee covers the cost of preparing and serving a Section 8 notice, and demand letter on the defaulting tenant.

They have found that in up to around 50% of cases, this could be the only stage you need from HomeLet, which is why they have broken our service down into stages.

Stage 2

If your tenant doesn’t respond to threat of legal action, they will arrange the issue of Court Proceedings, seeking a Possession Order and a Money Judgment. They will arrange for an experienced advocate to attend court to present your case.

All they ask is that either yourself, or the agent responsible for collecting the rent attends to give evidence of the arrears.

Stage 3

Where the court has made a Possession Order in your favour, the tenant must move out and hand possession back.

However, if your tenant doesn’t do this on their own accord, then they will apply to the court for an eviction appointment. The court will arrange for a date and time for a bailiff to attend the property and the tenant will be evicted.

If you are worried about your tenant's ability to pay their rent consider taking out specalist Landlord insdurance after all "Letting without Rent Guarantee is like riding your bike downhill without brakes".

Follow this link for HomeLet

Prison sentence starts when your released

Imagine, you have come from a broken home age 14 years of age, have been abused,your living rough in the streets for years, you drink and shoplift to "Survive", cos you have no fix abode.

You then "sofa surf" with friends that are providing you warmth from the snow, in return to go on to better funding to crime, ie commercial burglary, smash and grab, you are now aged 21, your arrested and spend time, along with the higher experience, professional, prisoners, you learn welding, or whatever they decide to teach you, you take the courses, that are offered in h.m.p, your released, your now released, into a hostel, trying for employment, you meet a new "beau", and move in, you've completed your parole, you've abided the rules, you start to try to turn your life around, by living without your old ways of life before.

You apply for work, you may even get a reply, if your accepted by informing them of your past, your nearly in the final three applicants, until your told i'm sorry, sir or madam, you were not accepted, years have gone by, you are scrimping by, do the odd decorating job, window cleaning, (although, by "rights you are suppose to declare, your paltry earnings, but you dont because of, setting you back, with the beaucratic system, that we have, in allowing,say a six months grace of what "I believe would be long enough, for any person that does not want to join, "what I call, "We I be employed next year, brigade!").

You then start a college course, you get your diplomas, you start to find job, you get a reply, and then accepted, your life has started to turn around, aged 25, you buy a small house, you decide now things are looking up, a mortgage first with your "highly, professional partner, things are going well, then all of a sudden, whilst your away, on holiday on a Thomsons holiday you've been burgled, you call the police, you report everything, from the Ford mondeo to the plasma TV, plus, personal damage to your home.

You think well at least, we were not in, when it happened, as you know your work leaves your partner on their own, whilst your working," thank god we were insured", you call up your insurance broker to report with crime number, "You arrange for the assessors for appointment as they want to inspect your premises, ok they say you will be hearing from us via a letter, the letter arrives, with them saying i'm very sorry, but we are not going to pay out, reason being you never declared in your application that you were an ex-offender.

"Well there were no questions to that effect, you say, the answer comes back, well you should have read the small print. This did happen to me many years ago, with a car, because, I was in employment, but when I was unemployed and had the claim, my claim was not carried out!

So you see,apart from the "ex- offender, of whom was a commercial burglar and thief, he or she had paid their debt to society, most people say of prison life is easy, maybe, but I believe, that the legalise crooks, are the ones that should be in debt to society,i.e, banks, insurers, pension schemes that take our money, or is it a clever way, if we as a society support majority of the prisoners, when they come out, with resettlement programmes would, there be alot of courts and lawyers, offices, with "closing down signs, or prison officers queuing up in the in the job centres. "it really makes me wonder", we are the smallest country, in Europe, with highest prison population, at 50,000 per prisoner, thats without the court bills, think about it.

Article Source - Neil Cook

Looking for insurance for Ex offenders? Visit this site page

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Complete rebranding of ARLA and NAEA? The debate continues

On the 20th November we published on this blog a letter that appeared in the ARLA Agreement magazine and NAEA Estate Agent magazine. (Original is Here)

Written by Philip Suter who is a member of both organisations, the letter highlighted his fears that ARLA and the NAEA would become one body since the takeover of ARLA by the NAEA.

In the January / February 2011 edition of Agreement magazine, a further letter has been published

Don't group us all together.

Dear Editor

I am very much in agreement with Joy Warby’s letter “Don’t group us all together “in the November / December edition of Agreement, debate on “Too many brands”. Joy is quite right with her comments about ARLA incorporating principals into the ARLA fold without any qualifications.

In my opinion this was a mistake as you can have licensed ARLA members who have absolutely no “hands on” letting experience whatsoever, but happened to be a director / owner of a company that has a lettings business as part of that company.

There was no flexibility in the rules after the “cut off point” for those who had ARLA qualifications to become members in their own right. I have two colleagues, both took level one ARLA qualification, however neither decided to take the individual membership as they both worked for member firms who had been members of ARLA for many years. In both cases the individuals believed that they did not need to do this as the old style pre-NAEA takeover only had the firms themselves as members.

Following incorporation into the NFOPP the rules were of course changed and these two individuals with combined experience of more than 25 years will have to go back to square one again to gain “the new” qualification a be licensed members and use the letters “MARLA”. For a principal who became a licensed member under the “grandfathering” arrangement and who probably has little or no experience suddenly becomes the “face” of ARLA” in a local lettings office.

I also agree with the comments made that since the two bodies got together ARLA has watered down it’s identity and the NLA – National Landlords Association as a 100% dedicated rental association appears to have more impact on the media and consultation with the Government.

Philip Suter FNAEA, MARLA (29th November 2010)

Now in February the NFOPP head office is moving the regions, merging Buckinghamshire that was closest to Berkshire and Oxfordshire into Middlesex. There appears to have been no consultation with members, but of course does the memberhip count (except it helps pay the salaries of those people based in Warwick) Maybe another letter should be sent.

Please add your comments to this blog.

Own a property overseas? Is the insurance policy written in English?

With so many English speaking people now having a second home overseas it is vitally important that the insurance is written in a language you can understand.

A lot of insurance documentation is difficult to comprehend in your own native language and if it is written in the language of the country your property is in it can give you a major headache.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Tough times ahead warns HomeLet insurance

The February edition of the HomeLet landlord and Tenants property insurance has just arrived in my in box.
There are as usual an interesting selection of articles.

One of these says - Tough times ahead…

Manchester City Council recently warned that around 2,000 jobs are at risk. But, Manchester isn’t the only city under threat from the Government spending cuts, which will no doubt inflate unemployment figures in several regions of the UK, and impact thousands of tenants’ ability to pay the rent.

Also, recently released figures by ARLA confirm what we already know, that rent arrears are increasing. At HomeLet they are helping more landlords than ever before through their range of insurances that protect their rental income.

Last year alone they paid out over £3 million in lost rent and legal costs. They anticipate that this figure will continue to rise in 2011 as more and more tenants find themselves out of work and unable to meet their financial commitments, especially in areas which traditionally have a high level of public sector jobs.

Quick stats…

UK inflation rates have risen to 3.7%
UK unemployment has increased again and now stand at 2.5 million
The rate at which UK economy is growing has slowed
The Centre for Cities annual index suggests that vulnerable cities, which may not feel the full benefits of national economic recovery for sometime are Sunderland, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Swansea and Newport.

Make sure that Landlords are protected

When landlords are covered by HomeLet and the worst happens, their specialist Claims & Legal team will ensure that they are taken care of and that the tenant is treated fairly.

Find out more about HomeLet Insurance Here

Follow this blog for other great bits of info from HomeLet

Home Insurance

Home Insurance A New article to read at the jml Property Insurance site - 8th February 2011

Wednesday 2 February 2011

HomeLet insurance leading the way

HomeLet, the market leading suppliers of referencing and specialist insurance solutions to the lettings industry are delighted to announce the launch of their latest set of innovative changes to their product range.

Not only have some of their existing products and services had an upgrade for the New Year, they’ve also launched a brand new take on the lettings process. With unemployment set to increase to a 17-year high of 2.7 million in 2011 it’s already proving to be a difficult year for today’s professional landlord.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimates 120,000 jobs will go in the public sector and another 80,000 among private firms during 2011.
The brand new range of products, which are aimed at protecting the landlord at every stage of the lettings process, come as part of a product evolution. HomeLet who retain their market leading position through constantly updating and innovating, are delighted to announce the changes.

Managing Director John Boyle commented “I’m delighted we’re starting the year off with such a big impact, this new range of products is something we’ve been developing for many months now and having listened to our customers’ feedback and analysed the market, we believe this is a truly innovative set of products which are not available anywhere else in the market.”

The products designed are to protect agents and landlords through every step of the lettings process from tenant referencing right through to the support they may need with an eviction, if a tenant refuses to pay their rent, or breaches the terms of their tenancy agreement.

HomeLet has often been at the forefront of product development when it comes to tenant references and guaranteed rental income. Almost ten years ago, they were the first company to offer a combined Rent Guarantee, and in that time have paid out over £15 million in unpaid rent to landlords and letting agents.

However, the company has found that whilst around 40% of landlords opt to protect their rental income against defaulting tenants, there is a large group that aren’t concerned about lost rent. Whilst rent can often be covered, getting a tenant out of a property can be another story. This is why the company have developed two specialist services to protect them should they need to reclaim their property in the event of a tenant breaching their tenancy agreement.

The first, Optimum, is the market’s first tenant reference, which guarantees to remove the tenant if they don’t pay their rent, and it costs just £26 for HomeLet Premier Letting Agents.

The second is Evict – an ‘after the event’ eviction service, for those landlords who opted not to have an Optimum reference, nor chose one of HomeLet’s Rent Guarantee solutions at the start of the tenancy – but who have a problem tenant who needs evicting. Evict is a three stage service, which costs from £99. It uses HomeLet’s highly experienced in-house legal team to regain occupancy of the landlord’s rented property to gain possession as quickly as possible.

John continued “At HomeLet we believe landlords’ investment properties deserve to be in safe hands, and with our new referencing, Rent Guarantee and Eviction products we believe we can provide all the protection they need!”

Looking for HomeLet Landlord or Tenant Rental insurance? Follow this link -

Reducing the flood risk in Chesterfield - work has started

The Environment Agency has announced that "Work begins to reduce the risk of flooding in Chesterfield".

They have said that "Trees and blockages in the river that could cause flooding to properties in Chesterfield are being removed by the Environment Agency.

Work has started on a stretch of the River Hipper from Walton Fields to where the river joins the River Rother. The clearance is one of a series of activities planned to reduce the risk of flooding in Chesterfield.

Riverside trees, branches and other vegetation can cause flooding if they fall into the watercourse and get stuck under bridges. Debris can build up behind them and create an obstruction or dam that holds back water. This can then lead to flooding of properties and land.

The area previously flooded in June 2007 and there have been several occasions where the water levels have been high since then.

Jonathan Moxon from the Environment Agency’s operations delivery team said: “Maintenance of the River Hipper is an essential part of our flood reduction work.

“We will be working on the first phase of work until the end of March. We have been working with our in-house biodiversity team to make sure we don’t disturb habitats for species such as brown trout, crayfish, otters and bats. The maintenance has been split into two phases so that the we don’t interfere with the bird nesting season.

“We will take a break whilst the birds are nesting and continue in August. Anything that could impact on spawning trout will also be carried out in the second phase which will finish in October.

“Once the trees and debris have been removed, we will plant low-growing vegetation to improve the biodiversity of the area. We will also remove any invasive non-native plants such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam that we find.

“When we have finished, the river channel will be in a more manageable state, water will flow more easily and birds and aquatic wildlife will also benefit from the diverse habitat conditions.”

Routine maintenance by the Environment Agency’s in-house workforce has also been planned for this year upstream of Walton Field Road to the Haddon Close area.

Jonathan said: “As part of our future plans for the River Hipper, we are looking into creating a river stewardship. Over the coming months we will be discussing this with a wide range of interested organisations.”

For the next phase of the project the Environment Agency will continue to work with the community and partner organisations including Chesterfield Borough Council to develop long term flood maintenance plans."

The Map above shows "Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea - Click Here to access the Map

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