Tuesday 29 March 2011

Flood victims in Cumbria may not be able to get insurance cover

Some 1,925 homes and businesses in Carlisle were flooded in January 2005.

Keswick, Cockermouth and Appleby were also hit in 2005 and bore the brunt of the November 2009 floods that affected 2,064 homes and businesses across Cumbria.

An agreement between the insurance industry and the Government has meant that insurers of these properties have continued to offer buildings’ cover, provided the flood risk is no worse than once-in-75 years.

This agreement expires in June 2013 and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) will not continue it. Some companies may decide not to cover flood-prone properties, forcing their customers to look elsewhere. That could mean a hefty increase in premiums – if people can find an insurer at all. ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling said: “The agreement was only intended to be a short-term measure while the Government put a flood-prevention strategy in place. There comes a time when we feel it cannot be renewed any further.” He admitted that some insurers may withdraw from covering flood-hit homes after 2013. But he added: “That’s a situation we want to avoid and our members want to avoid, and we are in discussions with government to see if we can avoid it.

“Insurers want to continue to make flood insurance as widely available as possible. However, in many countries in Europe flood insurance is an added extra – in this country it isn’t.” Carlisle has been protected by £38m of flood defences built by the Environment Agency since 2005. These held good in November 2009 when there was widespread flooding in Cumbria. Even so, insurers may still be nervous about offering cover because of the risk of surface-water flooding. This is caused when drains cannot cope after heavy rain.

An Environment Agency report, Flooding in England, estimates that more properties are at risk from surface-water flooding than from rivers or the sea. The problem is worse in urban areas. Malcolm Ward, a chartered insurance broker in Carlisle, believes there will be a problem in 2013. He said: “Some companies have only continued cover until now because of the government agreement. “When the agreement ends some will say, ‘we will not continue’. There is no contractual obligation for insurance companies to offer a renewal.”

Mr Ward said that one client, whose home in St Aidan’s Road in Carlisle was flooded in 2005, has already had a 20 per cent increase in premiums this year. Another who went shopping for a better deal found he was offered a policy that excluded flood cover. Mr Ward added: “If a house or a commercial property cannot get flood cover, then it virtually becomes unsaleable because any mortgage lender will insist on it.”

Source: Dave Burn

Looking for insurance for properties in Cumbria and other parts of the UK that can have and have had flood problems? Find out more HERE

Monday 28 March 2011

Flood Insurance Products March 2011

With the high possibility of Flooding occuring in the UK in 2011, insurance broker Neil Cook has supplied us with information on flood defence equipment and a lot more. Full details can be found on the jml-property-insurance.co.uk site by following the link below.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Mother of a ex-prisoner trying to obtain home insurance

Neil Cook an insurance broker has just sent us in this letter he has received from a client.

"With our son due home from prison in 10 weeks time and our home insurance is due for renewal, I thought the prefect time to call them to advise he will be moving in.

My current insurer declined any cover. After hours of trawling the internet, repeating the answers to the same questions. I still hadn't found a insurance company to cover our home.

I kept thinking how do people in the same situation obtain cover for their homes!!!!!

I then found a link on the web site that provided us with a list of insurance companies that maybe able to help.

Yet still none of them would provide cover. I then called Neil Cook "oh why was his name not at the top of the list"

He provided us with a quote and set up our policy hassle free.

After having home insurance for 43 years without having any problems it came as a shock to come up against so many brick walls.

Thankfully after Neil's help it was sorted in approx 10 mins.

Thank-you Neil Yours -Mrs B"

If you or a family member have a criminal record you no longer have to fear the insurance industry. There are companies out there who can help.

Visit http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=83&sec=16 at the jml-insurance site and contact one of those companies advertising.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Protectyourbubble.com insurance products back on line again at JML

Following a technical glitch, the Protectyourbubble insurance products are once again being promoted on www.insurance4carrental.com and www.jml-insurance.co.uk web sites.
Car hire excess insurance is advertised on the insurance4carrental.com site and as well as car hire excess insurance, pet insurance and life insurance are promoted at jml-insurance.co.uk
To find out more about car hire excess insurance from Protectyourbubble.com Click Here - Life Insurance - Click Here and Pet Insurance - Click Here

Sunday 20 March 2011

Irish house prices could fall 13.4% in 2011 so it is a good time to invest in Ireland

The St Patrick's day (17th March 2011) edition of the Irish Times had a headline "House prices call fall 13.4% in 2011 on bank test senario". House prices are on track to fall by a further 13.4 per cent in 2011 and 14.4 per cent in 2012 before recovering in 2013 under a scenario considered by the Central Bank to stress test the banks. The lenders are being tested to see how much of the €5 billion set aside in the EU-IMF bailout fund for the banks will be needed. The tests are being applied to certain Irish banks and building societies.

This is a worst case scenario in capital review. so could this be a good year to buy a second home in Ireland? The same paper runs a property supplement on a Thursday. This week's eight page feature is full of editorial with a large advertisement at the bottom "Distressed Property Auction" to be helf on Friday 15th April 2011 at the The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

Ireland is now becoming affordable to Irish ex-pats and the property supplement leads with "Ireland for sale and expats are beginning to buy" - So there could be a lot more holiday homes and places where people will come back to retire to.

An interesting feature of the Thursday Residential Property supplement has been the "Take Five for €xxx" This normally shows a photo of a property in Ireland (This week a three bed semi in Wicklow town on the market at €175,000) and four other properties from diffferent countries where you can pay a similar amount of Euros for a property. This week there are homes for sale in the Pyrenees in France, Kemer in Turkey, Sardinia and the Algarve in Portugal.

If you do decide to buy that second home do make sure that you have adequate property insurance. There are several companies advertising on the jml-insurance website including Intasure and Copeland Insurance who specialise in this market. Find out more HERE

Friday 18 March 2011

Subsidence - A Beginners Guide

Came across this feature on the Find a Property.com property website. It was last updated in August 2008 and starts with the words "The long hot summer may be a welcome relief from the usual dreary drizzle but when the temperatures cool down a lot of homeowners could find that their walls are starting to crack up..."

It covers What Is Subsidence - How to spot it - What to do? - What's the cure ? - What if you've changed insurer? - What about future insurance? - How to avoid it

See the full article Subsidence - A Beginners Guide HERE

If you live in a property that has had subsidence and are looking for insurance CLICK HERE

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Problem Properties with Flood or Subsidence, Underpinning Issues for Insurance

Due to the climate changing over the past few years there have been more floods and subsidence is now at a peak. Insurers due to the flooding are gradually pulling out of the market place, or issuing renewals that the client cannot afford with huge flood excesses, however, they are bound to reinsure a current client until 2011.

The Insurers are not obliged to pick up the policy if the property changes hands either, that leaves Estate Agents with a major problem, when it comes to marketing the property. This also applies to let properties as the above conditions need to be made clear to the tenant.

If you are based anywhere near a flood plain, flood zone that is listed on the environment agency website, why not do a search on the postcodes of the property its free after all. Plus giving correct details to a prospective client will always look good on your part.

I believe that all properties that have been Flooded or have inherent problems such as subsidence that has been dealt with, must be displayed on any property listing, and appearing on any details including websites. This then places it clearly in view of all the people wishing to purchase. After all what is the point in doing all the work on a property and then losing the sale due to a problem arising such as client cannot obtain insurance. There is a possibility that a client may take action against an Estate Agents/Letting Agents Professional Indemnity policy where the details are not disclosed correctly prior to sale.

If you have a client that wishes to move ask them the size of the claims involved and when they have been flooded, as the purchaser will only be able to obtain insurance with these facts. Also, details of any floodgates, or defences that have been put in place.

Please note at present clients cannot go on the internet and purchase insurance for underpinned, thatched, flooded properties, or ex offenders. If they do the purchase online without referral to the insurer the policy will be invalid! 60% of all insurance bought online is not valid due to non disclosure of claims or facts.

I have been working in the insurance industry over 20 years and never has it been so important to disclose all relevant facts. The company I work for T R Youngs has insured many properties in flooded areas including; Cockermouth, Keswick, Morpeth, Worcestershire, Cambridgeshire, Hull, Nottinghamshire, and any area near a river.

Underpinned properties are quoted for immediately! There is no need for us to see any surveys or have a structural survey specially done for the purpose which some insurers will require and that can cost £500. We can write policies for Property Owners as well.

Ex Offenders we are able to cover as well, this must be disclosed by tenants and landlords, and purchasers. There are hundreds of thousands of people that do not have the correct policy due to a criminal conviction not being disclosed.

Source: Dave Burn at Allstyles Insurance / TR Youngs Insurance Brokers - To find out more CLICK HERE

Monday 14 March 2011

Mining and Subsidence effect on Insurance

When the Uk was full of working coal mines, there was housing built very close to the Coal mines, and over the years as the mines grew larger the shafts sometimes went under the homes.

When subsidence, ground heave and landslip in the area was noticed the Coal Board paid out to have the properties underpinned. These properties find it difficult to obtain insurance and the insurers may still ask for a mining survey.

We at T R Youngs have insurers that are willing to help place this business and without the costs of having a mining survey done.

If the property has been underpinned, they should be treated correctly and in most cases they are possibly a better risk than those that have not had any work done to them.

Underpinning the property is usually done by specialist builders who basically jack up the house and lay concrete under the affected areas.

Most insurers avoid properties that have suffered any form of underpinning and will only insure risks that they have previously insured. As such there is a very small market and we have the ability to help those people, whether the property, is currently owned or is being purchased.

Areas that suffer this are found all over the country, but main coal mining areas of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Cumbria, Kent and parts of Wales are the worst affected.

If you would like to see what they can save, CONTACT THEM BY CLICKING THIS LINK HERE.

Article Source - Dave Burn - Special Risks - TR Youngs Insurance Brokers

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Flood Risk - Wycombe District and County News

The March 2011 edition of Wycombe District and County News arrived with the post today. A joint publication from Buckinghamshire County Council and Wycombe Dstrict Council, had the following news item.

Flood Risk Following the introduction of the Floods and Water Management Act in April 2010, Buckinghamshire County Council has been designated Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).

This means the Council has new duties and responsibilities to help prevent and reduce the risk of flooding in Buckinghamshire.

In order to fulfil the new duties, it is essential the Council works effectively with partners, including district councils, Environment Agency, water companies and drainage boards. Equally important is the active participation and involvement of the public and local community groups.

During 2011 the County Council will develop a new flood management website which will include information about flood alerts, flood risk in Buckinghamshire, flood management factsheets and guidance on what to do if a flood event occurs.

In the meantime, please visit the Buckinghamshire County Council, district council and Environment Agency websites and search for "Flood Management" for the latest information available.

I have checked out the Buckinghamshire County Council's website using the Flood Management search term and there are several topics at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/search_new/search_new.aspx

There are also links to:
•Aylesbury Vale District Council - Flooding
•Chilterns District Council - Flooding
•Wycombe District Council - Flooding
•South Bucks District Council - Flooding
•Environment Agency
•Local Government Improvement and Development
•Changes to Environment Agency Flood Warning Service
•Bedford Group of Drainage Boards
•Environment Agency: Current flooding situation

If you live in area that could be flooded and are having difficulty getting insurance, take a look at "Flood damaged property Insurance" http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=81&sec=1

Monday 7 March 2011

Flood plan testing March 2011

According to media reports in the last couple of days "Emergency crews from the Thames Valley, Surrey and London are to be tested for their response to mock "catastrophic flooding" in the South East." Similar flood tests under Exercise Watermark will take place in areas that could be affected by flooding in England and Wales.

In Garforth, Leeds - Residents will be putting their community flood plan into action next week as part of a large-scale emergency flood exercise across England and Wales according to a report from the Environment Agency.

Garforth has a long history of flooding problems, particularly with local drainage systems which are unable to cope with large storms. After the severe flooding in June 2007, residents decided to write their own plan of how they could work together during a flood.

The group’s founder and treasurer, Jacky Simpson, said: “With support from Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, we have worked hard to develop our Flood Plan. We have divided Garforth up into eight areas which we know are vulnerable to flooding.

“My role, along with the other Flood Wardens, is to liaise with these authorities and pass on information about potential flooding problems to the sub-warden in the relevant areas.

“They can then use the information to alert homeowners and businesses in their communities. We were conscious that we had not yet used the Flood Plan – so with Exercise Watermark happening, it seemed an ideal opportunity to have a ‘dry run’.

The trial will involve the group receiving simulated weather and flooding information from the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council, and then using this to test their call-out procedures and actions.

This includes alerting vulnerable residents and installing flood protection products, such as door guards or airbrick covers, which have been provided to some properties through a government grant scheme.

Environment Agency community officer Graham Lindsey said: “We’re really pleased that the Garforth committee is testing its flood plan. We will be rigorously testing our own procedures during Exercise Watermark, but this exercise is equally a chance for individuals, community groups, schools and businesses to think about how they would respond.

“In a major flood, the emergency responders may not be able to help everyone affected, and any assistance may take a while to arrive. Therefore it is essential that people know whether they could be affected by flooding, know how to stay safe and have a plan in place.”

In Norfolk Police, fire, local authorities, health representatives and other partner agencies in Norfolk, together with the Environment Agency, will be exercising the county’s response to river and coastal flooding on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 March.

The exercise, called "Watermark", is a nationwide flooding exercise that looks at the country’s preparedness against a range of flooding scenarios. Thousands of people from government departments, agencies, emergency responders and communities are taking part in one of the biggest emergency exercises ever to take place in the UK.

Locally, the exercise is being co-ordinated by a partnership of local responders including Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk County Council, District Borough Councils, Environment Agency, Broads Authority, Anglian Water, Military, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Met Office, UK Power Networks and NHS Norfolk.

Norfolk’s County Council Resilience Manager, John Ellis said: “One in six properties in England and Wales is at risk of flooding. It is only by working and practising together that we will be ready to protect people’s lives, homes and livelihoods when flooding hits.

Thames Barrier flood awareness day and test closure - Thursday 10 March (exhibits will also be in the Thames Barrier Learning Centre between Friday 11 and Sunday 13 March)

Members of the public will be able to visit the Thames Barrier site on Thursday 10 March to take part in a flood awareness day and to witness the monthly Thames Barrier test closure.

There will be a marquee with staffed displays on flood warning and informing, maintenance and reliability, taking action and planning for the future. We will also show people how we build a sandbag wall and will demonstrate a demountable defence.

A local primary school, Lowther Primary School, which is at risk of flooding, will also be visiting. We have invited a number of local MPs, local authority Chief Executives, councillors and climate change representatives. Representatives from the London Fire Service are also planning to attend in a fire engine and to demonstrate a high volume water pump. Members of the Woolwich Riversides Safer Neighbourhoods team, part of Metropolitan Police, will also be attending.

Meanwhile a number of towns and villages in Warwickshire are taking part in Exercise Watermark next week in a bid to test national flood defences.From Friday, March 4 until Friday, March 11, Exercise Watermark will test the country’s response to surface water, reservoir, river and coastal flooding.

Do you live in area that is in a flood risk Zone? Are you worried about being able to get insurance? Find out more at http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=81&sec=1

Another flood victims story


- Major UK clearing bank being able to get us flood insurance.

Strangely enough we have just shifted our business account from Bank "A" to Bank "B" (***) and as you would expect they have tried to sell us all sorts of policies etc. They offered insurance but I was sceptical and said that they won't get us flood cover only to be assured that they could in fact get us cover. I didn't hold my breath but was amazed when the phone call came in and the agent told me he had in fact managed to secure me flood cover! Fantastic I said what's the catch?

Here we go, are you ready?

Flood cover was offered, but with a ten thousand pound excess which isn't too bad I suppose but this is the real killer. After that initial first 10K excess they would then only offer me ten percent of the total claim in cover! So yes I suppose that they are offering flood cover and can tick that box but the reality is they are not.

One good thing did come out of it, at present my insurers have lumped together "Storm, Tempest and Flood" as one category and I'm not covered for all three. Lloyds would not do this so it would only be the flood claims that I could not make and I would be covered for Tempest and Storm.

(***)The two banks are both part of 2 British banking groups.

Source: Neil Cook

Saturday 5 March 2011

Gas Safety in rented accommodation

We received an email about a short blog on the Painsmith Landlord and Tenant Blog yesterday afternoon.

"The Old Bailey will this summer be hearing the case of a Plumber charged with the manslaughter of a woman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is alleged he breached his obligations under regulation 26 (9) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.The Plumber has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

This case should serve as a reminder to landlords and agents to ensure their obligation to maintain all gas fittings and flues in a safe condition and that a gas safety check is carried out by a registered engineer every year.

Many agents contact us on the helpline in complete frustration due to a tenant’s refusal to grant access for these checks and given the potential consequences the frustration is understandable.

Whilst a landlord will not be able to transfer this responsibility onto the tenant in any circumstances the legislation does make it clear that the landlord is required to take all reasonable steps to gain access for this checks. Reasonable steps do not include forcing entry or using management keys to gain entry in the absence of consent.

Possible options to gain access include applying for an access injunction or even applying for possession. The injunction is the quicker and potentially the more expensive of the two options and the threat of an injunction is possibly most effective when a tenant understands that the costs of any action will be sought against them.

Whilst it is accepted that this is a very difficult task in some cases, landlords are strongly advised to ensure that they retain confirmation of requests for access, cancellation notices, appointment cards, missed appointment cards and the like to defend their position when and if necessary."

For more information on Gas Safety in Rental Property visit http://www.jmlproperty.co.uk/Gas_safety_in%20rental_properties.htm It is very importan if you let out your property that you are 100 per cent compliant

Reasons to buy your insurance from an insurance broker

Neil Cook an insurance broker has just sent us this information. He specialises in insurance for ex offenders, people living in flood affected parts of the UK plus many other areas of the commercial and residential arena including cover for Kidnap and Ransom

“After speaking to various clients came a cross an interesting analogy” about the current state of the insurers who sell their wares to the unsuspecting buying public through call centres which usually branded as the insurance department of the supermarket chain, a financial institution etc
For example a lady who had brought a policy under a supermarket found that it was administered by a well know bank, who in turn brought the cover from a branded insurer who was in fact a major insurer in the background so in fact by the time the transaction to buy the policy was completed 4 mouths had to be feed out of any commission

The whole principle of buying insurance this way was to cut out THE MIDDLEMAN IE the insurance broker now there are four middle men

The advantages of traditionally using an insurance broker was that the commission they earned who be justified by the professional advice they gave (you may not be aware that insurance brokers are a “learned profession” who have to undertake exams almost in depth as the legal trade because so much about the core is insurance relates to a contract of trust.

Bearing in mind that on a typical household or motor policy the broker might earn about £40 for a whole years work that’s pretty

Good compared to the £150 a solicitor or accountant charges PER HOUR !!!!

Another down side to buying your policy through a bank, supermarket or comparison site are hidden charges! Are you aware that it can cost over 30% more to buy on installments were as typically broker will charge about 10% also every time you make a change on the policy those insurers will charge you typically £25!!

The idea is that mass selling of policies keeps the cost to the consumer down as admin costs are lower!! in fact that’s not true

They pile them high and sell them cheap but charge extra every chance they get !! also these insurers have expensive add ons, like legal protection insurance which can carry a mark up of several thousand percent

Have you ever wondered how all that wonderful junk mail that comes through your letter box every day finds you ? Could it be that the insurer sells your personal details to junk mail companies for profit !

Dealing with claims can be hellish too We all make jokes about the standard of service we get from some supermarkets, although this is improving, as some supermarkets are recruiting more mature staff , sadly most of the younger in experienced “THE COMPUTER SAYS NO “ work force is employed by those insurers as call staff

OK if you are just after the cheapest possible insurance deal the above might not be of great interest to you

BUT when you need specialist insurance for example if you live in a flood risk area or have been flooded and actually want to get insurance for your house and want to get insurance that you can afford REMEMBER without insurance that coves flood your home or business is worthless as it cannot be sold IF you buy cover do get it in writing that the insurer will actually pass the policy on to the future or you will never be able the property other than perhaps to a “cash buyer” will usually only pay a small percentage of market value, the same applies to those who have had subsidence issues

If you or any member of the family have criminal convictions only speak to a broker

To contact Neil Cook CLICK HERE

Thursday 3 March 2011

Lewes flooding remembered

On Thursday 12th October 2001,following three days of exceptionally heavy rain on already saturated ground, the River Ouse overtopped the flood defences and flooded substantial parts of Lewes in Sussex.

Following extensive flooding of Lewes in 2000, the Sussex Ouse Flood Management Strategy was published in August 2002. The Strategy included a recommendation to provide flood protection to the town of Lewes. The Strategy considered Lewes to be comprised of several areas, known as flood cells, as shown in Figure 1. The economic justification for various standards of flood protection was considered for each of these flood cells.

Since 2000, millions of pounds has been spent on defences by the Environment Agency , but when heavy rain is predicted people still cast a wary eye at the River Ouse.

BBC Sussex has a report on "Ten years on - Lewes people remember the floods of 2000" HERE

Looking for insurance for flood damaged property? Click Here

Mary Dhonau OBE - NCE Info Flooding

Neil Cook an insurance broker who specialises in obtaining insurance for people in flood effected areas of the UK has sent us the following information about Mary Dhonau OBE. Mary spoke at the New Civil Engineer’s Flood Management conference 2010 and below is the background information about her

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: NCE Floodmanagement

Looking for insurance for flood damaged property? Click Here