Loss of Metered Water – With more and more homes switching over to metered water, it is worth considering what you would do if you experience any loss of metered water. The good news is that many home insurance policies now include loss of metered water as an insured peril. This type of cover is particularly valuable if you have a holiday home as you are responsible for all utility bills. Cover varies from one home insurance policy to another but it is worth checking out.
UK House Prices – the least affordable for a generation House prices are the least affordable for a generation it has been reported. Buying a home now costs seven times the average yearly wage and that is just to purchase the average family home.. Mortgages now account for 45% of the average monthly salary. These figures were last seen just before the property crash in 1989. Economists are predicting that further interest rises are in the pipeline for this week and this could have the effect of dramatically cooling the housing market. These predicted interest rate raise coupled with rising household utility bills may lead to household repossessions.
Burglars are enjoying the warm weather – Homeowners are warned to be on their guard from burglars who are enjoying the warm weather. As well as making sure that you have adequate home insurance in force, it is a must to study the policy terms and conditions in particular relating to home security. It is thought that as many as 50% of homeowners do not take any steps to protect themselves against opportunist thieves. May people admit to leaving upstairs windows open at night and many also admit to popping out and leaving the patio doors unlocked. It is vitally important to study the protection requirements of your home insurance policy as it is highly unlikely that you will receive a payout under the policy unless all security requirements are met.
New Life Insurance deal for British Armed forces – Around 300,000 British Armed forces are about to receive a better life insurance deal under a scheme announced by the ministry of defence. Up until now, insurers have been worried about providing insurance for the armed forces because of the chances of serious injury or death. The new insurance scheme is underwritten by sterling life but major losses will be underwritten by the government. The plan will be known as Service Life and is also open to smokers but of course they will have to pay increased premiums. Monthly payments start from as low as £5.00 with a maximum sum insured of £200,000. Life cover could be guaranteed for up to 25 years and this new policy is seen as a major boost to the armed forces.
The Internet is the place to find an Insurance Deal – The Internet is proving to be the place to secure the best insurance deals. And it is believed that this medium is having a beneficial effect on the UK Insurance industry. Amongst the first contracts traded on the Internet where motor & home insurance but major sales are now made on Travel Insurance and in the Protection markets. One of the reasons for this shift in to the web is that consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their insurance shopping habits and also the convenience of not having to leave ones home is a major time saver. Shopping for insurance on the Internet can be done at ones leisure, even if it is in the middle of the night and consumers are really switching on to the anonymity of not having to deal with any sales staff. One of the areas where the Internet must improve though is in the production of it’s documentation, and it is hoped that new sites will seek to make policy documentation and Key facts information as easy to understand as possible.
Property owners warned about Arson – AXA insurance is warning property owners about the potential risk of arson. Research carried out by the UK insurance company shows that over half the money paid out to UK firms in crime related insurance claims can be attributed to arson. However the insurer believes that policyholders do not take the threat serious enough. Crime continues to grow in the United Kingdom and the cost of an average arson claim amounts to £40,000. Whilst most property owners do have cover against arson, prevention is better than cure and of course preventing a claim will help keep your insurance costs down.
And whilst we are on the subject – The UK government has warned that homes that have a smoker living with them are over a third more likely to experience a fire than non-smoking properties. The government has launched a campaign called Put it Out which hopefully will draw attention to the 132 deaths, 1600 injuries and 4300 fires per annum. At the present moment, the average fires costs £25,000.
Smoking materials are described as being the biggest cause of fire related deaths in the home and the campaign wished to raise public awareness of this fact.
Landlords Insurance Update – there has been a lot of focus recently on the tenancy deposit scheme recent brought in to operation but landlords are being asked not to forget their other obligations relating to buy to let property. It seems that many landlords are still buying buildings without fully being aware of their obligations. Renting property is a serious business and certain rules and regulations have to be complied with. If you employ the services of a letting agent, they should make sure that all the necessary checks are carried out. However, don’t forget that ultimately, the responsibility will rest with yourself to make sure that the relevant laws are being complied with If you are a landlord, you need to frequent your self with the following;
- Gas Safety Installation and use regulations 1994
- Furniture and Furnishings regulations 1993
- The Electrical Safety Equipment Regulations 1994
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Code of practice: on April 1st 2007, a new code of practice was introduced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors relating to charges in commercial property. The new code is designed to help clear up disputes between landlords and tenants over charges. Service charges are often an area of much dispute between landlords and tenants and it was thought that greater transparency was needed, the code was actually introduced last summer but only now has it begun to effect the work of commercial property investors. Under the scheme, landlords are expected to disclose a budget for service charges at least a month before the start of a new service charges year, while also getting landlords to clearly state in writing the reasons for the charges being made. RICS believe that charges should be made, not for profit/not for loss. Landlords will also be expected to furnish tenants with an account within 4 months of the year end, this will thus enable the tenant to query any charges made. A further innovation is the introduction of a cost coding system so as tenants can compare the charges they receive with other buildings, thus they can compare their own outlay to make sure they are not over paying. In introducing this scheme, RICS has already received the support of five leading commercial property bodies; The British property Federation, The British Retail Consortium, The British Council for Offices, The British Council for Shopping Centres and the Property Managers Association. The new code is seen as a major step forward for the Commercial Property Industry.
SSP Holdings in Takeover – Insurance software specialist, SSP holdings has agreed to take over rival Sirius Financial Solutions in a £43.3 million deal. SSP holdings is well known throughout the insurance broker market as a solution provider for quotations and back office systems. It’s systems are robust and well designed and very popular with brokers. The two companies have issued a statement saying that the link up would create a UK market leader in the field as well as a number of cost savings. The new group will have several key technological products to offer.
Standard Life maintains sales – Standard Life, the UK quoted life insurance company has lifted life and pensions sales by 52% in the first quarter of the year. Sales have remained strong in April, despite fears that changes in the tax rules for pensions in April 2006 would lead to a down turn in sales. Standard Life Insurance has lifted UK life and pensions sales from 2.12bn to 3.12 in the three months to March 31st
London wants to be the centre of Insurance. – City leaders and the chancellor Gordon Brown are to meet today to discuss plans to enhance the cities attractiveness to insurance business. London is under threat from low tax countries such as Bermuda and there are plans to use technology to boost London’s standing as a center of insurance excellence.
One of Worlds largest reinsurance claims contested – One of the worlds largest contested re-insurance claims is taking place between BAE Systems and insurance companies. The re insurers which include Royal Sun Alliance & Swiss -Re are taking the case to international arbitration. The claim relates to an insurance policy effected by Bae which saw them insure against falls in income from leasing it’s fleet of regional aircraft. Bae agreed to pay the first 10% of all claims up to a maximum amount of 2.4 billion. The insurers are unhappy about paying the claim as BAE changed it’s operation strategy after the deal was struck making a claim all the more possible. Insurers say that one of the reasons they agreed to issue a policy with such an indemnity limit in the first place, was because of the remoteness of a payout. They are stating that had the operational procedures been changed before the policy was implemented, they never would have accepted the risk. This is a very interesting case and at the present moment, the insurers are refusing to comment.
Inflation outstripping Take Home Pay – Retail price inflation is ahead of increases in take home pay according to the latest prices data. This is more bad news for homeowners who are already bracing themselves for another hike in interest rates. VOCA the banking group processes over 90% of monthly salaries and 70% of household bills said the annual growth in take home pay eased to 3.6percent. This was more than percentage point lower than the annual retail price inflation rate of 4.8% in March. This latest information points to wage increases not being as high as first anticipated.