March 2009 - Property Protector News

1 March 2009

News and Views from Property Protector - Issue 2 March 2009

In this issue

Welcome to the Second edition of Property Protector News. Please circulate this to all staff responsible for placing your Property Owners business.

You can find additional copies of this and our previous newsletters in the “News” section of the website
  • ResidentialLite - The story so far
  • Cannabis Factories - A burning issue…
  • Account Rollovers - An Eggciting Opportunity
  • At a Glance & Comparison Charts - Helping you with your marketing …

ResidentialLite … The story so far

Since the introduction of ResidentialLite in September 2008 our exclusive Broker Network
scheme has become increasingly popular with both existing Broker Network Members and Associate members alike.

In these difficult economic times this market sector remains comparatively buoyant and ResidentialLite gives you an excellent opportunity to reduce the affects of the credit crunch.

ResidentialLite is our new 'tandem' Residential policy, that provides cover for a wider range of
tenants, backed by one of Europe's largest insurance providers, AXA Insurance, and is ideal
for those money conscious property owners, but it excludes many of the fringe covers provided
by our Standard policy, such as Legal Expenses and Legal Indemnities - to compare the
differences in the two policies, you can find a comparison in the downloads area of our website

The Lite policy is 25% less than our standard policy*, and is issued with a £250 Excess as standard - further premium savings can be made by volunteering a higher excess, with additional discounts of up to 20% available.
Cover can be provided for all tenants types, including DSS Referrals, Asylum Seekers, Bedsits, and Housing Association tenants. (*Claim Free Only)

The results so far …..

  • 15% more members are placing their Property Owners Business with us.
  • New Business Premium Income has risen by 11.60%
  • Several of our major supporting brokers have increased their renewal retention ratios from the historical 88% to approaching a 90% level.
  • Rate increases have been kept around the 6% level which is below the increased market rate being offered by our competitors.
  • All Residential Tenancy types now catered for including DSS referral and Asylum seekers.

The renewal retention improvement is particularly pleasing and we thought it would be useful to share with you the practice adopted by our most successful brokers.

  • The renewal offer is being issued in good time.
  • The price conscious landlord is being identified early and the Property Protector Lite is being offered as an option prior to the renewal date.
  • A proactive contact on all renewals is made around 7 days prior to renewal to discuss the options available.
  • Property Protector Lite is offered when the insured has obtained a perceived cheaper quote elsewhere.
  • Remember we can price match on Property Protector Lite on a like for like basis for all our major supporting brokers.

We feel that this flexible approach will help you retain your existing business and provide you with the options and tools to expand your Property Owners business. In these difficult economic times this market sector remains comparatively buoyant and gives you an excellent opportunity to reduce the effects of the credit crunch.

Cannabis … A burning issue..

What is the Issue?

An increasing number of residential landlords are suffering damage to their properties, giving rise to potential claims, because their premises are being used by their tenant(s) and criminals to grow cannabis.

To help combat this worrying trend we've produced some information which may alert landlords to this growing menace.

The cultivation process of cannabis causes damage to the property due to:

  • fires starting due to the tenants bypassing the electricity meter
  • holes being made in walls to pass cables through
  • large quantity of water leakage from buckets and pipes
  • tenants starting fires to cover their tracks before police raids occur

Tips for landlords to prevent this happening?

You can take the following reasonable precautions

  • Do not accept payment of rent in cash, insist on payment via Bank
  • Be wary of short term lets without undertaking rigorous vetting of the prospective tenant
  • Ensure you inspect the premises regularly, with internal viewing if possible
  • Do not allow sub letting to occur
  • Employ a letting or managing agent to manage the tenant vetting process and provide an inspection service on your behalf to identify any misuse of the property early on or if you take on this responsibility make sure you carry out the work to the same standard as a managing agent

How to spot if a property is being used for this purpose?

From information taken from our claim files, the following characteristics stand out which may suggest that a property could potentially be being used as a cannabis farm

  • Short term let of 3 or 6 month duration
  • Rent is paid in cash, sometimes either in full or for a significant period of the let
  • Landlords not vetting the tenant(s) sufficiently
  • Accepting a telephone number from the prospective tenant purporting to be last landlord as a reference
  • No background checks undertaken other than seeing passport of prospective tenant
  • Not getting bank details checked as rent is paid in cash
  • Promised references not being provided
  • Lack of visits to the property undertaken and, if done, external only or limited internal only
  • A pungent smell is produced which may be noticed through the walls of adjoining properties
  • Window blinds or curtains always drawn to prevent anyone seeing what's going on
  • Sub letting being allowed, with no control of sub tenant activities
  • No particular location issues, some very respectable premises/areas have been involved
  • No managing or letting agent employed to manage the property or vet the tenant details

Account Rollovers … An Eggciting Opportunity

Many brokers, having realised both the quality of the product and speed and efficiency of our service, have entrusted their entire Property Owners portfolio to us.

Having arranged several "rollover" deals, we make the process very simple - we take an overview of your current book of business, and following a quick paper based questionnaire we can usually offer:-

  • EXPIRING TERMS - Renewal of the policy at expiring terms (or better)
  • SUPERIOR COVER - Our exemplary product is better than most
  • NO HASSLE TRANSFERS - Statement of fact documentation for your client
  • ENHANCED COMMISSION - We have tiered commission levels up to 27.50%.

We don't shout about the level of service we offer, we just let other people do it for us. Don't just take our word for it, visit the website and see our testimonials page. Visit

Our aim is to give you the opportunity to expand your property owner's book of business with an easy to use "one stop shop" facility for all your Property Owners business.

With Easter just around the corner, this could be just the Eggciting opportunity you have been looking for.

Policy Cover ……. At a glance

We have produced a selection of “At a glance” product information sheets for our suite of Property Protector products, a selection of which are included with this newsletter.

Each leaflet details the features of each product, so you can see “at a glance” the breadth of cover available. We hope you find these useful, and if you would like more of these do not hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, you can download a copy of each from our website.

Comparison Charts

In addition to the At A Glance laminates, we have also produced a comparison chart (which has been available for download from our website for some time now) comparing both our Residential and ResidentialLite products with the rest of the market.

This is an invaluable tool when trying to sell the benefits of either policy, and we would suggest that you send a copy of this with any quotations you provide to you client for Property Owners insurance.

We are in the process of producing a similar version for our Retail, Office and Commercial products, which we will publish online soon – look out for details.

Old News is Good News ………

We have just launched our news page on our website, which will keep you up to date with all things Property

Protector, and the property market in general. You can download a copy of our previous newsletters, leaflets and other useful ideas from here, too.

Remember, we do more than just Residential business ………

We aim to be your “One Stop Shop” when it comes to Property Owners business, and would ask you to remember to think “Property Protector” even for your large and more complex risks.

Your At a Glance laminates give you an idea of the type of business we can write - we have a large and varied book of commercial business, from general retail shop premises to much larger office buildings and business park developments.

Our expert underwriters at Zurich have a swift turnaround, and sensible attitude to most commercial risks, so next time you are looking - “Think Property Protector”