Issue 7 April 2005

the newsletter for professionals who manage residential flats

Residential Management Company research
To understand your clients and know what residential company directors want to see in our Leaseholder newsletter we conduct research every year. Here are a few facts for you:• Yo u m a y k n o w f ro m y o u r o w n experience that Residential Management Companies (RMC’s) do not cater for or have sufficient funding. We have found out that 54% directors of blocks of flats in the UK do not arrange a sinking fund to cover major works or unforeseen repairs • Over a third of RMC directors do not arrange or conduct regularly inspections of the building to identify hazards or repairs to remedy potential problems for the future • Over 70% of flat owners and tenants do not bother buying contents insurance. They realise too late that the buildings insurance does not cover their furnishings, carpets and personal belongings when they suffer from a leaking roof or spillages for example • 65% of RMC’s do not use a property valuation service every three to five years to ensure their building sum insured is correct. Therefore they may have inadequate insurance cover should the very worse claim happen! There is a 20% discount on Deacon Contents insurance for your residents. Just contact us for a supply of promotional leaflets and earn 10% commission when the flat owner places a policy with us. Call us on 08000 92 93 94 and ask for the Business Sales Team.

How to save time and earn money
One of the main reasons why so many property managers have chosen Deacon policies year after year is that they know we can save them time and earn them more money. Trusting us to do the shopping around for them and to do it properly and thoroughly. We have a wide insurer panel and enjoy the buying power that comes from being a top UK property insurance specialist. However we believe the key difference between the Deacon team and our competitors is the expertise of our staff. Their ability is to help you identify the real needs of a property and then match these with the right insurer. Under FSA rules it is now a requirement that reasons are given for recommending an insurance policy. This is information that we have always shared with our customers. We view every customer we insure as a long term Deacon relationship, so we never recommend policies just because they earned us, or a managing agent, a fatter commission, or because the premiums were rock bottom. We continue to enjoy customer retention rates that are the envy of our industry! So how do we choose a policy to recommend? Often we ‘know’ immediately which policy is best for a particular situation, but we still go to the market to make comparisons. That is what your customers expect from you – and we are happy to provide alternative quotes wherever possible. Typically we would recommend a policy because the primary insurer had been prepared to meet all of the requirements of the building and/or to match or improve the terms that the building enjoyed last year without loading the premium. We would have raised any queries with you in person to ensure that we had an accurate record of the requirements before going to our insurance panel on your behalf. The skills and experience of our underwriters is so important to our customers but the flexibility that we can give is superb especially when it comes to managing your whole portfolio of insurances. When you do decide to go ahead, we will issue policy documentation immediately and can put a building on cover instantly if need be.

More help on the ground...
If you are managing a portfolio of blocks of flats you will want a streamlined well-managed and personal insurance service – and to negotiate a fair share of the profits. That’s why we are expanding our business development team, so we can visit as many of you a possible in person, learn more about your business and provide an even better service for you. The latest recruit to the team is Nick Macey (pictured) who is coming out from behind his desk to focus on managing agents located in southern England. Nick has worked in insurance since he was 11 as his father ran an independent brokerage, and joined us last year from Zurich. He has become a familiar voice on the phone to many of you, and now brings his underwriting skills and experience of negotiating with insurers to his new sales and consultancy role. When not working Nick plays lots of racket sports – and we mean lots! He is ranked as the UK’s No. 2 and the world’s No 22 in the new sport of racketlon which takes in table tennis, squash, badminton and tennis. Nick works with Dave Truman, Maria Fletcher, Steve Middleton, Joyce Henson and Natasha Butterfield in our business sales team, all of whom focus on account management and our services for property managers.

Still worried about how to Cowboy manage FSA compliance? car clampers
If you read the property and insurance trade press you may still be confused as to what you need to do to statisfy the FSA rules – you will not be alone! However, one thing is for sure: the FSA means business when it comes to keeping tabs on the activities of firms who are authorised and in rooting out those who have ignored the new regime and are continuing to arrange insurance illegally. The onus is on an authorised firm, to make sure that it is complying with FSA rules and, while that may seem daunting at first, we do not think it really goes much beyond what should be normal, good business practice. However, you do still need to check that all your procedures are correct and the easiest way to do that is with our FSA DIY Manual for Property Managing Agents. The manual provides the guidance and templates you need and provides a permanent source of reference. This manual is now available in a CD format as well as a hard copy and is equally valid for your business as an authorised firm whether you are placing insurance with us or not, and is available to all for £295. It has been produced by our Group Compliance Officer John Gorham and specialist consultancy Branko Ltd and is now into its second print run. For more information or to order a copy call Michelle Taylor on 01202 449632 or email

Despite a last minute delay because of problems with issuing qualification certificates, the ban on unlicensed car clamping on private land has been put back from it’s original starting date of 28th February. However, you still need to be aware that it is coming and make sure any clampers (properly known as vehicle immobilisers!) you contract with are, or are planning, to become licensed.

A new Security Industry Authority will regulate the worst excesses of clamping companies. Clamping vehicles on private land without a Security Industry Authority licence will become a criminal offence. Anyone clamping without a licence will incur significant fines, and could face up to five years in prison.

Engineering cover – what it is and how it helps you to manage a building
You already have the lifts inspected, as well as the boilers in the few buildings under your management that still have communal central heating. So why, you might ask, would you want an Engineering Insurance Policy? We thought the best way to answer that would be for us to ask the people who have chosen to take out this insurance with us. The overwhelming majority said that they simply liked the reassurance and simplicity of knowing that a statutory check would never be missed. The firm carrying out inspections would have been vetted by the insurer and verified as being competent, and that emergency repairs would not come as a huge shock to a service charge budget. We offer engineering insurance underwritten by Allianz Cornhill Engineering, with whom we have negotiated terms that recognise the difference between a block of flats with maybe only one or two lifts and a commercial office building! The premiums payable for a building are related directly to the cover it requires. As well as sudden unforeseen damage, breakdown, explosion and collapse can also include accidental damage and damage to surrounding property. As an example, engineering cover for a block requiring cover for two lifts would come to £350 per annum, a block of flats with one lift would cost only £250 and you get 10% commission too! Remember, the LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, normally enforced by the Local Authority (Environmental Health) require that passenger lifts must be inspected and tested every six months.

Do you want your job to become easier so you can concentrate on managing your properties?
If there’s one thing you really do not need is a call from one of the directors of your blocks of flats to say that a pipe has burst, a home has been flooded from a leak in the flat above or roof has been damaged by high winds. We have the answer to stop these calls. Our 24 hour Emergency Assistance cover especially written for flat owners is purchased at a special price by your residents, at just £42.00 a year, (less than ONE tradesman call out fee). This is an easy and inexpensive way to have peace of mind for both you and your residents. Should an emergency happen the flat owner or tenant can just pick up the phone, no – not to you! but an emergency assistance telephone number, 24 hours a day 365 day’s of the year. The advisers can send an approved contractor to undertake emergency work and will pay the first £250 of the costs. In a lot of cases this amount usually covers the repair cost but if the damage is severe the contractor will make it safe and a claim can be made in the usual way to complete the work. Just call us for some promotional leaflets which you can pass to your residents at their AGM or contact our Business Sales team who will be happy to post them to your residents.


08000 92 93 94