Archive: Feb 2017

Mortgage Intelligence protection update: Is protection and wearable tech a match made in heaven?

National Account Manager for Protection Craig Bryce takes a look at the emerging relationship between wearable technology and the protection industry

One of the hottest topics being discussed in the protection industry is the possible move towards embracing wearable technology. One provider is already offering reduced gym memberships, as well as encouraging policy engagement through health and activity tracking. But could wearables change the industry and the relationship between providers and consumers?

The start of something special

These first moves towards integration may start more providers down the road of offering discounts and encouraging customers to engage with their policies. Providers are already discussing whether wearable technology has created the perfect opportunity to develop policies that are not only tailored, but create a continual engagement with the consumer.

The information obtained from wearable devices also give providers the opportunity to better assess risk and therefore improve the underwriting and claims processes. This could enhance the policyholder’s experience further and cut down on fraudulent claims.

A changing landscape

Research by PwC revealed that nearly half of those surveyed now owned some sort of wearable technology. More people now own an activity tracker or smart device, which helps them engage with and monitor their health.

Hard to ignore, the protection industry has begun discussing the integration of this trend, its ramifications and possible impact on consumer engagement. But providers are treading carefully during the sector’s infancy due to consumer concerns. This is understandable, considering how the relationship between wearable technology and protection has the potential to transform the industry.

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Mortgage Intelligence update: Are garden homes the answer to the housing crisis?

Head of Mortgages and Insurance Stephanie Charman explores whether the Government’s new garden homes are a possible answer to the UK housing crisis

A divisive plan to create nearly 50,000 homes within 14 garden villages across England has been announced by Housing Minister Gavin Barwell. Ministers have backed the building of the villages, which will be located on sites that include former airfields and much coveted green belt land. These new villages are smaller versions of the Government’s planned “garden cities”, each containing between 1,500 and 10,000 homes. But are they an answer to the UK housing crisis?

Where will the new homes be located?

Ministers have confirmed that the new villages will not be extensions of existing towns or villages. Instead, the Government has said that they will be “distinct new places with their own community facilities”. With several garden towns also announced, the whole “garden” project could deliver 200,000 new homes.

The first round of locations include sites in Cornwall and Cumbria, which makes them eligible for a share of a £6m support fund. The former Deenethorpe airfield in Northamptonshire will be one of the key locations. This 600-acre plot has been approved to include a village green, shops, a community hall and over 1,000 homes.

Other locations include an ecovillage in West Carclaze, Cornwall, where 1,500 homes will be built. These new energy efficient homes will sit alongside space for self-build and custom-built housing, as well as a brand new primary school.

Will they help solve the housing crisis?

One of the proposed solutions to the housing crisis has been the general decentralisation of housing and planning. With this in mind, Gavin Barwell said that the village development would be led by local communities, not central government. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) also said the plans would work to relieve the crisis if “done well with genuine local consent”.

But as well as the anticipated opposition to building on green belt land, the plans have also met some scepticism. Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “In the last Parliament they promised a flagship ‘garden city’ at Ebbsfleet. Since 2012, we’ve had 32 government announcements on Ebbsfleet but less than 500 homes built … the country deserves a proper plan for fixing the housing crisis.”

If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.