Housing needs are a key issue in the UK with increasing costs and a lack of supply in many areas. We interact with the housing sector on a number of levels: as a provider of insurance policies that cover people’s homes, their income or perhaps the value of their mortgage upon death; as a point of access to the mortgage market; and as a provider of funding for residential and commercial property.
WORKING WITH SHELTER
Our long term partnership with Shelter continues. With their input we have developed a home contents insurance product for social housing providers after discovering that access to contents insurance was an issue for many social housing residents.
We have also developed a new Capital Loans business through our investment arm, LGIM, which provides much needed loans to social housing providers who need capital to grow their housing stock. Our aim is to lend to these organisations as banks deleverage their balance sheets and withdraw from this sector. This matches our need for fixed income investments, which allow us to pay our annuity customers their pension.
During the year we have hosted a number of industry debates on the ‘Economic Case for Housing’, bringing together a range of experts from this sector to discuss the many aspects of this issue from lack of supply to the pressures that estate agency fees have on the landlord and the impacts that has on the tenant. We have also worked with the charity HACT on the social impact of housing.
We have also funded front line practical services for Shelter. Their West Sussex Shelter is a walk-in and outreach service, giving advice to tenants and homeowners who are facing housing difficulties. Each quarter this valuable service provides around 60 people with someone who stands side by side with them in court to help them avoid losing their home and around 300 people with face-to-face advisory sessions to help with housing issues.
FLOODING AND THE RNLI
We have begun working with the RNLI and Association of British Insurers (ABI) to understand the true impact of flooding in the UK and the impact of the Government’s schemes to address this.
We are providing training for front line home insurance employees at the RNLI’s flood training centre so that they can better understand and empathise with our customers about what it’s really like to be affected by a flood.
We are planning a number of initiatives in 2013, which will enable us to further understand the real impacts that flooding has on our customers.