The fact that the BoE also decided to pump another £50 billion into the economy to boost market confidence and stimulate growth is demonstration enough that UK Plc is still pretty chilly.Unemployment figures released by the Office of National Statistics in January showed that the number of people out of work is at its highest in 17 years, with 1.6 million claiming jobseekers allowance. The latter suggests that people are struggling to use their own savings to support themselves and are turning to the state.When times are tough, consumers will cut their cloth accordingly and could be tempted to cut out what they perceive as unnecessary expense on insurance protection. Repossession figures released by the CML last month could encourage some that arrears management by lenders is helping struggling borrowers stay in their homes and get back on track. The total number of properties taken into possession by first-charge mortgage lenders in 2011 was 36,200 - the lowest annual total since 2007.However, worsening unemployment and continuing pressures on the cost of living is likely to take its toll on many households. If interest rates nudge up by even one quarter of a percent, that could be enough to tip some over the edge.The subject of arrears and repossession is a 'must have' conversation between intermediaries and their homeowner clients. Bottom line? Protection insurance is a product that needs to be sold. Many websites and comparison sites have tried to sell short-term income protection and the like, but penetration has not increased. Why? I believe that few consumers really understand what they need to cover, how much they need to cover, and the options available to them. That's why intermediaries are, in my view, best placed to help consumers get the protection they need.However, you need products that are fit for purpose.Our Income Protector and Home Protector policies have turned the traditional approach to underwriting mortgage and short-term income protection on its head. This new breed of accident, sickness and unemployment protection prices the policy according to the risk profile of each individual customer when they buy it. And as the policy is effectively built around the policyholder at the point of sale, barring the consumer unintentionally providing inaccurate information, there is no reason why any valid claim should be turned down.And if complete accident, sickness and unemployment cover is still beyond the financial reach of some, we also offer good value unemployment-only policies that can provide consumers with the peace of mind they crave at a price they can more readily afford.The trick is to shop around on behalf of your clients to ensure you have a range of options to discuss with them. That way they can make an informed decision and obtain the right level of protection to suit their needs and their budget.PROTECTION - THE "MUST HAVE" CONVERSATIONGARY LITTLEHead of Key Accounts
Assurant IntermediaryThe Bank of England's decision to hold interest rates at their record low may have been welcomed by many existing and aspiring homeowners but I hope it doesn't lull them into
a false sense of security.
The sheer number of professional clients looking to secure new mortgages with their year-end bonuses can seem like a mountain to climb for any broker. So it's good to know that the Halifax Premier team is there with the experience and expertise to help you all the way. As one of the largest lenders in the market, you'll have access to a wide range of specialist products for loans up to £5 million. What's more, our personal and online services are reliably responsive, giving you the ability to make quick, clear decisions on lending at any time. And with the convenience of being City based, there's probably no better partner than Halifax Premier to help you turn that mountain into a molehill. FOR THE USE OF MORTGAGE INTERMEDIARIES AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS ONLY.The information within this advert is for professional intermediaries only. If you do not have the relevant professional experience, you should not rely on this information. It is not a consumer advertisement and should not be displayed or used as such. Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ.Leading the way for Intermediarieswww.halifax-intermediaries.co.uk/premierWe're leading the way for intermediaries.Halifax Premier.For loans of £300,000 and over, our experts are always on hand.