Pleas to Purchase PPI Falling on Deaf Ears says Burgess

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News that increasing numbers of people are continuing to fall behind with their mortgage repayments evidences that pleas for homeowners to purchase Payment Protection Insurance and receive a monthly income to cover debts should they lose their job is falling on deaf ears.

Sara-Ann Burgess, MD Burgesses

I know the PPI sector has suffered a poor reputation at the hands of banks and building societies, but fewer than 1% of the unemployed receive an income via a PPI policy. Independent providers do not mis-sell or over-price their products and it's vital people who have been put-off purchasing this cover, re-evaluate its benefits.

News that increasing numbers of people are continuing to fall behind with their mortgage repayments evidences that pleas for homeowners to purchase Payment Protection Insurance and receive a monthly income to cover debts should they lose their job is falling on deaf ears.

This is the view held by PPI lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess, from specialist firm Burgesses, in response to recently released Financial Services Authority figures which show 377,000 homeowners were in mortgage arrears at the end of 2008, an increase of 31% on the previous year.

She says: "PPI will pay your mortgage for up to a year if redundancy occurs, so why aren't more people taking out this low-cost cover and protecting themselves against the recession? As well as providing financial stability at a time when you need it most - it gives peace of mind. If you're in a job, PPI takes away the worry of how to pay bills in the future if redundancy occurs and that's a great situation to be in."

It would certainly allay the fears of 62% of the working population who according to Which? fret about themselves or their partner losing their job, quell the anxieties of over four in 10 joint income households who worry they wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage if the main income earner lost their job and help over a third of homeowners who are concerned about having their homes repossessed.

Sara-Ann comments: "If something's causing you sleepless nights - namely job losses and repossession - then you do something about it. I'm mystified why more people aren't buying PPI as it offers a solution to all these issues. I can only think people are going to rely on their savings to pay their bills."

Feedback from Moneysupermarket suggests this isn't the case. In a recent survey, it found a quarter of Brits have no savings to fall back on and a third or more have less in savings than two years ago.    

"Why hold back on something that will take away the stress of this current economic climate?" questions Sara-Ann. "I know the PPI sector has suffered a poor reputation at the hands of banks and building societies, but fewer than 1% of the unemployed receive an income via a PPI policy. Independent providers do not mis-sell or over-price their products and it's vital people who have been put-off purchasing this cover, re-evaluate its benefits."

In a bid to meet their regular daytime bills such as utilities, travel and food, many consumers are cutting back on their insurance, but Sara-Ann opines this is not always such a prudent measure. She continues: "It's right to reassess your finances and re-consider levels of cover, but not to the extent that you leave yourself financially exposed to hardship. This is especially pertinent with PPI, given the swiping job cuts that are being made across all sectors in the UK."

This week HSBC announced 1200 job losses, although unions suggest the figure's more likely to top 3000. Sara-Ann concludes: "I fear the mortgage arrears and repossession figures - 46,750 in 2008, 68% more than the year before - will continue to rise before people appreciate PPI can put a halt to these frightening statistics. Which? says that 73% of mortgage holders believe the Government should do more to prevent repossessions - I counter this can be achieved by making PPI compulsory. Since consumers don't appear to have the appetite to purchase it themselves, lenders should offer it for free with every mortgage offer."

Standalone firm British Insurance has won an unrivalled number of awards for its products and service delivery - salvaging the reputation of a tarnished sector. It has a 100% customer retention rate, has never received a product or service complaint and offers policies for homeowners, those renting and people in shared ownership schemes. Premiums are £3.40 per £100 of benefit for unemployment cover and it's widely acknowledged they are more competitive than credit providers - some four times cheaper for mortgage, five times for income and 10 times for loan protection.

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