2009: The Year of Protection, Says Burgess

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Next year may be the year of the Ox as far as the Chinese calendar is concerned, but for borrowers in the UK it will be the year of protection.

Sara-Ann Burgess, MD Burgesses

Whether it is city workers who are used to living high on the hog or factory workers with less lavish lifestyles, borrowers across the UK have got debt they need to pay off.

Next year may be the year of the Ox as far as the Chinese calendar is concerned, but for borrowers in the UK it will be the year of protection.

The changing economic environment has made borrowers nervous of their ability to service their outstanding debt and made them more aware than ever of the risks presented by accident, sickness and unemployment, according to Sara-Ann Burgess, director at payment protection insurance (PPI) specialist Burgesses and a tireless campaigner for a fairer PPI market.

In the much leaner financial world that is unfolding before our eyes, Burgess said there was a growing realisation that should borrowers be hit by something that unexpectedly prevented them from earning, living up to their financial commitments would be very difficult. Increasingly she believed people would not take that risk heading into the New Year.

She said: "Whether it is city workers who are used to living high on the hog or factory workers with less lavish lifestyles, borrowers across the UK have got debt they need to pay off."

Looking to the months ahead she added: "There is a growing sense among people right across the country that problems can come home to roost for anyone, and certainly I have not come across a single sector of the working community that believes it will be immune to the recession we are now in. People who have never considered taking out PPI in the past are now looking at it very seriously and I think we will see the market grow next year."

Burgess said the need for financial providers to generate sales would also push them into offering ever more competitive rates and that this sort of pressure would be very welcome in the market.

For too long, Burgess said it had only been independent providers such as British Insurance that had really offered consumers the very best in both product flexibility and pricing, although she felt that more would have to follow suit if they wanted to win business.

Burgess explained: "There are a lot of proposed changes coming to the market about how and when PPI can be sold. Increasingly consumers are aware of the choices available and the changes will help them look past the high street credit providers they have normally bought protection from. I think we will see independent providers really excel in the coming year, while the high street banks and building societies will at last have to improve their offering if they want to compete."

Burgess said this was great news for consumers and as more turned to the PPI market to help them stave of the financial threats posed by accident, sickness and unemployment, she believed the product and pricing they found would improve into 2009.    

"2009 will be the year of protection," she proclaimed.

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