CS: How many years in the industry, Jason?
JC: Thirty odd years.
CS: Reason for setting up your own brokerage?
JC: I wanted to ensure legitimate claims are met. Customer service, basically. It is an issue in the industry and needs to be addressed.
CS: You have indicated a problem in the sector, where Senior Debt lenders seek to be Joint Policyholders with property developer companies. How does this impact?
JC: As you rightly point out, Catherine, there are substantial numbers of new lenders entering the UK marker. Many of them instruct their solicitors to put them as joint policy holders, so they, the lender, can make a claim if an issue arises.
CS: Would you agree that, in an ideal scenario, the lenders should ensure their lending criteria are fit for purpose, rather than seeking to be covered by a policy owned by a third party?
JC: Yes. When the lenders realise we cannot arrange the joint policyholder contract, they go back to their block policy, and try to arrange underwriting that way. That, they discover, is not always possible.
CS: Any sign of a solution?
JC: It’s a difficult one. The lawyers have been instructed, and they in turn don’t want a claim against them for failing to carry out instructions. That would, of course, impact on their Professional Indemnity cover.
CS: Is this the only issue – apart from Covid – the insurance industry is currently undergoing in the property development sector?
JC: Surveyors are facing major issues, and a large percentage have lost their PI cover or found it too expensive. As well as that, we have issues with modular construction and, of course, cladding. Whether we like it or not, concrete is an efficient fire retardant, and the upper floors of some modular buildings do not have that protective layer.
CS: How do you see the future of the insurance industry in this sector?
JC: Sadly, we are awaiting decisions regarding the tower which became a major tragedy. We need to see decisions as to which agency is responsible for what before insurers offer affordable cover for all professional disciplines. There is, as we have discussed, a huge need for residential units in this country, but major and clear decisions have to be made. The insurance industry needs robust case law so we – and property developers –can move forward.
CS: If developers or professionals have queries about insurance?
CS: Thank you, Jason.