First Title have celebrated anniversary of the launch of the HOPP claiming that it is now being used regularly by over 200 conveyancing solicitors, with over £150 million worth of property insured to date and a rapidly increasing number of conveyancers buying the policy.
Whilst First Title aren’t keen to tell us exactly how many policies they have written we believe we can estimate the number by using the Rightmove average house price for October 2011 of £239,672 and dividing that into their “over £150M” figure to estimate that more than about 630 policies have be written.
Starting from a zero base with a new product in a market that isn’t known for embracing change this feels like a good start. We are also increasingly talking with conveyancers who are strong advocates of the policy. In fact First Title report that 81% of delegates that have attended their recent road shows reported they would offer the HOPP to their clients.
“The HOPP supports the due diligence we undertake on behalf of our clients and provides them and us with an additional level of security. The policy is, in our opinion, a useful addition to the range of policies available,” commented Clark & Weeks, Solicitors of Plympton, Plymouth, Devon.
As for claims First Title explain that in July, they received the first HOPP claim, which was a mortgage fraud and is currently being processed.
First Title present that due to increasing levels of mortgage fraud and a rise in the number of home invasions by squatters there is a growing awareness of the need for greater protection against high-impact risks, such as these — both of which are covered by the HOPP. As a result, more and more conveyancers are realising the benefits of the HOPP for their clients. The policy also covers major known and unknown risks, including: seller misrepresentation, boundary disputes, and lack of planning permissions and building regulation consents.
The ‘no fault’ nature of the policy means that claims can be made without clients having to prove negligence at their own expense, therefore providing them with greater protection than their solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance.
“When we launched the HOPP last year, we were effectively introducing a new category of policy and we knew it would take time for solicitors and homebuyers to fully understand its benefits. However, as knowledge of the HOPP has grown there’s been a rapid evolution in perceptions resulting in substantial demand for the policy,” said Phillip Oldcorn, Director of First Title.
First Title has also recently joined forces with underwriter, Ink Underwriting Agencies Limited, to offer professional indemnity insurance to law firms, for the first time. Solicitors who are already familiar with the HOPP, may find the new PII policy particularly resonant, given that the majority of PI claims are conveyancing related.