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LetSense to Close

publication date: Nov 17, 2009
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LetSenseLetSense, the residential insurance provider, will cease trading on Monday 7th December 2009. The firm, formed by industry specialists Brian Turney, Rob Jones and Alan Holton (pictured in happier times at LetSense's launch) was formed at the end of 2008 and was making very positive inroads into the lettings market.

The firm was backed by insurance giant MMA Insurance plc, a major European insurer and part of the Covea Group. The company was launched with products for tenant referencing and rent and legal protection insurance services for letting agents, and Letsense had just started marketing new products for contents insurance.

MD Brian Turney told Jungledrum that he was very disappointed to break the news: "We have reluctantly had to take the decision to cease trading with effect from Monday 7th December as we have been unable to secure continued backing for our operations. We are very sad that MMA has decided not to continue with LetSense. We had made a very good start with our referencing and rent protection services and the new contents insurance had just been launched."

The products would all need further support but it seems that MMA is not willing to continue. In a statement to Jungledrum MMA said: "MMA is aware of the decision by the Board at Letsense, the specialist provider of insurance products and services to the residential lettings market, to close the business.
MMA was an investor at the launch of Letsense in 2008, but since then has refocused its own business on the UK commercial lines insurance market. Because of this change of strategic direction, MMA decided to terminate its relationship with Letsense. MMA's relationship with Letsense has always been a positive one and we send the team there our best wishes for the future."

CEO Peter Knowles told Jungledrum that he was still hoping to find a buyer for LetSense. "We have been seeking a buyer for LetSense; the products been very popular and we are confident that there is a good business offering here. We have an excellent, highly experienced team and, with the right support, LetSense should have a very successful future."

LetSenseLetSense was created after the sale of LetSure to HomeLet, which is now the largest lettings insurance provider in the UK. HomeLet MD John Boyle has offered help for LetSense agents with a guarantee to anyone concerned about how this could affect their business. 

"At HomeLet we support a network of around 4,000 letting agents and regularly reference in excess of 1,500 prospective tenants every day," said John. "We're confident that we can easily cope with any additional references generated by letting agents who currently use LetSense, whilst continuing to provide a seamless service for every agent. Our New Agent Team has set up a hotline for concerned Letsense agents, and we have a team of people ready to process any applications from agents.  We will guarantee to set any affected letting agent up as a HomeLet customer, so they can transact their references and guarantee their landlords' rent through us, before the closure date of 7th December. A delayed reference can mean the loss of a tenant which could lead to a landlord choosing a different letting agent.  At a time when competition is still very fierce on the high street, clearly this is not a good time for letting agents to let their customer standards service drop."

Michael Portman (also previously with Letsure before its sale) of Let Insurance Services said: "It is sad to see any company cease trading, especially in the current climate. There is no doubt that the low volumes of property being bought by investment landlords has meant that there has been a recent reduction in income to some insurers.  However existing landlords are increasingly buying rent and legal protection policies due to the uncertainty within the employment and financial markets to cover themselves against the risk of tenant default. At Let Insurance Services we are fortunate to have established ourselves quickly with some unique and financially competitive products and along with the support of a strong client base, we continue to expand and respond to a constantly evolving market", says Michael Portman, MD of Let Insurance Services.