With a head office in Oxfordshire (pictured above), CETA is a general insurance network with more than 4,000 members located throughout the country. CETA provides mortgage brokers with the wherewithal to sell a range of general insurance products without needing to hold individual agencies or guarantee a minimum level of business.
During the past year CETA has launched two new services: CETA Life and the Spanish Property and Investment Network.
Q: What services does CETA offer mortgage intermediaries?
A: CETA provides mortgage brokers with access to a wide range of general insurance products without their needing to hold individual agencies with insurers or guarantee minimum levels of business. We provide brokers with everything they need to write business including software which, among other things, enables them to provide quotes at point-of-sale and put clients on cover immediately.
Q: What products can brokers get via CETA?
A: We offer most types of general insurance including buildings and contents, mortgage protection, commercial, liability, legal protection, travel and pet insurance. Products are provided by leading companies including Zurich, NIG, AXA, Groupama, Cornhill, L&G and Scottish Equitable. Many products have been specially rated to provide CETA members and their clients with competitive pricing.
Q: Can mortgage intermediaries make much money selling general insurance products?
A: Yes they can. Typical commission rates are 27.5% for mortgage protection and travel, 15% for household and pet and 10% for motor. Brokers should also bear in mind that with general insurance commission, unlike mortgages, they receive payments each year. The sale of a household and ASU policy, for example, might produce £300 in commission in year one and then repeat payments in each year the policy remains in place.
Q: If a mortgage broker has not sold general insurance to date, why should they think about doing so now?
A: Selling general insurance not only opens up a worthwhile revenue stream but it also enables brokers to provide their clients with an added value service. Borrowers need products such as building and contents cover, MPPI insurance and travel insurance. These are not difficult to sell if introduced at the correct time in the sales process.
Q: Why did you decide to launch CETA Life?
A: Regulation was the main driver. We saw the opportunity to extend our product offering to include a range of life assurance products which can be marketed by brokers in a fully compliant manner. CETA Life uses a disk-based quote system which allows brokers to give clients product comparison quotes on the spot. Policy processing is quick and easy and we provide an online tracking service and support administration facility which can do everything from diary management to generating letters and mailshots.
Q: Why did you launch a service to help borrowers buy property in Spain?
A: Spain is the fastest growing property market in Europe and a popular choice for British buyers. Some people buy as an investment, others for their retirement and some because they want a holiday retreat. But they all face common problems.
Buying property in Spain is not the same as buying in the UK. The legal system is different, mortgages are usually not available with such high LTVs as in the UK and Spanish banks still negotiate rates on a branch by branch basis. Although buyers are tempted by house prices which have been rising by up to 20% per year many are put off by the fear of unwittingly getting something wrong. Spanish Property and Investment Network provides a comprehensive solution from helping to identify the right type of development to arranging finance and getting legal support.
Q: Is the service available via intermediaries?
A: Yes. We have found that most people who are considering buying abroad will ask their adviser for help but to date few brokers have been able to provide it. Brokers can refer their clients to SPAIN and we will do the rest – and pay the broker a good level of commission. For example, on a property deal valued at £150,000 the broker will typically receive over £2,000 in commission for the introduction. We will also give them a discount if they decide to buy property in Spain themselves.
Thumbs up or thumbs down?
Chris Blair – Footstep Mortgages
At Footstep Mortgages we find the service from CETA is excellent – especially its online procedures – and its products cater for a variety of needs. CETA Life has made the process of providing protection quick and simple and has happily taken ownership of all our applications, leaving us with more time to deal with developing our business elsewhere and to devote to building stronger client relationships to the benefit of everyone concerned. CETA is an intermediary-focussed organisation.
Ron Jehu – Financial Portfolio Management
A simple online quoting system, a streamlined application process, a single point of contact for queries, someone to chase progress for us and a desire to pay the best rates of commission. These are promises made by many networks but in our experience only delivered by CETA. We have used CETA for a number of years and when offered the chance to join its Spanish Property Network we embraced it immediately. The clients we have put forward to it have been dealt with in a professional manner.
Bill Phillips – Lancaster House Mortgages
I have been with CETA a long time. The directors always take the trouble to get back to you and will talk to you direct to solve problems. They also listen to feedback from brokers and in many cases act on it. There can be few other companies of this size that really want and value the opinions of individual brokers. Commission is fair on all products and the whole organisation is structured with brokers in mind. Also, CETA does not sell single premium ASU, which I am pleased about.