The Office for National Statistics has stated that the number of unemployed in the UK has risen to 2.68 million - the highest number of jobless people since 1994.
With all this economic uncertainty, falling house prices and pay freezes, it seems like a gloomy start to 2012.
But there are individuals who are thinking of inventive ways to earn extra cash to cushion their tightening budgets.
More and more people are using their homes to earn money, and some without even having to move.
We’ve seen the rent-a-room scheme promoted by the government with a tax-free incentive on rent under £4,250 a year, a growing number of buy-to-lets with more people retaining their house as an investment when moving, and even lending out their home for photo shoots and filming.
These are all good ways to earn extra cash, but if insurers aren’t notified policies could be void – meaning hefty bills if things go wrong.
There are many cases where individuals just entering the rental market will retain generic home insurance and think that it will suffice when the tenants move in.
This is an opportunity for brokers not only to sell the right products to the right customer, but also to educate consumers on the importance of reporting circumstantial changes.
The changing uses of property in this way is becoming more common and is an opportunity that I think will gather steam in 2012.