Insurance Agencies Can Beat Writer’s Block By Pre-Planning Online Content

ileads insurance market minute

Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Nationwide Study Reveals Approach Agents Need To Take To Consumers. This week we’re bringing you:

 

American Financial Group exits Lloyd’s market with sale of insurance unit*

American Financial Group (AFG) has entered into a definitive agreement to sell GAI Holding Bermuda and its subsidiaries – which comprise the legal entities that own Lloyd’s of London insurer Neon Underwriting – to private markets asset management firm RiverStone Holdings Limited.

AFG previously announced its plans to exit the Lloyd’s marketplace through the sale of Neon earlier this year.

At the close of a sale, AFG expects the release of all its funds at Lloyd’s, including the release of the letters of credit and the collateral pledge facility that AFG guarantees in support of Neon’s funds at Lloyd’s.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to customary conditions, a release said.

Read more in-depth here.

 

Insurance-linked securities rebound from pandemic disruption*

Issuance of insurance-linked securities slowed when the COVID-19 pandemic roiled markets earlier this year, but interest in the nontraditional reinsurance mechanisms has since picked up as investors continue to be attracted to investment vehicles that allow them to diversify their portfolios.

While established ILS products offer investors investment opportunities that are not closely correlated to mainstream financial markets, some more recent ILS structures are not so far removed, expert say.

In addition, they say, volatility in equity and fixed-income markets has in some cases distracted investors from ILS products, which include catastrophe bonds and other securitized products.

The ILS market, from a new issuance point of view, “shut down for a few weeks in March and April,” according to Paul Schultz, Chicago-based CEO of Aon Securities, a unit of Aon PLC. The market, however, saw “good levels in the second quarter despite the COVID-19 interruption.”

Read more in-depth here.

 

Insurance agencies can beat writer’s block by pre-planning online content*

Insurance agencies that want to keep customers’ eyes on their websites would do well to plan their online content a few months in advance and keep a steady flow of information coming.

The payoffs of a defined and robust online marketing plan are manifold. Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC) found that insurance companies that blog more than 16 times per month receive more than four times the number of leads, versus companies that publish four or less posts. However, a key challenge to getting started with online marketing is coming up with topics to write about. To that end, ITC has released a free e-book to help agents brainstorm ideas and create content. The e-book provides a full calendar year of planned digital content, including topics that are insurance consumer-centric and evergreen.

An important benefit of planning content in advance is avoiding the dreaded writer’s block while ensuring that posts appear on a tight schedule.

Read more in-depth here.

 

Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

At iLeads, we have many great solutions for insurance agents at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

You can also schedule a call here.

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    The 2020 Refi Wave: Where Activity Is Strongest, Where It’s Not,...

    iLeads Mortgage Market Minute
    Welcome back to iLeads Mortgage Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the mortgage market. We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition where we talked about What Will The Fed Do To Mortgage Rates?. This week we’re bringing you:

     

    Low mortgage rates fuel demand for valuation and settlement services*

    VRM Mortgage Services CEO shares how the company is navigating an unusual year

    HousingWire recently spoke with Keith Murray, president and CEO of VRM Mortgage Services, about the importance of diversity in an organization and how VRM has continued to serve its clients in an unusual year.

    HousingWire: The term we keep hearing to describe 2020 is “unprecedented.” How has VRM continued to serve its clients in such unusual times?

    Keith Murray: VRM has always taken a community-first approach to serving the needs of our clients. We do this with a talented team of professionals that we support with superior technology and continuing education to keep abreast of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted real estate markets across the country.

    Since our vendor partners are our eyes and ears on the ground, we support them as well, with a variety of educational offerings though our VRM University platform. By marrying the best of the best of internal and external resources, VRM has continued to deliver superior results for our customers during these historic times.

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    Homeowner Equity Surged in Q2*

    There was another big surge in the amount of equity on the balance sheets of American homeowners in the second quarter of this year. CoreLogic reports that the 4.3 percent gain in home prices over the past year sent home equity shooting up by 6.6 percent.

    The report shows U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63 percent of all properties) saw an average gain in equity from the second quarter of 2019 of $9,800. The collective nationwide increase was $620 billion.

    This is especially important at this point, as equity may provide some insulation for homeowners during the pandemic. During the housing boom millions of buyers used low down payment mortgages and there was an epidemic of cash-out refinances, leaving many homeowners with little equity. When prices began to fall, millions fell quickly into negative equity, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. This left them with little flexibility to refinance or sell their homes to get out of financial difficulty.

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    Refresher on The New Refi Fee and Its Effect on Mortgage Rates*

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the two government sponsored agencies that guarantee timely payment of principal and interest to the investors who front the money that finances the American mortgage market. This guarantee means that more investors are willing to participate and at more advantageous rates for homeowners. Naturally, not every mortgage is repaid perfectly. Sometimes, payments are missed. In more serious situations, loans can end in foreclosure, short sales, etc. In those cases, the housing agencies are there to act as a backstop ensuring investors are made whole.

    In order to foot that bill, Fannie and Freddie collect fees on loans that they guarantee. Shockingly, these are called guarantee fees (or guaranty fees” with a “Y” in the case of Fannie Mae). The mortgage industry and the rest of this article will typically refer to them as G-fees.

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    [PULSE] Even during origination surge, don’t forget to brush up on compliance*

    Regulators don’t take a break when the housing market is doing well

    It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment in the mortgage industry. During this particular moment, the prevailing thought is “throughput!” It’s no secret that much of our space is busy trying to push mortgage loans through the pipeline without losing them as their sales funnels overflow.

    So who could possibly be thinking about compliance right now, except maybe, compliance officers?

    This is not a suggestion where you drop what you’re doing, push your production team into training and staff up the compliance department. Who’s got time for that when the fish are jumping into the boat? But when you do get a little time to look ahead, it may be time to realize that, at some point, you’ll want to revisit your compliance program. Is it current? Is it continuous? Is it working? Is someone keeping an eye on it?

    Enforcement agencies and regulators don’t take a break when the market is going well. They have jobs to do, too. Things like the Fair Housing Act and Dodd-Frank are still with us, no matter how aggressive or lax you believe the agencies responsible for enforcing them should be or are. You don’t have to look too far through the pages and articles of HousingWire to find a few examples of that. And being too busy on the sales and production side, unfortunately, is never an effective defense to most regulatory violations.

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    Home Sales Surge to Best Levels in 14 Years*

    Existing home sales continued on a roll for the third consecutive month, hitting the highest level in August since December 2006. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said sales of pre-owned single-family houses, townhomes, condos, and cooperative apartment were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of

    Home Sales Surge

     

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    [PULSE] The 2020 refi wave: Where activity is strongest, where it’s not, and what’s ahead*

    The MBA expects a near 17-year high for refis in 2020, but the market may be cresting

    The housing and mortgage markets have been the rare bright spots in an otherwise fragile economy brought forth by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mortgage origination volume this year is on track to be the highest in more than 15 years, led by a strong wave of refinances.

    Just how busy have lenders been? 2003 was the last time refinance activity was as high as the $1.75 trillion MBA is forecasting for 2020.

    Mortgage rates have reached record lows, driven by the unprecedented economic weakness, as well as the Federal Reserve’s substantial efforts to keep the economy afloat by cutting short-term rates to zero and purchasing more than $1 trillion dollars of mortgage-backed securities. Homeowners are benefitting from lower monthly payments, while lenders are struggling to manage high volumes – all during a time when their employees continue to work remotely, and many temporary origination flexibilities remain in place.

    The Refi Wave

     

    Read more in-depth here.

     

    Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

    At iLeads, we have many great solutions for mortgage LO’s at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

    We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

    You can also schedule a call here.

    Get Started

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      Nationwide Study Reveals Approach Agents Need To Take To Consumers

      ileads insurance market minute
      Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Munich Re Stops Selling Pandemic Business Cover. This week we’re bringing you:

       

      Ohio governor signs COVID-19 legislation*

      Gov. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, has signed into law legislation that protects businesses and others from lawsuits arising from exposure to COVID-19, so long as they do not show intentional misconduct.

      The legislation follows similar laws that have been enacted by Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, and Tennessee, according to tracking by law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

      Ohio’s H.B. 606, which was signed into law by Gov. DeWine on Monday, provides civil immunity to businesses as well as schools, health care providers, business, and other entities from lawsuits arising from the exposure, transmission, or contraction of COVID-19, or any of the virus’ mutation, so long as these entities do not demonstrate reckless, intentional or willful misconduct, according to the legislation.

      Read more in-depth here.

       

      California governor signs COVID-19 presumption, outbreak reporting laws*

      California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed into law measures to make it easier for front-line workers to receive workers comp benefits if they contract COVID-19 on the job and require employers to promptly report potential coronavirus outbreaks to public health authorities.

      S.B. 1159 creates a presumption that first responders, health care workers, and police officers who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of performing labor or services contracted the virus at work and are entitled to workers’ compensation unless their employers can show that they contracted the virus elsewhere.

      Read more in-depth here.

       

      Employers grapple with COVID-19 presumption laws*

      Employers nationwide are following the legislative push to accept COVID-19 claims by the presumption in worker’s compensation, changes that aren’t necessarily guaranteeing that such infectious disease claims will be greenlighted but instead promise a surge in litigation and confusion, experts say.

      Given the new laws’ many nuances, employers are “worried about staying on top” of the presumption trend, said Ralph Touch, Fleetwood, Pennsylvania-based senior vice president of claim operations at Gallagher Bassett Services Inc.

      “For the very first time we have the entire insurance industry learning new laws on the fly,” he said. “These are very big changes, and they are happening quickly. We are applying a disease (to worker’s compensation) that you could get walking down the street.

      Read more in-depth here.

       

      Nationwide study reveals approach agents need to take to consumers*

      Eighty-four percent (84%) of consumers are reevaluating their budgets and insurance coverage in light of the current economic uncertainty, according to the latest research from Nationwide’s Agent Authority study.

      The study found that consumers felt working with a trustworthy and accessible insurance agent was a priority – but there are ways agents can enhance those relationships, Nationwide said.

      “Our most recent Agent Authority survey shows agents are bringing immense value to consumers, especially in times of so much uncertainty,” said Jeff Rommel, senior vice president of property and casualty sales and distribution at Nationwide. “Consumers are identifying new opportunities for agents to step up and strengthen relationships at a time when their personal lines clients are taking a closer look at their insurance needs.”

      What customers want

      According to the survey:

      • 44% of consumers are reviewing one or more of their insurance policies.
      • 31% looked further into what their insurance policy covers.
      • 26% contacted their agent to discuss coverage.
      • 13% of consumers asked their agents to look at different carriers to find a better price or coverage.
      • In addition to insurance, some consumers are looking to their agents for guidance on topics like retirement (26%) and cybersecurity (16%).
      • Consumers are evenly split on their preference for an in-person vs. digital experience with their agent; 51% prefer to have an agent where they’re located, while 49% prefer a digital experience.

      Read more in-depth here.

       

      Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

      At iLeads, we have many great solutions for insurance agents at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

      We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

      You can also schedule a call here.

      Get Started

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        What Will The Fed Do To Mortgage Rates?

        iLeads Mortgage Market Minute
        Welcome back to iLeads Mortgage Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the mortgage market. We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition where we talked about Why is the housing market thriving in a pandemic?. This week we’re bringing you:

         

        It hasn’t been this hard to get a mortgage in six years*

        An index measuring mortgage availability drops to the lowest level since March 2014, MBA says

        Mortgage credit in August was the tightest in more than six years as a weak economy prompted lenders to tighten standards, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a report on Thursday.

        The group’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index fell 4.7% to 120.9 last month, the lowest since March 2014, indicating stricter requirements to get loans. The index plunged from record highs seen in late 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression.

        The drop in the availability of credit was “driven by a reduction in supply from both conventional and government segments of the market,” said Joel Kan, an MBA associate vice president.

        Measuring credit availability by loan type, the Conforming MCAI that tracks loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell 8.6% to the lowest in the data series that goes back to 2011, the report said. The Jumbo MCAI measuring high-balance loans fell 8.9%, and the Conventional MCAI that measures loans not backed by the government fell 8.7%.

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        Almost 20 Million Homeowners are Prime Refi Candidates*

        Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Market Survey published yesterday reported a 7-basis point decline in the 30-year mortgage rate over the previous week and reported that the resulting rate, 2.86 percent, was a new record low. Black Knight reports that this new rate has had a big impact on the pool of refinance candidates.

        The company says there are now 19.3 million “high quality” refinance candidates, the largest number ever. This is 43 percent of all active 30-year mortgages. Black Knight defines a refinanceable loan as one where the homeowner has a credit score of at least 720, at least 20 percent equity in the home, and the potential for a 75-basis point reduction in their mortgage interest rate. These homeowners have potential savings averaging $299 per month, a national aggregate of $5.8 billion per month if all homeowners took advantage of the opportunity. That is the largest aggregate ever available through refinancing.

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        Mortgage lending volume in 2020 likely to break records*

        Origination volume will reach $3.9 trillion, boosted by $2.4 trillion in refis, Fannie Mae says

        Fannie Mae, the world’s largest mortgage financier, said mortgage lending this year probably will reach an all-time high of $3.9 trillion.

        The dollar-volume record will be boosted by $2.4 trillion in refinancings, the highest level since 2003 and more than double the level seen in 2019, the mortgage giant said in a forecast on Tuesday.

        “We continue to believe that a low-rate environment will support refinance demand over the forecast horizon,” Fannie Mae said in the forecast. “At the current interest rate of 2.86%, we estimate that nearly 69% of outstanding first-lien loan balances have at least a half-percentage point incentive to refinance.”

        The low rates likely will boost the sales of new houses to 777,000 this year, a gain of 14% from 2019, the forecast said.

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        Mortgage modifications are on the rise, MBA says*

        About 9.48% of forbearance exits were due to loans being modified by servicers

        Forbearance exits, measuring how many borrowers cancelled agreements to suspend mortgage payments, rose to a one-month high in September’s first week. This was led by a surge in loan modifications, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association on Monday.

        Total exits from forbearance rose to 0.23% of servicers’ portfolios in the first week of September, almost double the 0.14% in the prior week, MBA said.

        About 9.48% of forbearance exits were due to mortgages being modified by servicers, meaning the terms of the loan were permanently altered and the borrower was brought current. A week earlier, modifications were cited for 6.56% of mortgages that exited forbearance, the MBA report said.

        The overall share of mortgages in forbearance fell to 7.01% of servicers’ portfolios, down from 7.16% in the prior week, MBA said. About 3.5 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.

        The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance dropped 15 basis points from the prior week to 4.65%. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance, primarily mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration, fell 50 basis points to 9.12%, while the forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities increased by 28 basis points to 10.71%.

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        Lenders Upbeat About Profits, Loan Demand*

        Mortgage lenders had an excellent second quarter in terms of profitability according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and Fannie Mae’s Lender Sentiment Survey for the third quarter indicates they expect that situation to continue. Forty-eight percent of respondents believe their profit margins will increase compared to Q2 while 37 percent say profits will be about the same. Only 15 percent believe there will be a decline.

         

         

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        What Will The Fed Do to Mortgage Rates?*

        What will the Fed do to mortgage rates? This is actually a bit of a trick question. The Fed doesn’t set mortgage rates. The Fed’s policy rate applies to overnight loans between large financial institutions. The only way it directly influences mortgage rates is by serving as the basis for the PRIME rate. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are often based on the Prime Rate.

        For all other mortgage rates, charting a connection to the Fed Funds Rate is significantly more challenging. Indeed, there are many examples of mortgage rates moving in the opposite direction. In other words, mortgage rates have often fallen after a Fed rate hike and vice versa.

        But the Fed Funds rate isn’t the only aspect of Fed policy. It’s in those other policy tools that we find much better correlation between Fed actions and movement in the bond market (which ultimately dictates mortgage rate movement). Specifically, the Fed’s bond buying programs have been had a bigger impact than anything. When markets expect the Fed to start or maintain bond buying, rates fall significantly. When the Fed threatens to remove or decrease bond buying, rates move higher.

        Read more in-depth here.

         

        Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

        At iLeads, we have many great solutions for mortgage LO’s at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

        We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

        You can also schedule a call here.

        Get Started

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          Munich Re Stops Selling Pandemic Business Cover

          ileads insurance market minute
          Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Commercial Insurance Rate Hikes Near Double Digits In Q2: Willis. This week we’re bringing you:

           

          This time the insurance industry lost after reading the small print*

          When can one say a notifiable disease has occurred within a “vicinity” if the whole country is in lockdown? For fans of dense legal disputes, the high court’s judgment in the big Covid-19 business interruption insurance case offered hours of rhetorical fun. For non-fans, here’s a summary: the insurance industry quibbled over the small print in policies and thus reinforced every damning caricature of its way of working.

          Not in every case, to be clear. As might be expected when the court was considering 21 sample wordings in policies, there were differences and nuances; individual firms even won on a few examples. But, taken as a whole, the industry looks grubby.

          Victory for the Financial Conduct Authority, which brought the test case to provide legal clarity, may have been partial but it was also significant. Barring a successful appeal by the insurers, thousands of small businesses with “non-damage” clauses covering instances of business interruption should now get some money.

          Read more in-depth here.

           

          Travelers wins another COVID-19 coverage ruling*

          Another federal court in California on Monday ruled that an insurer does not have to cover business interruption losses for a policyholder that closed its operations due to government-ordered COVID-19 lockdowns.

          A Travelers Cos. Inc. unit is not obligated to pay a lost income claim submitted by Mudpie Inc., a San Francisco children’s clothing and toy store, because the store did not suffer a physical loss under the terms of the policy, the court ruled.

          In Mudpie Inc. v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Co. of America, which was heard in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the store said it had lost income after it was forced to close earlier this year to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

          Read more in-depth here.

           

          New Jersey latest COVID-19 comp presumption state*

          Gov. Phil Murphy, D-New Jersey, on Monday signed into law a bill that provides workers compensation benefits for essential workers who acquire COVID-19.

          Lawmakers in July passed S.B. 2380, which creates the rebuttable presumption that COVID-19 is an occupational disease during a declared state of emergency for certain workers.

          According to the law, essential employees are classified as those whose job duties are considered essential during an emergency response and recovery operation; public or private sector employees whose job duties are essential to the public’s health, safety, and welfare; emergency responders and workers at health care facilities and those performing jobs that support a health care facility, such as laundry, research, and hospital food service.

          Read more in-depth here.

           

          Munich Re halts sale of pandemic business coverage*

          German reinsurer Munich Re has halted the sale of coverage to protect against business losses in future pandemics, the Bloomberg has reported.

          The decision is reported to have been made after the firm took a €1.5 bn ($1.8 bn) hit due to Covid-19 in the first half of this year.

          Munich Re reinsurance head Torsten Jeworrek told the news agency: “We are currently examining whether we will offer new contracts that include pandemic protection in property and casualty insurance in the future.

          “For the moment it has been suspended, for example with respect to event cancellations.”

          According to the report, a major portion of these losses were brought by the cancellation of events in the wake of the pandemic this year.

          In March, Munich Re issued a profit warning and stopped a share-buyback program due to a spike in Covid-19 claims. The company did not issue the new profit guidance for this year.

          Read more in-depth here.

           

          Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

          At iLeads, we have many great solutions for insurance agents at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

          We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

          You can also schedule a call here.

          Get Started

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            Why is the housing market thriving in a pandemic?

            iLeads Mortgage Market Minute

            Welcome back to iLeads Mortgage Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the mortgage market. We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition where we talked about Here’s Why Mortgage Rates Are Outperforming. This week we’re bringing you:

             

            Here’s how COVID-19 has transformed RON adoption*

            Today’s Daily Download episode features an interview with Aaron Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network, one of Florida’s largest RON providers. In this episode, HousingWire examines a recent article that delves into one key component that is hindering RON adoption. Davis discusses how RON adoption has changed in the era of COVID-19, what it will take for increased RON and eNote adoption in the secondary market and how RON has transformed the borrower experience overall.

            Ramirez’s article is part of our HW+ premium membership community. When you go to sign up, use the code “hwpluspodcast100” to get $100 off your annual membership.

            For some background on the story, here’s a summary of the article:

            Read more in-depth here.

             

            The Uncommonly Strong Case For Locking a Mortgage Rate*

            Almost everywhere you look, low mortgage rates are in the news. Experts are claiming they’ll remain low or move lower for years to come. They might be right! But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wait to refinance or to lock your rate if you’re already in the loan process.

            It is true that mortgage rates improved noticeably earlier this week. Part of the improvement is due to overall gains in the bond market following last week’s Federal Reserve scare. When the Fed updated its policy framework, the bond market was briefly spooked. A spooked bond market means higher yields/rates.

            The next 5 business days brought a deliberate recovery for longer-term rates. This can be seen in the following chart of 10yr Treasury yields (a benchmark for all longer-term rates in the US). Definitely make a note of the bounce toward higher rates today, as that helps build the case for locking to some extent.

            Read more in-depth here.

             

            High home prices erase homebuyers’ increased purchasing power*

            Low housing inventory is to blame

            Homebuyer purchasing power increased 6.9% this July, meaning a homebuyer with a $2,500 monthly housing budget can afford a home priced $33,250 higher than a year ago, Redfin found, which it credited to historically low mortgage rates.

            But with home prices up 8.2% year over year in July, this homebuyer purchasing power is essentially canceled out, data from Redfin shows.

            “Low mortgage rates are motivating many people to purchase a home, particularly those who want more space to work from home,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in a release. “But because there hasn’t been an increase in the number of homes for sale since rates started dropping with the onset of the pandemic, many buyers end up competing for the same homes, driving up prices.”

            For example: at a 3% mortgage rate, a homebuyer can afford a $516,500 home with a budget of $2,500 a month, up from a $483,250 home last year on the same budget. Essentially, the monthly payment on a $483,250 home has dropped from $2,500 a year ago to $2,339 today, Redfin said.

            But because of low housing inventory, there are fewer homes for sale that are affordable for someone with a $2,500 monthly budget compared to last year. This July, only 70.6% of homes nationwide were affordable for a buyer with that budget, down from 71.9% last July.

            Read more in-depth here.

             

            Delinquency Rate Could Double Without More Federal Support*

            Mortgage delinquencies spiked in June and the serious delinquency rate, loans 90 or more days past due but not in foreclosure, reached its highest level in more than five years. CoreLogic in its monthly loan performance report, said 7.1 percent of all mortgages nationwide were at least 30 days past due, including those in foreclosure. This is 3.1 percentage points higher than the delinquency rate in June 2019.

            Further, the company predicts that, barring additional government programs and support, serious delinquency rates could nearly double from the June 2020 level by early 2022. Not only could millions of families potentially lose their home, through a short sale or foreclosure, but this also could create downward pressure on home prices – and consequently home equity – as distressed sales are pushed back into the for-sale market.

            Read more in-depth here.

             

            Why is the housing market thriving in a pandemic?*

            Low mortgage rates coupled with a shift to working at home are driving demand, Yun says

            The deadliest pandemic in more than a century has failed to derail the housing market because of the lowest mortgage rates ever recorded coupled with a shift in how people use their homes.

            “The buyers are coming in because of the low-interest rates – that’s the No. 1 reason,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors said in an interview with HousingWire. “The secondary demand is coming from the work-at-home phenomenon that has people looking for bigger homes and caring less about commuting time.”

            People now see their home not only as a place to live but as a shelter during a national health crisis, Yun said. It’s also an office and, for families with children, often a part-time school.

            Mortgage rates began tumbling in mid-March after the Federal Reserve announced it would buy mortgage bonds and Treasuries to keep credit flowing amid the pandemic. It was similar to a fixed-asset program it created during the financial crisis a dozen years ago.

            The average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage has been under 3% since late July, as measured weekly by Freddie Mac. When Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced in March the Fed would purchase bonds, it was 3.65%.

            Read more in-depth here.

             

            Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

            At iLeads, we have many great solutions for mortgage LO’s at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

            We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

            You can also schedule a call here.

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              Commercial Insurance Rate Hikes Near Double Digits In Q2: Willis

              ileads insurance market minute
              Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Revealed – What Will Happen To Insurance Industry Employment In The Next 12 Months. This week we’re bringing you:

               

              Etihad Airways announces COVID-19 insurance*

              Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based airline which services the US among other regions, has announced that it will provide COVID-19 insurance to its passengers.

              Airlines around the world are trying to stimulate demand amid the pandemic. As people continue to travel, Etihad has decided to provide coverage for medical and quarantine costs for passengers who contracted the virus after taking one of its flights.

              Etihad’s COVID-19 insurance, which is offered in partnership with insurer AXA AXAF.PA, covers medical costs of up to €150,000 (around $177,000) and quarantine costs of up to €100 (around $118) per day for 14 days for passengers who contracted the disease within 31 days of first traveling. It is included in the airfare of tickets for travel until the end of 2020 and is valid around the world.

              Read more in-depth here.

               

              Ford partners with Metromile for pay-per-mile insurance on new cars*

              Ford is giving new car buyers a way to save money on insurance now that millions of Americans are working from home and driving less than they were before the coronavirus hit the U.S.

              The automaker said Thursday it is partnering with start-up insurer Metromile to give drivers easier access to the company’s pay-per-mile insurance offering. When drivers sign up on Metromile’s app or website, the odometer on their new Ford will immediately connect to Metromile’s software, which will start tracking miles.

              Car insurers have faced controversy in the six months since Covid-19 forced offices around the country to close and put an end to live events and group gatherings. Major insurers said in April that they would start providing refunds, credits, or rate cuts to customers because of the plunge in drive time, but a number of class-action lawsuits have been filed by consumers who said they should have been given bigger discounts.

              Read more in-depth here.

               

              Willis Towers Watson partners up for cyber research*

              Willis Towers Watson has announced a partnership with the University of Oxford to conduct research on the cost of equity arising from severe cyber breaches.

              The Willis Research Network will partner with the university to research three key areas of cybersecurity risk, focusing on:

              • Increases in systemic risk – leading to an increase in the cost of equity – following severe breaches at publicly listed companies.
              • The nature of cyberattack resilience – the success or failure of an organization after a cyberattack.
              • The current risk landscape of AI-facilitated impersonation such as phishing, and the implications this has for the insurance sector.

              Read more in-depth here.

               

              Commercial rate hikes near double digits in Q2: Willis*

              U.S. commercial insurance rate increases were close to double digits in the second quarter with excess/umbrella and directors and officers liability seeing the biggest spike, according to Willis Towers Watson PLC’s commercial lines insurance pricing survey released Monday.

              The aggregate increase for all lines reported by insurers was just under 10%, up from 3% in the prior-year second quarter, the survey found.

              Specialty lines increases were well into the double digits, driven by D&O and medical professional liability lines, Willis Towers Watson said.

              Byline of business, excess/umbrella and D&O liability lines saw a 20% rate increase for the second consecutive quarter.

              Rate increases for commercial auto were near or above double digits and property rate increases were well into the double digits, Willis Towers Watson said.

              Only worker’s compensation saw rate decreases, though they continue to slowly lessen in magnitude, the survey found.

              Increases also varied by size, with large accounts seeing increases well above double digits, mid-market accounts at double-digit, and small commercial rising by mid-single digits, Willis Towers Watson said.

              Read more in-depth here.

               

              Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

              At iLeads, we have many great solutions for insurance agents at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

              We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

              You can also schedule a call here.

              Get Started

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                Revealed – What Will Happen To Insurance Industry Employment In The...

                ileads insurance market minute
                Welcome to iLeads Insurance Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the insurance market. Last week you were reading Coronavirus Raises Fears Of Increase In Insurance Fraud. This week we’re bringing you:

                 

                Insurers face difficult choices with marijuana*

                The workers compensation industry anticipated that marijuana would be a hot legislative topic in 2020 for both recreational and medicinal use. However, when the pandemic hit, attention shifted to the public health crisis surrounding COVID-19.

                The drug’s current status as an illegal Schedule I drug according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the lack of large-scale studies on marijuana, and questions on dosing and efficacy are outstanding issues that may keep the drug a questionable option for treating injured workers.

                Prior to the pandemic, “quite a few states either had case law or updated their regulatory framework around marijuana reimbursement to injured workers, but of course there has not been a change in federal law … so that really continues to be a barrier,” said Sandy Shtab, Tampa, Florida-based assistant vice president of advocacy and compliance for Healthesystems LLC.

                That dichotomy continues to place insurers in a difficult position — particularly in states that have mandated its reimbursement either legislatively or in the courts — of following their state rules or abiding by federal law.

                Read more in-depth here.

                 

                Workers compensation presumption laws challenge employers*

                Workers compensation presumption laws, which place the burden on employers to prove that an injury or illness was not picked up on the job, have increased as states seek to expand benefits for first responders with cancer and mental health issues.

                The trend has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic as lawmakers seek to protect health care workers and others exposed to the disease through their employment.

                But the addition of presumption laws for essential workers has raised concerns over how far the workers comp expansions may go and whether insurers and employers are prepared to deal with the associated expenses, which include legal costs as most presumption laws are “rebuttable,” meaning if an employer can prove the ailment was unrelated to work it can fight it in court.

                Read more in-depth here.

                 

                WIA swoops for New York agency*

                World Insurance Associates has announced the acquisition of Jefferson Valley, N.Y.-based Countywide Insurance Agency. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

                “We’re committed to developing and nurturing long-term relationships with our clients and carriers,” said Richard Strauss, who has joined WIA as manager of the Countywide Insurance Agency unit. “Our partnership with World Insurance Associates allows us to do so with the backing and resources of a nationally recognized company.”

                Read more in-depth here.

                 

                Revealed – what will happen to insurance industry employment in the next 12 months*

                A new report from The Jacobson Group and Aon has found that the insurance industry is set for slow, but steady employment growth over the next 12 months.

                Jacobson and Aon’s semi-annual Insurance Labor Market study revealed that insurers plan to maintain or increase hiring as 2020 continues – 83% of companies surveyed said that they plan to maintain or increase staff during the next year.

                However, that growth will not come easy, as insurers also indicated that they expect the difficulty in recruiting new employees to persist – despite industry unemployment being somewhere around 4.8%, the study noted.

                Key findings of the study included:

                • Forty-eight per cent (48%) of insurance companies said they plan to increase staff during the next 12 months – with the personal lines P&C segment comprising 60% of those companies with employment plans.
                • Seventeen per cent (17%) are planning to decrease the number of employees – the highest total reported since January 2012, and the third highest total since 2009.
                • Fifty per cent (50%) of medium-sized companies plan to add staff during the next 12 months.
                • The primary reason to increase staff during the next 12 months is the anticipated increase in business volume, followed by business areas being understaffed. Forty-five per cent (45%) of companies indicated these as the primary reasons for hiring.

                Read more in-depth here.

                 

                Featured iLeads Solution:

                Looking for the most qualified leads? iLeads insurance leads might be the answer. Learn more…

                We are ready to help you navigate through the COVID-19 insurance environment.

                 

                Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

                At iLeads, we have many great solutions for insurance agents at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

                We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

                You can also schedule a call here.

                Get Started

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                  Here’s Why Mortgage Rates Are Outperforming

                  iLeads Mortgage Market Minute
                  Welcome back to iLeads Mortgage Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the mortgage market. We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition where we talked about Are Existing Home Sales Showing A Housing Bubble?. This week we’re bringing you:

                   

                  More Evidence For Mass Exodus To The ‘Burbs*

                  It has been rumored since the first wave of the coronavirus struck in some of the densely populated urban centers, especially in New York and New Jersey. Now, however, there is substantiation of a population shift from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Its second quarter Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) shows that, while the pandemic caused widespread economic impacts for many businesses, housing has weathered the economic storm, rebounding quickly from an April slump. It also shows that, the only region posting a quarterly gain for single-family construction during the second quarter was small metro suburbs.

                  Litic Murali, writing in NAHB’s Eye on Housing blog says that more than 55 percent of the U.S. population resides in “large metro areas” but these large areas make up only 8.2 percent of all land in HBGI’s surveyed areas (all of the U.S. excluding the territories.) Given the risks in the current pandemic are exacerbated by a lack of social and physical distancing, single-family homebuyers are seeking less densely populated areas, i.e., suburbs, for housing. This began to play out in the second quarter with relative growth in lower density markets that represent half of all single-family construction on a four-quarter moving-average year-over-year basis. Those small suburbs saw 2nd quarter single-family construction rise 10.6 percent on a four-quarter moving average basis.

                  Read more in-depth here.

                   

                  July Home Prices Increase 5.5%, Breaking a Two-Year Record*

                  Home prices grew in July by the fastest rate in nearly two years, a 5.5 percent annual gain. According to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI), the month-over-month change was 1.2 percent. The company said it was “The one-two punch of strong purchase demand – bolstered by falling mortgage rates, which dipped below 3 percent for the first time ever in July – and further constriction of for-sale inventory” that has driven upward pressure on home price appreciation.

                  “On an aggregated level, the housing economy remains rock solid despite the shock and awe of the pandemic. A long period of record-low mortgage rates has opened the flood gates for a refinancing boom that is likely to last for several years,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “In addition, after a momentary COVID-19-induced blip, purchase demand has picked up, driven by low rates and enthusiastic millennial and investor buyers. Spurred on by strong demand and record-low mortgage rates, we expect to see more home building in 2021 and beyond, which should help support a healthy housing market for years to come.”

                  There is, as always, different rates of increase by locality. CoreLogic notes that homebuying activity is rising in “traditionally affordable suburban and rural areas that allow for more space as schools and work remain online.” It points to two Long Island counties where home prices were up 4.3 percent on an annual basis in July. Nassau and Suffolk have become destinations for residents moving from metro New York-Jersey City-White Plains where prices, in contrast, rose only 0.4 percent.

                  Read more in-depth here.

                   

                  Construction Spending Report Saved by Multi-Family Sector*

                  Construction spending as a whole was essentially flat in July, but residential spending showed significant growth. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that total expenditures from both public and private sources were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.365 trillion, a 0.1 percent increase from June but down 0.1 percent from July 2019.

                  On an unadjusted basis $124.747 billion was spent compared to $123.675 billion the previous month. For the year-to-date (YTD) $792.641 billion has been expended, a 4.0 percent increase over the first seven months of last year.

                  Privately funded construction increased by 0.6 percent compared to June, an annual spending rate of $1.014 trillion. This is down 1.8 percent from the July 2019 total. Private spending for the month was $89.787 billion on a non-adjusted basis up from $89.467 billion in June. YTD spending has increased by 3.3 percent compared to 2019, to a total of $596.309 billion.

                  Read more in-depth here.

                   

                  Refi fee is delayed, but what are lenders doing about loans that were already locked?*

                  Here’s what Home Point Financial, UWM and loanDepot are doing

                  The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Tuesday it is delaying the implementation of its adverse market refinance fee to Dec. 1 – three months past its intended start date. But what about lenders whose refi loans were locked with closing dates after Sept. 1 and carrying the 50bps LLPA?

                  Phil Shoemaker, president of originations at Home Point Financial, said that for every Home Point borrower who had the adjustment added, the fee will be removed. However, with several thousand loans in the pipe, it does require staff to go in and manually touch every single loan to reverse the fee.

                  According to Home Point, the adjustment has been removed from the pricing for new locks as long as the term does not have a lock expiration date greater than Nov. 15, 2020.

                  “There are loans that are locked on a 90-day or so lock, where the lock is actually long enough that by the time the loan delivers the fee will be in place. So, we’ve identified a cut off where if the lock expiration is past this point the fee will apply,” Shoemaker said.

                  Home Point will credit its wholesale and correspondent clients the 50-basis point adverse market fee for loans locked between Aug. 13 and Aug. 15, unless the loan has already been purchased.

                  Read more in-depth here.

                   

                  Here’s Why Mortgage Rates Are Outperforming*

                  For most lenders, mortgage rates improved again today, adding to the 3-week lows achieved yesterday. We normally view mortgage rate movement primarily as a function of the bond market, but the bond market says rates should only be falling modestly from their recent highs. What gives?

                  This is a 2 part issue. First, there’s a difference between the overall bond market and the bonds that underlie mortgages. So-called mortgage-backed securities (MBS) did a better job of holding their ground in August when compared to the broader bond market via the quintessential 10yr Treasury yield.

                  Second, and more importantly, the delay of the recently announced adverse market fee (an abrupt hit to all conventional refinances that unintentionally also affected purchase rates) is responsible for the lion’s share of mortgage rate outperformance. It’s worth keeping in mind, then, that the fee will be back very soon depending on the lender and on the length of time borrowers seek to lock their rates. In fact, some lenders have already added the fee again for lock time frames of 60 days or more.

                  Read more in-depth here.

                   

                  Featured iLeads Solution:

                  Looking for the most qualified leads? iLeads credit-based leads might be the answer. Learn more…

                  We are ready to help you navigate through the COVID-19 mortgage environment.

                   

                  Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

                  At iLeads, we have many great solutions for mortgage LO’s at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

                  We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

                  You can also schedule a call here.

                  Get Started

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                    Are Existing Home Sales Showing A Housing Bubble?

                    iLeads Mortgage Market Minute

                    Welcome back to iLeads Mortgage Market Minute, where we bring you the latest, most relevant news regarding the mortgage market. We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition where we talked about Here Are 2020’s Hottest Housing Markets According To ZIP Code. This week we’re bringing you:

                     

                    Home Price Gains Shrug off Covid Concerns*

                    Both the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s) Housing Price Index (HPI) and the several S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller indices showed price gains across the U.S. in June. Case-Shiller’s numbers showed more moderation in the rate of increase than did those from FHFA.

                    The Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, was up 4.3 percent for the 12 months ended in June, the same annual increase as was posted in May. Prices rose 0.2 percent month-over-month on a seasonally adjusted basis (SA) and were 0.6 percent higher before adjustment (NSA).

                    The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 2.8 percent, down from 3.0 percent the previous month while the 20-City Composite gain was 3.5 percent compared to 3.6 percent in May. The 10 and 20-City Composites had NSA increases of 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. After seasonal adjusted the 10-City dipped 0.1 percent and the 20-City index was unchanged. In June, 16 of 19 cities (data remains unavailable from Detroit because of COVID-19 related shutdowns) reported increases before seasonal adjustment, while 12 of the 19 cities reported NSA gains. Read more in-depth here.

                     

                    The migration to the suburbs continues*

                    Read more in-depth here.

                     

                    New Home Sales Explode in the Midwest, Boosting National Numbers*

                    New home sales were expected to dip slightly in July after posting 13.8 percent growth in June and setting a 13-year high. Instead, the June sales were revised upward, from 776,000 to 791,000, bringing that month’s increase to 15.1 percent and July still managed a 13.9 percent gain. Last month’s sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000 units, the fourth consecutive month-over-month increase. The month’s sales of newly constructed homes were up 36.4 percent from the seasonally adjusted rate of 661,000 units during the same month in 2019.

                    Analysts polled by Econoday had expected sales to be in the range of 735,000 to 800,000. The consensus was for sales to be essentially unchanged from June at 774,000.

                    The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said the strength in national sales came despite a substantial decline in the Northeast. Sales there fell 23.1 percent although they remained 25.0 percent higher on an annual basis. Read more in-depth here.

                     

                    That Big Bad Fee on Refinances Has Been Delayed! Here’s What It Means*

                    Two weeks ago, Fannie and Freddie announced a new guaranty fee (aka “g-fee”) for virtually all refinances. To say this has been a hot topic for the mortgage market would be an understatement. I’d highly recommend reading my initial coverage if you haven’t already:

                    • Here’s the initial reaction from Wednesday night
                    • Here’s a more detailed list of bullet points from the following morning

                    For those who don’t like reading or who already know everything I’m about to say, feel free to skip to the next section (“what does this all mean”) below.

                    G-fees are a longstanding ingredient in the mortgage market equation. They are collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively the “agencies” or GSEs) in order to guarantee timely repayment to mortgage investors. In other words, if borrowers don’t pay, the GSEs will make sure investors get paid. No objection there! This guarantee makes mortgages more affordable in the bigger picture and it makes credit more available to more people. Read more in-depth here.

                     

                    Are existing home sales showing a housing bubble?*

                    Not at all, as the two main drivers of housing remain rock solid

                    Today, existing home sales blew out estimates, coming in at 5,860,000. With new home sales, pending home sales, housing starts, housing permits, and purchase applications already in v-shape recovery mode, this last metric completes the v-shaped recovery across the board for housing.

                    Let’s just say this is the final nail in the coffin for the housing bear troll camps that were so sure that this time, housing would finally crash. COVID didn’t get the housing market, but it did pull a fast one on those pesky bears.

                    Look, I get it. For the casual observers of the market, it may seem intuitive that with all the economic chaos we suffered during the first half of 2020, the housing market would take a drastic hit – from which it would be difficult to recover. Massive job losses and stay-at-home measures seem like a perfect storm for a disastrous housing market.

                    That belief, however, assumes that one does not understand the two main drivers of housing: demographics and mortgage rates. All that other stuff, my friends, is just stamp collecting. For the last many years I have been writing that the years 2020-2024 would have the best demographics for housing ever recorded in U.S. history. As it happens, these fabulous demographics are accompanied by the lowest mortgage rates ever recorded in history. Read more in-depth here.

                     

                    Featured iLeads Solution:

                    Looking for the most qualified leads? iLeads credit-based leads might be the answer. Learn more…

                    We are ready to help you navigate through the COVID-19 mortgage environment.

                     

                    Finding highly affordable leads to keep sales coming in

                    At iLeads, we have many great solutions for mortgage LO’s at a low cost. If you’d like to see how we can help you bring in consistent sales for a great price, give us a call at (877) 245-3237!

                    We’re free and are taking phone-calls from 7AM to 5PM PST, Monday through Friday.

                    You can also schedule a call here.

                    Get Started

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