Allianz pays out RM800,000 in claims to Speedhome landlords

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

INSURANCE firm Allianz Malaysia Bhd’s subsidiary, Allianz General Insurance Co (M) Bhd, paid more than RM800,000 in claims to landlords registered with its partner, Speedhome.

This comes as consumer preferences are increasingly shifting towards renting homes amid the increasing disparity between incomes and house prices.

Allianz and Speedhome have been partnering since 2017 to protect homeowners, who rent their houses using the residential property rental platform.

“In the three years (since 2017), we have protected more than 2,000 homes and landlords through Speedhome. The number has actually grown seven times over the last nine quarters.

“We have also assisted more than 300 landlords, with more than RM800,000 claims paid out to date,” Allianz General Insurance head of digital partnership and innovation Michael Fong said at the Allianz Malaysia-Speedhome X Digital Innovation in Property and Insurance Market forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Loss of rental is the most claimed benefit, followed by household content and inconvenience benefit, Fong added.

The two parties are also planning to introduce plans which benefit tenants in the future, as the insurance is currently only available for landlords, Speedhome CEO Wong Whei Meng (picture) said.

“We are looking into insurance for tenants, including for personal belongings. The tenants will have belongings in the property that need to be protected.

“We are also potentially looking into protections for gadgets. Over the years, homes are going to change with technology, so we are planning to do something for gadgets in the homes,” he said.

For the second half of 2019 (2H19), Speedhome achieved RM17.76 million in transacted gross rental value (GRV), 115.27% higher year on- year (YoY) from RM8.25 million recorded in 1H18.

Wong expects the transacted GRV to double up in 1H20. Some 98% of the total transactions are in the Klang Valley, he added.

Enquiries submitted in 1H19 rose 63.9% YoY to 47,053 from 28,717 enquiries submitted previously.

Meanwhile, 12,319 listings were created, representing an 11.23% YoY increase from 11,075 last year.

Starting this year, Speedhome’s advanced insurance package offers homeowners rental protection of up to RM42,000.

Houses in Malaysia are considered “seriously unaffordable” by international standards, Bank Negara Malaysia director of financial surveillance Qaiser Iskandar Anwarudin said in October.

To that end, the tenants’ market is growing with more homeowners considering renting out their houses, as consumers seek alternatives to buying properties that would significantly raise their debt levels.

Malaysia’s house price-to-household annual income ratio rose to 4.8 times in 2016 from 3.9 times in 2012. A house price is deemed unaffordable if it is more than three times the annual household income, Qaiser Iskandar said.

Apart from driving consumers to rent instead of buying homes, the price-to-income disparity — coupled with overbuilding — has left the country with a property overhang of 32,810 units in 1H19, up 1.5% from 32,200 units in 2H18.