The first ever home and contents policy aimed at local authority tenants in Northern Ireland was launched this week in a major initiative to make householders less reliant on their local authority in the event of damage to property.

The scheme, provided by Miller Firstline, is called Tenants Assured. It is backed by the Northern Ireland Tenant's Action Project (NITAP) which was the driving force behind the scheme, as well as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Tenants can make fortnightly credit card payments at a variety of outlets including their post office and local newsagent.

The market is significant with around 135,000 tenants living in public housing stock. The scheme will also be available to tenants of other housing associations.

Research undertaken by NITAP found that 95% of public housing in Northern Ireland is uninsured and that tenants are hugely reliant on local authorities for assistance in the event of damage.