Covid Update

Clients experiencing financial difficulties

On the 18th May 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority introduced new measures for insurance and premium finance firms to help clients in financial difficulty.  Should you be experiencing financial hardship, or if things change at work or home, we may be able to help by:

  • Re-assessing your demands & needs
  • Reviewing levels of cover
  • Adding or removing optional covers such as legal expenses
  • Adding or removing people on your policy

Where amendments to your insurance cover does not alleviate your payment difficulties, you should contact your finance provider directly as further support may be available, which could potentially include:

  • The possibility of deferring payments (refer to FAQ’s)
  • Reduced repayments, or rescheduled term
  • Waiving missed or late payment fees
  • Amending your repayment date without any cost
  • Reducing interest payments

It is important that customers do not leave themselves uninsured, so we encourage you to contact us to discuss the options available if you are struggling to afford your payments during this uncertain time.

Please see our FAQ’s on Payment Deferrals

Q – What is a payment deferral?

A – A payment deferral is an arrangement under which a firm permits a customer that pays their insurance premium in instalments to make no payments for a specified period

Q – How do I apply for a payment deferral?

A – You should contact your insurer or finance provider direct

Q – If I am granted payment deferral, will I be classed as being in arrears on my payments?

A – No, nor would the provider or any third party such as broker or debt collector be allowed to cancel the policy or collect payment during the deferral period

Q – How long can I defer payments?

A – One to three months however, the provider can grant a longer extension should they wish

Q – Will I have to pay a fee?

A – The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would not expect a customer to be liable to pay any charge or fee in connection with the granting of a payment deferral

Post and paper-based documents

We continue to handle all post (incoming and outgoing), and paper-based documents such as cheques, as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure they are processed in a timely manner to safeguard policy cover. Should you have any concerns about instructions or cheques you have sent which may not have been processed, or documents you believe you are due from us, please contact us urgently.

Insurance Services Surrey – Newsletter – May updates on COVID-19



In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are issuing this Newsletter to provide additional advice to our clients on insurance matters arising.

In an earlier email, we discussed the impact on travel insurance and business interruption cover to those who hold this cover. In this edition, we discuss how other forms of insurance cover are affected and actions organisations can take to protect themselves.
 
IT Security
 
Cyber Insurers have reported a ‘spike’ in claims for data breaches and incidence of hacking, as companies have put in place arrangements for staff to access their work IT systems from home. Insurers stress the need to avoid insecure Virtual Private Networks (ie those without adequate encryption or multi-factor authentication) and remote access apps. The most common types of claim being seen by Cyber insurers are hackers installing ransomware and theft of funds.
 
Insurers are also seeing a rise in ‘social engineering’ incidents – criminals taking advantage of remote working arrangements to fake identities, tricking staff into paying forged invoices. Companies and charities should ensure staff are trained to query requests for payments and to check bank details on invoices to avoid being caught-out.
 
If not already arranged, it is recommended that organisations consider taking Cyber insurance to cover losses and liabilities associated with hacking and data breaches. Your regular Insurance Services Surrey adviser will be able to assist in arranging this.
 
Directors’ & Officers’ Liability/Charity Management Liability Insurance
 
Despite the hard work and best endeavours of executives, some individuals may face legal claims of negligence in making decisions at this time or actions by regulators or statutory bodies. To this end, we recommend that consideration is given to adequate levels of insurance to protect individuals and the organisation. It is anticipated that the availability of such cover may reduce and that rates may increase as the number of claims rises. If such cover is not currently selected, your usual Insurance Services Surrey contact will be able to advise.
 
In theory, these policies can also be extended to include legal actions against the organisation by employees/candidates for an alleged breach of employment law, although the availability of such cover is becoming more scarce. Certainly, once redundancies are planned, taking cover to guard against resultant legal claims is not possible. Organisations will want to consider investigating the availability of such insurance before redundancy plans become a consideration.
 
Employees returning to work
 
As employees return to the workplace, organisations will be vulnerable to claims that the health of staff members was compromised by a lack of adequate social distancing and hygiene measures. Claims for compensation for illness are likely to increase. This may lead to the cost of Employers Liability insurance rising in the medium term and the availability of cover being limited for organisations which have suffered such allegations. Firms and charities are urged to carefully plan arrangements to keep staff apart and to shield those who are vulnerable (or look after vulnerable household members).

It is important to communicate the practical measures you are taking to staff on a regular basis to help reassure them that their health, well-being and safety is your top priority. Make sure employees are clear about what procedure they should follow if they begin to feel unwell, both in the workplace and at home.
 
In particular, organisations will need to consider: consulting and following recommended Government guidelines:Government advice and guidance conducting a deep clean prior to reopening and review of cleaning arrangement e.g. ensuring all phones/keyboards etc are wiped daily with anti-viral cleaner  implementing and signposting social distancing requirements for staff and visitors utilising PPE, shielding, additional hand washing facilities and restricted access to keep everyone safe staff who travel or visit other company premises may also need additional equipment or briefing.  a contingency plan if employees display symptoms e.g temporarily suspend trading and/or conduct a deep clean ensuring all employees are aware of any changes to the safe system of work and that changes are documented has equipment/machinery been idle for a period of time? What needs to be done to ensure safe operation? documenting additional staff re-training, e.g. re-orientation or reinduction process for returning staff. signposting staff to mental health and well-being support and resources.  The risks to people’s health from this pandemic are psychological as well as physical.    

Motor Fleet Insurance
 
Some Motor Fleet insurers are allowing cover on vehicles to be ‘laid-up’ if the road tax on these cars or vans has been revoked and the vehicle is now subject to a Statutory Off-Road Notice. Your Insurance Services Surrey contact will be able to advise on the best way to do this.
 
Marine Insurance
 
Where goods have been in transit by sea since before lock-down procedures began, it is possible that these will need to be stored in temporary warehouses whilst deliveries are held-up. It is important that we are aware where this is the case, as the insurers will need to amend the policy to ensure continued cover.
 
Private Motor Insurance
 
We are heartened that so many people are volunteering at this time or taking on temporary work to help out. It is important to ensure that, if you are using your own car for such purposes, your private car insurance extends to include use for this work so as to remain road legal and to avoid uninsured claims.
 
Your plans

Please do remember to let us know if: your premises are currently unoccupied. Most policies include a requirement to notify insurers and to carry out certain precautions if no-one is regularly going to be present during your normal business hours for an extended period. If any security at your premises is likely to be compromised, particularly the response to alarm systems you need cover for business equipment away from the premises. your business or charity is offering different services from normal (an example would be a restaurant now offering take-away food instead). Organisations will also need to ensure that appropriate health and safety risk assessments are undertaken regarding home-working and if children are to be brought into the workplace as a result of school closures. Staff working from home may also need to inform their own home insurers that this is the case. This is especially important if they are likely to receive business visitors.
 
We do understand that these are challenging times and we are available to answer your insurance questions.

Best regards,
The Insurance Services Surrey Team


PO Box 1533
Woking
GU22 2RY

Insurance Services Surrey is a trading name of Insurance Services (Surrey) Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The information in this newsletter was compiled on 11th May 2020
 

Insurance Services Surrey – Newsletter – Updates on COVID-19

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are issuing this Newsletter to update our clients on how Insurance Services Surrey are operating and share advice from the insurance market regarding cover.

How we are operating

Our technology allows our staff to operate from home with access to both computer systems and telephones. We appreciate that this is a worrying time for all business owners. Please be assured that all our staff are set-up to help you in the usual way. Please continue to telephone our main switchboard (01483 532921), or email your usual contact or enquiries@insurancesurrey.co.uk.

Insurers are in the process of adapting to new ways of working, which is leading to longer response times. Please do notify us of any changes required to your insurances, or renewal information requested, as early as possible, to enable us to best help you.

Commercial Insurance

The majority of insurances arranged for organisations in the UK do not include any provision to cover losses sustained as a result of COVID-19. Business Interruption insurance is principally designed to cover the extra costs of working or loss of profit (depending on the cover selected) following physical damage to property or stock. Insurers generally take the view that an epidemic or pandemic is a systemic, governmental risk (like war), rather than an insurable fortuity for a particular business. Some Gross Profit or Gross Income Business Interruption policies do extend to provide a limited cover benefit in relation to the authorities closing-down premises due to a specified list of notifiable diseases, however these do not extend to include new, previously unknown diseases such as COVID-19. There are a handful of exceptions under insurance packages for a small number of specialist businesses or charities and we will be happy to advise further on this.

If you hold Business Travel Insurance with us, please let us know if you have needed to cancel any business trips as a result of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice not to travel. Travel insurers will expect policyholders to exhaust all options to obtain refunds from airlines, hotels and other providers before settling claims. We will work with insurers to ensure claims settlements are made as quickly as possible.

Any trips that you or your staff continue to make to anywhere where the FCO advises against any travel, or all but essential travel, will not automatically be covered by travel insurance.

Regrettably, travel insurers generally are either pulling-out of providing any new quotations for cover or are doing so, but excluding cancellation resulting from COVID-19. We will be happy to advise on any concerns you have about this.

Your plans

Please do remember to let us know if:

  • your premises are going to be unoccupied. Most policies include a requirement to notify insurers and to carry out certain precautions if no-one is regularly going to be present during your normal business hours for an extended period, usually 30 days or more
  • you need cover for business equipment away from the premises.

Organisations will also need to ensure that appropriate health and safety risk assessments are undertaken regarding home-working and also if children are to be brought into the workplace as a result of school closures. Staff working from home may also need to inform their own home insurers that this is the case. This is especially important if they are likely to receive business visitors.

We do understand that these are challenging times and we are available to answer your queries regarding insurance cover.

Best regards,
The Insurance Services Surrey Team

PO Box 1533
Woking
GU22 2RY

Insurance Services Surrey is a trading name of Insurance Services (Surrey) Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We would like to wish all of our customers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year

Our festive opening hours are:

  • Monday 23 December – 9am to 5pm
  • Tuesday 24 December – 9am to 1pm
  • Wednesday 25 December – Closed
  • Thursday 26 December – Closed
  • Friday 27 December – 9am to 1pm
  • Monday 30 December – 9am to 1pm
  • Tuesday 31 December – 9am to 1pm
  • Wednesday 1 January – Closed
  • Thursday 2 January – 9am to 5pm
  • Friday 3 January – 9am to 5pm

Holes in the safety net? Why Insurance Claims Go Wrong

You really are very busy. Running a business involves plenty of demands on your time: growth, strategy, staff issues, recruitment, keeping up with changes in legislation. Nevertheless, I want you to indulge me briefly. Imagine the worst disaster that could hit your business. Imagine how you would deal with this? I want you to sense what it is like to live through this catastrophe. It is possible that you have heard apocryphal tales of insurers avoiding valid claims–how would that impact your life, your business and your customers?

I understand why some business owners and managers treat their insurance renewal as a chore to be ground-out each year or as some form of tax, but it is not a healthy approach. Insurers do pay valid claims, but insurances are contracts. Just like any other form of contract the terms need to be understood and, if necessary, negotiated to ensure that there are no misunderstandings. I strongly recommend that a business owner, manager or financial controller takes stock of the insurance arrangements and treat it, not as a chore, but as the maintenance of the safety net to protect the livelihoods, security and reputation of everyone involved. Surely it is worth checking a safety net for holes?

In my experience, claims are generally paid. Sometimes, however, there are problems and they generally result from the following:

Complacency

Too often, cover is renewed ‘on the nod’. Sums insured are reviewed and an odd 5% added here or a couple of thousand taken from there. In the event of a claim, the insurer’s appointed Loss Adjuster is going to want to know how you calculated your figures. Take time to check the accounts and sales forecasts. Look at the peak stock levels. I would urge every firm to add a column on their asset register to note new replacement value of plant and general contents. Totalling that column can be a real surprise. Keep a copy of your calculations off-site and consider writing a Business Continuity Plan.

Gross Profit vs Insurable Gross Profit

A topic in itself – make sure you understand how Business Interruption cover works. The calculations can be complex or conflict with your understanding of the terminology. Businesses that do not survive a major incident often are in this position because their Business Interruption cover was inadequate or on the wrong basis, or simply did not indemnify for a long enough period to allow for recovery of the business to pre-incident levels. Consider planning permission implications, for example or loss of market share.

Warranties

Most policies contain warranties which state things that must be done for cover to apply. It may be to do with locking doors, precautions when applying heat or where you position your bins. If you do not know what your warranties are, you may not be complying. If you do not feel you can comply with a warranty, negotiate a change.

Survey Conditions

Has your insurer surveyed your premises? Did they require you to improve anything? Have you done it?

Business Description

Your insurer needs to know what you do to understand how much to charge and what to offer. Most policies detail the business description on the policy schedule. Is it up to date and complete?

Disclosure of Material Circumstances

There is a duty on you to ensure that the insurer is aware of all relevant circumstances, such as motoring convictions or an unoccupied building. If you are in any doubt about whether something is material–disclose it. It is always better to do so, even if you incur an additional cost.

Delay in Reporting Claims

Report claims straight away, even if you are unsure whether you will progress the claim. This is especially important for motor and liability claims where strict time limits apply

Are You Covering the Wrong Things?

Instead of thinking about what insurance is traditionally bought, consider the biggest threats to your business. This may be a breach of your intellectual property rights or confiscation of your assets overseas. It may the loss of a key technical person or the financial viability of your customer. Consider if the business could manage these exposures out of capital or current funds. If not, re-priorite your insurance needs to put these first.

A good insurance broker should be able to guide you on all of the points raised in this article and help you to identify the risks that really matter. Insurance should not be just a checklist –  it is dynamic, changing requirement unique to each business and needs careful thought and good advice.

Author: John Goodson ACII, Director of Insurance Services (Surrey) Ltd. Contact: 01483 532921 john@insurancesurrey.co.uk

Insurance Service (Surrey) Ltd has been providing advice to businesses on risk identification and insurance provision for over fifty years.

Surrey Business Expo

Insurance Services Surrey will again be exhibiting at Surrey’s biggest business Expo on the 14th of June at Surrey Sports Park from 9.30 to 4.30 come and visit us on stand 35 and enter our competition to win some exciting prizes!

Surrey Expo

Budget 2016 Insurance Premium Tax Rises to 10%

In his Budget Speech today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced an increase in the rate of Insurance Premium Tax from 9.5% to 10%. The new rate will apply to all new policy premiums, renewals and any mid-term increases.

This uplift follows an increase from 6% which was applied from November 2015. It is unprecedented for this tax to be increased so dramatically over such a short period and this will affect domestic buyers of insurance and businesses alike. Please be assured that Insurance Services Surrey, with agency arrangements with over 40 insurers and through our partners in the Lloyds of London market, will continue to offer policies which offer good value and we are happy to discuss any concerns you may have.

Breaches of customer data on the rise

The announcement by Talk Talk that customers’ data may have been compromised by a cyber-attack on 22nd October 2015 highlights the increasing number and audacity of such crimes. The Information Commissioner requires organisations to handle individuals’ data with an acceptable level of care and with safeguards against theft. Insurance against the legal liabilities to others and damage to own systems caused by such attacks have been around for a while, but are now entering the mainstream, with at least two major insurers now starting such cover for around £100.00, as an extension to a Commercial Combined, Directors’ and Officers’ Liability or Professional Indemnity policy. Where this is not appropriate, separate policies are also available from a number of providers.

Please call or email your usual Insurance Services Surrey representative who will be able to advise you on appropriate insurance solutions to protect your organisation and take time to review how your information is secured, both in the office and on laptops and ‘phones.

 

Brave the Shave – The Photos

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Well the day finally arrived and we are now Four Brave Shavers!

Despite protests from Simon, who constantly asked “can’t I just have a little trim” All the hair on our heads, apart from John’s beard has now been removed! Our thanks go to the staff at Maurices in Guildford, our new stylists; and of course to all our clients and friends for their generous support.

To date we have raised nearly £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support a fantastic cause, if you haven’t contributed yet our Just Giving page is https://www.justgiving.com/InsuranceServicesSurrey

 

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Thank you once again from all at Insurance Services Surrey for your fabulous support!