Posts tagged "Commercial Client"

What does the Brexit trade deal mean for you, your business and your business insurance programme?

January 7th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “What does the Brexit trade deal mean for you, your business and your business insurance programme?”

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) signed by the UK Government and the EU on 24th December 2020 ensures tariff-free trade for goods will continue as before. The agreement stipulates how the two economies will interact on a vast range of issues but it does not currently provide access for UK insurers or brokers to the EU’s single market from 1 January 2021. This will impact the arrangement of insurance for businesses, people or property situate in the EU. It does not however impact the insurance of businesses that simply sells their goods into the EU.

Both sides agreed during the negotiations to discuss financial services separately. In a document published on 24th December, the UK. government said the agreement includes provisions to support trade in services, including financial services and legal services.

From 1st January 2021, UK financial services firms (including insurance companies and brokers) no longer have automatic passporting rights. Passporting previously allowed firms to sell their services into the EU from their UK base without the need for additional regulatory clearances.

In order to continue to access the single market without passporting, UK based financial services firms will have to rely on ‘equivalence’ decisions, currently being negotiated between The Treasury and their EU counterparts.

The UK has implemented a Temporary Permissions Regime to support EU based firms operating in the UK with passporting rights but currently, there is no equivalent EU wide scheme for UK firms operating in the EU. We are hopeful an agreement will be reached during the first quarter of 2021. As Britain’s Services sector accounts for 80% of our economy and employs over 1.1 million people, this has now become a priority.

We have been taking proactive steps to provide our clients with compliant insurance solutions in a post-Brexit trading world.  Over the last year we have been engaging regularly with insurance companies and our EU broking partners, preparing for this eventuality and to identify and mitigate any potential risks to our clients and their businesses.

Hamilton Leigh is committed to ensuring we continue to provide our clients with EU cover solutions, with continuity of service for their risk and insurance needs in the EU and has formed an alliance with an associated partner brokerage; Crotty Insurance Brokers Ltd, based in Dublin and regulated by the Central Bank or Ireland. This alliance enables us to continue supporting our client relationships and to provide a practical solution for those clients with businesses, people or property situate in the EU.

With regards to existing insurance contracts, EU coverage remains in force up until your renewal, at which time we shall agree a strategy for the year ahead. Please rest assured we will do all we can to ensure any changes are as seamless as possible.

We shall be in touch with you over the next few weeks to discuss your EU cover requirements in more detail but should you require more information in the meantime, please contact your Hamilton Leigh Client Service Executive.

You Might Need a Green Card if You Are Driving Abroad From 1st January 2021

December 30th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “You Might Need a Green Card if You Are Driving Abroad From 1st January 2021”

The UK formally left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Whilst we now have a Free Trade Agreement, uncertainty remains on whether this will be extended to facilitate access to the EU’s single market for UK financial services.

From 1st January 2021, UK motorists including road hauliers driving in the European Economic Area, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland will need physical proof of motor insurance when they travel; commonly referred to as a Green Card, until such time as the EU Commission agrees that the UK can remain part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone. The Green Card requirement will also apply to motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border with the Republic of Ireland.

All European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU countries, and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) are part of a Green Card free circulation area, meaning that motorists based there do not have to carry Green Cards when visiting other countries in the area. UK motorists will be required to carry Green Cards for driving in the Republic and other EU states, until such time as the European Commission agrees that the UK can remain in the Green Card Free Circulation Zone.

Motorists failing to carry a Green Card when one is needed, risk having their vehicle seized and facing prosecution.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an international certificate of insurance that proves you are insured to drive in the EU. They’re issued and signed by your vehicle insurer, and include your vehicle and registration details. You’ll need to have one with you if you’re driving in Europe and you’ll need a second one if you’re towing a trailer or caravan.

You also need to take your vehicle registration document (V5) to prove you own the vehicle and have a GB sticker on your vehicle and any trailer. In some countries you’ll need an international driving permit (IDP) Check if you need an IDP.

How long do they last for?

A Green Card can last for up to 90 days (or until you’re due to renew your motor insurance, if your renewal date is less than 90 days away), but you should check your policy booklet for details on how long you’re covered to drive in a single trip abroad.

What happens if my insurance renews whilst I’m driving abroad?

When you renew your insurance you’ll need a new Green Card for your new policy, even if you keep your insurance with the same insurance company. If you decide to switch to a new insurer, you’ll need to ask them for a new Green Card.

If you plan to be driving your vehicle abroad, please make sure you apply for a Green Card at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your trip as some insurers require a minimum of 3 weeks’ notice in order to produce the document.

What will happen if I don’t have a Green Card when I travel abroad?

You could be breaking the law, be refused entry into the European country, receive a fine and/or have your vehicle seized. Motor insurance policies do not cover loss or damage caused by the legal confiscation of your vehicle by HM Revenue and Customs, the police, a local authority or any other government authority – check your policy booklet for full terms and conditions.

What happens if I’m driving with a trailer or caravan?

You’ll need to inform us when you ask for your Green Card as you need a second Green Card for your caravan or trailer.

If you plan to take a commercial trailer weighing over 750kg or a non-commercial trailer weighing over 3,500kg, you must also register it with the Government before you can travel to, or through, most EU and EEA countries.

Summary

Although talks remain ongoing for UK financial services firms to replace passporting rights to offer insurance coverage in the EU, an agreement is unlikely to be reached for several months, if at all. If you are planning on driving abroad in 2021, we strongly recommend planning in advance to ensure you have the correct documentation.

For more information, please contact your Hamilton Leigh Client Service Executive.

Risk Insights – Lowering Employment Practices Liability Risks

December 9th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Risk Insights – Lowering Employment Practices Liability Risks”

Employment practices liability insurance (EPL) is a critical type of cover that provides various protections for policyholders. Employers face a variety of risks related to employment practices liability claims. These claims have become more prevalent in 2020, given the effect of Coronavirous to our economy and the number of redundancies.

Review the full article here

We’re open for business and here to help

November 5th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “We’re open for business and here to help”

Following the Government’s announcement on the new lockdown measures, we want to reassure you of our continued commitment and support for you and your business. 

We have closed our office in accordance with government guidelines, but remain fully operational, working remotely and most importantly, working closely with our Clients to ensure their interests remain fully protected when it comes to their Insurance needs.

Our contingency plans were already in place to support you throughout the previous lockdown period and we are here to help you manage current impacts to your business by delivering solutions to help mitigate current and future risks.

Should you wish to discuss your policy coverage or have any questions, please contact your Hamilton Leigh service executive.

Please be assured, the delivery of our broking and claims service remains an absolute priority. Helping our clients during these extremely difficult times is core to who we are.

As before, we shall continue to update you on the latest insurance information on the Insights page on our website. Please also follow us on LinkedIn for news articles, guidance and advice.

Stay safe and healthy.

Common Types of Social Engineering Scams

September 29th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Common Types of Social Engineering Scams”

A hackers tactics are diverse. Educating staff on common scams to watch out for is a great way to mitigate the exposure of being caught out. However, if you would like to manage the risk with insurance please reach out to Jason Cohen at Hamilton Leigh to discuss the benefits of Cyber Insurance for your business

The FCA business interruption test case – Court hands down judgment

September 15th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “The FCA business interruption test case – Court hands down judgment”

The High Court has today handed down judgment in the COVID-19 Business Interruption insurance test case. The judgment brings highly-anticipated ruling of cover under certain non-damage business interruption insurance extensions.

Lee Cohen, Hamilton Leigh’s Managing Director said “today’s welcomed judgment is a significant step in resolving the uncertainty being faced by many businesses. Today’s judgment removes a large number of barriers for those able to make successful claims, as well as clarifying those that may not be successful”.

The test case was not intended to encompass all possible disputes, but to resolve some key contractual uncertainties and ‘causation’ issues to provide clarity for policyholders and insurers. 

It is of course likely that the judgment will be appealed.  Any appeal however does not preclude businesses seeking to submit claims with their insurer before the outcome of any appeal is known.

Hamilton Leigh’s team of experts are currently examining the judgment and expect to publish a summary document which we will make available within the next few days.

In the meantime, should you wish to discuss your policy wording with Hamilton Leigh and the likelihood of being able to make a claim, please contact:

Lee Cohen

E: leecohen@hamiltonleigh.com

T: 07980 606886

Or

Paul Staines

E: paulstaines@hamiltonleigh.com

T: 07866 637989

Key Health and Saftey Concerns in Transport, Haulage and Warehousing

September 15th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Key Health and Saftey Concerns in Transport, Haulage and Warehousing”

A wide range of industry-specific risks contribute to the transport, haulage and warehousing sector possessing a workplace fatality rate totalling twice the all-industry average. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t let employee injury, ill health and fatal accidents become an accepted aspect of your workplace. Have a look at the following industry-specific statistics to find ways that your transport, haulage or warehousing firm can combat top health and safety concerns. For more information, contact Hamilton Leigh today.

Why is the UK insurance market hardening so much?

August 3rd, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Why is the UK insurance market hardening so much?”

Here are the key reasons why this will be the hardest insurance market in a generation:

For the past 16 years, UK businesses have benefited from the longest period of ‘Soft Market’ conditions on record; this side of the market cycle is characterised by low rates, high limits, flexible contracts, and high availability of coverage.

Soft market characteristics

In soft market conditions, insurance companies often try to expand their market share. They enter growth mode, offering cheap rates, attractive policy terms, and, when allowed, discounted coverage. In the most extreme cases, the soft market resembles a bidding war, to offer the cheapest deals. Brokers should have proactively shopped around for their clients but as more businesses moved to new insurance companies offering lower rates, profits for the entire industry began to reduce. On top of that, when focusing on growth, market share and share price, insurers relaxed their previously stringent underwriting attitude, resulting in rising loss ratios. A correction to this unsustainable situation (reduced profits and rising loss ratios) was necessary, forcing the insurance market to harden.

What is a ‘Hard Market’?

In the insurance industry, a hard market is the upswing in a market cycle, when premiums increase and capacity for most types of insurance decreases. This can be caused by a number of factors, including falling investment returns for insurers due to low interest rates, increases in frequency or severity of losses, EU & regulatory intervention deemed to be against the interests of insurers and increased reinsurance costs.

Hard market characteristics

In a hard market, there’s less desire for growth and more of a restriction in the marketplace as insurance companies re-evaluate their books of business, their risk appetites, and how much capacity they want to present in the marketplace. In hard market conditions, underwriters often adhere to stricter standards in an attempt to correct any adverse loss ratios developed during soft market conditions. As a result, insurance rates often go up, the indemnity limits insurers are willing to provide decreases, and the number of players in the market reduce. This makes it harder for brokers to find coverage options, which means the insurers that are offering coverage can increase their rates.

Several factors have caused this rapid hard market? 

  • launched in 2016, Solvency II which applies across the whole of the EU, placed a requirement on UK insurers’ to more than double their spare capital requirements. This has led to a number of insurers leave the market whilst others have significantly reduced their underwriting appetite and capacity
  • The Ogden discount rate is a calculation used to determine how much money insurance companies should pay as compensation to people who have suffered life-changing injuries so that it will cover all their predicted future losses. When the Minister of Justice changed the Ogden table rate in December 2016, it meant that insurers had to pay out far more on larger personal injury claims. This figure shocked the insurance world, as reserves on catastrophic injury cases had the potential to double or worse.
  • The insurance industry has endured persistent high loss ratios since 2013, primarily caused by an increase in frequency of severe property losses. Property rates in the UK were already far too low as we entered 2020 (affecting most commercial insurance policies).  Soft market rating had become completely uneconomic. Even if we ignore the terrible recent events, insurers needed property rates to increase considerably in 2020
  • With property accounts already losing money, the last thing UK insurers needed were floods caused by storms Dennis and Ciara, estimated to cost well over £400 million. Climate change is causing insurers to struggle with correctly predicting floods, and they need to build up a pot of money to take care of the next set of bad floods which will inevitably be on their way
  • Reinsurance is a key component of an insurers pricing model and rates will rise significantly leaving insurers with no option other than to reflect these increases in their rates and to reduce their market capacity
  • When interest rates are high, insurers can get away with a certain amount of underwriting losses as they generate substantial investment income. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, as the current interest rates are the lowest in the Bank of England near 300-year history. Insurers therefore have no option but to increase rates to balance their books
  • Finally, it is estimated that the combination of Covid-19 insurance claims, reduction in business and investment losses will cost the worldwide industry in excess of £200 billion, making it the most expensive insurance event ever. Clearly the current FCA test cases will have a significant bearing on how much the UK insurance industry will have to pay out in Business Interruption losses relating to Covid-19 but this is unlikely to be determined for several months

Holistic View

This leaves us in the midst of rising insurance rates at a time when business risks are seemingly more prevalent than ever. Cyber breaches, climate change, pandemic, trade and professional risks are at the top of mind for most business owners.

Now is prime time for business leaders to take a thoughtful step back and reassess how they view and manage risk within their organisation. Insurers are in the business of risk but given the rapid hardening of premium and terms, businesses with a strong risk management perspective and a track record of low claim activity can avoid the sweeping increases of premiums and terms, likely to affect the majority of UK businesses. 

Taking a holistic view of risk can help identify ways to treat risk beyond just buying insurance. Analytical tools and a focus on total cost of risk can help businesses take a broader approach to managing and financing their overall business risks. Higher excess and/or deductibles are also ways to mitigate the continuing rate increases in the insurance market.

How Can Hamilton Leigh help you?

  • Design and introduce a comprehensive and robust risk management programme
  • Ensure your risk management strategy, systems & controls are communicated throughout the business to create a strategy of collective responsibility
  • Communicate your risk management strategy with your insurers to demonstrate your proactivity
  • Agree a risk retention strategy that accurately reflects the business’s risk tolerance appetite
  • Investigate alternative risk retention options such as higher excesses and/or deductibles
  • Reassess loss prevention practices
  • Introduce you to your insurer to develop a strong, supporting business relationship

For further information, please contact Lee Cohen: M: 07980 606886 E: leecohen@hamiltonleigh.com

PDQ Machine Cyber-attack Costs business over £50,000

July 29th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “PDQ Machine Cyber-attack Costs business over £50,000”

UK Businesses face threat of PDQ Machine theft or misuse. A growing number of businesses have suffered significant financial loss, which can only be covered by a Cyber Liability insurance policy. These fraudsters are not always behind a computer; they prey on businesses operating with less staff than normal, taking advantage of their vulnerability.

Businesses, large and small, operations across multiple industry sectors, operating with a ‘skeleton workforce’ following Covid-19, need to be aware of this threat.

How does it happen?

One person skilfully distracts members of staff, whilst his accomplice locates and manipulates the card machine by refunding substantial amounts of money onto their card(s). We have also seen examples of PDQ machines being stolen and used fraudulently as well as machines being switched.

Distraction techniques are not a new phenomenon. However, with more sophisticated payment technology available the use of card devices seems to be an increasing trend for fraudulent activity.

Some action points from us:

  • Urge your staff to treat the terminal like the till – always ensure you are in control of the transaction and have sight of the device; consider them as mini “cash dispensers”
  • Be wary if someone is taking longer than five to ten seconds to type in their PIN, or if someone is else is trying to get your attention during this time
  • Businesses can install additional security measures on these devices to prevent refunds being given without specific authorisation, and should speak to their acquirer for further advice
  • Protect yourself with a robust Cyber Insurance policy as standard business insurance polices do not provide cover for fraud

For more information on Cyber Liability Insurance, please contact Jason Cohen on 07511 398238.

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Non-Damage Business Interruption Cover and the FCA High Court Test Case

July 15th, 2020 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Non-Damage Business Interruption Cover and the FCA High Court Test Case”

We want to provide an update with regards to the FCA Business Interruption insurance test case and how this might affect our clients.

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a spotlight on the cover provided by non-damage Business Interruption insurance policies. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced its intention to seek clarity and certainty around this issue by holding a ‘test case’ action in the high court against what they consider to be a range of non-damage Business Interruption policy wordings that are representative of those used by the insurance industry. 

Hamilton Leigh is one of many insurance organisations to have voiced dissatisfaction with the way certain insurance companies conducted themselves in regard to Covid-19 Business Insurance claims. On 24th April, we began lobbying government on behalf of our clients and proposed a Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Recovery Scheme to provide additional financial support to businesses in the UK.

The initiative has certainly gained traction and as a result of all the lobbying and complaints, the Government instructed the FCA to intervene. The FCA announced its intention to bring a test case in the High Court to challenge insurers’ decisions. The aim of this test case is for the court to determine the interpretation of certain policy provisions that include cover for Non-Damage (i.e. no physical damage to property) Business Interruption in relation to losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The FCA has decided to focus on 40 sample policy wordings from 8 insurance companies but this is a broad enough spectrum to include many other policy wordings. The regulator is only seeking to provide clarity for policyholders where the policy wording includes a Non-Damage Business Interruption clause, meaning that for the vast majority of businesses, the outcome of a claim under their policies will be unaffected by the test case. 

The High Court hearing is scheduled to commence 20rd July 2020. All insurers will await the outcome of the High Court test case as this may affect their final claims decisions. We do not yet have confirmation as to when the final outcome will be announced. There is of course the possibility that any party may subsequently appeal the decision to a higher court. Unsurprisingly, the Government will also wait for the outcome of the test case before making any further decisions.

Nevertheless, following the outcome of the test case, we shall continue to lobby government as the outlook for businesses remains cautious for the rest of the year, given the ongoing uncertainty around the speed and sustainability of an immediate economic recovery.

We shall of course keep our clients fully updated with regards to the outcome. You can sign up for regular test case updates on the FCA website by clicking on the following link: www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance

In the meantime, if we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your Hamilton Leigh client service executive. Alternatively, please click on the following link for regular updates on the FCA test case as well as a range of other subjects: https://www.hamiltonleigh.com/insights/

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