New Personal Lines Appointment & Website

 

We would like to congratulate Emma Ragsdale on her recent appointment as Cowens new Personal Lines Manager for Cowens Private Clients. Cowens Private Clients is our high net worth household insurance brand. To further improve our service to our clients we have also revamped and reworked the Cowens Private Clients website. The reworked site features an easily accessible personal lines application form. The application form can be completed and sent at your own convenience and you can be safe in the knowledge that you will receive a swift, thoroughly researched, competitive quote for your home and possessions. Click this link to go straight to the application form or contact Emma Ragsdale on 01623 649931 for your quote today.

 

Christmas testimonial from another happy Cowens customer

It’s always nice to get feedback from a happy client and we recently received a thoughtful Christmas poem singing our praises, specifically of Stuart Brain (Commercial Account Executive) and Emma Ragsdale (Personal Lines Manager).  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Chris and Marie at Blossom Yard.

T’was the week, or so, before Christmas we decided to act;

To sort out insurance, that much is fact.

We approached smooth old Brainy with a HO HO HO,

Hoping the cost would LOW LOW LOW.

Now, Cowens and Partners are a well established name

Survival Capability is the name of their game.

Leave it with me and I’ll give you a ring;

No sooner had we sang ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’

Than Emma called, very polite and professional;

So many questions, it was like a confessional.

She was swift to oblige and soon emailed a price;

Which we quickly agreed, having taken advice.

I’d recommend Stuart, time and again

Especially at Christmas, ‘Good will towards men’.

An experienced professional, with consummate ease

He’ll sort out insurance, whatever your needs.

So thanks to old smoothy, for never fear,

Glad tidings I bring (must be that time of year).

Here’s my testimonial from me to you;

Building and contents insured, at a great price too.

 

 

Cyber Crime Is Increasing

Any business who trades online, has a website or sends and receives e-mails is exposed to hacking, theft, deliberate or inadvertent tampering, fraud and extortion. Any of which would impact heavily on a business and its reputation.

New EU legislation is due to come into force in 2016 making any business liable for the loss or misuse of third party data that they hold. Heavy fines can also be imposed. There is a misconception that only large global businesses are exposed to this type of crime, this is no longer the case and any business of any size needs to assess the danger in case it happens to you.

Please click here to view our quick reference guide

Insurance Law Is Changing

The changes In the law are something that everyone working in or close to the insurance industry should be aware of.

UK Insurance contract law will be radically altered and brought into the 21st Century by the Insurance Act that was passed recently. It explains the key benefits for buyers from changes relating to disclosure, basis of contract clauses and warranties.

The new law, which is expected to come into force this summer, has significantly diminished insurers ability to avoid paying claims or terminate cover.

A key change under the new law is the introduction of a duty of fair presentation of risk. This will replace an existing duty on insureds, under the Marine Insurance Act of 1906, to disclose all material facts. The new rules will bring in proportionate remedies for unintentional breach of fair representation.

This is a significant adjustment to current disclosure rules, under which insurers are entitled to avoid liability altogether in the event of failure to disclose a material fact, regardless of whether the non-disclosure was deliberate or had any bearing on the loss claimed under the policy.

To view our quick reference guide to the changes please click here

New Sentencing Guidelines for Health & Safety!

Think Safety First

On the 1st of February 2016 the most fundamental change in over 40 years in health and safety law will take place when new sentencing guidelines are introduced.

As a result this will mean a ramp up in fines for Health and Safety offences by as much as 10 times current levels, which in some cases could get to £10m. As well as this, more custodial sentences for directors and managers are being encouraged.

If you are caught by a Health & Safety Inspector conducting unsafe work environment practises like the photo above, then you will be punished and the punishments are going to become more substantial. The issue here is that the fines are getting heavier handed and one fine COULD seriously affect the financial survival of your company.

We can protect you with Insurance, Management Liability and Comprehensive Health & Safety Support to educate you to not make mistakes and to protect your business if you do.

For more information or advice, please contact our risk adviser Simon Fabian on  s.fabian@cowensrs.co.uk or contact your usual account representative.

 

 

Families in Business

Cowens Survival Capability is a member of, works with and would like to introduce Families in Business:

Families in Business Limited (FIB) is an independent organisation created to ensure family businesses are as successful as possible – and can grow, develop and thrive while all those that are in and around them can move forwards.

The approach at FIB, based on many years of experience both in and around family businesses, allows a team to completely immerse themselves in the issues that impact families working together. FIB’s team appreciate the frustrations, lows and highs and this remains their reason and focus for FIB to exist.

They deliver focused consultancy, membership, events and tools tailored to the needs of family and owner managed businesses, and its national network of advisers is a vital component of its specialist support for the UK’s family business sector. From succession and transition to illness and bereavement, from practical business assistance to coaching and consultancy.

Family businesses account for two in every three of the UK’s private enterprises, with three million family businesses in the UK employing over nine million people that contribute almost a quarter of all GDP to the UK economy and have a combined annual turnover of £1.1 trillion. Worldwide, family enterprises account for 80-90% of all businesses.

Dani Saveker founded FIB in 2012 to ensure support, resources, tools and a neutral community exists for family businesses. She was formerly the fourth generation and CEO in her own family’s manufacturing business for seven years, so has first hand experience of the complexities of family businesses. This underpins the structure and approach of FIB, which strives to address the often lack of understanding amongst professional advisers of the idiosyncrasies and unique challenges of a family business. In the last 2 years FIB has helped over 300 family businesses – through this network – from events through to peer group support, consultancy and membership.

We are proud to be part of this organisation and dedicated network so that our clients can receive this level of support as well as our main services. When facing decisions, challenges, issues and growth – there is a highly skilled team waiting to help you and make a difference to your business and those in and around it.

Top 10 Findings 2014/15 survey:

1.            Open and a trusted communication is a major challenge for 58 percent of family businesses, and specifically tackling issues such as succession and shareholder agreements with family colleagues are regarded with trepidation for 69 percent of those asked.

2.            Only 16 percent of family businesses have a full and protected shareholders agreement, and 30 percent believe they don’t need one at all.

3.            Over 70 percent of family businesses have no formal succession plans, with just 5 percent having a formal plan in place,and 22 percent admit they don’t believe one is necessary.

4.            Achieving a work life balance is also a major issue for family businesses, with 76 percent stating their ability to achieve it is a significant source of stress, worry or ill health.

5.            43 percent of family businesses only have family members on the Board, and confess that this is preferable.

6.            Incentivising non-family executives in the business continues to be a hurdle for the majority of family businesses, and the survey highlights that 92 percent of shares are held by the family, with the balance of just 8 percent held by non-family members.

7.            The survey explored how family rms view their professional advisers – Family businesses were asked to rate the level of satisfaction, and the majority ranked accountants as the best performing professional advisers, but say they are least satised with wealth managers or IFAs.

8.            When asked about the management of business nances, 45 percent of respondents stated that a family member acts as Finance Director with 22 percent not having a FD function of any type.

9.            The survey sought to establish if family businesses are mirroring the changes in society in areas such as ‘blended families’ – those with step families, in second marriages, or with adopted children – and the growing numbers of women focusing on their careers rst and having children much later in life. The survey found that whilst many more women are entering their family’s business, the dominant leader remains male at 84 percent, versus just 16 percent having a female as their most senior executive.

10.          The biggest business challenges for family businesses in 2014/15 are rst skills, second growth, and third family. 34% of family businesses do not have a clear purpose for the business, whilst 8% have never thought about their purpose at all.

WE WON AGAIN!

Chartered Broker of the Year 2013

We have once again proved that we are the best in the business.

We won the prestigious Chartered Broker of the Year 2013 accolade against tough competition from a number of brokers international, national and local.

We won it last year as well, in the centenary year of the Royal Charter being granted to the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), and won it again this year, for an unprecedented second time.

To win it the first time was a huge accolade and to retain it was a massive achievement and shows our commitment to delivering quality to our clients

Winning this award for a second year in succession really demonstrates why being a Chartered Broker has been instrumental in our approach to our clients’ needs. It really does show we are best of the best.

We pride ourselves on ensuring that our team of brokers attain high levels of professionalism and skills, and put each member of staff through extensive training and quality programmes relevant to their role.

We adhere to the standards laid down by the Chartered Insurance Institute and were the first broker allowed to use the CII’s Gold standard branding.

Our emphasis is to ensure complete insurance cover for our clients through working with them and though exclusive insurance offerings. This ethos exists throughout the company, whether you place with Cowens Survival Capability or our specialist unit for smaller SME’s, called insure4biz.com, headed up by Lee Parr in the Mansfield office.

 

Complete Hauliers Solution

Delivery, collection, storage, loading and unloading. Whether you’re

part of the supply chain or involved in the whole process you need a

professional specialist Insurance broker to advise and guarantee that

they will find you the personalised Insurance packages bespoke to your

business.

Cowens Survival Capability work tirelessly with Insurers to make sure

we deliver to you the best deals to meet your requirements.

 

Cowens Survival Capability can arrange cover for:

● Single vehicle, multi-vehicle and fleets of all sizes

● Attached and detached trailers

● UK and Continental use

● Carriage of hazardous goods including chemicals

● Abnormal loads

● Tankers

● Pallet network use

● Refrigerated units

● Carriage of own goods

● Property insurance

● Employers and Public Liability

● Goods in transit

● Legal expenses

● Directors and officers

● Employment practices liability

● Personal accident and sickness cover

● Environmental impairment liability

Low cost instalment facilities available

All backed with an unrivalled claims service

You can contact us at the following:

Jayne Collier – (01623) 649931

Bringing it to the table

BRINGING IT TO THE TABLE

An important new BIBA/ABI working group has been set up specifically to focus on potential issues of conflict between insurers and brokers. Rachel Gordon finds out what it hopes to achieve.

Let the talking begin. As history has shown, starting a dialogue often brings the right results and this is the aim of a new working group, which brings together brokers and insurers to deal with difficult subjects that need bringing out into the open.

The need for a standalone group was first mooted within the General Insurance Brokers’ Committee (GIBC). Member Denis Morgan explains: “An increasing number of ‘friction issues’ raised by members with BIBA were being tabled at GIBC meetings. Given that GIBC meetings have limited time available and are ‘broker only’, it seemed a sensible move to set up a formal arrangement with insurers to jointly examine the uncertainties between themselves and brokers relating, in the main, to processes and understandings.”

Peter Staddon, BIBA’s Head of Technical Services who also sits on this group, added that many of the issues under discussion have been raised with him by BIBA members directly, but that insurance companies tend to have differing views in relation to resolving these issues. And, he believes it is important to have a consensus of opinion in this respect.

Apart from Denis, other broker representatives are Eamonn Browne and Glen Gillam. He comments “It’s very encouraging to see that both brokers and insurers are engaging to ensure that issues which equally affect them both can be addressed at an early stage with a view to there being an atmosphere of mutual trust. It’s all too common for either side to blame the other when issues arise. This initiative will undoubtedly make the industry more transparent and that will be good for the insurance buying public as well.”

Glen adds: “So often the focus from BIBA is on the big ticket issues but I’m hoping this is somewhere where we can make a difference to the day-to-day workings between brokers and insurers.”

Meanwhile, Eamonn – who for many years has sat on the BIBA Motor panel – is also committed to this new group. He comments: “Although we have a good relationship with insurance companies via our various technical committees, all too often the issues raised span more than one discipline whether it is motor, liability or property. This is an excellent way to exchange ideas and to address issues of practices which we are all committed to resolving.”

Denis continues: “We know that the ABI operates many committees where issues are discussed internally, as does BIBA; but where there is something that affects us both, it makes sense to have focused meetings where we could talk things through together and find a resolution. I know from speaking to members, that issues can sometimes create a great degree of frustration. The purpose of our group is to get to decision makers, clear up any misunderstandings and sort things out.”

Customer outcomes

Some of the issues are outlined in BIBA’s most recent Manifesto and this states: “BIBA’s General Insurance Brokers’ Committee will look to work constructively with insurers to find solutions for friction areas that can affect customers’ outcomes.”

The Manifesto refers to “products, underwriting, pricing, clarity of cover, operational effectiveness, remuneration, regulatory support, relationships including matters on distribution and agency, treating customers fairly, timeliness, terms of business agreement, access to authenticated claims information and dual pricing.”

Denis says: “We initially set out to examine the roles and needs of brokers and insurers – with a view to considering best practices relating to future relationships. We looked at the market background and dozens of key factors which affect our trading environment. It soon became clear why friction arises.”

The aim is for the group to become an established forum for brokers and insurers that can:

– Form cohesive industry positions on emerging issues

– Resolve areas of actual or potential friction

– Improve general communication between parties

– Improve external understanding of insurance distribution.

He adds: “We also considered future trading factors, including the potential for improved processes, technology and communication developments, as well as what we can anticipate in relation to future regulation, legal reforms and the political and economic environment. And, if you look at areas like providing data for the Employers’ Liability Tracing Office (ELTO), the way insurance premium tax (IPT) or changes to the Consumer Credit Act (CCA) are handled, insurers can deal with these in different ways. We want to see greater harmonisation. There has been a lack of communication in the past and we want to change this.”

BIBA approached ABI who contacted a number of insurers – Aviva, Axa, Brit, Groupama, Fortis and MMA agreed to participate, along with ABI representatives.

Peter Staddon pointed out that the make up of the group needed to include insurance companies who had a varied distribution mechanism, which is why he was pleased to see Aviva join.

Volcanic ash

Allison Andrews, Groupama’s Head of Commercial Distribution, chairs the group and explains why she decided to get involved. “When I first spoke to BIBA about joining, I was intrigued. At Groupama, we only distribute through brokers and so I felt this was a good way to find out in person what they are going through and to see how we can better support each other.”

She says one of the early issues on the agenda was the recent volcanic ash cloud which impacted on travel insurance. “Brokers want to be able to let their clients know what is going on and so it is important Insurers communicate our position clearly if we want to foster strong working relationships.

The ABI’s travel committee, for example, may already have had discussions and it is important that BIBA is kept up to date on what is going on. And, certainly for non-competitive issues, we would also like to see if we can get more agreement industry-wide.”

The group has met twice so far, and it is expected to meet quarterly. But, will it be prepared to take on the most sensitive issues? Allison points out: “We need to focus on issues that affect brokers generically. We could not discuss commission arrangements as they affect an individual broker, for example, or sort out individual grievances. Also, insurers will want to retain their own particular strategies in some areas and so we will not be trying to influence these.”

She continues: “I want to invest time in this project because I think it is going to be worthwhile. It is early days, and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating – but we should be able to make some real progress.”

Independent brokers

And, Denis is quite prepared to ask difficult questions when required. He comments: “Given the objectives of the forum and the openness of the exchange so far, I am equally confident that Insurers will be frank with their replies – it is a breath of fresh air!”

He continues: “Having spent 27 years working for an insurer and the last 10 working within the broking market I have seen how conflicts arise from ‘both sides’ – it is often simply down to poor communication. I think many smaller brokers are now concerned that their voices are not being heard – I know we can make a difference. I am passionate about the future of independent brokers and so I was delighted to be asked to lead this project.”

He continues: “In a consolidating market which is becoming increasingly commoditised, I particularly wish to ensure that the value of the smaller broker is not lost. Accordingly we are seeking to objectively identify the value brokers currently add in the proposition – and what they could add in the future.

“We have already discovered that many issues are repeated from time to time and to avoid duplicating work, we have discussed the concept of creating a register of frictional issues – like a type of broker-insurer case law database – which could also record contact details for each insurer, for troubleshooting distribution issues. We are also prepared to tackle areas where we believe there is unfairness in the way insurers are dealing with brokers. There could also be TCF issues at stake, so we will also be focused on the policyholder’s position.

Denis concludes: “Smaller brokers need support now more than ever – and this new group should help to provide it. We would be very pleased to hear about any key market issues which should be sent to Peter Staddon at BIBA. If it is within our brief, we will address it. The insurers taking part have shown a willingness to get involved and I’m optimistic about what we can achieve.”

If you'd like to find out more, call Us on 01623 649 931

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