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Architects Registration Board – PI Consultation

Architects Registration Board – Consultation on draft guidance for Professional Indemnity Insurance

18 May 2022

For some time we have been highlighting the challenging Professional Indemnity market. This time last year the RICS changed the rules for surveyors, making it even more of a headache to secure the cover they required.

We are pleased to see the Architects Registration Board (ARB) is looking at how it can adjust its demands on architects’ indemnity insurance cover, publishing new draft guidance on the insurance requirements expected of architects to remain compliant with its code of conduct.

Acknowledging the challenges of the global PI market, the ARB said it had become ‘increasingly apparent’ that, for some architects, the ‘changes in the insurance market outside their control means that meeting the existing guidance may no longer be possible’.

Anyone within the sector will be all too aware that PI premiums have soared, in some cases the renewal premium costing three times that of the previous year. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the numbers of policy exclusions imposed by insurers has skyrocketed too, particularly in respect of cladding, fire safety and even basements.

With no way to resolve or even influence the issues with the global PI market experienced by its own sector and indeed others, it acknowledged that it could bring in changes that were ‘proportionate and risk based’ to support architects through the hardened market. They stated ‘We can’t set requirements architects simply cannot achieve’.

The Architects Code of Conduct sets out the PI requirements for architects, underpinned by ARB guidance which explains how compliance can be achieved. The revisions the ARB propose went out to public consultation on 16 May, these include no longer making it a matter of misconduct if an architect cannot acquire retrospective insurance to cover historic liabilities due to new exclusions applied to their policy by their insurer.

Coverage for certain types of claims, including cladding and fire safety, could now be held on an aggregate basis (rather than an each and every claim basis) and limited to covering direct losses. However, the draft guidance adds that no architect should accept a minimum level of cover below £250,000 for each and every claim and reaffirms that architects should have adequate insurance before undertaking any new work.

ARB chair Alan Kershaw said: ‘PII provides crucial protection to architects, their clients, and the people who use their buildings. ARB has to balance the need for public protection with the availability of insurance. We can’t set requirements that, however well-intentioned, architects simply cannot achieve. He added: ‘The updates to our guidance on PII are intended to clarify how architects are expected to deal with professional indemnity insurance at this difficult time, while still protecting clients and future users of the buildings they design. We now want to hear from architects, insurers and the groups that represent consumer interests.’

The draft guidance was produced following research and engagement with the insurance market and professional bodies and is now in public consultation before it is finalised and comes into force later this year.

To read more about ARB’s proposals and take part in the consultation, use the following link:

https://arb.citizenspace.com/standards/pii-consultation/

We’re here to help

We welcome this proposal from the ARB that will certainly help us and our clients. The proposed changes make our role as broker even more important, as our knowledge and understanding enable us to fully support to our architect clients with their PI cover and associated costs.

If you need help, just get in touch with Charlotte Perkins.

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Support for Ukraine – Insurance update

Support for Ukraine

17 March 2022

Like us, we know our clients want to help and support the people of Ukraine. The insurers we work with are doing the same, allowing flexibility within their policies to avoid unnecessary barriers that may stop or delay help reaching the innocent victims of this unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Every insurer and policy type are different so you will need to check with your broker or specific insurer to see how this may impact you – and ensure you’re still properly covered.

Home Insurance

Now the government has announced the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme to welcome those fleeing the conflict to the UK; some of our private clients and property owners will be temporarily welcoming Ukrainian refugees into their homes as guests. Insurers want to support this generosity and in many cases they don’t need to be notified but you must check. Contact your broker or access the information available on the insurer website or their helplines.

Family – There has been much confusion over ‘family members’ in relation to Visa restrictions, but this term is also relevant to your policy. ‘Family’ is normally defined as those permanently living with the policyholder (and isn’t a lodger or paying guest). Many insurers are temporarily extending definition and will interpret Ukrainian refugees (either related or sponsored) as ‘Family members’ within the policy.

Sums Insured – Please ensure that the sum insured on your policy is adequate for the inclusion of your guests’ contents, including any individual high value items. They may only have been able to bring their most valuable and most precious items with them, so you certainly want to make sure they’re protected.

Other Property Types – Cover availability may change if it’s a second home, guest home or rental property so you MUST contact your broker or your insurer!

Private & Commercial Motor Insurance

Personal – If you are planning to use your private motor vehicle to transport goods around the UK to provide humanitarian aid, most insurers will support this. Many don’t need to be notified of this change in use, but some will, so please check your policy for any volunteering exclusions and give the insurer a call to clarify. The same is true if you are planning to deliver this humanitarian aid within Europe, even if this is within any standard ‘Free Circulation without Green Card’ cover you may have with your policy.

Commercial – Many insurers are extending their comprehensive insurance for businesses who wish to use their commercial vehicles for cross border journeys within the ‘Free Circulation without Green Card’ zone but you will need to check with your specific insurer.

Outside EEA – Whether it’s personal or commercial, please ensure you contact your insurer if you plan to drive outside of the European Economic Area to transport goods to provide humanitarian aid.

We’re here to help!

Please call or email us if there’s anything you are unsure about or if you need to adjust your policy. We are here to help you in your support of the people of Ukraine.

 

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Join our Financial Services Team!

Join the team – Financial Services Administrator

17 March 2022

 

We are expanding the team and are looking for a Financial Services Administrator to support our Advisers and Account Directors, working alongside our existing team.

You’ll be involved in meeting preparation, setting up client files, assist clients with enquiries, liaising with providers – and of course ensuring we comply with FCA regulations and the exemplary service standards our clients expect.

We are committed to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients, this is achieved by recruiting and developing amazing people.

If you are enthusiastic and hardworking, friendly and have great communication skills, you could be a fantastic fit for our FS team. In return we offer excellent training towards professional qualifications and a competitive benefits package.

If you think you’re the right person to join our team, we’d love to hear from you! Just email your CV to Annabel Jackson Prow, CEO of Wilsons, at [email protected]

PS We like the personal approach, so only get in touch if you want to join our team – no agencies please!

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Property Insurance – Index Linking

Property Insurance – Index Linking

8 March 2022

Some Insurers are currently index linking at 12.8% buildings and 9.5% contents. This shows no signs of slowing down, with other major Insurers predicting their rates may even top 20% later in the year.


So, what is Index Linking?

Index linking (or indexation) is the adjustment of an asset’s value to reflect inflation and deflation. In Commercial Property Insurance terms, it’s a percentage that is applied to the Declared Value of the property at each renewal so the insured value remains relevant. Index linking an insurance policy gives some protection against being underinsured.

Why are Insurers increasing their percentages so much?

This is due to a number of factors – a significant rise in demand for building materials, disruption to the supply chain caused by the pandemic and Brexit, in addition to workforce shortages affecting rebuilding and claims costs. Insurers use a number tracked indices of property value to determine their calculations, including data supplied by RICS, the ABI and ONS. Historically these indices have grown at a relatively low rate, but in 2021 the growth wass significant and sustained.

Rebuild Value -v- Sum Insured?

There is a difference between the ‘rebuild value’ and the ‘sum insured’ on your policy documents.

  • Rebuild Value – the total cost of rebuilding the property to its former state following a total loss
  • Sum Insured – includes a percentage increase on top of the rebuild value and is designed to cover inflation during the insurance year. The sum insured needs to be adequate to fully reinstate the buildings / contents / replace stock etc should there be a catastrophic loss – this should also include costs for removal of debris, professional fees etc.

Rebuild Cost Assessment

Rebuild value is not the same as market value. It’s therefore recommended that Rebuild Cost Assessments are undertaken every three to five years in order to ensure that the Rebuild Value of a property is adequate. However, with inflation so high it’s now more important than ever to have your buildings value declared correctly and to review this regularly.

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of RICS produces a range of detailed guidance on the cost of rebuilding houses and flats for the ABI. Their site at abi.bcis.co.uk provides general guidance on the rebuild cost of houses and some types of flats. For commercial purposes, visit www.rics.org for a range of solutions.

What does this mean for my renewal?

Not all policies will be index linked and you MUST check your policy at each renewal to ensure the sums insured are correct.

If your policy is index linked, this will undoubtedly constitute an increase in premium as the value of a property insured is increased. Index-linking is applied in addition to any rate increases and so it would be wise to ensure that any budgeted amounts are taking both of these elements into account.

 

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Cyber threat heightened!

Cyber threat heightened!

3 March 2022

Following Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated attack on Ukraine, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) advises UK organisations to act on improving their cyber resilience.

The NCSC – which is a part of GCHQ – has urged organisations to follow its guidance on steps to take when the cyber threat is heightened.

Although not currently citing any specific threats to UK, the guidance encourages organisations to follow actionable steps that reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.

Read the guidance

This advice is particularly relevant as in the last few days many household names have reported incidents, including in our own sector.

Aon, the British-American provider of insurance and pension administration, has brought in external specialists to help probe a “cyber incident”. London-based Aon said in a statement to investors that it first spotted the issue on 25 February, identifying that it was “impacting a limited number of systems.” Following the initial statement Aon refused to comment further at this stage.

Aon have the resources to launch an investigation, engage the services of third-party advisors and incident response professionals, and instruct legal counsel – but how would your organisation cope in the aftermath of a cyber attack? Even if you have the connections to support you and get your business back on track quickly, it will undoubtedly be an expensive exercise.

Preventions is better than cure!

Working in partnership with specialist cyber companies such as Lincoln-based KryptoKloud, that provide Cyber Security Audits to understand a business’ weaknesses and address them, then cyber security intelligence and monitoring services to protect their clients from the ever-increasing digital threat is the ultimate solution.

Even if you’ve done everything within your power to ensure your systems are secure, the weakest link is usually your people. It just takes one tempting email click or an email from a trusted supplier that’s been compromised to wreck all that hard work and wreak havoc. That’s when your Cyber Insurance becomes invaluable.

Your insurer will coordinate the response, utilising the services of specialists like KryptoKloud and others to get your business back up and running, deal with any fall-out and help you rebuild your defences against future attacks.

Like Covid, cyber is part of our world and will remain an ever-present threat, so act now to stay cyber safe.

To chat about how Cyber Insurance can help your business, contact Charlotte Perkins at [email protected], 0115 942 0111 or connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

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LinkedIn Cyber Threat

LinkedIn Cyber Threat

24 February 2022

Since the start of February 2022, cyber analysts have seen phishing email attacks impersonating LinkedIn grow by 232%.

This new wave of phishing attacks are aimed at jobseekers on LinkedIn and researchers said: “It is likely these phishing attacks aim to capitalise on jobseekers by flattering them into believing their profile is being viewed and their experience is relevant to household brands.” This may in part be triggered by the end of home working, as those who’ve become accustomed to a new work-life balance enjoyed through the pandemic may seek new roles that allow them to continue to work from home.

The phishing emails used subject lines to entice to job seekers hoping to get noticed, such as “Who’s searching for you online?” “You appeared in 6 searches this week” or even “You have a new message.” The emails themselves are very convincing as we’ve come to expect with sophisticated phishing scams, with built in HTML templates using the LinkedIn logo, colours, fonts and icons.

The cyber criminals also used the names of well-known and high-profile companies throughout the phishing emails, to make the correspondence seem more legitimate and enticing to their potential victims.

In addition, they employed display name spoofing, designed to hide the accounts used to launch the attacks. When the recipient clicks on the malicious links contained in the email, they are directed to a site to harvest their LinkedIn logins and passwords.

LinkedIn have responded to the latest phishing scam and said: “Our internal teams work to take action against those who attempt to harm LinkedIn members through phishing. We encourage members to report suspicious messages and help them learn more about what they can do to protect themselves, including turning on two-step verification.”

As wiith any email you receive, whether from LinkedIn or any other source, always be on alert and check before you click on any links – and definitely before you enter a user name and password! It may be more convenient to click on a link in an email you receive but it’s safer to close them email, access the website directly and log in there. If the message is genuine, it’ll be right there waiting for you!

Can Cyber Insurance help?

Prevention is always better than cure. But, as cyber attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication, Cyber Insurance is more crucial than ever.

Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business in the event of a cyber attack or data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support the business and get you working again.

Obtaining a quote for your business is a simple and straightforward, simply contact Charlotte.

Contact

Charlotte Perkins
[email protected]     0115 9420 111

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Storm Safety

Storm Safety

17 February 2022

The word ‘storm’ may sound very vague, but it can encapsulate many types of severe weather. They can damage property and even potentially harm lives, especially in areas under the rare ‘Red Weather Warning’ in force for certain parts of the UK due to the anticipated ferocity of Storm Eunice.


How to prepare for a storm

  • Sign up for severe weather warnings at metoffice.gov.uk or keep up-to-date with the latest weather news using local TV or radio stations
  • Arrange for any bushes or trees that could damage windows in high winds to be trimmed back
  • Ensure the property is properly maintained throughout the year. Particular attention should be paid to areas most likely to bear the brunt of any storm such as the roof
  • Secure loose objects in the garden or grounds – such as ladders, furniture, benches or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing
  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the building and especially large doors such as those on garages
  • Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences
  • Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30°
  • If your building is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened

What to do during a storm

  • If you have to go into a building during a storm, enter and leave through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you
  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees
  • Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences — if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side
  • Do not go outside or into a building to repair damage while the storm is in progress
  • Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you
  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary
  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible
  • Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or if you’re driving a high sided vehicle
  • Do not park cars near any seafront area as damage by waves and shingle blown from a beach can cause significant damage
  • Do not stand too near any seafront areas – the large waves are a danger

After the storm

  • Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging
  • Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened
  • Contact reputable contractors to make safe items such as fallen trees and walls
  • Do not try to move objects that have fallen or blown down, as they could dislodge other objects and cause further damage
  • Do not climb onto any roofs to inspect damage, be sure to call an expert

 

 

 

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Flooding – be prepared!

Flooding – be prepared!

16 February 2022

Flooding is impossible to prevent and usually difficult to predict, but with severe weather warnings issued as Storm Eunice approaches there is time to prepare. To try and help we’ve created a flood guide to help prepare for a flood and reduce the risk of excessive damage.

Floodwater may be contaminated, especially by untreated sewage. Contamination remains after the floodwater has gone and can be hazardous unless simple procedures are followed:

  • Wear rubber boots and gloves in and around the affected property
  • Wash all cuts and cover with waterproof plasters. Anyone receiving a puncture wound during flood recovery should have a doctor determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary
  • Small children, pregnant women and people with health problems should avoid floodwater and flooded areas until the clean-up is complete
  • However, if you do feel unwell or if you accidentally ingest (swallow) mud or contaminated water and you become ill, you should consult your doctor and telling them that your house was flooded

Floodwater can damage buildings severely, particularly if it has been flowing quickly, is over 1 m deep or has been in a property for a long time.

  • Before entering property that has been flooded, the building should be checked for signs of damage
  • Be careful when moving any debris that may have been carried onto your property or the surrounding area. Avoid heavy objects (e.g. trees) that may be unstable and could suddenly move and trap or crush you. Do not attempt to move anything yourself that cannot be lifted comfortably
  • Be careful when moving in and around property that has been flooded. Standing water and mud can hide holes, damage to structures and sharp objects. This could include uncovered manholes and drains or roads and paths, as well as broken bottles or glass. Be aware of cuts from standing or falling onto hidden hazards and slippery sediment

Always have your policy documents in a safe place with your precious items and medications. Add the relevant claim numbers to your phone in case you need them, together with your policy number.

Above all, keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

 

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We’ve won the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award!

We’ve won the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award!

28 January 2022

We’re incredibly proud of our team for maintaining the highest levels of service to our clients, especially after the challenges of the last couple of years.

The Award is an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences. This is a true reflection of our committment to service excellence as it’s based purely on feedback from real, verified customers.

A huge thanks to all our clients that took the time to provide their feedback to Feefo, we really appreciate it!

Feefo Award this to businesses who have collected at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2020 and December 31st 2021, with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 4.9.

If you’d like to check out our reviews, just access our Feefo Review Page

 

 

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Italy – Compulsory insurance for Skiers & Snowboarders

Italy – Compulsory insurance for Skiers & Snowboarders

6 January 2022

All skiers and snowboarding holidaymakers will now need to ensure they have 3rd party liability insurance to use the slopes. The penalty will be a fine up to €150 and the withdrawal of you ski pass if you can’t show that you have this in place.

The new rules were introduced last spring following the approval of Decree 40, but came into force on 1st January 2022.

The Decree states: “The skier who uses the alpine ski slopes must have valid insurance covering his civil liability for damages or injuries caused to third parties. It is obligatory for the manager of the equipped ski areas, with the exclusion of those reserved for cross-country skiing, to make available to users, at the time of purchase of the transit permit, an insurance policy for civil responsibility for damage caused to persons or things.”

It has not been confirmed how the new rules will be policed, but it’s anticipated that confirmation of cover will need to be shown to obtain a ski pass, with the option to purchase cover at that point if you are unable to do so.

Italy already has a number of rules in place that have yet to be put in place by other alpine nations, including compulsory helmet wearing for all under 18’s and do not allow skiing or snowboarding while under the influence of alcohol. In addition they also have strict off-piste rules too. We have yet to see if this new insurance requirement will be copied by others.

It is estimated that up to 20% of UK people do not take out insurance for their ski holiday, or rely on limited cover under their core travel cover, despite tour operators and the UK government encouraging travellers to arrange specific winter sports cover that will fully protect them should they need to claim.

Our Private Client team are used to arranging winter sports cover for our clients, alongside other specialist holiday covers, so if you are travelling and have yet to arrange your travel cover, get in touch with Tom or Jade on 0115 942 0111.