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Cyber – how safe are you?

We’ve understandably seen renewed interest in cyber insurance since news the recent NHS ransomware attack.

According to a recent report, the UK cyber insurance market has become increasingly buyer-friendly, with increased capacity as insurers compete for a share of the market. This change is also partly due to increased cyber risk management as businesses reduce their cyber risk with effective strategies, data-driven controls and improved training of their users – still one of the most challenging areas for businesses.

Cyber threats remain as significant as ever, with many organisations experiencing large ransomware and privacy losses. A UK Government survey published in April 2024 indicated that half of all businesses and 84% of large businesses reported some form of cybersecurity breach or attack in the past 12 months.

Major retailers and fast-food chains across the UK experienced IT issues during March and whilst there was no evidence of cyber attacks, the disruptions highlighted the heavy reliance on technology in today’s business operations – whatever sector you operate in.

It’s not just public sector organisations, global enterprises or large organisations that are targeted – cyber security is a very real threat for SMEs, – and only a tiny percentage have cyber insurance in place, or the skills to deal with a cyber attack.

Many SME’s will look at their business and see the tangible risks such as fire, flood or theft, and may have made claims for these incidents in the past. Thankfully, most have never experienced a cyber attack and are unaware of the devastating impact this can have on a small business.

We have supported clients the sharp end of a cyber claim so we understand the impact this has on a business and the true value of cyber insurance – not only to compensate financially, but the incredible level of incident response they receive to deal with the attack, restore systems and mitigate against future threat.

If you don’t currently have a cyber policy in place and would like to understand the risks to your business, and the cover available to you, just get in touch with Charlotte Perkins.

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NTU Collaboration

We are excited to be working in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, who’ve been working with businesses since 1843 – decades before we were established in 1914!

We’re working on a Financial Services Marketing project through their student consultancy project; working to a realistic consultancy brief gives their students experience of working with a business client, we gain fresh thinking and research insights from an amazing group of individuals with passion and excitement for their chosen field.

It’s an amazing project we’re very proud to be part of – and we hope the team we’re working with are enjoying it as much as we are!

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Freelancers – are you covered?

We receive so many queries from professionals and creatives that are planning their future as a freelancer. Most believe Professional Indemnity is the only insurance cover they need, but that’s not usually the case.

Self-employment continues to rise in popularity, with research showing there were more than 4.25 million self-employed people working in the UK as of March 2024 – and almost half of them were freelancers.

Becoming a freelancer may bring more freedom, but you still have responsibilities, not only for the day-to-day running of your business, but ultimately for any liability too. You’ll need to understand the insurances you require so you and your business are protected.

Professional Indemnity, or PI as it’s commonly referred to, is the most common type of insurance freelancers enquire about. If you’re an architect or solicitor you’d see this as a core cover – but what about freelancers in other sectors? There is an ever increasing group classed by insurers as ‘miscellaneous’ -anyone who offers advice or consultancy for a fee is deemed to be a professional and therefore has an exposure to a professional negligence claim.

In addition to the ‘miscellaneous’ businesses there are those who may perceive they have no professional negligence exposure, but who have a contractual liability requiring them to have a PI policy in place. These businesses often have a ‘contingent liability’ as although they do not provide professional advice or consultancy directly, they sub-contract this activity and remain the first port of call in the event of a problem or claim.

You may feel confident in the quality of your work, and the advice or service you provide, but anyone is vulnerable to a claim if they fail to meet a client’s expectations.

A PI policy will offer cover compensation you may need to pay to correct a mistake, or any legal costs due to negligence, such as giving incorrect advice or making a mistake in your work. It can also cover the legal defence costs and expenses incurred in defending your position against an alleged claim/claims for financial loss.

Areas where you or your business could be exposed may include:
– Professional negligence
– Breach of confidentiality
– Loss of documents
– Infringement of copyright

Dependent on your type of work, who you work with and where, there may be other insurances you require in addition to any trade specific insurances. To ensure you’re fully protected, always speak to a specialist that takes the time to understand you and your business.

Wilsons have helped countless professionals and freelancers rectify ineffective insurance cover and set up comprehensive and cost effective programmes with a top quality consultative approach.

If you’re thinking of becoming a freelancer, or you’d like to ensure you have the right cover in place, just get in touch with Charlotte Perkins

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Pensions & Divorce

The gender pensions gap is estimated to be more than twice the size of the gender pay gap. Figures from the National Retirement Forecast show that the gap in pension savings between men and women at retirement is 39% compared to the 14.3% gender pay gap. But there’s another shocking statistic – related to divorce.

Only 30% of divorcing couples include pensions in their settlement, according to figures recently released by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and Scottish Widows.

Divorce is an incredibly difficult time for all involved, so pensions may be overlooked or are simply not considered to be a marital asset. However, the family court considers pensions as an asset capable of division, in the same way as a property or savings, meaning between £2billion and £4billion per year in pension savings are not considered in divorce settlements.

A survey conducted by The Standard and Stowe Family Law revealed that women significantly underestimate the value of their spouse’s pension – a quarter didn’t know whether their spouse had a pension, and 77% did not know the value of it. 60% of divorced women did not talk about pensions in their divorce, and almost 28% stated they weren’t aware it should have been considered, according to Scottish Widows’ 2023 Women and Retirement Report.

Of course, this doesn’t only affect women. There are undoubtedly many cases in which the woman is the party with the higher pension – and pension sharing on divorce works both ways. We found there were no statistics readily available to reflect this scenario but as we hope the pay gap and pensions gap will narrow in future, this would be an interesting aspect to revisit.

There are a number of ways that pensions can be dealt with as part of a divorce settlement – including a pension sharing order where part of the pension-holder’s fund is transferred into the recipient’s sole name, or by an approach known as offsetting, where one of the parties will retain a greater share of another asset such as property.

Pensions may be boring and complicated, and yet another element to be included in divorce proceedings, but they should be considered as part of your financial future.

Building an early relationship with a financial adviser who understand you, and your vision for your financial future, can be incredibly beneficial. We spend the time to understands your lifestyle and aspirations – your short, medium and long-term financial goals and be there for you through the highs and lows of life’s journey.

To discuss how you can reach your short, medium and long-term financial goals, just get in touch with Lucy Field-Richards.

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Our Team at BIBA24!

The office was a little quiet this week, with the Broking Team heading to Manchester for the BIBA Annual Conference – Europe’s largest insurance broking exhibition.

It’s always a great social event, an opportunity to catch up with our Insurance contacts to build on existing relationships and make new connections too. But it also helps ensure we’re at the forefront of industry trends and developments, with ‘What’s next?’ the big topic of the 2024 event.

For the first time some of our team attended on the ‘Young Broker Day’ designed for those in the early stages of their career – with career stories from insurance legends, celebrity speakers and sessions on personal development, they loved it!

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Join our Financial Services Team!

 

 

 

 

 

Due to continued success in providing advice to HNW clients and corporate clients, we are seeking a professional and proactive Financial Services Administrator to provide holistic support to our Financial Advisers.

The successful candidate will have in depth knowledge and understanding of the Financial Planning process; have experience using industry software, ideally gained within an IFA or financial services practice.

Duties for this role will include:

  • Client Servicing: including collating plan information, requesting quotes, processing authority letters, assisting advisors with general queries and ensuring relevant documents are uploaded.
  • New Business Submission: including submitting business online and via post, adding plans to our database, chasing providers once business is submitted and checking plan documentation.
  • Compliance: performing relevant anti-money laundering checks and checking compliance documentation is completed
  • Data Entry: Adding client information to our database and ensuring documents are uploaded correctly

The candidate

  • An excellent understanding of the financial planning process
  • Good knowledge of financial services software systems, Excel and Word
  • Excellent communication skills and telephone manner
  • Good IT skills, good spreadsheet and database knowledge
  • Effective organisational skills

Training
We will provide on the job training and any other training we identify you may require. We will discuss this with you when you join us and review your training needs regularly through our appraisal system.

Disabled Persons
If you become disabled the company will endeavour to allow you to continue in post within the physical constraints that may present themselves. If you are disabled on commencement of this post the company will have necessary support for you in place.

Discrimination
It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone under various acts of parliament. You will be expected to comply with these requirements.

If you are a motivated individual with a passion for finance and administration, we invite you to apply for the Financial Administrator position.

Join our team and contribute to our success through your expertise in financial management and administrative support. Just email your CV to [email protected]

 

 

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2024 Awards Entry Deadline Extended!

The entry deadline for the 2024 Midlands Family Business Awards, organised by Wilsons, has been extended to midnight on Friday 19 April!

“We received so many requests for more time due to Easter and school holidays, we have pushed back our final entry deadline by two weeks,” explains Charlotte Perkins, Wilsons’ Group MD. “We want to ensure that family businesses don’t miss the chance to showcase their achievements, so we’ve to given them a little more time to finalise their entries.

The entry process is really easy – simply head to www.familybusinessawards.co.uk and click on the ‘enter now’ link, register and start the online submission in up to two categories. Entries can be saved and revisited at any time before making the final submission by the new deadline of midnight on Friday 19 April.

“Guidance on what the judges are looking for and the entry criteria can also be found on our website, and the Awards team are always on hand to answer any queries and support entrants throughout the process.” she adds.

With 10 free-to-enter categories including Family Business of the Year, Best Digital Tech Innovation, Best Small Family Business, Employer of the Year, Fastest Growing Family Businesses, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Property & Construction Excellence, Service Excellence, Sustainability and Young Director of the Year, there is a category suitable for every family business.

You can view the full line-up of categories and entry criteria on the website, to choose the most suitable for your family business. All our finalists will be entered into the People’s Choice Award – sponsored by Streets Chartered Accountants and decided purely by public vote.

Main sponsor for the 2024 Awards is current Family Business of the Year titleholder MHR. Category sponsors are Buckles, Family Business Futures, Premier Community, PwC, Shakespeare Martineau, STENCIL, Streets Chartered Accountants, The Handy Family Company and Ward Recycling.

“We are so grateful for the support of all our sponsors, some of which have been with us from the start and some are previous winners, so they understand the process and support the deadline extension. We all hope that with the extra two weeks to complete their free online entries, even more family businesses from across the region will take the opportunity to shout about their work and enter this year’s Awards.”

Six finalists in each category will be chosen to go forward and meet the judging panel, with informal interviews taking place in June. The Ceremony & Dinner attracts over 300 guests – attended by awards finalists, independent judges and sponsors, but due to demand tickets are not placed on general sale. So if you want to attend, you need to enter!

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Wilsons joins Nottingham Contemporary Business Circle!

 

 

 

Wilsons has joined the Business Circle of Nottingham Contemporary, one of the largest contemporary art galleries in the UK, presenting free exhibitions, special events, and family activities.

Nottingham Contemporary, in the heart of Nottingham, is one of the largest and leading centres for international contemporary art in the UK. It is well known for hosting internationally acclaimed exhibitions,  and renowned for innovative research and learning programmes. Importantly, it’s free to visit and is one of the UK’s most family friendly museums. Charlotte Perkins commented:

“We are really excited to be supporting Nottingham Contemporary and joining the Business Circle. I believe in the power of art to inspire, provoke thought, and bring communities together. As a family business celebrating 110 years in Nottingham we have incredibly strong ties to the city, its people and the business community. Contributing to making Nottingham a great place to live and work is so important as it attracts amazing people, businesses and investment to our city, as well as fostering creativity and cultural exchange.”

Supporting the local and regional business community is important to Charlotte and Annabel, in 2010 they created the Midlands Family Business Awards, a not-for-profit initiative to celebrate and showcase family businesses in our region and highlight the vital role they play in our communities and our local economy.

The 2024 Midlands Family Business Awards launched on 21 February at the new Nottingham Central Library, introducing guests to the fantastic new facility that opened earlier this year. The Awards, which are free to enter, are currently open and entries close on 6 April 2024.

You can find out more about the Midlands Family Business Awards at its dedicated website www.familybusinessawards.co.uk where you can also start your entry!

 

 

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The 2024 Midlands Family Business Awards is here!

Our not-for-profit Midlands Family Business Awards are back for the 12th year, celebrating family businesses across the Midlands.

Organised by us and supported by a range of high-profile sponsors, the Midlands Family Business Awards gives family businesses of all sizes, from all sectors, the opportunity to recognised for the huge contribution they make to our region.

Charlotte Perkins, our Group MD said: “As a family business ourselves, we understand that these businesses operate in a unique way. According to the Family Business Research Foundation 2023 report, the sector is estimated to have contributed £225 billion to UK public finances in 2021. That’s a huge contribution to our public purse, as well as the local communities that they play a vital role in through employment and social value. We want to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate these accomplishments through our awards.”

Across 10 categories, family businesses can submit entries for free, which are judged by an independent panel throughout June.   All the shortlisted businesses are then eligible for the People’s Choice’ award which is determined by a public vote in September.

Categories are sector and topic based including Sustainability, Property & Construction Excellence, Digital Tech Innovation and Service Excellence, while others focus on Marketing and Sustainability successes. People are at the core of the categories with Young Director and Employer of the Year being coveted awards. The big ones are always the Fastest Growing Family Business, Best Small Family Business and the Family Business of the Year, as these recognise the whole team and celebrate sustainable economic success.

The sponsor line-up is led by main sponsor specialist providers of HR, payroll and finance software, MHR, winners of the Family Business of the Year in 2023. It also includes creative agency Stencil; Buckles Solicitors; professional services firm PwC; property maintenance business, The Handy Family Company; legal advisers Shakespeare Martineau; home care and mobility services provider, Premier Community and Streets Chartered Accountants.

Jessica Mills, Chairman at MHR comments: “To be recognised as Midlands Family Business of the Year 2023 was an incredibly proud moment for myself, my father and everyone who works at MHR. It is a testament to our incredible employees and their unrivalled dedication to support our customers and each other. We’re incredibly proud to be a family business, and as we enter our 40th anniversary we look forward to working with The Wilson Organisation to launch this year’s awards.”

This year’s sponsor of the Small Family Business of the Year, Donald Ward of metal recycling and waste management specialist, Ward, added: “We’re passionate about championing family business, so we’re really proud to lend our support again this year. As previous winners we appreciate the opportunities that the awards offer to become part of this unique network of family run businesses.”

The awards launched on Wednesday 21st February at Nottingham’s brand-new Central Library and entries are now open, closing on 6 April. Finalists will be announced at the end of April and overall winners revealed in an Award Ceremony on Thursday 3 October 2024.

As in previous years, all proceeds from the Awards will go to charities in our region supporting our communities and young enterprise.

More information can be found at the dedicated Awards website: www.familybusinessawards.co.uk where you can also follow the link to enter.

 

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Join our Claims Team!

We are seeking a Commercial Claims Handler to play a pivotal role in managing and facilitating the claims process for our commercial clients. You will be responsible for handling claims efficiently and professionally, ensuring a seamless experience for our clients while adhering to industry regulations and company policies.

If you are enthusiastic, hardworking and friendly you could be a fantastic fit for our team. We’d love to hear from you if you think you’re the right person to join our team. Get in touch and submit your CV to [email protected].

Key Responsibilities:

 Claims Processing

  • Receive and assess commercial insurance claims from clients.
  • Investigate claims, gathering relevant information and documentation.
  • Collaborate with clients, insurers, and third-party service providers to expedite the claims process.
  • Evaluate policy coverage and determine liability and settlement options.

Client Communication

  • Act as the main point of contact for clients throughout the claims process.
  • Provide clear and timely updates on the status of claims.
  • Address client inquiries and concerns with professionalism and empathy.
  • Ensure exceptional customer service to build and maintain strong client relationships.

Policy Knowledge

  • Stay updated on insurance policies and industry regulations relevant to commercial claims.
  • Interpret policy terms and conditions to accurately assess coverage.
  • Advise clients on the claims process, potential outcomes, and any required actions.

Documentation and Record Keeping

  • Maintain accurate and organised claim files.
  • Document all communication, decisions, and actions taken during the claims handling process.
  • Prepare and submit necessary documentation to insurers and regulatory bodies.

Collaboration

  • Work closely with internal teams, including underwriters and risk management, to facilitate efficient claims resolution.
  • Collaborate with external partners, such as loss adjusters and legal experts, to gather information and support claim investigations.

Compliance

  • Ensure compliance with industry regulations, company policies, and ethical standards.
  • Stay informed about changes in insurance laws and regulations affecting claims handling.

Qualifications and Skills

Previous experience in commercial claims handling within the insurance industry.
Knowledge of commercial insurance policies and claim procedures.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Detail-oriented with a focus on accuracy in documentation.
Ability to handle multiple tasks and prioritize workload effectively.
Proficiency in Acturis software and MS Office.
Professional qualifications in insurance (e.g., CII) would be advantageous.

Training

We will provide on the job training and any other training we identify you may require. We will discuss this with you when you join us and review your training needs regularly through our appraisal system.

Disabled Persons

If you become disabled the company will endeavour to allow you to continue in post within the physical constraints that may present themselves. If you are disabled on commencement of this post the company will have necessary support for you in place.

Discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone under various acts of parliament. You will be expected to comply with these requirements.

 

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We’ve won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award!

We are thrilled to have won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award, an independent seal of excellence, which recognises businesses that consistently deliver a world-class customer experience.

Feefo established the Trusted Service Awards in 2014 to recognise brands that use the platform to collect verified reviews and receive exceptional feedback from their customers. The awards are unique because they truly reflect a business’s dedication to providing outstanding customer service by analysing feedback from real customers.

Charlotte Perkins, Group Managing Director at Wilsons, commented: “We’re delighted to receive the Platinum Trusted Service Award and I’m so proud of our team who consistently deliver amazing service to our clients. The fact this award is based on feedback from real customers, who are verified clients of Wilsons, is really important to us. It gives our clients and others that we work with the confidence we don’t just promise an exceptional level of service, we deliver it too.

We always share the reviews our clients take the time to provide – so a huge thanks to them too for providing that feedback to us and our team. This award reflects the commitment of our team to understand our clients, listen to their needs and deliver solutions that work for them. It’s a great start to 2024!”

This award celebrates brands that are delivering standards that go above and beyond.  Feefo has presented Platinum Trusted Service Awards to businesses that have achieved Gold standard for three consecutive years. To receive a Gold Trusted Service Award, businesses must have collected at least 50 reviews with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 4.9 between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2023.

 

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Join our team!

We are seeking a motivated and experienced Company Accountant to join our team. The Company Accountant will be responsible for managing the financial operations of the company, including payroll, accounts payable and receivable. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in accounting, excellent analytical skills, and a deep understanding of financial regulations and best practices.

We are committed to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients, this is achieved by recruiting and developing amazing people and we are always looking for talented individuals to join the team.

If you are enthusiastic, hardworking and friendly you could be a fantastic fit for our team. We’d love to hear from you if you think you’re the right person to join our team. Get in touch and submit your CV to [email protected].

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

Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all aspects of the company’s financial operations, including accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll.
  • Develop and maintain internal controls to ensure accuracy and integrity of financial data.
  • Collaborate with external auditors and tax advisors as necessary.
  • Provide financial analysis and recommendations to senior management to support strategic decision-making.
  • Research and implement best practices in financial accounting and reporting.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, or related field preferred.
  • Proven work experience as a Company Accountant or in a similar role, with at least 5 years of progressive experience in accounting and financial management.
  • Thorough knowledge of accounting principles and procedures.
  • Proficiency in accounting software and MS Office, especially Excel.
    Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to interact effectively with all levels of the organisation.
  • Attention to detail and a high level of accuracy in all work.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment.

Training
We will provide on the job training and any other training we identify you may require. We will discuss this with you when you join us and review your training needs regularly through our appraisal system.

Disabled Persons:
If you become disabled the company will endeavour to allow you to continue in post within the physical constraints that may present themselves. If you are disabled on commencement of this post the company will have necessary support for you in place.

Discrimination:
It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone under various acts of parliament. You will be expected to comply with these requirements.

 

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Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings to all our clients, contacts, friends and their families

Our offices will close for Christmas at 5.15pm on Friday 22 December 2023, opening again at 9am on Thursday 28 December. We will then be close at 5.15pm on Friday 29 December for the new year and return to business as usual at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2024.

As usual our Account Executives are available 24/7. Should you experience an emergency over the festive period, simply email or call your Account Executive on their mobile. The [email protected] email account will also be monitored over the holidays.

We’d like to thank you for your support during 2023 and wish you, and your family, health and happiness over the festive period.

We look forward to working with you in 2024!

Very best wishes

The Wilsons Team

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Letting Agents – Professional Indemnity Update

 

 

 

 

Professional Indemnity claims continue to rise across all sectors, but a new report has found that PI claims are on the rise for letting agent sector, now representing over a quarter (26%) of claims.

Over recent years the hard market of PI has been a challenge for many professionals, but the uncertain economic landscape combined with a surge in claims means this is also a critical challenge for letting agents now too.

Like other professionals within the Property & Construction sector, letting agents may be confident in the quality of their work, and the advice and services they provide to clients, but any business is vulnerable to a claim of negligence when professional advice or services fail to meet a client’s expectations.

Professional indemnity insurance, or PI, can help protect you if a client brought against you as a result of a problem with work you have done for them. A professional indemnity policy will offer cover for compensation you may need to pay to correct a mistake, or cover any legal costs due to negligence, such as giving incorrect advice or making a mistake in your work.

Do Letting Agents need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

As well as the traditional professions whose governing bodies require their members to have a professional indemnity policy in force, there is an ever-increasing group of professionals classed by insurers as ‘miscellaneous’ businesses.

Anyone who offers advice or consultancy for a fee is deemed to be a professional and therefore has an exposure to a professional negligence claim. In addition to the miscellaneous businesses there are those clients who may perceive they have no professional negligence exposure, but who have a contractual liability which requires them to have a professional indemnity policy in force.

These businesses often have a ‘contingent liability’ as although they do not provide professional advice or consultancy directly, they sub-contract this activity out and they remain the first port of call in the event of a problem or claim.

What will PI Cover?

A professional indemnity policy will provide cover to protect you against an alleged claim/claims for financial loss, arising from your negligence. The cover can be in respect of settlement and/or the legal defence costs and expenses incurred in defending your position.

Areas where you or your business could be exposed may include:

Professional negligence – such as neglecting to arrange the required Gas and Electrical Certificates, inadequate tenant referencing, or failing to carry out property management services and repairs
Breach of confidentiality – such as accidentally disclosing sensitive information to the wrong recipient, which could include personal data, development plans or planning permission details
Loss or damage of documents – such as ID’s, evidence of disrepair allegations, dispute documentation and property deeds or titles

PI cover is a crucial element of a business’ resilience strategy, helping you safeguard the lettings agency you have built, protecting your reputation and your finances. Working with a broker and PI insurer that understands your business and your sector will ensure you have the right cover in place – and any claims you face will be dealt with efficiently, minimising the impact on you and your business.

Wilsons have helped countless professionals and firms to rectify ineffective professional indemnity insurance and set up comprehensive and cost effective insurance cover. We have moulded our service to provide a top quality consultative approach to make sure every client gets exactly what they require.

Can we help?

If you would like to discuss how we can help you ensure your lettings agency is properly protected, or you need help with insurance for your properties, just get in touch with me at [email protected], call on 0115 942 0111 or connect on LinkedIn

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Winter Business Update

 

 

 

We’ve seen three big storms hit the UK so far, with Storm Babet causing major flooding in our region, but we are only just starting to see the really cold weather start to bite. It’s important that businesses understand the problems winter can bring, and there are some common issues that can affect every one of us.


Burst or frozen pipes

Ensure your key personnel know where your stopcock is and that it works. Should the worst happen and a pipe bursts, you will need to turn off the supply quickly at the stopcock to prevent flooding and further damage. Do not use any electrics if you think these may have been affected by escaping water. If you discover a frozen pipe, don’t wait for it to burst. Turn off the water supply and gently thaw it with a hairdryer, space heater or hot water bottle.

Check your roof and gutters

Loose tiles can easily become dislodged during storms and high winds. Apart from the damage caused by falling tiles, and the danger to those that may be walking beneath, it can lead to damage to the fabric of the building. Dealing with loose or missing tiles is far cheaper than replacing roof timbers. Ensure your gutters and drain pipes are clear of leaves and other debris. If it rains heavily and the gutters overflow this can lead to water getting into the masonry.

Keeping pathways clear

You have a duty of care to ensure that any staff, suppliers or visitors to your business are safe. Unfortunately slips and trips can happen, especially when there is ice and snow on the ground. You should take actions that are ’reasonable in the circumstances’. This can include ensuring that entry and exit routes are kept clear of anything that may cause a person to slip, taking preventative measures such as clearing and gritting paths. Ensure that there is at least one safe route available to access the business as a priority, with additional paths cleared as soon as possible —don’t forget fire exits. Be especially careful and grit as required in the morning, as pathways may refreeze overnight.

Beware temporary heaters!

Some offices and work spaces can be quite chilly in the winter, especially on a Monday morning, so it’s no surprise that at this time of year we see all types of heaters brought into service to ward off the winter chills. Even in an office that’s usually warm during winter should your main heating system fail, electric convertor or fan-assisted heaters may be required as a temporary measure.

Heaters with thermostatic cut-outs that operate in the event of overheating are the best option. Electric radiant heaters and paraffin/oil fired heaters should never be used, even as a temporary measure.

Whatever type of heater is used they should be situated well clear of combustible materials and, where possible, protected against the possibility of being knocked over. Heaters should never be moved when switched on and wherever they are placed or moved to, ensure that trailing cables do not become a trip hazard.

Temporary heaters should never be left unattended for long periods or used when the building is unoccupied. Check that heaters are switched off as part of the locking-up procedure.

For further advice and assistance with any aspect of your business insurance, contact your usual Wilsons’ contact.

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“GIRL MATH!” What is that?

 

 

 

 

‘Girl Math’! A few weeks back, I stumbled across something interesting while scrolling on TikTok. I came across some amusing concept of “Girl Math,” a humorous way women justify their spending. It highlights the personal nature of personal finance, challenging stereotypes about women and money.

In 2023, the trend reflects the ongoing struggle for women to justify and apologise for their purchases, emphasising the importance of balancing indulgence with financial responsibility.

Some of you guys are probably still confused on what Girl Math means. These are some examples of Girl Math:

1. if an item in the shop costs £100 and its on slae for £50, when you buy it you are saving £50.

2. When you have cash it means free money and whatever you buy is free. Finally,

3. If you go out with your friends and you pay for everyone’s food, when they send you the money back later you just made money. I am not saying to spoil yourself from time to time, but we need to be financially responsible.

I aim to expand on the concept of “Girl Math,” exploring how women discuss expenses that may be seen as extravagant. It goes beyond just this idea, delving into how individuals navigate the increasing costs of life. Inflation is impacting the joy people find in their lives as prices rise. Despite these challenges, many manage to strike a balance between indulgence and coping with the surging costs. “Girl Math” reflects that what seems financially sensible to one person might not make sense to others.

Women frequently encounter the burden of societal norms regarding expenditure, savings, and income. The ongoing pressure to adhere to these standards can result in feelings of guilt and self-questioning.

Establishing a welcoming environment is crucial, allowing individuals, irrespective of gender, to educate themselves about finances and make choices free from judgment. At nudge, our commitment is to offer a supportive and inclusive space for people to enhance their financial understanding, make informed decisions, and build the confidence to manage their financial destinies.

I’d like to offer some suggestions to help you strike a balance and tweak your financial approach:

  • Mastering your budget: Evaluate your bill structure and consider negotiating some elements to achieve a more balanced financial state. If you’re not already adept, you will become so.
  • Self-worth matters: Don’t let emotions overwhelm you. Instead, channel those emotions to elevate yourself to the person you aspire to become.
  •  Embrace your investment prowess: Whether it’s £10 saved from a spontaneous purchase or a £1000 investment as advised by the news, recognize the significance of every contribution, big or small.
  •  You’re on a financial journey: Acknowledge your progress in pursuing money goals, whether it’s debt reduction, increased earnings, or expanding your financial knowledge. Be kind to yourself and incorporate positive affirmations into your routine.
  • Seek balance: Identify what a fulfilling life entails within your budget, and consistently align with it. This could be moments of silence, investing in services that fit your budget, or journaling to reflect on both life and your financial decisions.

Achieving financial wellness goes beyond prudent financial decisions; it involves dismantling stereotypes and enabling women to reshape the narrative surrounding their connection with money. Through the promotion of financial literacy, we can empower women to reclaim command over their finances, make informed choices, and contribute to a more promising and equitable future for everyone. Let’s stand together in this quest for financial empowerment, breaking free from the constraints of “girl math.” If you need help or more information get in touch with Wilson Organisation.

If you would like speak to one of our financial services team, contact Lucy Fields-Richards. You can find her details on our Team page.

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Cash savings ‘real return’

 

 

 

 

In today’s world we can be bombarded with internet feeds, news and information every day. Sometimes to see the overall picture more clearly it can pay to take a step back and take the long view.

Taking the long view is particularly appropriate when considering investing and planning for your financial future.

We all know inflation erodes the spending power of our money but perhaps find it more difficult to judge the effects over time. In recent times, most savers are probably happy, or relieved, to have higher interest rates available after years of historic low rates, albeit tempered for those with mortgages reaching the end of a fixed rate. However the rise in savings rates has to be considered against the effects of inflation and the trend in reducing consumer spending power is long term.

The Bank of England offers an online calculator, which allows you to compare how prices in the UK have changed over time. Here are a few examples:

So how much would a deposit account have to pay to beat inflation and provide a ‘real return’ – for most taxpayers that depends on the income tax position and whether their income reduces the personal savings allowance of £1,000pa, to £500 or nil. The reality is that the interest gained is unlikely over time to keep pace with inflation.

In the UK we hold a significant amount of our household savings in cash deposits. A review by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in July 2023 found that UK consumers collectively hold around £1.5 Trillion in savings accounts. The review examined the operation of the cash savings market after previous action by the regulator in 2016, when it determined the market was not working effectively for consumers.

The report this year stated that the regulator had raised privately and publicly with the industry the importance of treating savers fairly as the UK bank base rate had risen sharply from 0.1% in December 2021 to 5% in July 2023, it concluded that competition had delivered better rates but that many long-standing easy access customers are penalised. The FCA also estimated that only 55% of consumers shopped around for a better savings rate.

Cash savings will no doubt remain a part of most consumer’s financial arrangements and an important provision for immediate or short-term needs. The question is how often, if at all, we consider whether the interest rates being paid are competitive and whether we are holding cash deposits above those required for short-term needs. Alternative tax efficient investments towards longer term goals and retirement planning come with an investment risk and some volatility but need to be considered against the power of inflation to drive down the spending power of cash savings over time. If you want a further illustration of inflation try the Bank of England inflation calculator website below.

Aside from the state pension and other benefits provided by the state, which are subject to change, we are each responsible for our own affairs and planning. Whether you chose to speak to a financial adviser or not, which we of course recommend, you alone can decide to check your cash savings rates and act on your future planning.

If you would like to speak to one of Wilsons’ financial advisers to explore your options for your financial future, just email [email protected] or call 0115 942 0111.

Article drafted by Ian Baguley


Sources

www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator

FCA Cash Savings Market Review July 2023

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Sparklers, not sprinklers!

 

 

 

 

Bonfire Night is a much loved tradition that brings people together for a night of fireworks, bonfires and festivities. While it’s a time of great fun, it’s essential to prioritise safety to make sure everyone has a memorable experience – and you don’t end up with an insurance claim!

Claims data from insurer Aviva shows an increase in claims for fire damage from bonfires, fireworks and sparklers and in 2022 home insurance claims increased by 300% compared to October.

Bonfire Night claims are wide-ranging, from fire damage to a shed containing expensive tools caused by an unattended bonfire, damage to classic cars from bonfire embers, to a major fire damage to a property after a firework hit the roof. The latter claim amounted to a staggering £234,000, in addition to the emotional distress suffered by the home owner.

Insurance claims are not limited to outside the home, or related to fire damage. Aviva’s data revealed a number of claims where pet dogs or cats were spooked by fireworks, resulting in smashed TVs and laptops.

Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind this Bonfire Night:

1. Bonfire & Firework Safety: Select a location that is away from buildings, trees, and other flammable materials. If you plan to set off fireworks, follow the instructions carefully and keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby for emergencies. Never relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks and give plenty of time before you soak them in water to ensure they are completely extinguished.

2. Keep People Safe: Ensure that family and friends maintain a safe distance from fireworks, bonfires, and any other open flames. If children are attending, always have a responsible adult supervising them. Keep sparklers and other fireworks out of reach of children.

3. Alcohol and Fireworks Don’t Mix:  Avoid alcohol consumption if you’re planning to set off fireworks. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents.

4. Pets: Bonfire Night can be distressing for pets due to the loud noises. Keep them indoors in a quiet, secure place to prevent them from running away or becoming anxious. Many pet insurers have advice on their websites and if you have concerns, contact your own vet for advice.

5. Emergency Contacts:  Have important numbers on hand, such as the local fire department and emergency services, in case of any accidents or emergencies.

We hope you enjoy a fantastic Bonfire Night while minimising the risks associated with fireworks and open flames. Prioritising safety ensures that this will be a memorable night for you, your family and friends.

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Lithium-ion Batteries – Managing the Risk

 

 

 

 

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are now a part of everyday life, in everything from laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches to e-scooters and electric cars. This Christmas it’s unlikely you’ll be stealing the batteries from the TV remote, you’ll be looking for a spare USB charger!

Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more popular as the world becomes ever-more technologically advanced and manufacturers focus on sustainability, with the global lithium-ion battery market valued at $46.2 billion in 2022 and expected to grow to $189.4 billion over the next decade.

It’s true that lithium-ion batteries bring numerous benefits, but they also come with risks – and it’s vital that wholesalers and retailers who store and sell products containing these batteries are aware of them.

Insurer NIG have shared the following information, so you’re aware of the risk.

Fire and explosion risk

During normal use, lithium-ion batteries are perfectly safe. However, if they are damaged, a chemical reaction inside the battery can cause the computer chip used to control the charge level to short circuit. This causes the battery to overheat very quickly and can lead to fire. Overcharging, or using the batteries in the wrong piece of equipment, can also cause short-circuiting. Lithium-ion batteries are particularly dangerous as they release a toxic flammable vapour which fuels the fire further and makes it difficult to control. Even if a fire appears to have been extinguished, it could reignite hours or even days later.

In commercial environments, such as warehouses, or waste recycling centres, the sheer volume of lithium-ion batteries near one another means any fires could easily get out of control.

Liability risk

Businesses selling products using lithium-ion batteries could find themselves at risk of product liability claims if products are found to be defective and cause any harm to consumers.

There are also liability risks for businesses transporting batteries or products containing them. Ultimately, it’s the sender’s responsibility to ensure they are packed correctly, labelled appropriately, and transported via the correct means.

How to manage risk around lithium-ion batteries

There are currently no specific UK guidelines for fire protection of lithium-ion battery storage, however, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) suggests the following:

  • Limit storage area to no greater than 20m2
  • Limit storage height to 1.8m
  • Separate multiple storage areas by aisles a minimum of 3m wide

There are also other measures you can take to help reduce risk, including:

  • Following all manufacturer instructions for usage correctly
  • Never exposing batteries to high temperatures or leaving them in direct sunlight
  • Always use a reputable named brand of charger, designed specifically for the battery you have
  • Looking out for any signs of physical damage
  • Educating your teams around the potential risks and ensuring there is a clear plan if a fire does break out
  • Considering how to safely dispose of batteries, for example away from other waste forms and in a lidded metal container

It’s also essential that any businesses dealing with lithium-ion batteries have a fire risk assessment that covers handling, storage, use, and charging.

If you are storing or selling products containing lithium-ion batteries and need advice or wish to discuss any potential implications for your insurance, just get in touch with your usual Wilsons contact or email [email protected]

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Have a Happy Halloween, not a Horror Story!

 

 

 

 

The spooky season has arrived! Many families will be looking forward to Halloween and as it falls on a Tuesday this year, you’ll either be hosting parties this weekend or preparing for the big fright night.

Whether it’s costume parties, trick or treating, pumpkin carving or even traditional bobbing apples, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. However, it’s important to stay safe, protect your loved ones and your property.  Malicious damage and theft claims can spike by 20% at this time of year, and nobody wants their Halloween to turn into a horror story…

Placing your Pumpkin

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without a pumpkin! Having a pumpkin outside usually signals you’re happy to be visited by trick or treaters, and whether it’s a pumpkin Picasso or not, you’ll want to position it for maximum effect. However, make sure not to place candles or pumpkin lights near anything flammable, especially costumes or decorations – they can catch light in just a few seconds.

Here’s Johnny!

Halloween is the time when you have the most people knocking at your door – and many of us tend to leave our house keys, door keys, bags and wallets in the hallway when we return home. Just for Halloween, it’s a good idea to move your keys and valuables to inside your home and away from the door – especially if you’re owner of a keyless entry car. You don’t want everyone to know where you usually keep your keys.

Lock your house down

If you’re out for the evening at a Halloween party or trick or treating, set your alarm and check all your windows, doors, sheds and outhouses are locked and secured properly before heading out. It’s the one night people will be knocking the door and know you’re not home, and neighbours won’t be surprised to see masked strangers around your home. The ONS Crime Survey shows nearly a quarter (24%) of domestic burglaries with entry occurred when a door was unlocked; 8% when a window was either open or could be pushed open.

Driving Miss Daisy

Driving on Halloween can be a nightmare! Reduce your speed when driving in residential areas as sugar-filled little monsters could run into the road. If a group of trick or treaters cross in front of you, allow time for any scary stragglers that may have been left behind and may run across the road to catch their friends.

Be vigilant

The vast majority of spooky visitors that knock your door are there to have fun and stock up on sweeties, but you must always remain vigilant when opening your door to strangers – especially those who are vulnerable. The scariest thing is some see this as an opportunity for mischievous purposes, to check out you and your property. If you get an uneasy feeling, trust your instincts and don’t open the door.

Don’t go costume crazy!

When buying Halloween costumes, always check the label to ensure it’s flame resistant –it should resist burning and extinguish quickly. If you’re making your own, use flame-resistant fabrics and be careful of the added decorations too.

Trick or treating

Halloween claims include broken doors, smashed windows and damage caused by people throwing fireworks- and trick or treaters are referred to in claims reports. What some people call a ‘trick’, at any other time of year we’d call vandalism or malicious damage. If you are in fear for your safety and/or feel harassed, then you should contact the police straight away as these are criminal matters.

Unoccupied Properties

These can be a super-scary destination for those looking for a fright night – follow the advice for safeguarding your unoccupied property, whether residential or commercial. in our recent article.

Protect your Pets

Many of our pets feel the fear at Halloween too, with dogs stressed by the number of strangers knocking at the door and cats spooked by herds of little wicked witches. Many pet insurers provide advice lines, or speak with your usual vet, as there are a range of calming pills and potions that could help your furry friends get through both Halloween and Bonfire Night less than a week later.

We hope you, your family and friends have frightfully good fun this Halloween, but keep the above in mind when planning, prepping and trick or treating to ensure everyone has both a spooktacular and safe time!

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Welcome to the team Abiola!

We are thrilled to welcome Abiola Olohungbo to the Wilsons Team!
Abiola is joining us as a Digital Marketing Apprentice and will be working with our Insurance and Financial Services teams, but will also play a key role in the 2024 Midlands Family Business Awards.

Let us introduce you…

“Hello! I’m Abiola, and I’m on a mission to kickstart my career in digital marketing. I’m passionate about leveraging the power of the digital landscape to drive brand growth and engagement. My journey into this dynamic field has been a blend of curiosity and a hunger for learning. I’m committed to staying at the forefront of digital trends, from SEO and social media strategies to content marketing.
 
My goal is to not just follow industry best practices but to innovate and push boundaries. I’m excited to collaborate with professionals in the digital realm and contribute to the success of brands. Let’s connect and chat about all things digital marketing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or fellow enthusiast, I’m always up for a good marketing conversation!”

We are committed to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients, this is achieved by recruiting and developing amazing people like Abiola – we’re delighted to help her kickstart her career in digital marketing.

Welcome to the team Abiola!

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Are your people your biggest cyber security threat?

 

 

 

It will come as no surprise that people can be one of the biggest weaknesses in your cyber security.

Research from Insurer QBE has found that 31% of employees have made mistakes that could impact the cyber security of their workplace. The types of attack are wide-ranging, from employees falling victim to a phishing scam, accidentally clicking a link or initiating a malware download, to sharing passwords with colleagues.

Then there’s the loss or theft of a laptop or smartphone. We tend to think of phishing as one of the primary weaknesses, but from the statistics below, maybe businesses should re-evaluate.

  • 13% – Device loss or theft
  • 13% – Sharing passwords
  • 7% – Malware
  • 5% – Phishing

Of those that responded to the survey, less than half stated their workplace has the following in place to mitigate potential cyber risks:

  • 46% – Cyber security training for employees
  • 43% – Multifactor authentication (MFA)
  • 29% – Phishing and cyber scam simulation exercises

In order to have a more robust cyber security plan in place, the results above suggest that businesses should be prioritising cyber security training. Effective education is vital as employees need to know not only how to spot a threat and what to do, but more importantly, what not to do. By incorporating regular phishing simulations, employers will also gain a vital understanding of where their weaknesses are and which team members require additional training.

Cyber is a constantly evolving risk and ongoing training will support employees as new technology, such as artificial intelligence, becomes part of the digital transformation landscape. Phishing techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated and 13% of employees surveyed said they would not feel confident in recognising a phishing scam. The majority of those surveyed (56%) said they believe AI will increase cyber risk.

A holistic approach incorporating IT security, employee training and response plans is key to ensuring businesses are not only more resilient to cyber risks, but also to improve their risk profile. Understanding and reducing your risk profile is an important factor when it comes to cyber insurance, affecting the level of coverage cyber insurers will offer and at what premium – or even whether an insurer will want to quote at all.

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

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Flooding – be prepared!

Flooding – be prepared!

 

 

 

Flooding is impossible to prevent and usually difficult to predict, but with severe weather warnings issued as Storm Babet approaches the East Midlands 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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Storm Safety

Storm Safety

 

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 approach of Storm Babet.


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
  • Be careful if you’re walking along flooded pavements – you probably can’t see the kerb drop!

 

 

 

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Product Recall – The Shimano Story

 

 

The Shimano crank recall is substantially bigger than the norm, with 2.8 million affected products worldwide – and Wilsons’ keen cyclists affected too. Ian Baguley checks his cranks, and the considerations for commercial insurance programmes.

The subject of this article is of interest to us. Actually it is more than that, with a number of keen cyclists at Wilsons, it covers an issue that affects up to 2.8 million cyclists worldwide and some of us personally, having the product fitted to our bikes. This is tinged with some concern over the reports of injuries and potential for further incidents.

From an insurance perspective it is of interest as an example of a corporation handling a product recall on a global scale. Product recall cover is a risk we discuss routinely with clients. Perhaps in time it will also be an example of how investors will judge the corporate governance in relation to the recall. This latter point relates to ESG, Environment, Social and Governance judgements major corporations are aware institutional investors, pension funds, financial advisers and fund analysts are now required to consider.

As you can see from the picture above this article concerns a consumer cycling product, called a chainset/crankset, namely the pedal arms and front rings that connect the cyclist’s pedals to the chain used to drive the bicycle forward. In this case the products are medium to high level performance road bike components, used by amateur road cyclists right up to Tour De France teams. The product could have been fitted by a manufacturer to a road bike costing around £2,000 up to circa £12,000 plus, hence the circa 2.8 million products in the affected manufacturing periods from 2012 to 2019.

In 2020 and 2021 reports started emerging of the bonding (glue pads) in some units failing, resulting in the outer side of the product breaking away from the bike, as in the picture above. In America an Instagram page titled ‘Thanks Shimano’, was started by a rider that suffered the failure and this started to attract posts from riders around the US and worldwide, with photos of broken chainsets. As a result the cycling press started to report on the problem.

Fast forward to September 2023 and the manufacturer Shimano, a Japanese corporation and one of the world’s largest bike component manufacturers, was required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue notice of a product replacement recall in the United States, with a recommendation that cyclists with the affected product do not ride their bike. The notice referred to there being 4,519 reported incidents with the CPSC noting six injuries ‘including bone fractures, joint displacement and lacerations’. The recall and replacement in the US applies to circa 760,000 units.

It is worth noting at this point that there is no single global consumer regulation or an industry regulator covering cycling products. You may have heard of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), based in Switzerland, which is the regulator for global cycling competition that can ban products from cycle races, most commonly on performance advantage grounds, but the UCI has no powers over consumer products.

The position in the US on the product recall seems clear, however Shimano has chosen to adopt a different approach outside of the States. In Europe instead of a do not ride your bike and replacement product recall, for the affected batch codes, the manufacturer has through press releases and the cycling press asked cyclists with one of the listed products to visit a Shimano dealer for an inspection. If the inspection fails an equivalent replacement will be provided, if the inspection is passed Shimano states the following:

Shimano inspection statement

There is therefore a crucial difference in the approach in the US to elsewhere in the world, that may arise from a strong US consumer regulator or perceived risk of litigation.

At this point the UK Government’s Office for Public Safety & Standards issued a report on 3/10 titled ‘Shimano 11 speed crank arms for bicycles’, which states that ‘the affected cranks have a ‘medium risk’ of sustaining injuries and ‘the affected products do not meet the requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005’

Shimano have commented that it only regards those products failing the inspection tests as being due further action.

Whilst some legal commentators have stated that the UK Government report increases the risk of litigation in the event of an injury arising from use of the affected product, there is uncertainty resulting from the inspection process Shimano has announced. Whilst it is evident that any obvious failure of the product when inspected by a dealer will be replaced, what is the position if the unit passes the inspection and then subsequently fails when riding? There have been a number of reports of the product failing without prior warning.

Affected cyclists and the european bike industry have some difficult decisions arising from the Shimano’s inspection process. For the bike industry dealing with reduced sales volumes post the Covid surge this provides work through this winter, but with customer concerns to deal with and the potential for being included in litigation in the event of a failure shortly after the dealer inspection. For the affected cyclists who have usually bought a performance road bike to ride at speed, including out of the saddle efforts that place greater strain on the drivetrain, a difficult decision arises if the inspection is passed. Will the rider be happy to put the issue out of their mind and ride their bike as normal or decide to buy a new chainset. Cyclists selling their used bikes may also be concerned if the chainset has one of the affected batch codes, will it be sufficient to have a bike serviced and inspected by a bike shop before sale, if available and what disclosure to the buyer would be required?

It will be interesting to see where this goes and hopefully there will be no further reports of injuries. It will be one of the largest cycling product recall programs and a reflection of the increase in the popularity of road cycling in recent years.

With such a large number of units involved, this issue may have an effect on the development of cycling products going forward. Shimano’s Hollowtech products have been around for many years, but the product concerned used a new bonded construction method that has delaminated. It has always been known that reducing weight may affect the durability of a cycling product. One of the early developers of mountain bikes in the US Keith Bontrager made a now famous statement on cycling components, ‘Strong, Light, Cheap – pick two’.

More generally this issue is an example of how a manufacturer can incur significant costs, resources and management time demands arising from product failure and recall, as well as any reputational damage. The risk requires discussion and due consideration where appropriate within commercial insurance programmes.

 Wilsons -Think.

Article drafted by:

Ian Baguley ACII Dip PFS, Financial Adviser & Account Director at The Wilson Organisation

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Property Owners – Unoccupied Properties

 

 

 

 

We work with all types of property owners to insure their residential and commercial properties that are being rented, renovated or on the market.

There are times when these properties will be unoccupied, possibly for an extended period of time, and this inevitably increases the risk. Before we explore the risks and how you can potentially manage them, let’s start with the basics… inform your insurer! Unoccupancy can change the terms and cover of any current policy, so failing to inform your insurer could result in any claim being rejected.

Check with your insurer before the property becomes unoccupied so you can arrange suitable cover. You may need to inform them of key holders that can be contacted to respond to issues if the property isn’t local to you.

The Risks

Whether you are a residential landlord or run a portfolio of commercial properties, the key threats to those properties while unoccupied are more or less the same.

  • Fire: Whilst the most common cause of fire in unoccupied properties is arson, it can also be caused by faulty electrical equipment where there has been a failure of proper maintenance.
  • Vandalism: £500m of damage is caused by vandalism every year, from smashed windows, broken fences, graffiti, interior and structural damage.
  • Theft: Metal theft from vacant properties amounts to an estimated £770m a year, encompassing cabling, pipework, tanks and roofing lead. Plant and machinery, building supplies, fixtures and fittings and even antiques such as fireplaces can be targeted.
  • Flood: Damage caused by leaking and burst (or stolen) pipes can be considerable – and costly in both monetary and project timescale terms!
  • Duty of Care: As a property owner you need to be aware of your obligations including responsibility (and liability) if anyone injures themselves on the property and being considerate of the impact on neighbouring properties.

Managing the Risk

Think about what you can do to minimise risk and maximise the security of your unoccupied property. To safeguard your property against the risks of being empty your first step is to:

  • Intruders: Deter any potential intruders and manage lawful entry to the premises (such as contractors / inspection checks)
  • Damage: Minimise damage by early detection of any intrusion or occurrence (such as storm-damage to buildings).
  • Inspections: Ensure regular inspections of the property are made (this may be a stipulation of your insurance cover) and that all visits to the premises are formerly recorded.

Smaller / Residential Properties

There are some simple things you can do. For smaller properties this includes creating the impression your property is occupied.

  • Windows: White-washing windows is a sure giveaway that the property is empty – use blinds, nets and curtains to cover them up instead.
  • Lights: Install lights on timers in different parts of the building and ensure they operate at suitable times for that part of the property.
  • Locks: Secure the doors, but don’t forget to secure the windows too! Consider all points of entry including garage doors, and don’t forget exterior gates leading to hidden areas where intruders will be less visible.
  • Tradesmen: If renovations and development is in progress, don’t allow tradesmen to leave their tools behind. This makes it more attractive for thieves to break in and also cause damage.
  • Post: Redirect your mail, seal up letter boxes or install an inside metal cage and regularly pick up the post and any flyers.
  • Put out the bins: Ask neighbours or tradesmen to put out the bins, they’re probably using them too!
  • Kerb appeal: Keep vegetation under control and if appropriate, allow neighbours to park on the drive overnight.
  • Fire: To avoid fire damage and gas explosion turn off power supplies and remove all combustibles from the property when possible.
  • Water: Isolate and drain down water and heating systems to avoid flooding. Where this isn’t possible, consider adding anti-freeze to central heating systems, and maintain a minimum temperature of 7 degrees within the property.

Large / Commercial Properties

For larger commercial properties or those in more remote locations, the above precautions may still apply – but you may need a different level of approach. You wouldn’t want to disconnect all utilities where you have existing security or fire protection systems in place.

  • Security: This includes security alarms, cameras / CCTV, motion-activated lighting and even water sprinklers. Where power has been disconnected you might want to consider engaging a security firm which installs battery powered and remotely monitored security systems.
  • Windows & Doors: Ground floor and accessible upper floor windows should be externally boarded up with plywood or steel sheeting. Making sure that all windows and doors are securely locked is paramount – using heavy duty and multiple locks also creates a visual deterrent to potential intruders.
  • Alarms: Existing intruder and fire alarms systems should be connected and maintained by a firm listed on a suitably accredited inspectorate body.
  • Keyholders: Security contractors should be accredited too and they can also be involved in carrying out regular inspections to determine if any damage has occurred that needs to be remedied, such as vandalism or structural storm damage.
  • Health hazards: Significant health hazards can be caused as the result of intruders discarding rubbish, even syringes, and by fly-tippers – which, in turn, encourages infestation by vermin.
  • Regular inspection and maintenance: To ensure boundary fences are kept intact and grounds kept clear of rubbish, clearing garden waste, trimming overgrown shrubs, nd removing any potential hiding place for would-be intruders.

And finally…

Many of you may not have heard of Urban Exploring, but it is increasing in popularity mainly due to trends on social media. With a growing number of followers it’s inevitable that these rules, however well-intentioned, will not be adhered to by many.

Although codes of conduct exist within explorer communities – namely that those entering derelict buildings should “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints” – it’s a dangerous pastime. There are a number of instances where urban explorers have died.

You have a duty of care as a property owner, and statutory obligation under the Defective Premises Act and Occupancies Liability Act to those who access the building – even those that are there without your consent. This means you could possibly face expensive litigation claims if someone breaks into your property and subsequently suffers an injury.

Get in touch

If you need help with insurance for your properties, just get in touch with me at [email protected], call on 0115 942 0111 or connect on LinkedIn

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Meet our new Insurance Graduate Trainee!

 

 

 

 

We are thrilled to welcome Jasmin Sandhu to our General Insurance team as a Insurance Graduate Trainee!

Jasmin graduated with a First Class LLB Honors degree from Nottingham Trent University, just down the road from Wilson House. Her academic achievements are a great foundation on which to build her insurance career and our team are looking forward to supporting Jasmin as she progresses through her CII qualifications.

“I am looking forward to working at Wilsons and using my analytical skills to assist our clients in meeting their insurance needs. I would describe my legal training as a solid foundation to building a career in insurance. During my degree, I completed a placement with a legal 500 law firm, which provided me with the experience of working within the private client sector and with corporate clients, particularly in the property and construction sector.”

We are committed to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients, this is achieved by recruiting and developing amazing people like Jasmin – we’re delighted to help her start her career in the insurance sector.

Welcome to the team Jasmin!

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Drone Insurance Claims

 

 

 

 

Some say Insurance is boring (not us!) – and it may be why our team always seem to do such exciting things at the weekend!

One of the team was a marshal at the Goodwood Revival and with everyone and everything from period outfits to period vehicles, was amused to see cutting edge drones being used by the TV crew.

With more and more of our construction, property and surveyor clients requesting drone insurance, it got us thinking – what are the most common insurance claims? Coverdrone, a specialist insurer, have analysed their claims history for 2022 and here are their Top 10 claims:

  1. PILOT ERROR – First on the list is pilot error, the most common cause of drone-related incidents with nearly 50% of all claims reported in 2022 being a result of pilot error. Fatigue, poor communication, distraction and lack of teamwork can all contribute to pilot error.
  2. LOSS OF DATA LINK – Loss of data link accounted for nearly one in every seven claims in 2022, typically caused by the drone losing GPS signal. There are a few ways to mitigate drone damage as a result of a loss of data link such as low altitude testing and ensuring the safety functions have been pre-set.
  3. ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE – Unsurprisingly the third most common claim type was accidental damage. There are many factors that can cause accidental damage, from airborne moisture to insufficient GPS signal or losing power mid-flight.
  4. MECHANICAL FAILURE – All drone manufacturers will have their own set of guidelines that pilots should adhere to in order to minimise the chances of mechanical failure during a flight. Clients should ensure they have carefully carried out all mechanical and safety checks before take-off and regularly update any software.
  5. BIRD STRIKE – Birds have occupied our skies long before the invention of drones. Bird strikes are not uncommon, so it’s really important to understand the potential risks and the damage it can cause. Pilots must to stay vigilant and look at ways to mitigate the risk throughout the course of their flight.
  6. LOSS OF POWER – A regular feature on the top 10 drone claims every year. It’s important pilots always ensure batteries are fully charged before take-off avoid flying with low or partially charged batteries. A semi-charged battery will always increase the risk of losing power mid-flight.
  7. ACCIDENTAL LOSS – Another regular in the top 10 drone claims. If you own multiple drones and a lot of batteries and other equipment, it can be easy to leave something behind. It’s really important for pilots to properly check the area and gather all their kit before leaving.
  8. FLYAWAY – The term ‘fly away’ is exactly as it sounds – the operator loses control of the drone and it flies away and cannot be retrieved. A number of factors can cause a fly away, including the operator flying the drone beyond their visual line of sight, compass interference and not setting (or updating) a designated Return To Home (RTH) point.
  9. WEATHER – Drones have many intricate motors and sensitive electronics that need to be protected as best as they can against rain, fog and snow. Colder temperatures can also greatly reduce the chemical activity in lithium batteries, reducing flight times and causing batteries to become unstable, putting drones at risk of falling out of the sky without warning.
  10. THEFT IN TRANSIT – Many drone operators now own multiple drones and an array of associated equipment which is very valuable and attractive to potential thieves. The portability of many drones also make them a very appealing target. It’s therefore reallly important that pilots remain vigilant, never leave equipment unattended in a public area and keep equipment locked away and out of sight when not in use.

Drone insurance is relatively cost effective and can cover equipment, full cover whilst in flight, aviation liability, data protection and invasion of privacy, along with many other options.

If you are moving your drone services in-house, or considering drones as part of your digital transformation, we can advise what insurance cover is right for you and your business. Just get in touch with Charlotte Perkins at [email protected], call on 0115 942 0111

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Meet our Financial Services Apprentice…

 

 

 

 

Molly joined our Financial Services Team in April this year, she’s undertaking her apprenticeship to become a Financial Services Administrator.

The apprenticeship covers the skills needed to fulfil this vital support role for our Advisers and clients, but is also an ideal starting point for a career in the financial services sector as she’ll have the opportunity to obtain a professional qualification through the CII at the end of her training.

Not only has Molly been a great addition to the Wilsons team, she has already displayed the core skills needed to be a fantastic FS administrator – quality service delivery, client communication, team working and planning and prioritising skills.

Here’s what Molly has to say about her apprenticeship…

“I am currently doing an apprenticeship in financial services administration at Harold Wilson Financial Services Ltd. During my apprenticeship, everyone I have worked alongside has been supportive in my learning process; I have been given the time and resources to complete my college course as well as getting plenty of experience in hands-on work with the help and support of more experienced administrators.

The apprenticeship has helped me understand how the theory work applies to the real-life cases. As it is an apprenticeship, I am earning while learning, which has been very beneficial as it means I can devote my time to getting my qualifications and building my skills rather than having to split my time and attention between work and learning. Overall, I really enjoy working at Wilsons as it is a welcoming environment.”

If you’re thinking of starting an apprenticeship, or know womeone who’d like to, why not get in touch?

We currently have opportunities for a Digital Marketing Apprentice, an Insurance Apprentice – and as Molly is doing so well, another Financial Services Administrator too!

Just email [email protected] and we’ll share further details, if you think you’d be a great fit for our team you can then pop in for a chat.

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Home Insurance… the smal print

 

 

 

 

Protecting what’s important to us is essential, and after our family members our home and its contents is top of the list. But it’s important to understand the policy you have taken out.

If you haven’t read the small print, you may not be aware of the terms and conditions that could leave you unable to claim is he unexpected should happen. Here are a few of the common areas we think you should consider, but as every policy is different, mane sure you check your own policy so you know what affects you.

Working from home

Figures from the ONS reveal that 16% of us worked solely from home between September 2022 and January 2023, and 28% are hybrid working, so splitting their time between working from home and the office. Some home insurance policies exclude all items used for business or professional purposes, so you might not be able to claim if your work device is damaged or stolen. If you work from home regularly, it’s essential to let your home insurance provider know. Your premiums may increase slightly – but not informing them could invalidate your policy altogether. If you work remotely and carry your personal laptop around, it could also be worth securing a contents insurance policy in case of damage outside the home.

Leaving your home unoccupied

Leaving your home unoccupied for a prolonged period could invalidate your policy. Most policies cover an unoccupied home for either 30 or 60 days, but longer than this could mean any claim you make may be rejected.  Should you need to leave your home unoccupied for longer than your policy states, talk to your insurer as they have various ways they can help keep you insured, dependent on your individual policy and circumstances.

Home renovations

Despite rising building and materials costs, many home owners are choosing to extend or refurbish their properties rather than move to add both space and value. However, major works of this kind are likely to impact your home insurance – failing to let your insurer know in advance could invalidate your policy. Ensure your insurer knows about your plans in the planning stages, they’ll be able to advise you on any changes needed on your policy to ensure you have the right level of cover in place, should you cause any damage whilst undertaking the project.

Pets

Installing a cat or dog flap technically provides easier access into your home, meaning some insurers may deem them as unsecure. This doesn’t mean you can’t install one, but it’s worth checking with your insurer– otherwise, you risk voiding your policy if someone were to gain entry via the cat or dog flap.

Installing a key-safe

A key safe is a convenient way to give trusted people access to your home, but if you install a poorly designed key safe and a burglar uses the key to enter your home, your house insurance claim will most likely be void. If you are choosing a key safe, ensure it’s police-approved and features the ‘Secured by Design’ label, as these can better withstand physical attack. You should also install the key safe away from your front door and remember to let your insurer know you’re using one.

Getting a lodger

Getting a lodger can be a savvy way to earn some extra cash to help combat rising interest rates and the ongoing cost of living crisis. But you must check the terms of your policy, as you could find your policy invalid should you need to make a claim. Insurers typically consider a lodger as an extra risk, so you’re likely to see an increase in your premium or a move to a different policy or even a different insurer.

Not maintaining your property

Your insurer will need evidence to ensure that any damage you claim for isn’t a result of poor maintenance. The only solution here is to keep up with the general wear and tear of your home – as well as well as keeping your property well maintained, it’ll also make it a much nicer place to live and could potentially save you thousands down the line.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your Home Insurance please call us on 01159 420 111

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Cyber Update

Cyber security is a very real threat for SMEs, which account for 5.5 million businesses in the UK – and only a tiny percentage have cyber insurance in place, despite them being one of the most attractive targets for cyber criminals. Worryingly, the percentage of SMEs stating cyber security is a high priority has decreased from 80% in 2022 to 68% in 2023.

Many SME’s will look at their business and see the tangible risks such as fire, flood or theft, and may have made claims for these incidents in the past. Thankfully, most have never experienced a cyber attack and are unaware of the devastating impact this can have on a small business.

We have supported clients the sharp end of a cyber claim so we understand the impact this has on a business and the true value of cyber insurance – not only to compensate financially, but the incredible level of incident response they receive to deal with the attack, restore systems and mitigate against future threat.

The Government’s ‘Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023’ revealed there were approximately 2.39 million instances of cybercrime across all UK businesses in the last 12 months – but only attacks on a few of the UK’s largest businesses such as British Airways or the BBC will make the headlines.

The survey also highlighted that ransomware is still at the forefront of the cyber threat landscape for UK businesses today. But there’s a continuing move away from cyber gangs just encrypting data to stealing data and threatening its publication instead – a trend which started back in 2019. Rather than the historic ‘smash and grab’, cyber criminals are spending far more time in networks, looking to steal information that will make victims feel obligated to pay the ransom to avoid disclosure.

Attacks are also becoming worryingly personal – unsurprising if they have accessed personal data, files and photographs. Victims are receiving harassing phone calls on personal numbers as the criminals move to using real-world intimidation rather than just cyber extortion to encourage business owners to pay. Saying they won’t release your CNC data is one thing, threatening family members is a whole different ball game.

Many of our clients are comfortable that they have sufficient cyber security in place. But cyber insurance isn’t simply there to replace investment in cyber security, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The specialist cyber insurers we work with will help you ensure you have the right security in place and keep you updated on emerging cyber threats – after all, they don’t want you to suffer a breach either! We all need to work together to ensure all businesses, whether big or small, are protected from cyber criminals.

It probably helps to think of cyber insurance as an emergency service. You probably wouldn’t say you don’t need breakdown cover as you have a really great car, you still want the comfort that should something happen, expert help to get you back up and running is just a phone call away.

If you don’t currently have a cyber policy in place and would like to understand the risks to your business and the cover available to you, just get in touch with me at [email protected], call on 0115 942 0111 or connect on LinkedIn

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Insuring the Intangible

Insuring the Intangible

1 August 2023

For over 100 years we have insured material assets such as cargo and property but as the world changes, so do the risks and insurance has evolved as much as the world we live in.

When Harold Wilson insured chemist Jesse Boot’s first Rolls Royce, car insurance was pretty cutting edge – little did he know we’d still be at the forefront of emerging risks a century later.

We work with many corporate clients and even social influencers where their brand, intellectual property and data is far more valuable to them than tangible assets. No longer do companies measure their value purely in tangible assets, such as property, equipment and stock.

For some businesses the value of their intangible assets such as brand, reputation, intellectual property and data has overtaken the value of their physical assets. Certain reports show intangible assets accounting for 90% of portfolios amongst Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, compared to just 17% in 1975.

The digital revolution is a major factor in this shift, especially over the last two years as so many businesses moved their operations online during the pandemic. This may well have been part of their future plans, but the necessity of lockdown accelerated this move. Not only were these businesses able to respond to the needs of their UK customers during lockdown and expand their existing customer base, but it provided the opportunity to expand their businesses internationally.

However, moving a business online and the necessity of home working not only brought opportunity, but increased threat due to network vulnerabilities and the rise in cyber attacks, ransomware and phishing attempts. Many businesses that moved swiftly to take their businesses online simply didn’t have the technical skills or time to access the specialist support required to minimise their vulnerabilities or have the specific cyber cover to respond should they suffer a breach. These risks included the threat to their intangible assets such as reputation and brand.

Some businesses that have historically operated on a traditional business model may not even consider the value of their intangible assets such as brand, intellectual property and data – and in that case they certainly won’t have estimated the cost of replacing or redeveloping these assets.

Even for businesses that acknowledge these intangible assets, establishing their actual value can be a challenge too. If a business has bought an asset it’s simple, but something that’s been built and developed by your business over time is very different – and that value will change over time too.

As a broker we have experience of helping businesses review their insurance programme to ensure they have in place the insurance solutions that work for their unique business, which may have changes significantly over the last few years. We not only guide them through the design of their insurance programme to identify their tangible risks, but the intangible too such as protection against associated legal costs, loss of brand equity and the theft of intellectual property. And then we explain it all to you in plain English, so you know exactly what’s covered.

If you haven’t arranged a review of your insurance programme, now is the time. Contact Charlotte Perkins at [email protected], 0115 942 0111 or connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn

 

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Join our Insurance team!

Join our Insurance team!

26 July 2023

We have an amazing General Insurance team here at Wilsons, and we’re looking for a new person to join them. As well as being part of our amazing team, you’ll be trained in line with the CII framework to gain your qualifications.

To support your training you’ll work on our existing client accounts and help with new business too. As you’ll be working within all insurance areas, we’re looking for someone who’s enthusiastic, hardworking and friendly – just like our current team members, so we know you’ll be a great fit.

Your duties will include:

  • Working with our teams to ensure that our clients received the best possible service
  • Supporting the team with insurance administration for designated clients
  • Acting on and replying to e-mails, post and telephone calls to assist clients with cover queries
  • Helping the team prepare renewal reports and new business presentations
  • Developing and maintaining a good working knowledge of Wilsons’ products and services, and specialist industry sectors
  • Utilising the Acturis system to ensure all client data is up-to-date and communications and documents are filed correctly
  • Attending training courses and studying for your CII qualifications

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

If you think you’d be a fantastic fit for our team and want to start your career in insurance, we’d love to hear from you. We offer a competitive benefits package, a great place to work and the support you need to progress to your career at Wilsons. Just email your interest to [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.

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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Join our Marketing team!

Join our Marketing team!

26 July 2023

We are expanding the team and looking for a Marketing Assistant – you’ll be part of a great team, develop your marketing and digital skills and be fully supported to progress your career with Wilsons.

We aren’t looking for someone that already has great marketing skills – we’ll help you develop those! We want someone who’s enthusiastic and hardworking, friendly and has great communication skills who will be a great addition to our team.

You’ll be involved in all our marketing campaigns and take responsibility for some of our social media accounts, as well as support the team with the organisation of our events including the Midlands Family Business Awards. 

If you think you’re the right person to join our team, we’d love to hear from you!

Your duties will include:

  • Digital – creating content, managing social media accounts and compiling analytics
  • Communications – creating e-communications, managing data and responses
  • Campaigns – contributing ideas to marketing campaigns and support their successful delivery
  • Events – creating presentations, managing delegate bookings and assisting with the delivery of Wilsons’ and Family Business Awards events
  • Assist clients, both internal and external, with queries and updates

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

If you think you’d be a fantastic fit for our team and want to start your career in marketing, we’d love to hear from you. We offer a competitive benefits package, a great place to work and the support you need to progress to your career at Wilsons. Just email your interest to [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.

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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Winners Announced in Wilsons’ Midlands Family Business Awards 2023!

Family-owned HR, payroll and finance software development company, MHR, has scooped the headline Family Business of the Year award at the 2023 Midlands Family Business Awards, created and organised by The Wilson Organisation.

Specialising in customisable and compliant software solutions for businesses across a broad range of sectors, MHR was family-founded in 1984 and has since delivered integrated solutions to over 1,400 businesses globally, operating from its business headquarters in Ruddington, Nottingham.

Sponsored by the previous Family Business of the Year award winners, The Wilkins Group, the two Highly Commended positions for the headline category were taken by the deserving Derby-based estate agent Hannells and Alfreton-based family butcher – Owen Taylor & Sons.

Shining a light on over 300 years of family businesses in the region the Midlands Family Business Awards, organised by Nottingham insurance and financial services provider The Wilson Organisation, has recognised the success, achievements, and innovations of companies in the Midlands.

Now in its second decade, returning after a three-year break following the pandemic, judges selected 11 winners and 21 Highly Commended companies from all finalists at its summer awards ceremony on 29 June held at Kelham Hall in Newark. John Pye & Sons were sponsors of the Drinks Reception.

Winner of the brand-new Sustainability category, sponsored by Flame UK, which highlights the very best of the region’s environmentally-minded family businesses was Tyseley Energy Park – a Birmingham-based energy park committed to the delivery of zero carbon power, transport, heat, waste, and recycling solutions for a greener city.

In winning position for the Best Small Family Business was Belper-based nightwear company, Slenderella. Walsall-based water safety business – H20 Hygiene was crowned Fastest Growing Family Business and Midlands-based co-working space provider, Cubo, took the top spot in the Rising Stars category, for family businesses established since the Awards’ 10th anniversary back in 2019.

The Director of the Year winning position went to Total Reclaims Demolition director, Melvyn Cross Jnr and Employer of the Year to Derbyshire golf and leisure venue, Morley Hayes.

Categories celebrating business excellence included the Construction and Property Excellence award, of which Alfreton-based S Brown Paving took the top spot, Burntwood-based Haywoods Contracts was crowned winner for the Manufacturing Excellence category and the Digital Excellence winning title was awarded to Premier Community – a provider of quality adult care services in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Judged by an independent panel led by a family business leader, industry expert and category sponsor, all finalists were entered into the People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Streets Chartered Accountants – the only award voted for by the public.

Taking the category top spot was Hucknall-based professional demolition solutions provider, Total Reclaims Demolition and Highly Commended positions went to Staffordshire-based holiday park, Quarry Walk Park, and Heanor-based recruitment agency, Recruit 2 You.

Sponsors for the 2023 awards included The Wilkins Group, Buckles Solicitors, Family Business Futures, Flame UK, Human Alchemy, Recruit 2 You, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Shakespeare Martineau, Streets Chartered Accountants and Ward.

Organised by The Wilson Organisation – a third-generation Nottingham-based family business – the Awards are the Midlands’ only initiative dedicated to celebrating and recognising the success, achievements and innovations of the region’s family run and owned businesses.

Almost 300 guests attended the event including sponsors, finalists, and independent judges, celebrating and championing Midlands family businesses for the second decade.

Group managing director of The Wilson Organisation, Charlotte Perkins, said: “After a very long three-year break, we’re absolutely delighted to see everyone celebrating the exceptional family businesses in the region in what is now the second decade of our awards, and what better way to celebrate than in the height of this beautiful summer in the grounds of Kelham Hall.

“The calibre of businesses we’ve seen this year has been incredible and we’ve been so inspired and moved hearing all their success stories and their plans for the future. We’d like to say a huge congratulations to everyone who has been successful – to all winners and Highly Commended, and all businesses that entered, it’s been fantastic to celebrate achievements and meet the companies that are having a hugely positive impact on our region.

“We are incredibly grateful to the brilliant firms that have been involved and supported us this year, as a not-for-profit event, this all wouldn’t be possible without our generous sponsors. We hope they enjoyed the Awards celebration as much as we did.”

The Midlands Family Business Awards has raised over £30,000 to date over the last two decades and to mark the return of the awards for its 11th year, all donations have gone to the award’s chosen charity: Move Against Cancer – a supportive community that inspires and empowers people impacted by cancer to live an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

The full list of winners and highly commended businesses for the 2023 Midlands Family Business awards are:

Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Wilkins Group)
Winner: MHR
HC: Hannells
HC: Owen Taylor & Sons

Best Small Family Business (sponsored by Ward)
Winner: Slenderella
HC: Flame UK
HC: Quarry Walk Park

Construction & Property Excellence (sponsored by Buckles Solicitors)
Winner: S Brown Paving
HC: Cubo
HC: Spenbeck

Digital Excellence (sponsored by Family Business Futures)
Winner: Premier Community
HC: Award Leisure
HC: Shuperb

Director of the Year (sponsored by Human Alchemy)
Winner: Total Reclaims Demolition – Melvyn Cross Jnr
HC: Ambitions Personnel – Amanda Watson
HC: Fashion UK – Gurdev Mattu

Employer of the Year (sponsored by Recruit 2 You)
Winner: Morley Hayes
HC: Flame UK
HC: Haywoods Contracts

Fastest Growing Family Business (Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers)
Winner: H2O Hygiene
HC: Cook Recruitment Group
HC: SuperFOIL

Manufacturing Excellence (sponsored by The Wilson Organisation)
Winner: Haywoods Contracts
HC: Cropwell Bishop Creamery
HC: Owen Taylor & Sons

Rising Stars (sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau)
Winner: Cubo
HC: Aben Interiors and Projects

Sustainability (sponsored by Flame UK)
Winner: Tyseley Energy Park
HC: HSG UK
HC: Mainline Mouldings
HC: Shredall

People’s Choice (sponsored by Streets Chartered Accountants)
Winner: Total Reclaims Demolition
HC: Quarry Walk Park
HC: Recruit 2 You

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Voting is now open for the 2023 Midlands Family Business Award’s People’s Choice category

The public can now vote for their favourite business!

The People’s Choice category is all about giving the community an opportunity to choose their favourite businesses, who have made it into the final stages of the Family Business Awards. Every person will get one vote each and will have the chance to look over all the different finalists, who are automatically entered into People’s Choice.

Voting opens on 5 June and closes

at midnight on 23 June. You can vote via the Family Business Awards website or by going to the

Winners will be unveiled at the awards ceremony on 29 June at Kelham Hall and previous Family Business of the Year winner John Pye & Sons are sponsors of the Drinks Reception. All award profits and funds raised at the event will be donated to the award’s chosen charity for 2023 – Move Against Cancer.

Group managing director of The Wilson Organisation, Charlotte Perkins, said:

“The People’s Choice category is an incredible opportunity to reward family companies and individuals for all their hard work and progress. We encourage everyone to get involved and make their views count, their vote will help  ensure that hardworking individuals and family businesses are noticed and rewarded for their amazing success.  We can’t wait to welcome our finalists to

 

our first summer awards ceremony to celebrate in style. Our current Family Business of the Year, The Wilkins Group, is headline sponsor and will be handing over the crown to their successor, in what will be a very special moment to start our second awards decade.”

More information about the awards, can be found on the Midlands Family Business Awards website, visit: www.familybusinessawards.co.uk

The Wilson Organisation is sponsoring this years Rising Stars category and we wish the best of luck to this years finalists!

The final line up for the 2023 finalists is below:

Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Wilkins Group)

A.W. Lymn

Charles Bentley & Son

Hannells Estate Agents

MHR

Owen Taylor & Sons

Webb Hotel Group

Best Small Family Business (sponsored by Ward)

Allen Signs

Flame UK

Quarry Walk Park

Recruit 2 You

Slenderella Wholesale

The Lincoln Tea & Coffee Company

Construction & Property Excellence (sponsored by Buckles Solicitors)

Cawarden

Cubo

Fairgrove

Hannells Estate Agents

S Brown Paving

Spenbeck

Digital Excellence (sponsored by Family Business Futures)

Award Leisure

Glitzy Bits Boutique

Go Cotswolds

KryptoKloud

Premier Community

Shuperb

Director of the Year (sponsored by Human Alchemy)

A.W. Lymn – Nigel Lymn Rose

Ambitions Personnel – Amanda Watson

CR Civil Engineering – Carl Roberts

Fashion UK – Gurdev Mattu

KryptoKloud – Allison Burrows

Total Reclaims Demolition – Melvyn Cross Jnr

Employer of the Year (sponsored by Recruit 2 You)

Cook Recruitment Group

CR Civil Engineering

Flame UK

Haywoods Contracts

Morley Hayes

The Midlands Training Company

Fastest Growing Family Business (sponsored by PwC)

Cook Recruitment Group

Fashion UK

H2O Hygiene

Premier Community

SuperFOIL

Webb Hotel Group

Manufacturing Excellence (sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau)

Charles Bentley & Son

Cropwell Bishop Creamery

Haywoods Contracts

Newark Cylinders

Owen Taylor & Sons

The Lincoln Tea & Coffee Company

Rising Stars (sponsored by The Wilson Organisation)

The Racing Room

Aben Interiors and Projects

Cubo

The Handy Family Company

Sustainability (sponsored by Flame UK)

HSG UK

Lyte Packaging

Mainline Mouldings

Shredall SDS Group

Tyseley Energy Park

Woolcool

 

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Join our Financial Services Team!

Join the team – Financial Services Administrator Apprentice

9  March 2023

 

We are expanding the team and looking for a Financial Services Administrator Apprentice to support our Financial Services division. You’ll be part of a great team, develop your financial knowledge and be fully supported to gain a level 3 finance administrator qualification.

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

As an apprentice your duties will include:

  • Supporting our financial advisers and account directors ensuring that documentation is accurately prepared in advance of meetings
  • Carry out all aspects of internal administration ensuring that client files and records are set up within timescales and in accordance with data standards and compliance obligations
  • Ensure that new business is dealt with promptly and liaising with cllients
  • Assist clients with queries and updates
  • Liaise with providers promptly and efficiently
  • Act on and reply to emails, post and telephone calls within the appropriate timescales
  • Carry out all system procedures and policies as directed
  • Understand and gain knowledge of Financial Conduct Authority regulations and Wilsons’ rules and requirements, ensurng you comply with these when working

You will undertake a Level 3 Financial Services Administrator Apprenticeship, delivered via virtual learning platforms with virtual classrooms and 121 skills coach support. CF1 and LP2 exams are included. Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English if required.

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 a competitive benefits package and the opportunity to progress to progress your financial services career at Wilsons.

If you think you’re the right person to join our team, we’d love to hear from you! Just email your interest to [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.

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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Awards Entry Deadline Extended!

You now have an additional two weeks to enter the 2023 Midlands Family Business Awards as the deadline has been extended to 5pm on Monday 20 March.

“We received so many requests for more time, we have pushed back our final entry deadline by two weeks,” explains Charlotte Perkins, Group MD at The Wilson Organisation who created and organise the Awards. “We want ensure that family businesses don’t miss the chance to showcase their achievements, so we’ve to given them a little more time to finalise their entries.

The entry process is really easy – simply head to www.familybusinessawards.co.uk and click on the ‘enter now’ link, register and start the online submission in up to two categories. Entries can be saved and revisited at any time before making the final submission by the new deadline of 5pm on Monday 20 March.

“Guidance on what the judges are looking for and the entry criteria can also be found on our website, and the Awards team are always on hand to answer any queries,” she adds, “from which category may be best, to when and where the judging days will be held.”

With 10 free-to-enter categories including Family Business of the Year, Fastest Growing Family Businesses, Employer of the Year, Best Small Family Business, Manufacturing Excellence, Construction & Property Excellence, Rising Stars, Sustainability, Digital Excellence and Director of the Year, there is a category suitable for every family business.

You can view the full line-up of categories to choose the most suitable for your family business. All our finalists will be entered into the People’s Choice Award – sponsored by Streets Chartered Accountants and decided purely by public vote.

Main sponsor for the 2023 Awards is current Family Business of the Year titleholder The Wilkins Group. Category sponsors are Buckles Solicitors, Human Alchemy, Family Business Futures, Flame UK, PwC, Recruit 2 You, Shakespeare Martineau, Streets Chartered Accountants and Ward Recycling. Charlotte adds: “We are grateful for the support of all our sponsors, some of which have been with us from the start, for their incredible generosity. The Awards are firmly established as a highlight in the Midlands calendar and we hope that with the extra two weeks until our extended deadline, even more family businesses from across the region will take the opportunity to shout about their work and enter this year’s Awards.”

Six finalists in each category will be chosen to go forward and meet the judging panel, with informal interviews taking place in May. The Ceremony & Dinner dinner attracts over 300 guests – awards finalists, independent judges and sponsors, but due to demand tickets are not placed on general sale. So if you want to attend, you need to enter!

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Nottingham Business Leaders IT Security Conference 2023

Nottingham Business Leaders IT Security Conference 2023

A NON-TECHNICAL EVENT FOR BUSINESS OWNERS AND DIRECTORS CONCERNED ABOUT CYBER SECURITY

We are delighted to be part of the Nottingham Business Leaders IT Security Conference, where Charlotte Perkins will be speaking on Cyber Insurance.

Relax over a buffet lunch and Network with fellow Business Owners and Directors at this exclusive event.

Cyber Security events often focus on frightening businesses into action. However Good Cyber Security can actually BENEFIT the business in many ways…..

  • Protect and Enhance Your Businesses Reputation – leading to increased business opportunities
  • Attract and retain high quality staff
  • Increased Productivity – viruses often slow down machines hampering workers
  • Improve customer confidence and trust
  • Reassure stakeholders and attract investment
  • Meet compliance requirements and reduce insurance costs

We’ll also show you real-life examples from local businesses who have experienced an attack first-hand. You’ll learn exactly what the effects of a cyber-attack really are.

PLUS our cyber security experts will explain:

  • A simple framework for cyber security explained without jargon
  • The steps you need to take to protect your business
  • The biggest single risk to your business, and what you can do about it
  • Why you should probably change your password today
  • How to ensure you have the right cyber insurance in place

Date: 29 March 2023 09:30 – 12:30
Venue: Attenborough Nature Reserve, Barton Ln, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham NG9

Places are limited and it’s free to attend so don’t delay – Register your FREE place today!

 

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The Midlands Family Business Awards returns!

 

Created in 2010 by Annabel and Charlotte, and still organised by Wilsons, the Awards remain the UK’s only independent, not-for-profit annual Awards for family businesses.

Returning after a three year break due to the pandemic, the Awards is now entering its second decade, we are looking forward to celebrating and recognising the success, achievements and innovations of the region’s family run and owned businesses once again.

With 10 categories to choose from, there are accolades suitable for businesses of all sizes, across all sectors and we look forward to receiving entries from the businesses we have met over the first 10 years, and introducing new family businesses to the Awards too.

Move Against Cancer is the chosen charity that the awards will be supporting this year, with all profits from the awards evening donated.

The black-tie awards ceremony is being held on 29 June and will be a summer event held at the stunning Kelham Hall near Newark.

Wilsons’ MD and Awards co-founder, Charlotte Perkins, said: “Myself and my sister Annabel are so pleased to be bringing back the Midlands Family Business Awards, after a three year break. It’s fantastic to have our current Family Business of the Year, The Wilkins Group, as our headline sponsor. Thanks to Justin and the Wilkins family, we’ll see them hand over the crown to their successor, which will be a very special moment to start our second Awards decade.

“We have taken the opportunity to mix things up a bit. We have always held the Awards Ceremony and Dinner in November, but decided that a summer event would give us the perfect opportunity to have our celebration in summer-style.

“Putting your family business forward for an award can reap a host of benefits and rewards beyond the trophy and title so I encourage as many as possible to get involved and submit an application.

“There are so many family businesses that are having a remarkable impact on the Midlands region and beyond, and we can’t wait to see what brilliant work they’ve been doing. I wish all the businesses who enter the very best of luck!”

For more information and to enter, visit www.familybusinessawards.co.uk

 

 

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We’ve won the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award – again!

We’re incredibly proud of our team for maintaining the highest levels of service to our clients, winning the Trusted Service Award for a second year.

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 in 2022, we really appreciate it!

Feefo Trusted Service Awards recognise businesses that have collected at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2021 and December 31st 2022, 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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Are you prepared for power outages?

The UK has one of the most reliable power networks in the world.  However, reduced gas supplies this winter could result in power  outages with very little notice – if any.

To help your clients prepare for this, we’ve here are a few practical steps that can be taken.

Power outages or planned blackouts this winter could have a range of impacts, including:

  • Immediate impact on trading and manufacturing
  • Increased safety risks to staff, customers and visitors
  • Potential damage to equipment or processes from uncontrolled shutdown
  • Disruption to telephony & IT infrastructure with potential loss of data
  • Reduced client support impacting revenue
  • Impact on fire and security protection systems
  • Increased crime

General Considerations

To plan effectively for this potential disruption you should consider the following:

  • Check published information about expected rolling blackouts in your area
  • Consider changing operational or opening hours to reduce the impact
  • Review, document and communicate your emergency plans and procedures and provide relevant training to managers and key individuals
  • Document individual roles and responsibilities in advance and communicate these to ensure emergency plans can be invoked quickly
  • Review and update business continuity and emergency response plans to cater for electricity supply outage
  • Pre-plan and document the following
    • Safe close down and start up procedures for equipment and processes
    • Safe exit from site for staff, visitors and customers
  • Review risks associated with slips, trips and falls which might be  increased due to reduced lighting when staff and members of the public are present on site
  • Consider if there are any  increased risks that need to be adequately controlled from liquid spillage due to shutdown, or the use of unfamiliar traffic routes that are not normally used
  • Complete risk assessments for keyholders attending the premises during a total power outage, as street lighting will not be operating

Planned preventative maintenance
Correct scheduled maintenance and testing of services and equipment in accordance with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)  recommendations or best practice will help to ensure resilience, safe shutdown/start up and safety.

Review and ensure maintenance is up to date for essential equipment, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Passenger lifts – including emergency lowering facility where applicable
  • Emergency diesel generators – including annual load bank test
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
  • Process equipment – including automatic switch-over to backup supply
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Utilities – electrical installations, boilers, refrigeration plant
  • Solid fuel boilers, wood burners, open fires including chimneys
  • Sprinkler systems including pumps
  • Intruder Alarms
  • Automatic Fire Alarms

Emergency temporary electrical supply

Fuel tanks for emergency generators should be kept topped up. Where a generator is not provided, consider hiring a temporary generator and providing a permanent or semi-permanent connection point and hardstanding to quickly provide a temporary supply for critical use.  Consider installing a UPS for critical equipment or IT to facilitate controlled safe shutdown.

Risk assessments should be undertaken for temporary generators or additional fuel brought on site, to ensure this is undertaken safely. Ensure procedures and training are in place to close down equipment or back up data prior to power outage and before any emergency generator or UPS system expires.

Critical or vulnerable equipment

Review, plan and document the safe and controlled shutdown   procedures for equipment, including the following:

  • Passenger Lifts – stop use in advance of planned power cut
  • Cold stores, freezers and refrigerators – minimise opening, and consider setting a lower temperature 12 hours in advance of a planned power cut
  • Ensure plant and equipment safe shut-down and restart sequences are documented and employees are trained in any monitoring or
    manual intervention requirements for processes, boilers or fired equipment (kilns, ovens, steam generators, reactors etc )
  • Switch off equipment and, where possible, disconnect to
    protect against a power surge on resumption of the electricity supply
  • Leave at least one light switched on to show when power has been
    restored
  • Consider how you manage the use of electric vehicles which cannot
    be charged during outages

IT & communications

Consider how you communicate across your
business when IT networks and mobile networks
may be affected

  • Computers and file servers – review data back-up requirements
  • Review data storage suppliers, including any that are cloud-based, to understand the impact on their service and their plans for resumption of service
  • Mobile telephone networks and landlines may be impacted during power outages
  • To increase resilience for key personnel, consider multi-network
    provider sims for mobile phones
  • Keep all mobile phones fully charged when mains power is available
  • Use power banks to keep mobile phones charged for longer
  • Have a battery powered radio and fresh supply of batteries to obtain ongoing information from local radio stations

Lighting

Ensure emergency lighting systems are functioning correctly
and consider time taken for batteries to fully recharge on power resumption

  • Provide battery powered lanterns and torches with a supply of fresh batteries
  • Candles should be avoided due to the fire hazards they pose

Heating

Electrical power outages will impact heating even if the primary boilers are Mains Gas, Oil or LPG, as pumps or fans will be electrically driven

  • Use of temporary or portable heating should be subject to a risk assessment prior to use This should also consider safe storage of any additional fuel brought to site
  • Before using solid fuel fires, ensure chimneys are cleaned by an approved chimney sweep – make sure you use a fireguard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers and keep combustibles clear of solid fuel fires
  • Battery powered Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed in rooms where combustion heaters or solid fuel fires or wood burners are used

Fire and security equipment

  • Fire and Intruder alarms – check the intended duration of supply with your service provider – this will be impacted by the age of the battery and may mean they need to be replaced
    • Intruder alarms should provide 12 hours battery life
    • Fire alarms should provide 24 hours battery life
  • Where offsite signalling is provided to intruder or fire alarms, contact your service provider to determine if this will still function, and for what duration, as these will vary considerably
  • Access Control – consider security implications as these may fail while open, leaving areas unsecured, enabling unauthorised access
  • Review the impact on other mains powered security related devices such as external lighting and CCTV Consider on-site security guard presence during prolonged power outage
  • Sprinkler system pumps – ensure where diesel back up pumps are provided that these are in working order with functioning battery start facility and full fuel tanks
    • Where the sprinkler installations only have electric pumps, these will not operate during power outages, so you should review the required additional measures detailed on the sprinkler test card
    • If possible, increase reserve stocks of diesel and update your fire risk assessments beforehand to ensure these are stored safely

Slips, trips, falls

  • Are employees using entrances/ exits they do not normally use, and does this present any risk that need to be considered?
  • How will you manage if there is reduced, or no, lighting whilst they are still employees and members of the public on site?
  • Make sure consideration is given to external and yard areas as well as internal areas
  • Consider areas of the premises that may be prohibited to staff during power outages – this could be yards & compounds, areas where machinery is located, areas where materials are stored on floors
  • Is there an increased risk of liquid/ spillages being present on the floor causing increased risk of slips due to plant and equipment shut down during outages – how should this be managed?

This is just general guidance and we ap[preciate every business is different, each with its own challenges and unique risks, so you need to devise a Power Outage Plan that works for you.

If you need any help or advice from your Account Executive or Insurer, just get in touch.

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The Rising Cost of Cyber

The Rising Cost of Cyber

12 August 2022

Only 43% of UK businesses have an insurance policy in place that protects them against cyber risks – shockingly only a tiny fraction (5%) of these have specific cyber policies catered to their needs.


The modern risks businesses need to protect against now, such as cyber, wouldn’t even have been considered by most businesses 20 years ago, yet over the last few years the products available have become quite sophisticated and more of our clients now consider this a vital part of their insurance programme. Cyber packages now can include threat warning intelligence, forensics, post-breach communications and data recovery.

The lockdown in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic challenged businesses with the need for their office staff to work from home, but it also brought new opportunities for cyber criminals.  The Cyber Security Breaches Survey is an influential research study for UK cyber resilience, their report details 39% of businesses suffering a cyber attack in 2021. More than half or those believed their exposure was heightened due to home working arrangements.

Ransomware and phishing attacks also increased during the pandemic with cyber criminals using this as a hook, and attacks are still on the rise. Ransomware was ranked as the top cyber exposure of concern in 2022 in the Allianz Risk Barometer. And just when we thought we were through the pandemic, Russia’s attack on Ukraine brought additional cyber concerns.

Cyber incidents can have a devastating impact on businesses, and few have the in-house resources to deal with an attack or breach. The disruption to day-to-day operations can be catastrophic, when combined with financial loss, reputational damage and fines some businesses may not even survive an attack.

But the insurance market is responding with more sophisticated offerings not only to protect businesses, but to deploy the resources required to get them back to business as usual too. As the cyber landscape continually evolves, so does the insurance offering. However, cyber insurers are seeing more claims as the number of incidents rise, along with the take-up of cyber insurance and this is having an impact on both premiums and availability. The recent surge in ransomware claims has driven up cyber insurance pricing by up to 92%.

Insurers are now more cautious about the risks they take – if your cyber security is poor and you are at a greater risk of attack, you may find it financially prohibitive to obtain cyber cover, or you may not find an insurer willing to take your risk. Insurers need to be assured that you are taking appropriate steps to protect yourself against cyber threats with Virtual Private Network (VPN) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) now a standard requirement.

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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Global Risks – The Digital Pandemic

Allianz Risk Barometer, the annual corporate risk survey conducted among Allianz customers, brokers and industry trade organisations incorporates the views of 2,650 respondents from the UK and across the globe.


The Top 3 UK Concerns

The 2022 report highlighting the most important business risks for the next 12 months and beyond, established that Cyber was the new top concern for businesses in the UK and across the globe, with over 50% of UK respondents stating this as their most concerning risk.

Understandably, Covid-19 continues to cast its shadow particularly as the cyber risk is heightened by companies’ growing reliance on technology and the shift to remote and flexible working. This only increases the risks businesses face, in addition to the usual ransomware and other cyber-attacks that continue to disrupt businesses.

Business Interruption (BI) has dropped from the top spot to second place in the rankings this year, despite a year of unprecedented global supply chain disruption – only the third time in the 11-year history of the Allianz Risk Barometer that it is not ranked top. However, Despite the ongoing repercussions of Covid-19, the most feared cause of BI in this year’s survey is cyber!

Surprisingly Climate Change was the third ranking concern for respondents in the UK and received its highest ever ranking of 6th on the global rankings.

Cyber

The top cyber exposure of concern was Ransomware, just ahead of data breaches. Ransomware remains big business for cyber criminals, with the commercialisation of cyber crime making it easier for criminals to exploit vulnerabilities on a massive scale. Now those criminals with very little technical knowledge can carry out ransomware attacks for as little as a $40 per month subscription, using cryptocurrency to help evade detection.

Another change in the way these criminals operate is the use of ‘double extortion’ tactics, combining the initial encryption of data with a threat to release sensitive or personal data. Encryption or deletion of backups, making restoration and recovery more difficult or even impossible is another disturbing and growing trend. This is only overshadowed by the recent alarming incidents where attackers harass employees to gain access to systems, as well as going directly to company senior executives to demand ransoms.

Cyber claims increased significantly over the past few years and remain at elevated levels, both in terms of claim numbers and claim payments. Ransomware tops the claims list too, with the number of claims received in the first half of 2021 higher than the total number for the whole of 2019. Extortion demands have more than doubled and BI losses have escalated as larger businesses and their supply chains are targeted.

It is important to remember that the rise in claims will be impacted by the number of businesses that now have cyber insurance, which has also risen significantly as businesses acknowledge their increased vulnerability – remote working, disruption to digital supply chains and cloud platforms ranked third and fourth as cyber risks of concern.

For those businesses that have yet to include Cyber Insurance as part of their programme, the cyber risk landscape has changed and insurer focus has turned to effective cyber risk management. Each proposal form is now assessed with insurers looking for proactive technology controls such as endpoint protection and multi-factor authentication in addition to regular backups, training, business continuity and crisis response plans. Cyber Insurance is now seen as part of a holistic approach to building cyber security resilience, combining with technology, training, monitoring and response testing. If cyber insurance is to be sustainable, this is the way forward.

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Business Interruption

Business interruption ranks as the second most concerning risk, not just in the UK but globally, which comes as no surprise following a year of unprecedented global supply chain disruption following a pandemic and an increase in cyber-attacks.

Whether it’s a cyber-attack, a flood or fire affecting a critical business location or supplier, business interruption events can have a very costly and lengthy impact extending well beyond the organisation to suffer the incident and impact the entire supply chain. It may not be your organisation that’s directly impacted, but it may prevent you from being able to produce your products or deliver your services.

There are multiple triggers for BI and in recent years cyber and pandemic have risen to the fore – as mentioned previously the most feared cause of BI this year is cyber. However, it would be foolish to underestimate traditional causes of businesses interruption such as fire or flood. There’s little you can do to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruption, but like cyber you can manage some of the risk of traditional BI triggers and put in place prevention measures and resilience plans.

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Climate Change

It was surprising to see climate change leap up the rankings to third place for the UK, climbing to 6th in the global rankings. However, this has been a recurring news item over the last year or so and the increasing pressure on businesses to act on climate change has increased noticeably.

In the UK there is a growing focus on net-zero and the government landmark Net Zero Strategy launched in October 2021, at the time the Allianz Risk Barometer survey was conducted, which may have had an impact on the ranking as it was at the forefront of respondent’s minds. The Net Zero Strategy sets out the policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero target by 2050. The devolved administrations also committed to the Net Zero target as recommended by the Climate Change Committee.

The risks to businesses from climate change are also having an impact on Business Interruption, particularly in relation to damage and closures following extreme weather events. We have seen multiple ‘danger to life’ warnings issued for flooding in February across the Midlands, with devastation to businesses that had barely recovered from previous floods. This also has an impact on brand and reputation, alongside supply chain issues, that can have a long term impact even when the flooding has subsides and the business reopens.

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So, what can you do?

The Allianz Risk Barometer has highlighted the current issues keeping business owners awake at night, both in the UK and across the globe. But the old saying ‘only worry about things you can control’ springs to mind – you can’t stop cyber attacks, container ships blocking the Suez Canal or flooding, but you can manage the risk to your business and put in place the insurance cover to protect you should the worst happen.

Identify the biggest risks to your own business, determine what you can control and create a plan to implement any changes you need to make to improve your resilience. If it’s within your control, tackle it, if not then insure against it.

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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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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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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.

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Omicron Cyber Scams

Omicron Cyber Scams

9 December 2021

The new Omicron Covid-19 variant has not only led to the government reintroducing restrictions such as Work From Home, but cyber criminal gangs are using this new variant in a new phishing scam.

The new phishing scam has been created to look like an official communication from the NHS, and is targeting people with fake offers for free PCR tests for the new variant.

This new “variant of concern” is spreading rapidly around the world. Whilst this has caused distress for many people globally, especially those who are vulnerable themselves or have loved ones that are, it’s also created a new opportunity for cyber criminals to feed on those fears.

This wave of new phishing is being issued by text, email and even over the phone, with threat actors contacting people across the UK offering them what they say are new test kits specifically designed to detect the Omicron variant.

One of these emails read: “NHS scientists have warned that the new Covid variant Omicron spreads rapidly, can be transmitted between fully vaccinated people, and makes jabs less effective. However, as the new covid variant (Omicron) has quickly become apparent, we have had to make new test kits as the new variant appears dormant in the original tests.”

Alongside giving false information, the email is littered with grammatical errors. Should a victim click on the link at the bottom of the correspondence, they would be taken to a fake NHS page that asks for full name, date of birth, address, phone numbers and email address.

In addition to harvesting personal information, the site also asks for £1.24 as a delivery fee and mother’s maiden name which is often used as a finance security question, giving the cyber criminals access to the target’s banking information as well.

Like many other Covid-19-related phishing campaigns, this too relies on the target’s anxiety to cause them to overlook obvious signs of fraud. Researchers commented: “Phishing attacks and other scams often exploit emotions to get people to react quickly, without thinking things through logically. This new COVID-19 variant has significant emotional weight for people who are tired of lockdowns and the continuing impact of the pandemic, making it a powerful tool to get people to click.”

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is aware, but watchdogs have warned that other similar Omicron scams are likely to appear over the next several weeks – especially with the festive period in full swing and the reintroduction of working from home.

Not only do we all need to be more cautious with our potential exposure to the new Omicron variant, we must remain vigilant with our cyber security and threat awareness too. If you have High Value Home Insurance it’s likely to include an element of Cyber cover, so remember to check your policy.

Can Cyber Insurance help my business?

Whilst the new Omicron threat is targeted at individuals, it will be received on business devices. Now the government are imposing new Work From Home advice, cyber-criminals will tweak this to target businesses too – every change is a new opportunity for them to exploit.

Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. 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 – Group Managing Director
[email protected]     0115 9420 111

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Stay safe up there!

Stay safe up there!

1 December 2021

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Sadly that also means thare’s a risk of people falling from ladders and stepladders as they hang decorations, lights and dress the Christmas tree.

As the festive season approaches, the No Falls Foundation is urging everyone to take extra care – especially anyone who seldom uses a ladder on the odd occasion.

However, there are some simple steps that everyone can take for an accident free Christmas. The Foundation is asking everyone to take extra care and follow this simple advice:

  1. Avoid using furniture, tables and chairs to stand on. Use a ladder or stepladder according to the height you wish to reach
  2. Before using the ladder make sure it’s in good condition. Check the rungs or treads and the sides are not bent, damaged or loose. Check the feet are clean and secure, the locking devices are working and step ladder platforms are not buckled or cracked
  3. Position the ladder on a firm and level surface, facing the work wherever possible. Check the label for the ladders maximum load and don’t exceed it. Step ladders must be fully opened, and any locking devices properly engaged. Never overreach – just move the ladder to a better position
  4. Maintain a firm handhold and only let go for a moment when the task requires it. When using a step ladder for jobs that briefly require both hands, keep both feet on the same step or on the platform and your body (knees or chest) supported by the stepladder to maintain three points of contact. On a leaning ladder, don’t do any jobs that require you to let go for more than a few seconds e.g. starting a screw or nail
  5. Wear footwear with a good grip and move slowly and carefully up and down the ladder
  6. Don’t drink and decorate! Alcohol significantly increases your risk of falling. You can celebrate once the job is done!

We hope you all stay safe – Merry Christmas!

 

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In cyberspace, no-one can hear you scream

In cyberspace, no-one can hear you scream

6 September 2021

We may have stolen a sci-fi strapline, but what will cyber-criminals steal from you? Many people hide behind the fact that they’re not one of the big boys, so they’re not really targeted by hackers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research published by Vodafone earlier this year found that 41% of UK SME’s had suffered cyberattacks over the previous 12-month period, with 20% experiencing multiple attacks. It warned that as many as 1.3 million UK SMEs could collapse completely after falling victim to a cyber-attack.

SMEs are under-protected from cybersecurity risk, they are less likely to have robust defences in place than their larger counterparts and the pandemic has increased their vulnerability to attacks. A very attractive target for cyber criminals.

Despite the increased risks, most SMEs only have the most basic protections in place such as installing firewalls and anti-virus software. But the biggest risk is your people and only a minority routinely train staff on cybersecurity issues.

Hello, I’m an SME and I am a cyber target…

So what can you do? Like the old saying goes, acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Review the risk, make a plan and action it.  Even simple steps can prove hugely valuable- SMEs that routinely back up their systems and data are much less vulnerable to ransomware attacks; introducing multi-factor authentication on remote devices is simple and reduces the risk of attackers getting in this way.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) said the most important thing SMEs should focus on is how to build stronger cultures of cybersecurity, with management working harder to build employees’ awareness. They suggest practical steps such as regular cybersecurity audits, training for staff, the development of cybersecurity policies and incident response plans.

ENISA’s data suggests that the five most common threats to SMEs are: phishing attacks; web-based raids; general malware; malicious insiders; and denial-of-service strikes. It seems SMEs don’t invest enough in cybersecurity, they fail to access the right type of expertise and favour quick fixes such as anti-virus software, rather than building a culture of cybersecurity awareness.

The Home Working Threat

Measures introduced by many SMEs during the pandemic, including remote working have given cyber attackers new opportunities.

A recent survey found that 56% of senior IT techs believe their employees have picked up bad cyber-security habits while working from home. Nearly two in five home workers admitted that their cyber-security practices at home were less thorough than in the office, with half admitting it’s due to feeling less scrutinised by IT departments.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, there was a staggering 667% increase in malicious phishing emails. Google also reported blocking over 100 million phishing emails daily during that time.

The consequences of such phishing attacks can often be dire. While global multinationals may be able to recover from substantial losses, cyber-attacks can be catastrophic for both small businesses and individuals.

Now, with many employers formalising the home-working policies they set up during the pandemic, they must ensure that proper security procedures and training are put in place to keep both themselves and their employees safe.

Can Cyber Insurance help?

Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business if it is the subject of an attack by a malicious hacker or experiences a data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support the business in the event of a cyber-attack.

A range of insurance products have been developed to meet the increasing demand for cover, so not only is there a product available to suit your specific business needs, but it’s also far more cost effective than ever before.

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

Contact

Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected]     0115 9420 111

 

 

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Home working fire risks

Home working fire risks

3 September 2021

Pizza ovens, fire pits and BBQs were incredibly popular purchases or projects during lockdown, as was the rise in working from home in a ‘shoffice’ – which resulted in an increased chance of fire.

A major insurer warned that outbuilding fires – in sheds, garages and conservatories – rose by 16% last year compared with 2019. The popularity of conversions to home offices, gyms and social spaces increased the fire risk. Three-quarters of areas in the UK recorded more fires, the data shows.

Phil Ost, from insurer Zurich, said: “Aside from storing gardening tools, our sheds and garages have become a haven to escape the stresses of family life and for others, a place to work. But as they take refuge in their garden sheds and garages, it appears to have sparked a rise in accidental blazes.”

Another survey by insurer Aviva, suggested that one in 10 of those asked worked from a converted shed, garage or summerhouse – a proportion expected to rise to 13%. The popularity of ‘shoffices’ (shed offices) has risen, with some people investing in bespoke garden rooms with all the luxury of home.

However, analysts said some people risked invalidating their insurance, or any subsequent claim, if they don’t inform their insurer about any changes to their property, especially if it’s new purpose increases risks. There is also the risk that expensive equipment in less secure locations, such as laptops left in an unsecure shed, may not be covered if it’s stolen or damaged.

Pizza ovens and fire pits only add to the existing fire risks created in gardens by mowers, barbecues, and paint thinners. As the good weather ends, those still working in the shed or garden room may increase the risk even further with the use of patio or bar heaters.

Zurich collected data from UK fire authorities highlighted that there were 3,681 residential outbuilding fires recorded in 2020, compared with 3,170 the year before.

Whilst insurers appreciate the changes we’ve all had to make to our working environments and our lifestyles since March 2020, there has now been sufficient opportunity to reflect any changes at renewal, or notify your insurer of any changes to your property or contents limits. If you haven’t, act now or any claims you need to make may be rejected in future. ALWAYS keep your insurance details up-to-date.

If you need any help or advice arranging your home insurance, contact our Private Client Team on 0115 942 0111 or email [email protected] – we’re always here to help.

 

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Holiday booked – what about your travel insurance?

Holiday booked – what about your travel insurance?

6 August 2021

With so many people finally able to take a long-awaited holiday, we’ve received many enquiries about Travel Insurance in relation to Covid-19, but don’t forget to check the other areas of the policy too.

It’s vitally important you check the details before taking out the policy, to ensure you’re covered for all the activities you’ll enjoy on your holiday – whether that’s scuba diving or off-road motorcycling. Don’t forget to estimate the valuables and tech you’ll be taking too; research has shown that cost for replacing or repairing personal tech could top £1 billion.

As with every insurance policy, always read through the policy documentation to understand what’s covered and what’s not – and if you’re unsure, check! We know it’s not the most exciting part of your holiday planning, but it’s one of the most important.

Here are the most common issues travellers experience when they need to claim.

Taking all your tech?

Most of us don’t go anywhere without our mobile, but what do you do if you’re poolside or on the beach and decide to take a dip? If you leave your phone unattended on your sunbed or tucked under your towel and it’s stolen, it’s possible your insurer won’t pay your claim.

Most insurers expect you to take “reasonable precautions” to stop your property being damaged or stolen. Leaving an expensive device such as a phone, tablet or laptop unattended would not be seen as taking reasonable precautions.

Covered for your sports?

All sports come with risks, some more than others, but when you’re on holiday you want to take part in all those activities you probably don’t get to enjoy at home. Standard travel policies usually provide cover for most of the usual holiday sporting activities such as swimming, snorkelling and tennis.

If you’re seeking the more adrenaline fuelled activities, such as scuba diving, jet skiing or bungee jumping, they are likely to be excluded or have specific conditions enforced.

For those travellers taking sporting holidays such as skiing or diving trips, you’ll know there are specific travel policies that cover you for your chosen activities, but it’s always wise to check even with those policies so you understand the cover and its limitations.

Taking sports equipment?

If you’re taking a sporting holiday, chances are you’ll be taking your own equipment with you and your specialist policy will probably cover your related equipment such as skis or snowboard.

One type of holiday that usually falls through the net in terms of sporting equipment is golf. Most standard policies won’t cover your expensive set of clubs, but the majority of good insurers will offer this cover as an add-on.

Locked your doors?

Your hotel room, apartment or villa can feel like such a safe space. However, leaving valuables such as travel documents and tech in plain sight may invalidate your claim if they were to be stolen. It’s down to ‘reasonable measures’ again, as is the case with leaving items unattended – if you can’t prove that reasonable measures were in place to keep your valuables safe, then you may struggle with your claim. If you’re not using your valuables, just lock them away and then you can enjoy your holiday without worry.

Know your claim limit?

All policies have claim limits, so make sure you check them before you take out the policy! If your policy only covers you up to £1,000, but you know the tech you’re taking is worth £3,000 then you’re obviously underinsured.

Make sure you have adequate limits for everything you need to cover – and don’t forget to factor in any purchases you plan to make while you’re away too.

Let us help

Our Private Client team have a wealth of experience in arranging travel insurance for our clients, giving them the peace of mind they need to enjoy their holiday. They’ve also supported our clients that have needed to claim on their travel policy, so understand the claims process.

If you’ve planned your holiday, get in touch with our Private Client team and they’ll help you plan your travel insurance. Or simply email [email protected] and we’ll get in touch at a time to suit you.

 

 

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The Green Card Free Circulation Area

The Green Card Free Circulation Area

28 July 2021

On the 30 June 2021 the European Commission announced that the UK would be able to participate in the Green Card Free Circulation Area (GCFA), which comprises all 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries as well as Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.

This takes effect on the 2nd August 2021 and will remove the requirement for Green Cards to be issued for travel within these countries.

Following the MIB’s recommendation, most insurers will continue to issue Green Cards up until September 2021 to ensure a smooth transition period.

If you have any queries regarding the issuance of Green Cards please contact your Wilsons account handler, or your insurer directly.

 

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Business Masters Awards – Nominations now open

Business Masters Awards – Nominations now open

23 June 2021

This week The Business Desk launched their East and West Midlands Business Masters Awards. Entries are now open – and as usual there’s a Family Business category! In 2020 this was sponsored by Wilsons and won by Wathall’s, a fantastic 5th generation family business, but who will triumph this year?

To nominate in the East Midlands Awards, please click here.

To nominate in the West Midlands Awards, please click here.

Deadline for entries is 16th July 2021.

The categories are:

  • Start-up
  • Disruptor* [new award for 2021]
  • Sustainability* [new award for 2021]
  • International Trade
  • Investment
  • Community Impact
  • Professional Services
  • Property Business
  • Family Business
  • Small Business (up to 50 employees)
  • Medium Business (51-250 employees)
  • Large Business (251+ employees)
  • Fast Growth Business

The annual awards ceremony is a key event in the business calendar, recognising the achievements of East and West Midlands companies. This year is particularly important because of the huge disruption and challenges caused by the pandemic which have forced all businesses to be agile, innovative and resilient.

The Business Masters winners will be revealed at TheBusinessDesk.com’s annual East Midlands dinner on Thursday, October 21, at Colwick Hall, Nottingham and West Midlands dinner on Thursday, 11 November at the Macdonald Burlington, Birmingham.

 

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We’re launching a new online family business community

We’re launching a new online family business community

17 June 2022
A new not-for-profit online initiative which connects family businesses across the UK is launching today, providing businesses in the sector with interactive support and expert advice – and a fantastic community to be part of.

Organised and backed by The Wilson Organisation, a Nottingham-based third-generation family business behind the annual Midlands Family Business Awards – the online only Family Business Futures (FBF) initiative has been designed to bring family enterprises across the UK together.

Following the unprecedented events of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the absence of face-to-face meetings and many events including the Midlands Family Business Awards, FBF was born to establish an ethical, supportive and friendly online community of likeminded people to share networking opportunities, trusted support and expertise for family businesses to not only survive, but to thrive.

FBF aims to deliver a trusted space in which to connect people to other businesses in the community that understand the unique challenges of leading a family business, providing support and advice. It’s a safe space with active social hubs to connect people with each other, where they can share experiences, and build friendships and support networks.

Community areas are only accessible to trusted sponsors and supporters enabling family business owners to seek support and guidance from advisers that understand the sector and are active within the community.

A whole media centre is also available to share specialist content with all users including presentations and videos to benefit the community, with all the latest information and services that member businesses provide.

Annabel Jackson Prow, CEO of The Wilson Organisation, said: “Family businesses survive over generations by taking a long term and sustainable outlook. The past year has been incredibly challenging for so many of us and for family run businesses, big or small, we’ve all really felt it.

“We’ve launched the FBF website, so businesses will be able to build relationships, share their experiences with one another and seek guidance. There are so many unique challenges that come about when running a family business that only others doing the same thing will understand, so we are hoping this new site will be a trusted online space that people can turn to for help, support and for sharing great news and opportunities to network and interact within the sector.”

“We really encourage family businesses within our network and from all over the UK to sign up to the FBF, as the greater the online presence the community has, the more benefits received among family members, giving our network and its businesses a chance to flourish.”

FBF only works with organisations that the Midlands Family Business Awards have previously worked with, to ensure those introduced to members are trusted within the sector, and all membership requests are screened by FBF to ensure community safety. To be part of the Family Business Futures community, please visit familybusinessfutures.co.uk or email [email protected]

 

 

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We’re proud to support POhWER!

We’re proud to support POhWER!

20 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week may be over, but it’s essential that the focus on mental health continues – problems don’t just go away when the ads stop and the email footers change.

We have many ways we support our people at Wilsons, but what if you don’t work or have no Employee Assistance Programme and Wellbeing Policy to fall back on? We need to ensure this vital support is provided to the most isolated in our communities too.

2 in 5 people felt their mental health suffered during the COVID pandemic. As lockdown is easing, we will be supporting POhWER Nottingham to enable them to restart their highly successful, volunteer run, EmPOhWER Peer advocacy groups that are especially relevant to those with mental health issues. They great news is that you can help.

POhWER is a charity and membership organisation providing information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, distress and social exclusion. They empower people to have a voice, make choices, uphold their rights and make a positive difference to their lives and work, working with them to plan and deliver the services that matter to them.

Peer advocacy refers to support provided by advocates with a similar disability or experience and can be very beneficial in supporting people adversely affected by their mental health. It builds trust as the peer relationship is founded on equality. It also challenges the discrimination and stigma attached to mental illness. A peer advocate is a good role model and shows recovery can be a reality.

EmPOhWER groups are welcoming, empowering support groups for people with a shared experience and common understanding of mental health. The groups are confidential, free and non-judgemental.

Before the pandemic, POhWER held monthly groups in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and were about to start a women only group. These face to face groups will restart as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so.

We are proud to be supporting POhWER through a donation to facilitate these groups, in order to provide vital support to the most isolated in the community. If you would like to show your support too, they’d love you to get in touch!

Contact Sonia Burns, Community Development Work at [email protected]

Tel: 0300 020 0093

Web: www.pohwer.net

 

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What’s the true value of your home and contents?

What’s the true value of your home and contents?

14 May 2021

Your home and its contents are your most important and valuable assets, both in terms of monetary and emotional value. And yet, so many of us insure them quickly and cheaply direct with insurers or through internet search sites, unaware that such products may leave us under insured, exposed and may even cost more.

So, when did you last check the value of your contents, or your building?

It’s vital that you protect what matters most to you, but when did you last review your contents, or check if the items are covered are insured for their true current value on your policy?

Ensuring you are insured correctly seems like such a simple task, but it can be difficult to properly assess the contents of your home -and even trickier when estimating the correct value. Issues arise especially when policies are set up a number of years and items increase in value or new possessions are obtained, but these details are not added to the insurance policy. It’s all to easy to simply renew as is, or with a simple percentage increase on total value.

Almost 20% of high-net worth individuals have a home insurance policy based on a valuation from 20 years ago. Considering the huge economic changes and consumer behaviour in recent years, it’s impossible to create an accurate insurance policy based on old figures. 10 years ago something as simple as a set of hair straighteners would have cost around £50, now the new Dyson Corrale cost £400.

Underinsurance also occurs when you simply don’t consider some areas of your contents – kitchen equipment and crockery, curtains or shutters, rugs and carpets. We all think of artwork, jewellery and antiques, but what about tech, handbags and shoes?

If an item is damaged and you need to put in an insurance claim, it could cost thousands of pounds. Without the right insurance in place you may end up having to cover some, or all, of this cost yourself.

The same rule applies to buildings cover. An accurate value that includes demolition and rebuilding should be established and increased with the inflation rate. There are some fantastic online calculators that will help you establish the true cost of rebuilding 0 and don’t forget the cost of your kitchen, which industry experts say can easily be 5 – 10% of the value of your home.

If you need any help or advice establishing how best to protect what matters to you most and avoid the nightmare of underinsurance, contact our Private Client Team or Charlotte Perkins.

 

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New RICS Insurance Rules

New RICS Insurance Rules

4 May 2021

Professional Indemnity cover continues to be a challenging area for many businesses, but with new rules from the RICS in respect of Professional Indemnity Insurance for surveyors, it’s even more of a headache.

The new rules relate to the RICS Approved Minimum Wording for 2021 and affect fire safety and cyber cover.

Fire safety cover

For the last few months RICS has not required firms to apply for dispensation when insurers have imposed fire safety cover exclusions. That flexibility, designed to make it easier for firms to secure PI cover at a time when the market was particularly challenging, has now been withdrawn.

As of 1 May 2021, insurers are NOT permitted (without specific dispensation from RICS) to exclude fire safety claims on a property of four storeys or less. In addition, fire safety coverage must be provided, as a minimum, on an aggregate, defence-cost inclusive basis.

Cyber cover

As of 1 April 2021, RICS now requires its members’ PI insurers to clarify the cyber cover provided. RICS is not imposing any minimum cyber requirements, simply formalising the need for transparency on the nature of the cover.

We’re here to help        

These changes make our role as broker even more important to our RICS member clients, as our knowledge and understanding enables us to fully support them with their PI and cyber cover.

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

 

 

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30 Days Wild!

30 Days Wild!

22 April 2021

We’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild this year with The Wildlife Trust!

The Wildlife Trusts work with businesses to help people and wildlife, running campaigns and activities that inspire people to embrace nature and the wellbeing benefits it brings. We love their innovative ways to engage our teams with wildlife and to take care of and improve their wellbeing – proven to help employees feel happier, healthier and more positive!

If you haven’t been involved before, we’d certainly recommend checking it out and signing up. You can then download your digital 30 Days Wild pack and start planning for June.

It’s a fantastic way to support your people, your community, our environment and our wildlife.

 

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Pandemic boom in cyber-crime

Pandemic boom in cyber-crime

12 April 2021

We have seen an increase of over 30% in cyber-attacks during the height of the pandemic and UK businesses have lost over £6.2 million to cyber scams. Disturbingly, what we haven’t seen is an increase in businesses taking out Cyber Insurance.

A unique study by analysing suggests criminals are exploiting official government announcements to target victims – as well as media coverage including cyber-crime campaigns. The study found that 86% involved phishing and/or smishing, 65% involved malware and 34% involved financial fraud. Hacking and denial of service were involved in five per cent of cases respectively.

The rise in cyber- crime is nothing new, no doubt if we hadn’t fallen victim to a global pandemic, cyber criminals would have found an alternative. Nonetheless, cyber-crime is most definitely a growing threat with over a quarter of UK companies listing cyber-attacks as a top risk faced by their business, particularly SMEs. It may be that the learnings from the highly publicised Business Interruption cases have played a part in businesses reviewing their risk profile, ensuring that in future they have all relevant covers in place.

Insurers have reacted and their products are evolving to ensure the cover on offer keeps pace with the change in attacks. This has included improved business interruption cover within cyber policies and expanded policy coverage to include financial losses from cyber-crime. What has always been on offer, and in our view one of the most important aspects of cyber insurance, is the specialist support available in the immediate aftermath of an attack.

Very few SMEs will have employees or suppliers with the skills and experience to deal with a sophisticated cyber-attack and get the business back up and running. Some may be world leading in their niche sector, but wouldn’t even know where to start when faced with a cyber-attack.

As business starts to reopen they will undoubtedly be looking to reduce costs, rather than increase them. However, we are starting to see clients take out this cover as they acknowledge just how reliant they are on their IT systems and the potential costs of an attack.

We’re always happy to talk to clients old and new about their cyber risk and how they can protect themselves, just get in touch.

Charlotte Perkins
[email protected]  or 0115 942 0111

 

 

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BI Claims

BI Claims

5 March 2021

Guidance for Clients on Business Interruption Claims

The spread of COVID-19 is unprecedented in modern times and this continues to be an incredibly difficult time for families and businesses, especially businesses that have been required to close or drastically reduce their operations throughout various lockdowns.

The Background

Commercial insurance policy holders hoped they could make claims on their business interruption (BI) insurance policies. This led to wide-ranging disputes in the interpretation of policy wordings.

Under pressure from SMEs in particular, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stepped in and, in conjunction with eight insurers, selected a representative sample of 21 policy wordings as a test case for the High Court to consider and rule upon. In September 2020, the High Court delivered its judgment in favour of the FCA in the majority of the considered clauses.

Unsurprisingly, the insurers appealed and in January 2021 the Supreme Court also ruled in favour of policyholders.

This landmark ruling means businesses that had the relevant extensions to their BI cover would be likely to have their claim met by their insurers. However, the judgment does not mean that all customers with business interruption insurance have a valid claim.

Making a Claim

Although the judgment is welcome news for policyholders, the test case was never intended to encompass all possible policy wordings and does not determine individual claims.

We are working hard to ensure that all our clients that have valid business interruption extensions submit their claims to Insurers without delay and receive the payments due to them.

If you are a Wilsons client and can substantiate a loss as a result of COVID-19, please email [email protected] with the following information:

  • Business Name
  • Contact Name, Email and Telephone
  • Brief description of your loss
  • Brief description of your business activities

We will acknowledge receipt of your email, advise you of the next steps to take and support you through the claims process.

Remember that you are always entitled to make a claim against your policy, simply follow the claims instructions on your policy document.

FCA Policy Checker

The FCA has published an online Policy Checker and some FAQs to help SME policyholders find out if their insurance policy may cover business interruption losses caused by COVID-19, based on their test case. You will need your policy and schedule to hand and you can access the FCA Policy Checker at www.fca.org.uk

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The Environmental Challenge

The Environmental Challenge

4 February 2021

We have all seen the increase in single use plastics since the start of the pandemic; with our Covid Secure office we too are conscious of the negative impact these necessary steps are having on our environmental initiatives.

Rather than simply accept this, we have been working on new measures to lessen our environmental impact to strike a better balance. Here are a few of the things we’re doing at Wilsons – they may be small changes but everything we do counts towards our overall goal.

PaperCut

We have implemented PaperCut technology on our printers and issued all team members with a personal print fob. This not only increased security as no documents are left sitting on a printer, but one of the primary aims of PaperCut is to reduce printing levels by changing a user’s printing behaviour.

Rather than having all jobs print out when the user hits the ‘print’ button, they select which of their jobs are to be printed when they swipe their fob at the printer. Anything not printed in 48 hours is deleted from the print server. We have implemented monitoring, quotas and virtual charging too, as these are a good way of drawing a user’s attention to their habits. Highlighting the environmental aspects of their activities is another good way to modify a user’s behaviour.

Check out PaperCut

Handwash

With such frequent hand washing, we are using far more bottles of hand wash than usual. This is a good thing in terms of stopping the spread of the virus, but not great for single use plastic consumption. Charlotte has kindly trialled the ‘fill’ hand soap at home and it’s proven to be such a success, we’ll be moving to this in the office now too.

It’s an environmentally friendly solution, vegan and produced by a local family business – it ticks so many boxes for us!

Check out Fill

Hand Towels

We were really disappointed that having moved away from the use of paper towel dispensers to air hand dryers, we’ve now had to revert back to paper towels. Whilst most of the team are working from home, those in the office felt more comfortable using disposable paper towels as some reports indicated that air dryers could potentially disperse airborne droplets. We struck a happy balance by switching to a more environmentally friendly paper towel and, as only one person uses our washroom at any one time to ensure social distancing, the option of the air dryer is still available.

Hand Sanitiser Refills

Each team member is provided with hand sanitisers for their desk, as well as having these available next to each printer and dotted around Wilson House. These are all refilled using our bulk bottles, rather than each small bottle being disposed of when it’s empty.

Recycling

We have removed the individual waste paper bins from each desk and now have central waste bins in each department – one for recyclables and one for general waste. The team now recycle the vast majority of waste and our cleaner is delighted with the change too, as he has far less bins to empty!

We will continue to monitor environmental impact and welcome every suggestion to keep things moving in the right direction.

 

 

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Flooding – be prepared!

Flooding – be prepared!

20 January 2021

Flooding is impossible to prevent and difficult to predict, but with Storm Christoph approaching and weather warnings in place we need to be on alert. To try and help we’ve created a flood guide to help prepare for a flood and reduce the risk of excessive damage.

Follow any local evacuation order from your local authority or the Police; if you are shielding or self-isolating they will have plans in place to keep you Covid safe.

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 1m 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

If you do suffer storm damage or flooding, please contact your usual Private Client Team contact or Account Handler and they will advise you on the claims process.

 

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Covid19 – Lockdown 3.0 Unoccupied Properties

Covid19 – Lockdown 3.0 Unoccupied Properties

6 January 2021

At the start of the first national lockdown commercial insurers took a very flexible position on business premises being temporarily closed due to Covid19 and for 120 days, the vast majority of insurers did not apply certain standard restrictions in their policies for unoccupied properties.

This period has now expired and having entered a third national lockdown period on 6 January 2021, not all insurers have yet announced their position on businesses forced to close under the government regulations.

If your business premises are unoccupied as a result of Covid19 please advise your usual Wilsons contact, so that we can check with your insurer the position on policy cover and any risk prevention measures required or recommended.

Local Area lockdowns/restrictions

As in previous lockdowns it is expected that upon expiry of the national lockdown period, areas may have different tier classifications and regulations based on the appropriate government assessment of risk. In cases of local or area restrictions where businesses must close in order to comply with government regulations to control Covid19, insurers may consider a flexible approach. However, you should inform us if your premises become unoccupied for this reason. We can then check and advise you of your insurers approach which is likely to be for a set time period, or until the date upon which the restriction ends.

Commercial Tenants

If you have commercial tenants with an extended closure, or in local lockdown, please contact us with details.

Unoccupancy unrelated to Covid19

All insurers take the same stance where the reason for premises being unoccupied does not result from Covid19, with the unoccupancy conditions in the policy detailing cover restrictions and risk prevention requirements. If this relates to you and we have not been informed please contact us to provide further details.

We’re here to help…

If any situation above applies to you, please contact us with the following information:

  • If the premises will be opened periodically for goods collection/delivery or other work
  • Any problems with the usual physical security measures and alarm systems
  • Any problems with removal of trade waste from inside or outside of the premises

We are continuing to provide support to clients as usual, although currently we are not able to do this face to face and insurer timescales are longer. Please do not hesitate to contact us, as always we are here to help.

On behalf of all at Wilsons take care and stay safe.

 

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Winter Business Update

Winter Business Update

5 January 2021

Although we are only just starting to see the really cold weather and storms start to bite across some parts of the UK, it is important that businesses understand the problems winter can bring. There are some common issues that can affect every business, whether you remain open during the lockdown or your business is required to close.


Burst or frozen pipes

Ensure your key personnel know where your stopcock is and that it works. Should the worst happen and a pipe bursts, you will need to turn off the supply quickly at the stopcock to prevent flooding and further damage. Do not use any electrics if you think these may have been affected by escaping water. If you discover a frozen pipe, don’t wait for it to burst. Turn off the water supply and gently thaw it with a hairdryer, spaceheater or hot water bottle.

Check your roof and gutters

Loose tiles can easily become dislodged during storms and high winds. Apart from the damage caused by falling tiles, and the danger to those that may be walking beneath, it can lead to damage to the fabric of the building. Dealing with loose or missing tiles is far cheaper than replacing roof timbers. Ensure your gutters and drain pipes are clear of leaves and other debris. If it rains heavily and the gutters overflow this can lead to water getting into the masonry.

Keeping pathways clear

You have a duty of care to ensure that any staff, suppliers or visitors to your business are safe. Unfortunately slips and trips can happen, especially when there is ice and snow on the ground. You should take actions that are ’reasonable in the circumstances’. This can include ensuring that entry and exit routes are kept clear of anything that may cause a person to slip, taking preventative measures such as clearing and gritting paths.Ensure that there is at least one safe route available to access the business as a priority, with additional paths cleared as soon as possible —don’t forget fire exits. Be especially careful and grit as required in the morning, as pathways may refreeze overnight.

Beware temporary heaters!

Some offices and work spaces can be quite chilly in the winter, especially on a Monday morning, so it’s no surprise that at this time of year we see all types of heaters brought into service to ward off the winter chills. Even in an office that’s usually warm during winter should your main heating system fail, electric convertor or fan-assisted heaters may be required as a temporary measure.

Heaters with thermostatic cut-outs that operate in the event of overheating are the best option. Electric radiant heaters and paraffin/oil fired heaters should never be used, even as a temporary measure.

Whatever type of heater is used they should be situated well clear of combustible materials and, where possible, protected against the possibility of being knocked over. Heaters should never be moved when switched on and wherever they are placed or moved to, ensure that trailing cables do not become a trip hazard.

Temporary heaters should never be left unattended for long periods or used when the building is unoccupied. Check that heaters are switched off as part of the locking-up procedure.

For those situated in an area at risk of flooding we’ve also prepared a flood guide to help prepare and reduce the risk of excessive damage.

For further advice and assistance with any aspect of your business insurance, contact your usual Client Manager.

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The Importance of Claims Management

The Importance of Claims Management

3 December 2020

The swift and efficient management of claims has never been more important, particularly for those that require professional indemnity (PI) insurance in such a tough market.

We have always said that the proof of a good broker is not when times are easy, but when you face a claim – that’s when you need our support most.  Claims control and handling is particularly important as it is the test of your Insurance Brokers, Insurers and the policy you have purchased. After all, claims settlement is the only tangible product of an Insurance contract.

When it comes to spurious third party claims we work with our clients to manage claims reserves and ensure these claims are fully investigated by the insurer and defended when in your best interest to do so. Actively managing and challenging claims helps immensely in pushing down premiums and is one of our key strategies with all clients in the lead up to renewal.

We have an experienced claims team that project manage claims on behalf of our clients, attending any meetings with loss adjusters or assessors, as well as providing strategic advice for individual claims and claims trends. We fight our client’s corner and have a great track record of securing claims payment, even when our clients have been less than positive about the potential outcome.

For those that aren’t offered a claims service by their broker, here are some of the key steps we undertake with our clients that you could adopt when dealing with claims.

  1. Notification – Notify your broker or Insurer as soon as you believe there is a circumstance that may give rise to a claim. Failure to do so may lead to your position being prejudiced and the Insurer failing to indemnify you if a claim should then arise. ALWAYS notify, however remote you think a claim may be.
  2. Communication – Keep in regular contact with the Insurer, notify them of any updates from your side and they can also then advise you if they have received any direct claims from the third party.
  3. Coordination – Ensure all parties acting on your behalf are aware of each other, and you are updated on all potential actions so they are not acting in a way that could prejudice your position. For instance, in a non-fault motor accident you will potentially have your insurer, the insurer may instruct solicitors, there may also be an uninsured loss recovery company – amongst others!
  4. Resolution – When settlement is agreed, ensure you obtain prompt payment and maintain detailed loss records for future reference.
  5. Demonstration – It is vitally important that you can demonstrate/exhibit that lessons have been learned as a consequence of any incidents or losses that have led to claims. Insurers need to see that you have a robust approach to assessing and managing your risk.
  6. Revision – Initiate Regular Claims Reviews. You should carefully consider the status of any and all on-going claims, ensure that all outstanding matters are dealt with, correspondence and requests for information have been responded to, or are otherwise closed off.

Conclusions

We appreciate that managing claims can be a difficult and stressful, which is why we have a specialist claims management team that have experience of working for insurers and understand their approach. They now use their knowledge and experience for the benefit of our clients.

Our clients tell us they stick with Wilsons because they are confident that we are on their side and will fight their corner. They also like the assurance they get from having one point of contact for all their claims.

Our approach is hands-on, supportive and practical. If your broker is not providing a comprehensive and supportive claims service, why not get in touch?

Contact

Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected]    0115 9420 111

 

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Season’s Greetings!

Season’s Greetings to all our clients, contacts, friends and their families

Our offices will close for Christmas at 5.15pm on Wednesday 23 December 2020, opening again at 9am on Tuesday 29 December. We will then be closed for the new year at 12:30pm on Thursday 31 December and returning to business as usual at 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.

As usual our Account Executives are available 24/7. Should you experience an emergency over the festive period, simply email or call your Account Executive on their mobile.

We’d like to thank you for your support during this very challenging year and wish you and your family every happiness over the festive period.

We look forward to working with you in 2021 – we’re hoping it’ll be a better year than the last!

Very best wishes

The Wilsons Team

 

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Winter Driving

Winter Driving

26 November 2020

With many areas of the UK in Tier 3 when we leave Lockdown on 2nd December, there won’t be many social journeys until Christmas.

However, most people still need to make essential journeys or travel for work so it’s still a good idea to be prepared for the worsening weather conditions, especially the cold icy mornings when visibility may also be limited.

Here are some considerations and steps you can take to check your vehicle is winter ready, and you’re ready for winter driving too:

  • Check tyre pressure and tyres for any cuts and bulges which could indicate the tyres need changing. Clients may want to consider putting on winter tyres to help increase their grip, especially if they live in rural locations
  • The tread depth on tyres is also important and should be checked regularly – the tread depth should be at least 1.6mm. However research has shown that stopping distances increase significantly when tread depth reaches below 3mm, especially on wet surfaces
  • Check the vehicle for leaks, this can be done by looking for any signs by just having a quick look under the car
  • Check wipers and replace them if necessary. Keep the washer bottle topped up with screen wash and keep a can/bottle of de-icer in the car – a clear view of the road ahead is essential all year round
  • Never set off on a journey until your windscreen is clear and you have good visibility, but remember never to leave your car unattended

Sometimes it’s better to avoid driving altogether. However if you are going to drive, especially if it’s snowy/icy then you should consider:

  • Can accident ‘black spots’ be avoided? Most roads should be gritted/salted but if you know of roads, especially in rural areas, that usually aren’t in these cold months, then these should be avoided too
  • Timing of journeys during off-peak times is a plus, but obviously this can’t always be helped
  • Avoiding steep hills – maintain a large safe gap to the car in front and avoid parking on steep hills too
  • Keep in mind that stopping distances will increase and allow more time for journeys to ensure you travel at a safe speed
  • How you would keep warm and safe should your vehicle breakdown in such adverse weather

Should the worst happen…

Did you know that motorists are up to 33% more likely to make a car insurance claim through the winter, from a small bump to a major incident?

The vital thing is to STOP ! However minor you think a car accident is, you must stop, failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act.

  • Ensure your car’s engine is switched off and then turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users to your presence. Ensure it is safe to get out of your car
  • Call 999 if anyone has been injured and ask for an ambulance as soon as possible
  • The police should also be called if the car accident is blocking the road or if you feel there was foul play involved –for example, where a driver is suspected of deliberately causing an accident
  • You are obliged to give your vehicle registration, name and address to anyone else involved, but do not admit liability or get involved in discussing fault
  • If you crash into something on or near the road even if there aren’t any other people involved, for example if you hit a parked car, you should leave your name, phone number and your vehicle registration on the windscreen

Collecting details after a car accident is important, so if you don’t have a pen and paper handy then use your phone to record details and also to take photographs. The more information you have the better, but the information you should collect is:

  • Name, address, and insurance details of the other driver/s involved. Try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of the vehicle
  • The registration numbers of all vehicles involved, plus a note of each vehicle’s colour, make and model – photographs may help with recording this
  • The time, date & precise location of the crash
  • A sketch or photographs showing the positions of the vehicles involved, before they are moved to the side of the road
  • A note of the road markings, street  lighting & weather conditions and anything unusual you notice about the road quality or lighting
  • Damage to vehicles and any injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers and passengers

Finally, report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible!

Our team have many years’ experience of dealing with all types of motoring claims, so give us a call and let them help you.

 

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FinTech – Top 5 Insurance Risks

FinTech – Top 5 Insurance Risks

17 November 2020

Unlike the vast majority of business sectors in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the online industry is booming, attracting billions in global investment. The UK FinTech sector attracted record investment of $4.9 billion in 2019, making us the second biggest FinTech market in the world when it comes to VC investment, surpassed only by the US.

These tech-led financial services firms provide consumers and businesses with innovative tools and products through which to manage and control their money, whether it be app-based banking, online lending, investment platforms, trading platforms or AI-led wealth management.

Having worked with start-ups and growing tech businesses, we understand they have a unique set of risks unlike those usually faced by traditional firms. We work closely with CFC, one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking online insurance businesses of the dotcom boom, and can share with you the top five insurance challenges for FinTech businesses:

  1. Professional liability – Negligent advice and failings in client services are common risks for any company providing financial services, especially FinTechs who offer new financial products through new distribution models. FinTechs can also have a reliance on third-party contractors, adding an extra liability risk due to third-party negligence.
  2. Regulatory environment – New technology, new products and new distribution brings a wealth of opportunities, but also new regulatory exposures. FinTech companies will need to ensure they keep on top of the implementation of suitable and satisfactory risk management systems. As the FinTech market evolves, so will the regulatory environment, and a major risk for FinTechs will be keeping pace with the regulators’ latest updates. FinTechs will also have to consider differing regulations in multiple territories should they operate internationally.
  3. Theft of funds – The majority of FinTechs deal with a high frequency of funds movement. High volumes of payments, transactions and customer accounts, as well as the fast growth and implementation of new technology, leaves them vulnerable to theft. These thefts could be by an employee or external party.
  4. Cyber event – Given the nature of their operations, FinTech companies are prime targets for cyber criminals. Network security, data breaches or even a denial-of-service attack – as well as damage and rectification costs following these incidents – should be a major concern for all businesses, but especially those in the FinTech sector.
  5. Technology failure – Innovative technology is essential for FinTech companies, it is how they have disrupted traditional financial services, but this heavy reliance on technology infrastructure means firms can be vulnerable. Technology failure can mean customers are unable to access services resulting in lost income or lost customers.

Like many emerging businesses at the intersection of technology and industry, FinTechs aren’t likely to find all of their exposures covered in a single policy. Traditional financial institutions policies don’t cover liability arising from the failure of technology, sub-contractor liability or IP infringement, while technology policies aren’t likely to cover exposures from the provision of financial services products or advice and are unlikely to offer the D&O cover that most financial organisations would expect.

FinTech businesses will need a dedicated policy to manage their evolving risks. A FinTech policy should offer coverage for both liability arising from financial services and technology services, as well as management liability, theft of funds and cyber coverage.

Coverage can be found spread across multiple policies but a single, comprehensive policy is more cost efficient and will prevent gaps in coverage and complications in the event of a claim.

If you need advice or a review of your current insurance programme, contact Charlotte Perkins.

 

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I want to ride my bicycle…

I want to ride my bicycle…

10 November 2020

One of the big changes seen since the start of the pandemic has been the number of people getting on their bike – whether that’s to enjoy a safe commute, keep fit and healthy or to enjoy leisurely rides with the family. During the second lockdown, even the weather doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirit of cyclists.

But how many of us have checked our bike is detailed on our home insurance policy, or registered our new bike?

Bicycle shops were some of the busiest in the country during lockdown, between April and June alone bicycle sales increased by 63% year-on-year and at the end of July, the Government launched the Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme too.

With the Government actively encouraging everyone to get on their bike, keeping them safe and secure is an ongoing challenge. BikeRegister has seen a ‘significant spike’ in bike thefts – up by over 50% in July compared to last year.

Thieves are now targeting the thousands of new bikes bought during the last few months, alongside those expensive bikes that aren’t usually used for commuting or a trip to the shops. The need for quality locks and security marking your bike is greater now than it has ever been. These two simple steps will help deter thieves from targeting your bike if it is left unattended.

So what can you do to make sure your bike stays safe and you find it where you left it?

  • Insure your bike, or check it’s detailed on your home insurance policy
  • Buy a safe and reliable lock
  • Register your bike at The Bike Register – www.bikeregister.com
  • Take photos of your bike
  • Lock your bike where it’s visible on CCTV
  • ALWAYS lock your bike – even if it’s in a garage or on your car/van

Bicycles are automatically covered under many High Net Worth and Executive Home policies, as long as they are secured when left unattended, but it’s always advisable to check your policy and the cover limits.

To notify us of a claim if your bike is stolen, call your usual contact in our Private Client Team. BikeRegister also gives advice on what you should do if you unfortunately become a victim of bike theft.

 

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Driving After Brexit – The Return of the Green Card

Driving After Brexit – The Return of the Green Card

4 November 2020

As a consequence of leaving the European Union (EU), the UK entered a transition period which ends on 31 December 2020. In the event there is no agreement on the future relationship between the UK and EU, it is likely there will be a legal requirement to carry a physical document known as a Green Card when driving in Europe.

All UK motor insurance providers will continue to provide the legal minimum motor insurance cover for travel to EEA countries.  However, you will need to carry a physical ‘Green Card’ to prove you have the insurance cover in place.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is essentially an international insurance certificate that proves your policy provides minimum cover when driving within the EEA. The entire Green Card scheme allows vehicles to move freely across the borders of all 48 subscribing countries and ensures that when a visiting vehicle causes damage, there is easy access to compensation in the victim’s home country.

I have a commercial fleet policy, does this affect me too?

This will apply to any motor vehicle and to all forms of motor insurance – including commercial and motor fleet policies.   The Green Card is required to specify the licence plate number of each individual vehicle and identify any trailers or towed vehicles. In some EU member states, a separate Green Card is needed for each trailer. Your insurer will be able to advise you on the exact requirements for the countries you plan to visit.

How do I get a Green Card?

You’ll need to contact your insurer at least a month beforehand to get a Green Card. These are usually free, but some insurers may charge a small administrative fee.   A Green Card will automatically provide you with a guarantee of insurance for a minimum of 15 days. Insurers can also specify that it covers a longer period if this is required. If you have a ‘fully comprehensive’ insurance policy, you will need to check what aspects apply while you are driving abroad. Some insurers will allow you to purchase additional cover if required.

What happens if I travel without a Green Card?

If you attempt to drive in the EU without holding a Green Card, you may be accused of driving without insurance and could be subject to a fine, having your vehicle seized or prosecution.   Border authorities may require you to show documents at the border, you may also be subject to police checks while driving abroad and you will also need to present the Green Card at the scene if you are involved in an accident.

Anything else I need to know?

There will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements that take effect on 29 March 2019. You will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy. Also check any specific requirements for all the specific countries you are planning to visit or drive through.

There will be a number of significant changes to driving rules and licensing requirements, you will need to comply with all these requirements under the terms of your motor insurance policy. Also check any specific requirements for all the specific countries you are planning to visit or drive through.

https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad details everything you will need to know, so check thoroughly! The Government website euexit.campaign.gov.uk details the wider changes that will affect individuals and businesses.

Contact

Should you have any queries or concerns, please contact your usual Account Executive or Account Handler on 0115 9420 111 or by email.

 

 

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Autumn Property Update

Autumn Property Update

13 October 2020

Whilst we are still in the grip of the Coronavirus Pandemic, almost everything else in life is taking a back seat. However, with the Autumn and Winter months now upon us, property owners and occupiers face a number of increased risks that need to be addressed.

Escape of water losses are particularly common, with wintry conditions and freezing temperatures leading to burst pipes, cracked water tanks and blocked drains.

Even minor problems such as boiler breakdowns, which are common occurrences, can result in significant disruption costing valuable time and inconvenience.

By taking the following precautions, you can minimise the risk to your property and increase resilience to wintry weather.

  1. Maintenance and general preparations
  • Routine building inspections should be carried out year- round to identify potential issues and undertake essential maintenance. Formal risk assessments should inform the frequency of these inspections
  • During Autumn, special attention should be given to areas such as roof insulation, pipe lagging, boiler maintenance and the external fabric of the building
  • Implement regular maintenance contracts for tasks such as the clearing of gutters and drains. This will limit the risk of blockages that can lead to water penetrating your building
  • Keep building plans that identify stopcock locations readily available. This will enable water to be quickly shut off in an emergency
  • Check the roof for potential problems such as loose, cracked or missing tiles. You can survey the roof from the ground, to see if anything’s obviously wrong – look out for shards of tile or grit in the gutters and on the floor – but it’s best to get a professional to fully survey
  • Keep a careful eye on trees that could fall onto the property in stormy weather
  1. Water heating systems
  • Always leave boilers and other water heating systems running during winter months, even when a property is temporarily unoccupied
  • Maintaining an ambient temperature is essential for avoiding many issues. We recommend maintaining a minimum temperature of 10°C throughout your properties
  • Activate your thermostat’s frost setting. This prompts the system to come on automatically during cold weather, which might otherwise not happen if your thermostat is only set to come on at certain times of the day
  • Check when you last carried out a full service. Heating systems, and particularly boilers, need to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis
  1. Pipes and water tanks
  • Inspect the whole system for potential defects or vulnerabilities. Pay particular attention to areas exposed to cold conditions, such as pipes or tanks situated outside the property or in roof spaces
  • Ensure exposed pipes and water tanks are adequately lagged. This provides essential protection against freezing conditions
  • Insulate or fully drain outdoor taps between uses
  1. Sprinkler systems
  • Ensure that heating is present in the sprinkler valve room and it is kept at an ambient temperature
  • During winter months switch the alternate systems to air (recommended November to May)
  • Check when the sprinkler system was last serviced. Ensure sprinklers receive full and regular maintenance
  1. Permanently unoccupied properties
  • You must ensure we are notified if your property is permanently unoccupied, or unoccupied for longer than the maximum period detailed in your policy
  • If permanently unoccupied, we recommend disconnecting the property’s water supplies and draining all pipes, tanks and heating system
  • However, if only temporarily unoccupied, heating systems should always be left on, to maintain an ambient temperature and avoid freezing or cracking
  • Ensure doors and windows are closed and fit tightly

Should you have any queries or require any specific advice in relation to your property, please get in touch with your usual Wilsons contact or call the office and one of the team will be happy to help you.

 

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Lockdown Home Insurance Claims

Lockdown Home Insurance Claims

29 September 2020

From flying toys to anti-bac sprays, new data released today by insurer Zurich shows flat screen TVs have been paying the price of lockdown. The insurer has reported a 22% rise in claims for flat screen TVs since lockdown began, with the average cost of damage at £580.

Incidents included a customer whose son accidentally threw his toy hammer at his sister – and while she had a near miss, the TV didn’t, causing £400 worth of damage. Another policyholder suffered £500 of damage when their child tried to help out around the house and decided to deep clean the TV with antibacterial spray, causing discolouration and water damage.

But it is not just the family TV that’s come under attack during lockdown. The Insurer has also seen claims for accidental damage to glass rocket by 57%, with an average replacement cost of £680. One policyholder racked up £1000 worth of damage when her son accidentally threw a stone in the direction of the patio door.

Zurich has also covered a number of claims since lockdown for home electronics including a milk-covered games console and a laptop damaged by a child using it as a trampoline. Another family experienced a different type of blues when a child knocked over a tin of blue paint in the hallway, causing 10m² of damage and costing £445 to replace.

Phil Ost, Head of Personal Lines at Zurich, said: “With schools closed for the majority of children and families spending more time at home, accidents are to be expected. While most people try to look after their belongings and remind their children how to play safely, we all know mishaps can happen. This is why having good home contents insurance and accidental damage cover is so important. Our team is there to help fix or replace the items that matter to us the most.”

In addition, as retailers report a big rise in sales of expensive bikes, home electronics and exercise equipment, we are reminding homeowners to inform us about any new high value items they purchase, above the limits set out in their policy documentation. As our homeowners acquire more Contents they should also regularly review their total sums insured to ensure they have adequate cover and are not underinsured.

Just a quick call to our Private Client Team will ensure the things that matter to you most are covered.

 

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Cyber & Remote Working

Cyber & Remote Working

6 September 2020

Before the pandemic, the words ‘Zoom Bombing’ would make most of think of sunny poolside days with kids smiling with glee as they soak one another with maximum force. In 2020 this phrase refers to just one of the ways that cybercriminals are capitalising on our need to work remotely. As many organisations offer home working as a way mitigating the COVID risk to both their staff and the business as a whole, many are finding themselves vulnerable to cyber attacks.

IT professionals have seen a rise of over 20% on attacks on remote workers, and all find that the threats are significantly harder to trace over home networks.

While we get to grips with what the pandemic means for our businesses we are already vulnerable, so the additional risk of phishing or malware or any cyber-attack needs to be managed, cybersecurity needs to be at the top of our risk agendas.

Cyber risk mitigation is about people. The most significant risk to your organisation is your remote working team; home workers tend to be less vigilant about security so your team must be encouraged to stay alert. Simple steps such as using encryption and multi-factor authentication can go a long way to protecting workers.

When remote working, avoiding public WI-Fi is sound advice as well as encouraging your teams to use password managers. Organisations should use a virtual private network to add a security gateway.

9 out of 10 staff believe that security is their employer’s responsibility, so training staff on the risks they may face and how to manage their online security is essential.

With home working comes the joys of sharing devices and the network with your family. The cybercriminals are very aware of this, and we have seen attacks which have specifically targeted the children of remote workers, while uncommon, it is a risk. That brings us back to our zoom bombing kids. It doesn’t take long for children to create havoc on any devices; this can be reputational, financial or result in a security breach. Therefore all apps should be password protected.

The remote working revolution is here, and every day thousands of us are working from home without any security breaches. Still, for this to work well into the future, we must be aware of the potential risks and how to mitigate them. Every organisation needs to talk about their risk and to create a strategy to deal with any security breach or attack.

Cyber insurance is more crucial than ever as attacks and data breaches increase in both frequency and sophistication. Having the right cover in place will support and protect your business if it is the subject of an attack by a malicious hacker or experiences a data breach. It not only provides comprehensive cover but will provide you with a trusted partner to support your business, and your remote workers, in the event of a cyber attack.

A range of insurance products have been developed to meet the increasing demand for cover, so not only is there a product available to suit your specific business needs, but it’s also far more cost effective than ever before. 

Working with us to put the right cover in place and mitigate your risk will help you to build peace of mind and resilience in your business. Just get in touch with your usual account executive or contact Charlotte Perkins on 0115 942 0111 or [email protected] 

 

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Wellbeing & Home Working

Wellbeing & Home Working

3 September 2020

When the lockdown was announced in Mid March, many businesses managed the impossible; they got a large percentage of there workforce working from home successfully in a matter of weeks.

We ran a WhatsApp group for all our remote workers, in the early days there was a constant beep of a new message coming through that IT support was needed or how could they access a piece of information, but as time went on we all did what humans do best – we adapted. It wasn’t long before the Whatsapp group turned to a steady stream of more relaxed banter, much more akin to what you would expect in our office.

As lockdown eased, we ask our team about how they felt about returning to the office; many were desperate to return as they had found working from home isolating and technologically tricky. It seems working from home is an introvert’s dream, but for those extroverts out there it is somewhat more tricky.

Some of the challenges our staff relayed to us were around struggling to switch off at the end of the day, or not having a proper desk, or the office laptop being less user friendly than the large screen on their desk PC. Most people are not fortunate enough to have home offices so working at the kitchen table has become the norm; this can blur the lines between work life and home life and leave many people struggling to cope.

A recent survey stated that 83.5% enjoy working from home, 60% of people would work from home given the option, and 52.6% do not want to return to the office after Covid-19 so how do we engage our staff and make sure that we are looking after their wellbeing? The key has to be communication.

The physical distance from the office must be compensated for by increased engagement through interaction. Communication should be more frequent and faster than ever before. To look after the wellbeing of staff, we need to be listening and support our team through this transition. We need to work hard to maintain our cultures, we must have a group downtime and schedule catch up calls and things such as virtual meet-ups, or online coffee time can help to improve connectedness and wellbeing.

Homeworkers are lone workers and therefore should be treated that way when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. Employers have a duty of care to make the workplace safe and to manage risk. HR and managers must therefore be aware of stress levels and signs of mental health issues amongst their remote workers.

It is thought that homeworking will reduce the number of short absences which is a benefit to all but long term sickness may increase due to musculoskeletal or mental health issues which are on the rise due to homeworking.

It is a good idea to implement a Permanent Health Insurance (PHI) scheme which can protect the company from the cost of long term sickness whilst allowing the employee to continue to receive at least part of their salary until they are well enough to return to work.

Many PHI schemes also include an employee assistance programme, this can help to deal with wellness and mental health issue by providing a confidential 24hr helpline for all staff – and their family members too, as we must remember this is a change for the family and not just the employee.

For many people home working has positively changed lives but we must be listening and engaged with all of our workforce, remote or otherwise to help them to be productive, well, healthy and connected.

For information and advice on PHI, Employee Assistance Programmes and Flexible Benefit Schemes, contact your usual Wilsons Financial Adviser or contact the office on 0115 942 0111.

 

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Covid19 – Insurance Update

Covid19 – Insurance Update

17 August 2020

At the start of the lockdown, commercial insurers took a very flexible position on business premises being temporarily closed due to Covid19. The vast majority of insurers did not apply the restrictions in their policies for unoccupied properties. With a UK-wide lockdown no longer in place any buildings that remain closed will now be treated in line with the insurer’s normal approach to unoccupied buildings in line with your policy.

Extended Closure

We are aware that some businesses have chosen not to reopen their premises for a variety of reasons. If your property remains unoccupied it is essential that you inform us so that we can notify your insurer. We will then ensure you are aware of your insurer’s position and the precautions required.

There will be a number of circumstances where concessions will be considered, but unlike during the UK-wide lockdown period these must be individually agreed with the insurer, based on the information you provide.

Local Area Lockdowns

In cases of local lockdown, where businesses must close as a consequence of the requirement to control a localised spike in coronavirus infections, you will need to inform us so that we can advise you of your insurer’s position, based on the information you provide.

Reduced Trading or Changes to Trading Activity

Some businesses have changed their activities post Covid19. If your business is operating on a reduced number of working days or other significant changes to your previous trading activities have occurred, we should discuss the changes related to your insurance policies and inform insurers as appropriate, please contact us if this applies.

Commercial Tenants

If you have commercial tenants to which the above relates, please contact us with details.

We’re here to help…

If any of the above applies to you please contact us, where buildings are unoccupied we will need the following:

  • If the premises will be opened periodically for goods collection/delivery or other work
  • Any problems with the usual physical security measures and alarm systems
  • Any problems with removal of trade waste from inside or outside of the premises

We are providing support to clients as usual, although currently we are not always able to do this face to face and some insurer timescales are slightly longer. Please do not hesitate to contact us, as always we are here to help.

On behalf of all at Wilsons take care and stay safe.

 

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The Professional Indemnity Market

The Professional Indemnity Market

29 June 2020

The professional indemnity (PI) insurance market, particularly in relation to high risk trades such as construction and related sectors has constricted, with many businesses in the sector facing increased premiums and reduced cover for their forthcoming period of insurance. Some firms are even struggling to obtain insurance terms and in extreme cases, not being able to obtain cover at all.

The UK PI market has been in “soft” market conditions for over a decade, but it is currently the case that the cheaper rates have been withdrawn, and excess layer premiums have risen. Indeed, some insurers have withdrawn from the market altogether.

This hardening of the market has been fuelled by a number of factors, including claims as a result of the Grenfell tragedy, and poor underwriting results in 2017. Lloyds has instructed syndicates to limit the amount of new PI that they write, due to the poor performance of this class of insurance compared to other areas.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that there is room for manoeuvre, and our clients are not powerless to mitigate these wider insurance market conditions. We employ a coherent and prudent renewal strategy with our clients which greatly alleviates the effects of risk averse underwriting.

These are some of the key steps we undertake with our clients.

Approach the market early

We do not leave renewal until the last minute. If initial approaches to the market have produced no results or lacklustre results, together with our client we will not have any time for further steps.

Presenting the right information is key – differentiating our clients

The renewal presentation needs time and consideration in a hard market. It is also the case that many insurers are now asking for additional information which takes time to identify, and the markets will not quote best terms in its absence.

When there are acute claims concerns, an insurer does not want the whole sector. They want the firms in the upper quartiles, and those that offer fewer concerns.

Whilst proposal forms ask key underwriting questions, they do not capture the essential character of a firm. We therefore supplement the core form with information regarding the market strategy and operating philosophies of our client. This includes the key client base and key areas of work, how the firm reached their position within the marketplace and where they are heading to next. It is also imperative to share how they manage their risk in respect of capping liability and the strength of the T & Cs they have in place with their client base. We encourage our clients to meet with underwriters to help us to share their vision and journey.

Use the open market

As always, different insurers have different appetites, and are at different places in relation to their financial and performance milestones. Whilst some insurers have left the PI market, other insurers see this as an opportunity to increase their market share.

However, they will be underwriting judiciously, and are interested in the firms who can show that they are not operating within the key areas affected, or can demonstrate better risk management controls, such that they have better mitigated the risks concerned.

Approach the market, don’t over-saturate the market

We avoid a scattergun approach as this creates confusion and dilutes the message we are trying to convey. It is not just about approaching a particular insurer, but also about approaching the right underwriters within a particular insurer to obtain terms. Market knowledge and relationships are key in relation to specialist insurance such PI.

Conclusions

We are a specialist broker and we understand this market. However, a non-specialist broker may not be approaching the right markets and worse, they may be approaching the limited markets available in an unsophisticated way, with the result that these markets decline to quote. Closing key markets can be fatal in a limited market.

For most firms, PI insurance is the third largest cost, after wage roll and office costs. Expensive insurance, like any cost, reduces the capital available for reinvestment in the firm, whether that is additional staff, more up to date technology, or marketing.

Over time, firms with unnecessary expenses lose ground to their savvier competitors and lose market opportunities as a result.

We approach our client renewals in line with the above steps to give you a good opportunity to reduce the PI cost and pull ahead of your competition.

A little about us

The Wilson Organisation is a UK top 100 Insurance Broker and Financial Adviser. We are a long-established family owned and run business with a strong commitment to both our people and our clients. We work with business-owners, company directors and the management teams to provide financial, insurance and risk management advice that consistently adds value.

How we work with you

Whether you are a construction company concerned with protecting your people and plant or an architect or surveyor getting to grips with PI issues, Wilsons’ advisers will provide practical, commercial and independent advice to help you improve your systems and manage your costs through effective business insurance programme management.

Partnerships, relationships, however you describe them, are very important to us and we’re proud that we’ve worked with some of our clients since the early 1960s. Our business insurance clients tell us they stick with Wilsons because they are confident that we are on their side and will fight their corner. They also like the assurance they get from having one point of contact for all their business insurance and risk-related matters.

From our perspective, working with clients on a long-term basis means we can continually add that little bit of extra value as we get to know their businesses inside and out. Our approach is hands-on, supportive and practical. We combine detailed, desk-based research with site visits and surveys to provide a thorough and informative service.

Contact

Charlotte Perkins – Group Managing Director
[email protected]   0115 9420 111