Cyber Attacks - hype or stark reality?
Cyber security has become a key risk to businesses of all sizes. With almost 3 in 4 small businesses in the UK having experienced a security breach in the last 12 months, cyber attacks have become headline news.
In today’s business environment, virtually all companies (regardless of their size) collect and store personal information about customers, employees and others. With this increased level of data, follows a higher rate of data breaches - the theft, loss or mistaken release of private information - is on the rise.
Don’t be fooled in thinking that these data breaches are just a big business problem; small and medium-sized businesses with fewer data security resources are particularly vulnerable.
Why do businesses need cyber insurance?
With the average cost to a small business of the worst security breaches between £75-£311,000, having specific insurance coverage in place to mitigate these risks can reduce the financial impact.
Key considerations for businesses when choosing cyber insurance are whether the policy provides:
– Cover for the costs of dealing with data breaches
– Cover for the costs of dealing with cyber liability claims
– Cover for business losses from a cyber event
– Cover that helps businesses deal with the impact of cyber crime
– Cover for hardware and data corruption
– Access to expert advice and support e.g. IT, legal, forensic and media relations when an incident occurs.
How can businesses protect themselves?
The best advice to start with is to speak to an insurance expert. By trying to purchase this cover on-line or over the telephone, you risk there being gaps in your cover (see above) or simply not getting the cover that is tailored to your business.
At Cass Stephens, we are able to access specialist policies that are designed to meet the demand of businesses faced with this modern-day threat to their survival.
One insurer with whom we deal can offer cover that would deal with the following scenarios:
Example claims covered under the HSB Cyber Insurance policy
Data corruption and extra costs
Ex-employee hacked computer system. Data restoration and recreation required.
Property management firm’s email system became corrupted. IT investigation needed to confirm a virus was the cause. Former customers sued for damages after being infected by email. Claim: £31,261
Accountant’s laptop stolen containing 800 customer tax records. Cost to replace laptop, notify clients and investigate loss. Claim: £35,000
How many times have you witnessed a laptop or tablet being left unattended on a train whilst the owner visits the buffet carriage for instance?
Please feel free to get in touch if you have a specific enquiry or would simply like to talk through your options.
Andrew Long Cert CII
Commercial Account Executive
Cass Stephens Insurances Ltd
Employer’s Liability Insurance – what you need to know.
Many people in business assume that if you have Public Liability insurance in place then all is fine and you comply with the law. Wrong.
With the possible exception of a swimming pool operator, it is not a legal requirement to have Public Liability. It is however compulsory to have Employer’s Liability insurance in place when you employ staff – whether this is on a casual, temporary, part-time or full-time basis.
A couple of notable exceptions exist – for instance when the business only employs say a husband and wife, then this situation would be exempt.
What every business who employs staff should know is that there are substantial legal and financial implications if you don’t maintain a valid Employer’s Liability insurance policy.
Currently the Government agency HSE is able to impose DAILY fines of up to £2,500 if you fail to provide evidence of suitable Employer’s Liability insurance. Additional fines of up to £1,000 can be imposed too if you fail to correctly display your current Certificate of Employer’s Liability insurance.
Can you and your business afford to meet these costs, which within days can spiral into a five figure sum?
To obtain Employer’s Liability insurance, you would normally purchase this in conjunction with a Public and Products Liability policy, and more typically for Small to Medium Sized businesses, this is included within a Package Policy or a Business Combined insurance policy, which incorporates a number of covers.
For further information and advice, please contact Andrew Long, Commercial Account Executive at Cass Stephens Insurances Ltd.
Insurance Act 2015 – Reforms
In 2006 the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission began a joint review to reform insurance contract law for consumer, non-consumer and marine insurance.
This review was conducted in stages, with the first stage culminating in the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012. This Act relates to one distinct area of consumer insurance law and applies to policies issued or renewed on or after 6th April 2013. The 2012 Act replaced the consumer’s duty to volunteer information with a duty to answer the insurance company’s questions honestly and reasonably.
Last week, on the 12th February 2015, Parliament passed the second piece of legislation, which is known as the Insurance Act 2015. This Act reforms post contractual issues for consumer and non-consumer insurance contracts alike and pre-contractual obligations on commercial policyholders to make a fair presentation of the risk. These latest reforms represent the largest overhaul to insurance contract law in England, Scotland and Wales in over a century. They are intended to bring the market into the twenty first century by rebalancing rights and remedies when things go wrong.
Insurers have the option to opt out of these changes or embrace them by August 2016. Given the pressure within the industry, it is likely that most insurers will adopt the measures, and in some cases make more radical changes.
The key provisions relate to Disclosure, Warranties, Conditions and Fraud, as follows:
Duty of Disclosure and Representation
The duty of disclosure is retained for business insurance, as part of a wider ‘duty to make a fair presentation of the risk’. The duty is satisfied if either all material circumstances are disclosed by the business, or sufficient information is provided to put the insurer on notice to make further enquiries.
Remedy for Failing to Make a Fair Presentation of the Risk
If a business fails to make such disclosure, the insurer‘s remedies must be proportionate (other than where non-disclosure is fraudulent or reckless), based on what the insurer would have done if it had received a fair presentation of the risk.
Basis of Contract clauses (Warranties)
Basis of contract clauses are abolished for all classes of insurance. These are clauses which incorporate all statements made in the proposal form as warranties in to the insurance policy.
Remedy for breach of Warranty
Significantly, all warranties are made remediable. If a business breaches a warranty, the insurer’s liability is suspended for the duration of the breach. If the breach is remedied before a loss occurs, the insurer has to pay the claim.
Remedy for breach of terms designed to reduce particular types or risk
Where an insured breaches a term of an insurance policy (whether it is a warranty, condition or similar) which is intended to reduce the risk of particular types of loss, the insurer cannot refuse to pay a claim if the insured shows that the breach did not increase the risk of the loss.
Remedy for fraud
The option of avoidance – treating the policy as if it had never existed – has been removed. This means that the insurer is still on risk for claims made before the fraudulent act occurred. The insurer has the option to terminate the policy with effect from the date of the fraudulent act.
The Act also introduced amendments to the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 so that this latter piece of legislation can finally be brought into force. This will allow third parties to bring actions directly against the insurer without first establishing the liability of the insured.
What does this mean for consumers and business policyholders?
The aim of the legislation is to provide a fairer system for the policyholders – by introducing measures that mean an insurer’s response to a breach of the policyholder’s duty of disclosure, as well as breaches of warranties or conditions is proportionate and reasonable.
By implementing these Reforms in full, the customer could see the following changes:-
· Warranty – free policies
· Conditions precedent to liability will only be invoked (applied) if the breach of this condition by the policyholder has contributed to the loss.
· Basis clauses will be removed from policies.
We have seen in the past incidences where a policyholder submits a claim for say storm damage to their premises, and because they did not have the required locks or security measures in place as required by a warranty or condition on their policy, the insurer has exercised their rights to avoid the policy and refuse to deal with the claim.
These reforms are not intended to remover the policyholder’s responsibilities – but ensure that their position is not prejudiced if an innocent breach occurs.
Andrew Long Cert CII
Commercial Account Executive
The Power of Networking – and why it’s not always about passing leads
Earlier today I submitted a request for help in sourcing a suitable placement for my son to undertake work experience locally.
Being specific about the industry (technology) that my son is interested in, I duly drafted an email and sent it to the proprietor of CAP Business Clubs, Paul James just before 11am today.
Within a matter of minutes, my request had been relayed to the three Groups within CAP – the Motivated Monday guys, the Terrific Tuesday group and mine, the Thriving Thursday bunch. I was impressed and grateful in equal measure.
Fast forward just a couple of hours, and I have received three independent offers from local IT related businesses, and further contact from two more Members offering to help – all members of CAP Business Club for which I remain very grateful. After considering the logistics of getting my son to and from the placement of choice for a week, and the nature of work undertaken, we accepted Eric Witheridge and his team’s offer of a place with Module IT for the week.
Without being a member of CAP Business Club and regularly networking as I do, who can say if this would have been possible? I suspect it would have been a case of making a number of cold calls or issuing numerous letters in the hope that an offer is made.
In my view, this experience demonstrates the strength of the relationships that can be developed through pro-active networking, and not simply expecting business from each connection.
February 13th 2015.
The word “care” has many different definitions and even more interpretations. Most people are aware of the Care profession as a result of intense media coverage in recent years of investigations into the failings of different organisations and individuals within this profession. To the majority of the British public, these cases highlighted instances of truly shocking actions undertaken in the name of care.
These scandals which surround those very rare examples of poor delivery of care only serve to overshadow the significant strides made by the profession and its regulators over recent years. With more rigorous scrutiny of the Care Sector than ever before, the regulatory bodies the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales (CSSIW) have driven up the standards measurably.
Today, before any business or charitable organisation can begin to offer care and support services, there are a number of statutory requirements which must be met. The first step however is to identify the areas within society that the organisation as a care provider wishes to help. The following is a summary of some key groups which form the options available:
1. Children – aged under 16.
2. Young people – aged between 16 and 24.
3. Vulnerable adults – including those with either physical or mental impairments or special needs.
4. Drug , Alcohol and Substance abuse dependents – including the rehabilitation of these individuals
5. Ex-offenders – including those with histories of violence, abuse, or arson.
6. Dementia - to include the entire spectrum of disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Once the Organisation has established the sector which they intend to support, their next step would be to decide the level of care and support that they intend to provide. They can elect any one of the following:-
· Care Home – with or without nursing
· Nursing Home
· Supported Living
· Domiciliary Care
Each category has a number of variations in the type of service that can be offered – from offering social support to enable individuals to live almost independently, to those needs are only met by 24/7 care and support within a residential environment.
To enable any care provider to begin offering their service to the general public, there are 28 Essential standards which must be met and a raft of policies which govern the way in which the practice will operate will have to be prepared. The main focus for the CQC and CSSIW are the following 16:-
· Respecting and involving people who use services
· Consent to care and treatment
· Care and welfare of people who use services
· Meeting nutritional needs
· Cooperating with other providers
· Safeguarding people who use services from abuse
· Cleanliness and infection control
· Management of medicines
· Safety and suitability of premises
· Safety, availability and suitability of equipment
· Requirements relating to workers
· Supporting workers
· Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
The remaining 12 regulations are concerned with the routine day-to-day management of a service. The CQC or CSSIW will consider all standards which are relevant to the service that they are inspecting.
Vacant Property – Essential Advice
Recently published figures show that today in England alone, there are more than 635,000 empty homes, 216,000 of them unoccupied for more than six months. This commentary is designed to demonstrate what can be done to make sure property owners manage the risks associated with their empty dwellings.
Vacant homes are obvious targets for criminal activities ranging from burglary (where the property is fully or partly furnished) to metal theft, vandalism or arson (whether it’s furnished or not). Escapes of water can run unchecked. Faulty wiring can cause fires. Lack of buildings maintenance can lead to water ingress and storm damage, so it is imperative that as an owner of an empty property you take the right steps to secure and protect your properties.
The right insurance protection
We regularly quote for properties that have been unoccupied for between one and five years and we've covered some that have been empty for up to 20 years.
At Cass Stephens, we know each client is an individual so we tailor-make the protection they need. Where unoccupied homes are concerned, subject to Insurers’ normal underwriting procedures, we'll provide you with premiums for varying levels of cover.
Level 1: Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Earthquake, Subsidence (unless there are ongoing structural works).
Level 2: All the Level 1 covers plus; Storm, Flood, Weight of snow, Collision by vehicle or animal, Damage by trees, telegraph poles and/or lamp-posts.
Level 3: All the Level 1 & 2 covers plus; Escape of water, Theft and attempted theft, Riot, violent disorder and acting maliciously.
In addition, where the property is unoccupied because it's undergoing extensive renovation, extension or repair we can also provide a quotation which includes cover for the existing structure, building works, property owner's liability and home contents in one seamless policy, whether the property is the proposers home or where it will be let or used as a holiday home once the works are completed.
Owner risk management
As well as taking out the right insurance there are some key things that the owners of unoccupied homes should be doing to help to manage risk and protect your properties from loss or damage. These include:
Installing insurer approved security equipment and base station monitored intruder and fire alarms on a separate circuit.
Shutting down electrical systems.
Ensuring plumbing is properly maintained and either draining the system (especially during the winter months) or at least leaving the heating on at regular intervals (unless the power has been switched off).
Removing combustible material, such as junk mail, on a regular basis also a must.
It’s also a good idea to provide trusted neighbours with contact details so they can be contacted quickly if there is a problem.
Above all, it is important to keep your insurance provider informed of the occupancy (or otherwise) of any property – whether this is residential or commercial. Failure to do so could invalidate your cover, and lead to a claim not being met – a costly oversight.
For impartial and independent advice on this or any other Property Insurance matters, please contact us at Cass Stephens.
Cass Stephens Insurances Ltd
In the modern day we are often given assurances regarding the validity or superiority of a product or service over another. The consumers of today may be convinced by the argument, but others may become rather jaded or even blasé regarding these “promises”.
I believe that when I offer a service to a client (or prospective client) that when I do this, it should always be the best to suit their needs. I never promise that it is the cheapest or the very best on the market – but the best to suit their individual circumstances – and budget.
It is very easy to flippantly promise great things, but with an ever litigious society, be careful what you promise your clients.
Myself and my colleagues at Cass Stephens make a few simple promises which we are happy to abide by, namely:-
· We promise not to “quote you happy”,
· We will not send you a stuffed mammal (meerkat or otherwise)
· We will never send an Opera Singer to serenade you
· We will not send you a dancing telephone
· We will never sit back and grin like a Bulldog, saying “oh yes”
· But we will always do our best for you. Full stop.
If these kind of promises ring true with you and the way you prefer to do business – call in or give us a call.
The funniest Insurance Claims and Quotes (genuine scenarios, incorporated into a comic act by Jasper Carrott)
The funniest Insurance Claims and Quotes (genuine scenarios, incorporated into a comic act by Jasper Carrott)
A bull was standing near and a fly must have tickled him because he gored my car.
A lamp-post bumped into my car, damaging it in two places.
A pedestrian hit me and went under my car
A truck backed through my windscreen into my wife’s face.
Accidents with other vehicles.
After the accident a working gentleman offered to be a witness in my favour.
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.
As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.
Car had to turn sharper than was necessary owing to an invisible lorry.
Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I haven’t got.
Cow wandered into my car. I was afterwards informed that the cow was half-witted.
First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.
Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
I am responsible for the accident as I was miles away at the time.
I am sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
I blew my horn but it would not work as it was stolen.
I bumped into a lamp-post which was obscured by human beings.
I bumped into a shop window and sustained injuries to my wife.
I can’t give details of the accident as I was somewhat concussed at the time.
I collided with a stationary tramcar coming the other way.
I collided with a stationary tree.
I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way
I consider that neither vehicle was to blame but if either were to blame it was the other one.
I didn’t think the speed limit applied after midnight.
I had been driving for 40 years when I feel asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
I had one eye on a parked car, another on approaching lorries, and another on the woman behind.
I heard a horn blow and was struck violently in the back. Evidently a lady was trying to pass me.
I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk.
I knocked over a man. He admitted it was his fault as he had been run over before.
I left for work this morning at 7am as usual when I collided straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
I left my Austin Seven outside and when I came out later to my amazement there was an Austin Twelve.
I left my car unattended for a minute, and whether by accident or design it ran away.
I misjudged a lady crossing the street.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the hood. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog & smothered it with a blanket.
I remember nothing after missing the Crown Hotel until I came to and saw PC Brown
I saw a slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car.
I saw her look at me twice. She appeared to be making slow progress when we met on impact.
I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.
I thought the side window was down but it was up, as I found when I put my head through it.
I told the other idiot what he was and went on.
I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found I had a fractured skull.
I unfortunately ran over a pedestrian and the old gentleman was taken to hospital, much regretting the circumstances.
I was going at about 70 or 80 mph when my girlfriend on the pillion reached over and grabbed my testicles so I lost control.
I was on my way to see an unconscious patient who had convulsions and was blocked by a tanker.
I was on the way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
I was scraping my nearside on the bank when the accident happened.
I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.
Ice on the road applied brakes causing skid.
If the other driver had stopped a few yards behind himself the accident would not have happened.
In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
Mr. X is in hospital and says I can use his car and take his wife while he is there. What shall I do about it?
My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
My car was stolen and I set up a human cry, but it has not been recovered.
No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
No witnesses would admit having seen the mishap until after it happened.
On approach to the traffic lights the car in front suddenly broke.
On the M6 I moved from the centre lane to the fast lane but the other car didn’t give way.
Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident? A: Travelled by bus?
She suddenly saw me, lost her head and we met.
The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind.
The accident happened when the right front door of a car came round the corner without giving a signal.
The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.
( This is one of my favourites )
The bloke was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again
The car in front stopped suddenly and I crashed gently into his luggage grid.
The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing.
The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.
The other man altered his mind so I had to run into him.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run so I ran over him.
The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him.
The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.
The telephone pole was approaching and I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end of my car.
The water in my radiator accidentally froze at 12 midnight.
There was no damage done to the car, as the gate post will testify.
There were plenty of lookers-on but no witnesses.
Three women were talking to each other and when two stepped back and one stepped forward I had to have an accident.
To avoid a collision I ran into the other car.
To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I struck a pedestrian.
We had completed the turn and had just straightened the car when Miss X put her foot down hard and headed for the ladies’ loo.
When I saw I could not avoid a collision I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other car.
It’s fine – no need to change anything..
This is a response that I often hear from both prospective and long-standing clients – they frequently consider that what protection they have in place is “fine”. This is frequently not the case as the following examples will illustrate:-
Case Study - Homeworkers
A professional couple had operated a successful business from their comfortable home for a number of years. Upon contacting them to discuss in greater detail, it transpired that their “Homeworkers” policy was barely worth more than the paper on which it was printed! Although their premium was quote substantial, there were alarming gaps in their cover :-
· They did not in fact have cover for Employer’s Liability, meaning they were in breach of the Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act.
· Although they had extensive business equipment including tablets, laptops and mobile phones, none of these were specified and not covered at all away from their home.
· The “Homeworker” policy wording excluded any business activity which generated an income in excess of £25,000 per annum – this business was generating 10 times this amount.
· The client’s home was a 200 year old stone building, whereas the insurer statement showed it was built after 1980. This in itself would have a dramatic effect on the acceptance and the premium rating with any insurer.
By taking a little time to get to understand the client and their business, I was able to offer an insurance programme which included a separate policy for their home and business – ensuring that all the gaps highlighted were closed, giving them complete peace of mind. The overall result was a delighted client.
Caste Study – Property Owner
A local charitable trust owned a substantial property for which they are responsible for the management and letting to a small number of tenants. I visited them and took the time to understand how they operated and what was important to them.
Upon studying their existing insurance schedule it was clear that there was a very obvious element of cover missing. As a landlord, their primary source of income was the rent received from each of their tenants. In the event that the building sustained an insured event (fire or flood e.g) which rendered the building uninhabitable, they would potentially lose income until any repairs were completed. Given that the building was Grade 2 Listed, this could involve months of negotiations with English Heritage and the local planning authority – during which time their tenants may have relocated and perhaps not even return. The potential loss of income would have proved catastrophic to my client, so I recommended that they insure against the risk of this for a period of up to 3 years. The cost to them was a few hundred pounds, which they were happy to pay to avoid the consequences.
Next time you have a few minutes; take a look at what cover you have for your business, your property or your vehicles. Better still – talk to an expert in the field who can give you advice on the best way to protect what matters to you.
Floods – don’t get caught out.
Checks before a flood
Be prepared to evacuate your property and think about where you can go for safety -will the route be passable?
Make sure that you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water mains supplies
Have a prepared flood kit of essential items such as a broom, spade, mop and bucket; domestic detergent and disinfectant; rubber boots, gloves and protective clothing; waterproof torch and radio; bottled water for drinking
Agree where you will go in the event of a flood and how to contact friends and family
Think about what items you can move to a safe place for later and what are essential items for you to have now
Create a list of important numbers including Floodline 0845 988 1188
You can sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or by visiting the Environment Agency website.
What to do during a flood.
Safety comes first! Think about evacuation before it is too late to move. Make sure you follow any advice or instructions provided by the emergency services.
If floodwater is about to enter your building, turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies if it is safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water
Gas and electricity supplies should remain switched off until a qualified professional has checked the system thoroughly. Wiring, appliances and pipe-work should also be inspected for safety and efficiency
Keep listening to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188
Move irreplaceable personal or sentimental items, such as photographs – as well as portable items - to an upper storey or higher location in your property to prevent loss or damage
Also check any outbuildings to see if any items can be moved
If possible, raise ground floor furniture on blocks or bricks to minimise the risk of damage
Call your insurance company / broker to notify them of a potential claim.
What to do after a flood
If your electricity is switched off following an incident, make sure that a qualified electrician checks the electrical installation before it is switched back on
If your gas has to be turned off, make sure that a GasSafe registered tradesperson checks the gas supply before the gas is switched back on
Do not throw away any items until we or our loss adjuster tell you it is OK to do so
Make a list of any damaged items that you need to throw away before you dispose of them. Take a note of make and model numbers, and take photographs of any damage if you have a camera to hand
Wear appropriate clothing and gloves when handling anything that has been contaminated by flood waters. Remember floodwater often contains sewage, so take sensible hygiene precautions
Carry out any emergency repairs to protect your property from further losses. If you’re unsure whether the cost of repair is covered under your insurance, contact your Insurance Adviser..
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