National insurance broker Bluefin has acquired Northern Alliance Brokers based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
One of the UK’s leading insurance brokers, Bluefin currently employs over 1,400 staff in more than 40 offices. Northern Alliance, previously a member of Willis Network, will now complete the transition into the Bluefin group. All members of staff have been retained and the existing management will continue to lead the team adding to Bluefin’s existing presence in Yorkshire and marking the company’s sixth acquisition of the year.
Dan Maltby, Director at Northern Alliance commented: “It’s a pleasure to complete this deal to become part of Bluefin, a broker with significant reach and influence across the industry and a commitment to client service very much in line with our own. We look forward to growing as part of Bluefin using their significant experience in Yorkshire and nationwide.”
Robert Organ, CEO of Bluefin, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Northern Alliance Brokers into the Bluefin group. Its Wakefield location and the make up of it’s book, including a noteworthy specialism in renewable energy, makes Northern Alliance an ideal fit for Bluefin and our strategy of acquiring top performing, specialist businesses.”
Important Changes for Policyholders and how these will impact on you
As a result of a recent act of parliament, the Insurance Act 2015, major changes have been made law in relation to Non-consumer Insurance Contracts. For the purposes of the Insurance Act 2015, non-consumers are defined as follows:-
Where the policyholder is a corporate entity
Where the policyholder is an individual and the contract of insurance is entered into wholly or mainly for purposes related to the individual’s trade, business or profession
This has a significant impact on the operation of your insurance policy, including your disclosure obligations towards insurers, warranties and fraud.
Duty Of Disclosure & Representation
The Insurance Act imposes an obligation on all policyholders to make a “fair presentation of the risk” prior to your Policy commencing.
What is a fair presentation of the risk?
This is one that discloses, in a manner that is reasonably clear and accessible, every material circumstance which is known or ought to be known by the Policyholder’s senior management, or those responsible for arranging insurance, following a reasonable search.
Material Circumstance – this is anything which would influence the judgement of a prudent insurer in determining whether to take the risk and, if so, on what terms. There is no specific limitation on what constitutes a material circumstance but examples include prior claims, your financial history, convictions of key personnel and your business activities.
Known or ought to be known – to disclose material circumstances that you actually know but also those you ought to know. If the information is readily available to you but you do not disclose it due to a lack of enquiry or “turning a blind eye” you will have breached your duty to fairly present the risk. Any knowledge we have as your broker must also be presented to Insurers.
Senior Management – for the purposes of the Act (but is not limited to) – Senior Management includes anyone who has a key role in making decisions on behalf of the business, even if they do not sit on the board or if they do not officially have a management role. You should take the time to carefully identify who within your business is best placed to identify any information that may be relevant to insurers when considering the particular risk and type of policy.
Reasonable Search – you are obliged to undertake a reasonable search. When considering the extent of your search you should take into account the nature of the insurance you wish to purchase and consider who within your organisation is best placed to provide relevant information.
Reasonably clear and accessible – all information must be provided to insurers in a clear and accessible manner. This means that information must not be provided in an ambiguous way. The new rules prevent Policyholders from concealing key facts amongst large volumes of less relevant or immaterial information.
What happens if you do not fairly present the risk?
Insurers do have differing remedies depending upon the nature of the breach and what would have happened had you fairly presented the risk:-
Deliberate or reckless presentation of the risk – insurers are entitled to avoid the policy and retain all premiums. Insurers can treat the policy as if it never existed and would result in no claims being paid. You could also be required to repay any claims payments that have already been made.
Failure to present the risk fairly however this was not deliberate or reckless – insurers may still avoid the policy if they can demonstrate that the policy would not have been provided if you had represented the risk fairly. Insurers could be required to repay the policy premium to you, although they would be required to make no payment in respect of claims and you would be required to repay any claims payments already made.
If Insurers can demonstrate that they would have provided a policy however on different terms, the policy would be treated as if those terms applied from the commencement of the policy. These additional terms could be increased excess or additional exclusions. The additional terms may result in no payment being made in respect of any particular claim.
If Insurers would have provided the policy and charged an increased premium – the amount insurers will pay will reduce by proportion to the difference between the premium actually paid and the premium that would have been charged had the risk been fairly presented. EG if a fair presentation would have resulted in the premium doubling, any claims payment under the policy will be halved.
What Does This Mean For You?
Overall the impact will be beneficial to policyholders, as they will benefit from greater clarity in understanding the laws that govern insurance contracts. Furthermore the sanctions available to insurers will be more proportionate.
Insurers will no longer be able to rely on “Basis of Contract” clauses to convert all representations into warranties./
In the event of a “breach of Warranty”, Insurers will only be allowed to refuse to pay a claim where the loss arose during a period of non-compliance. eg – if you breach a warranty (fail to set a fire alarm), cover will be re-instated as soon as you re-establish compliance. Cover is simply suspended during periods of non-compliance.
If the warranty is designed to reduce the risk of a certain type of loss or a loss at a certain place or time and the policyholder can demonstrate that the breach could not have increased the risk of that loss occurring, insurers must still pay the claim.
Historically in the event of a fraudulent claim being made against the policy, all cover under the policy ceased and insurers were entitled to retain the premium. The policyholder would also have to repay any claims payments already made. However, under the new regime, insurers will be entitled to terminate the policy from the date of the fraudulent claim or act, but must still cover claims arising from incidents occurring before the fraudulent act.
Please do not hesitate to contact your Account Executive or usual Northern Alliance contact should you wish to discuss the implications of The Insurance Act further. Alternatively, further discussions will form part of the annual review process at the next renewal of your current insurance arrangements.
The insurance product from HSB Engineering has been specifically designed for companies investing / installing or financing green energy initiatives within commercial property e.g PV on rooftops, LED lighting, biomass boilers, heating/ventilation etc.
The policy besides covering the more traditional elements of cover such as asset protection and loss of revenue also covers the Performance Shortfall and subsequently pay for the difference in the estimated energy savings from the energy efficiency initiative and the actual savings.
The policy effectively removes the technical / performance uncertainty for both the building owner, energy service company or lender! Other benefits being that any loan repayments are protected with an improved availability of project funding.
Cover is arranged on a 5 year period and designed for Commercial Building Owners, Energy Service Companies and Banks / Funders.
Over recent years we have worked closely with our Construction clients to gain a real understanding of their insurance needs. Together with our insurer partners we are now able to offer market leading insurance solutions to the Construction industry –
Premiums savings up to 40%
Market leading covers
Cover placed with ‘A’ rated insurers
Bespoke/Exclusive covers to the Construction industry
Who we are – Big Enough to Deliver/Small Enough to Care
Northern Alliance are an independently owned commercial insurance brokerage, we provide the services of a traditional independent broker in the form of a ‘hands on’ personal service. We are however also in the enviable position of being members of the Willis Commercial Network and therefore have the backing of the world’s 4th largest insurance broker. Being members of a global organisation (Network premium income £500 million) allows us considerable leverage within the insurance market which subsequently allows us to provide our clients with the most competitive terms in the market, the ability to place any risk and provide bespoke solutions only available to Willis members.
Our approach to reviewing your commercial insurance arrangements is different from our broker rivals. The market perception being that the more insurers approached the best deal will follow. We however believe a more focused approach to broking generates better results and we therefore only work with a select number of insurers on each risk. Our approach allows us to
enhance the prospect of real & meaningful premium savings without compromising the cover, service or the quality of the insurers
it ensures the approach is focused purely on results rather than simply on how many different insurers are approached on your behalf
it avoids multiple presentations being sent to the same insurers by several different brokers which does little to create any serious interest in your company
Should you have the misfortune of having to claim under your policy we pride ourselves on offering a dedicated 24/7 claims service. Our claims manager has over 30 years experience in insurance claims having managed claims departments within large insurers himself.
In addition to our usual claims service we also offer all Northern Alliance clients our bespoke Claims Consultancy/Loss Recovery service. As a client of ours you will be assigned a fully qualified chartered loss adjuster in the event of a claim who will assist in the preparation and compiling of a claim, benefits include –
General risk management advice on any business situation from which a potential claim to your insurers may arise.
Telephone assistance immediately an incident occurs that could give rise to a property or liability claim.
Immediate advice on evidence gathering to defend liability claims against you successfully – including those within the policy excess.
Practical help in compiling and presenting all claims.
For property and business interruption claims over £5,000 in value a professionally qualified chartered loss adjuster will be personally assigned to prepare your claim and negotiate on your behalf.
Your loss adjuster will act solely for you and be available to attend your premises within 48 hours, to discuss the claim, and represent you at meetings with the insurers’ representatives.
Your loss adjuster will give you advice relating to measures necessary or advisable to secure and make premises safe, to mitigate the loss, to salvage partially or undamaged goods and to minimise the disruption to you and your business.
Your loss adjuster will prepare and present your evidence that verifies the loss. He will also liaise with your accountants to prepare and quantify the business interruption claim.
Access to a legal telephone ‘hotline’ for free advice on insurance claims, employment and general litigation matters. Solicitors are available, if the need arises, to give this specialist advice at no charge.
We are always looking for feedback on how we’re performing and would appreciate a simple review via Google. This should only take up a few minutes and will involve leaving us a rating from 1 to 5 and a brief review of our business.
To do this though you will need to have a Google account. If you already have an account simply log in and submit your review. If however you don’t have a Google account you will just need to sign up; which will only take a few minutes.
Please follow the link below to submit your review:
Legal Expenses cover can be arranged for the family, motor vehicles or commercial businesses. It can provide protection against the costs involved defending your interests in the event that civil or criminal convictions are brought against you. This article is focused on Commercial Legal Expenses insurance and how it can protect your business from unforeseeable legal issues that may arise.
Commercial Legal Expenses insurance can either be sold as an “add-on” to existing commercial risk policies such as Employers & Public Liability or sold separately on a stand-alone basis.
Defending the costs of your company’s legal rights should not be overlooked, especially for clients that can’t afford an in-house legal team. There is an ever-increasing amount of legislation that changes on a regular basis and is difficult to keep up to date with all of these changes.
Below is a list of claims that may arise and how commercial legal expenses cover can protect you.
Typical Claims Examples:
Employment Disputes Costs & Compensation Awards
An employee leaves their company suddenly and 2 months later claims constructive dismissal. We will fund solicitors to defend the employment tribunal proceedings and settle the solicitor’s fees and the award, if ordered by the court or by agreement between the parties subject to our consent.
An employer receives a letter from a Data Protection Officer complaining that they will not release data to an employee. We will fund the defence of the action the employee takes against their employer, obviously subject to us having reasonable prospects of success.
Prosecution Defence – Employers
A client is prosecuted for discharging toxic effluent into the local river. We will fund the legal fees in defending the case where, for example, the client can show that the effluent is being discharged from a neighbouring factory and not that belonging to them.
Prosecution Defence – Employees
A client owns a clothes shop. One of the employees is charged with false trade description by placing fake designer labels on clothing. We will fund the employee’s defence.
A client owns a pub. One night an articulated lorry, which is attempting a three-point turn, crashes into the pub causing extensive damage. We will pursue a claim against the driver’s employers for any uninsured losses as a result of the damage to the pub and also for loss of profit whilst the building is being repaired.
A client submits his VAT return. The Inland Revenue comes back with a number of queries. We will fund the accountants to answer the Revenue’s enquiries.
In Depth Tax Investigation
A client receives a letter from the Inland Revenue saying an enquiry is being launched into business tax return for 98/99 tax year. Inland Revenue writes to accountants. We fund the cost of the accountant providing the necessary information to the IR.
It has become apparent over recent years that society is developing into an increasingly litigious culture. There is now more emphasis on Companies to provide a better working environment and they must demonstrate a Duty of Care at all times.
The Duty of Care comes in many formats from the financial management of the company through to ensuring a safe working environment for their employees.
What is Directors & Officers Liability Insurance?
Directors and Officer Liability Insurance will cover any civil or criminal offences including defence costs and awards. In addition, not only is cover available for all Directors and Officers of the Company but it also extends to include Managers and Key Employees.
You will be aware that current Law states that if an individual of a Company is sued directly then, in some circumstances, he/she is forbidden to have the defence costs or claim awards paid for by the Company.
To summarise, without Directors & Officers Liability Insurance your homes and personal possessions are at risk.
What does Directors & Officers Liability Insurance cover?
Directors & Officers Liability Insurance is designed to cover Private Companies domiciled in the UK, Non-profit organisations in the UK and Resident’s management Companies.
The cover afforded will include key area such as:
Breaches of Company Law
Breaches of Tax Law
Breaches of Environmental Law
There are infinite further aspects which fall with the scope of cover.
A shareholder in a building contractor brought an action against a director because he was concerned by the way the company was being run. The claim alleged negligence and maladministration of the company’s affairs that led to a loss in the value of the shareholding.
In a take-over, the Chairman of the company being purchased wrote to the shareholders advising them not to accept an offer, as it was inadequate. The offer eventually accepted was lower than the offer that had been turned down and the investors sued the Chairman for bad advice.
An advertising agency was successful in bringing a claim against its former managing director for diverting parts of the business and its opportunities to his new company. The court held that the managing director had misused the property of the agency, therefore breaching his fiduciary duty, that he was personally accountable to the company and that he should provide equitable compensation.
Two directors of a construction company which went into liquidation were held personally liable to the creditors for £417,000 which had been paid to another director. They were found guilty of a breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful trading.
A director signed a company cheque but omitted the word ‘Limited’. The cheque was not honoured and by the time the corrected cheque was re-presented, the company had gone into liquidation. As a consequence, the managing director was held personally liable for the value of the cheque, over £30,000.
A boat builder went into liquidation with losses of £1.5 million. The directors had believed that the company was making a profit but the liquidators sued the directors for negligence after discovering no accurate financial records were being kept.
A former director of a company sued the current directors, alleging that they had conspired to deny him his correct pension benefits
After receiving repeated warnings for lateness and poor attendance a female employee sued a director and personnel manager of her employer for sexual harassment.
A former employee of a company sued one of its directors claiming that the non-competitive agreement within their contract was excessive and unfair.
Regulatory – Environment Agency
Two company directors were convicted of illegally dumping 12,900 tyres on a site in Devon. A fellow director was imprisoned for operating an unlicensed waste transfer station.
Regulatory – Tax/Customs & Excise
Two directors of a demolition firm were prosecuted by the Inland Revenue for failing to keep proper tax records.
The company secretary of a leisure group who owned a number of bars was prosecuted for short measures being served at one of the bars.
Regulatory – Corporate Manslaughter / Health & Safety
Following a fatal coach crash, two directors of the coach company were charged with manslaughter.
A driver fell asleep whilst driving for the family-run haulage company for which he was employed. Two motorists were killed. The court held that the operations manager should have ensured that his driver adhered to the relevant driving regulations. He had also failed to keep in close touch on these matters with his co-director. Both directors incurred substantial defence costs before being convicted of corporate manslaughter.
An employee was killed having fallen into a plastic-shredding machine. The Health & Safety Executive investigated the accident and concluded that two directors were responsible for not providing the employee with a safe place to work, particularly as they had been instructed that the machine was not to be used. The incident was also reported to the Police and Crown Prosecution Office who brought up a charge of manslaughter. One of the directors lost his £250,000 home as a result of the incident.
Regulatory – Companies Act
Directors were held in breach of the Companies Act after their inadvertent failure to identify the company correctly on company notepaper and invoices.
A competitor sued a director of a company for defamation after he made disparaging remarks about the business practices of the competitor at a conference and the comments were repeated in the local press.
A director took an order at a trade fair but could not recall the details the next day and was subsequently sued by the customer for breach of contract.
A customer sued a marketing director after promotional material, which the director had approved, gave incorrect prices for the product range.
Northern Alliance is a trading name of Bluefin Insurance Services Limited. Registered Office: 1 Tower Place West, Tower Place, London, EC3R 5BU. Registered in England No: 931954. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.