Christmas Opening Hours

Please note we have reduced opening hours over the festive period. The office will close on December 21st and will reopen December 27th. We will close again on December 28th until January 2nd 2019.

If you need to make a claim during this period please visit https://www.jelf.com/support-and-claims/.

We are unable to accept instructions to amend or arrange insurance via email.

Season’s greetings and Happy New Year!

Bluefin acquires Northern Alliance Brokers

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.”

Insurance Act 2015

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.

Fraud

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.

Christmas Opening Times

Wishing you a relaxing Festive Season and a most prosperous, happy and healthy New Year!

Our opening hours are as follows over the Christmas period:-

Dec 23rd 9am-5.30pm
Dec 24th 9am-1pm
Dec 25th-28th Closed
Dec 29th-30th 9am-5.30pm
Dec 31st 9am-1pm

Jan 1st-3rd Closed
Jan 4th 9am-5.30pm

Normal opening hours:

Mon-Thursday 9am-5.30pm
Friday 9am-5pm
Sat-Sun Closed

Tell us how we’re doing!

We are always looking for feedback on how we’re performing and would appreciate a simple review via Trustpilot. 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 Trustpilot account.  If you already have an account simply log in and submit your review. If however you don’t have an account you will just need to sign up; which will only take a few minutes.

Please follow the link below to submit your review:

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.northernalliance.co.uk

Thanks very much for your time!

10k Run for Macmillan Cancer Support

10k Run Macmillan

Northern Alliance will be running 10k at the Leeds Abbey Dash on the 16th November 2014, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Help us hit our target of £3,000 by visiting our Justgiving page and making a donation. Thank You!

https://www.justgiving.com/northern-alliance

UPDATE – 2/12/14

A big thank you to everyone who sponsored us! We raised a t total of £4,778.00!

Ministry Of Justice Reforms 2013

The 65th update by the Ministry of Justice came into force on the 31st July 2013 and relates to Employers & Public Liability and Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury claims occurring on or after the 31st July 2013 with a value between £1,000 and £25,000.

The reforms, known as the Low Value Personal Injury Protocol for Employers’ Liability and Public Liability claims will have a significant effect on how insurers handle claims which in turn will impact on our Clients.

The reforms impose much stricter time-frames in which to deal with claims which will mean immediate investigation and swift decision making by Insurers to ensure that claims do not unnecessarily drop out of the portal.

These reforms represent the largest changes to the personal injuries legal framework in England and Wales in over a decade and are intended to address the disproportionate costs that have been seen in civil litigation in recent years.

It is our aim as your Insurance Broker to guide you through these changes and assist in making the claims process as hassle free as possible to ensure that your business does not feel an impact.

The Main Changes

Timescales for decisions on liability – the current number of working days allowed by Insurers to carry out their investigations and conclude on liability is 90 however this has been significantly reduced to 30 business days for Employers Liability and 40 business days for Public Liability claims.

This is where our Client’s will see the biggest change in Insurer attitudes as they will require a slick claims process which allows them to carry out the necessary site investigations and collation of documentation as quickly as possible in order that a decision on liability can be made without delay.

There will be claims that our Client’s want to defend that Insurers will no doubt wish to settle if they do not feel that the prospects at the outset are good. In order to ensure that your Insurers are defending the right claims and settling those that do not have reasonable prospects we must provide all relevant documentation as early as possible.

We understand that you will not want your insurers to “roll over” and just pay claims however there are serious cost implications where claims drop out of the portal. The legal costs can be as much as 6 times as much.

Fixed and reduced solicitors fees – the reforms introduce revised fixed costs under a two tier approach for claims that settle within the portal.

 

Claim Value £1,000 – £10,000

Cover ClassStage 1Stage 2Stage 3
RTA (Motor)£200£300£250/£500*
EL/PL£300£600£250/£500*

 

Claim Value £10,000 – £25,000

Cover ClassStage 1Stage 2Stage 3
RTA (Motor)£200£600£250/£500*
EL/PL£300£1,300£250/£500*

 

*£250 applies to paper hearing, £500 applies to oral hearing.

Introduction of Qualified One Way Cost Shifting (QOCS) – Defendants will now have to pay their own costs whether they win or lose at trial with the exception of claims that are found to be fraudulent, where there is found to be no reasonable cause of action and where the Claimant fails to beat the Defendants pre-trial settlement offer. In the past if a claim made it to trial and the Defendant won the case their legal costs were recoverable from the Claimant.

Banning of success fees – Success fees are an uplift in the Claimant’s solicitors costs (which could be anything up to 100%) in cases that are successfully pursued against a Defendant and prior to the changes were paid by the Defendant and/or their Insurers. The changes now mean that the success fee will have to be paid to the solicitor from the amount awarded to the Claimant in damages but this will be capped at 25%.

After the Event Insurance premiums no longer recoverable – ATE policies are usually taken out by solicitors on behalf of their client’s in relation to personal injury claims and cover the costs a Claimant must pay to a Defendant when a claim is unsuccessful. The premiums for these types of policies are no longer recoverable from Defendants however this matter has now been addressed by the introduction of QOCS and ATE policies are likely to become redundant.

Banning of referral fees – Solicitors will no longer be able to pay claims management companies, insurance firms and trade unions etc., for personal injury details.

10% increase on general damages awards – general awards for pain and suffering will be increased by 10% in order to compensate for the banning of success fees.

Claims Process

  • Claims will be notified via the portal by way of a Claims Notification Form (CNF).
  • Under the new protocols the CNF must be acknowledged within 1 business day.
  • If for any reason a CNF is submitted to you directly you must acknowledge receipt and we have attached a basic template email for your use and would request that you copy us in in order that we are aware of the notification. The acknowledgment should be brief and contain very little information so as not to prejudice your Insurers position.
  • Following this a copy of the CNF should be submitted to us to be passed on to your Insurers. Please bear in mind that your Insurers will only have a maximum of 40 business days to carry out their investigations and give their liability decision to the Claimant’s solicitors and this clock starts ticking from the date that the CNF is acknowledged.
  • Your Insurers will then proceed to investigate the alleged incident in the normal way which will more than likely involve a Claims Investigator being appointed to carry out a site visit. At this stage you should have any relevant documents available to pass to the Investigator. The new protocols do not allow a great deal of time for these to be provided after the visit and we do not want to run the risk of the claim dropping out of the portal.
  • Upon completion of their investigations and no later than the 30-40 day timeframes, your Insurers will give their decision on liability to the Claimant’s solicitors. If liability is denied at this stage the claim will drop out of the portal.
  • Where liability is admitted your Insurers will have 20 business days to submit the Claimant’s earnings information to the solicitors.
  • Insurers will then wait for the Claimant’s solicitors to submit the Stage 2 Settlement Pack which will contain a medical report* and a settlement offer.
  • Upon receipt of the Stage 2 Settlement Pack your Insurers will have 10 business days to pay the Stage 1 costs.
  • Also upon receipt of the Stage 2 Settlement Pack your Insurers will have 15 business days to accept the settlement offer or make a counter offer.
  • If a counter offer is made by your Insurers a further 20 business days will be allowed to conclude the negotiations. If settlement has still not been reached after this additional 20 days the matter will proceed to a hearing either paper or oral, and the claim will be subject to the Stage 3 costs.

*There are no timeframes stipulated for the Stage 2 Settlement Pack to be submitted but this will depend upon the Claimant’s recovery and rehabilitation.

If for any reason the timeframes are not met the claim will automatically drop out of the portal and the legal costs will begin to increase.

Claims excluded from the portal

  • Public Liability claims against an individual.
  • Claims under £1,000 and over £25,000.
  • Employers Liability disease claims with more than one defendant.
  • Claims where the Defendant or Claimant is deceased or is a protected party.
  • Any accident or breach of duty outside England and Wales.
  • Abuse, mesothelioma and clinical negligence claims.
  • Claims where the Claimant is bankrupt.
  • Claims where the Defendant is insolvent and uninsured.
  • We hope that you have found this information to be of benefit however if you require any further clarification or additional details please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,

Gemma Roche
Claims Manager

New Claims Contact Details

With immediate effect, please be advised that all claims should be reported to our new Claims Manager, Gemma Roche. Gemma’s contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 01924 269632

E-mail: gemma.roche@alliancebrokers.co.uk

By Post:  Northern Alliance Unit 4, Silkwood Court, Silkwood Park, Wakefield WF5 9TP

Alternatively you can email claims@alliancebrokers.co.uk for an update.

We should be grateful if you would update your records accordingly and trust that you will contact your Account Executive with any questions.