Coronavirus update for our offices and our clients

 Aside from the many problems the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought, we want to reassure you that we have activated our business continuity plan to ensure we can continue to operate effectively should a number of our employees become ill, or need to self-isolate due to the virus.

This is a unique situation and is continually changing. We are taking all pragmatic and sensible steps to ensure that we are well prepared and well positioned to minimise the potential impact on the welfare of our people, while continuing to deliver on our service commitments to our business partners and customers.

We have been liaising with all our insurers and suppliers to ensure we are prepared for any future changes in guidance and we remain in constant dialogue regarding plans. Our service to you remains our priority.

We have home working enabled for all staff.

Our phone system is cloud based so you will still be able to seamlessly contact the member of staff you usually deal with on our usual numbers.

We are encouraging all staff to follow the NHS general good practice guidance to prevent the spread of virus. In addition, we have also taken extra measures to protect our employees and reduce risk of exposure in the workplace and have implemented guidelines around hygiene and provision of additional antibacterial gels and hand washes.

We are also advising employees to have minimal physical contact, avoid business travel and client facing meetings unless deemed absolutely essential.

We will not attending large group events until the full implications of the virus are established.

We have issued specific guidance to our employees from Public Health England for travellers returning back to the United Kingdom from affected areas.

 If you need us please call or email in the normal way.

Call us on 01494 450 450. Or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Useful websites

World Health Organisation

ABTA

UK Government website

NHS website

 

Covid - 19 The Coronavirus

This is an attempt to clarify in a general sense the position on insurance, as we see it, at the beginning of March.  The government claim to have made it easier to recover costs under insurance policies by declaring the infection to be a “notifiable disease”, which is possibly a bit of buck passing.

There are two main areas of concern being interruption to business operations and travel problems.

Business Insurance

The problem will be from business closures and or absence of staff.  Business interruption cover will usually provide an extension of cover in respect of disease, but unless your policy wording is very old, when it may include all notifiable diseases, more modern cover will only be in respect of specified diseases. These are generally listed as;

acute encephalitis, acute poliomyelitis, anthrax, chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, legionellosis, legionnaires disease, leprosy, leptospirosis, malaria, measles, meningococcal infection, mumps, opthalmia neonatorum, paratyphoid fever, plague, rabies, rubella, scarlet fever,  smallpox, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, viral hepatitis, whooping cough and yellow fever.

As the current illness is described as a type of flu it is not included in the specified illness cover and it seems unlikely that it will be in future.

Travel Insurance

Where travel is cancelled as the airline cancels the flight, the costs for the flights will be refundable by the airline and any other lost deposits would generally be picked up by the travel policy. If you, a travelling companion, close business partner or relative become ill, again cancellation would be covered. 

If the Foreign Office or WHO (World Health Organisation) prohibit travel, again costs you have incurred would normally be covered.

Other than those situations there is no cover, but insurers are being sympathetic. We have a case where an elderly couple were going to Italy but cancelled as their hotel was very close to an infected area.  Whilst not strictly covered, the insurer dealt with the cancellation claim as they said this was a lot less than the costs they could have incurred if the clients had travelled and then became ill.  This is a one off and all cases would be considered on their merits.

Looking Ahead

Although we hope this illness does not become a pandemic, and a vaccine can soon be found, we do feel that the media has whipped up a bit of a storm over this.  At the time of writing the new coronavirus has unfortunately led to more than 89,000 illnesses and 3,000 deaths worldwide. However, to put this in perspective, WHO says an estimated 5,000,000 people contract flu annually, with as many as 650,000 dying. This is around 75,000 deaths between 22nd February and 4th March, compared with 3,310 people dying from Covid-19 in the same period.

Should we be looking at the news and social media, or possibly paying more attention to Corporal Jones?

 

If you would like to talk to us about this is or any existing cover, call us on 01494 450 450. Or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Useful websites

World Health Organisation

ABTA

UK Government website

NHS website

 

We are looking for a Private Clients Account Handler - Friday, Jan 24, 2020

We are looking for a new member to join our team. We are a well-established, independent insurance broker based in High Wycombe. Following a growth in our business a role has arisen for a bright and enthusiastic individual to join our team.

Position

Private Clients Account Handler

Desired Criteria

It is key that the applicant is a bright and enthusiastic individual who is a good team player. Knowledge of the Acturis insurance broking software package would be helpful along with CII insurance qualifications.

Your key responsibilities and duties

- Client and Insurer Handling / Relationship Building
- Document Management
- New Business Quoting
- Record Keeping
- Collection of Insurance Premiums
- Effective Renewal Management
- Cross-sell additional products
- Ensure all work complies with FCA regulations

Experience required

At least 2 years within the insurance industry and experience within an insurance brokers office. Experience & knowledge of other general insurance products and handling of claims is ideal.

Essential Skill Set

- Excellent communicator on phone, in writing and in person
- Ability to work to strict deadlines
- Well organised, good team player and excellent attention to detail.
- Problem- solving approach
- Multi-taskerCustomer service focus
- Working knowledge of Microsoft suite of products
- Educated to GSCE level. Must have Maths and English Grade C or above.

Location

We are located in Piddington High Wycombe with the occasional visit to our Oxford City Centre office

Salary and Benefits.

Negotiable dependent upon experience. 21 days holiday (plus bank holidays.) We offer a life insurance and pension scheme

Hours of Work

This is a Full time role with the following working hours:

- Mon – Thursday 8.30am – 5.00pm
- Friday – 8.30 am- 4.30 pm (37.5 Hours per week)

If you would like to apply for this position please send your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Are you at risk from HAVS?

HAVS (Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome) is preventable but once the damage is done it is permanent. It is caused by the transfer of vibration through a worker’s hands and arms, in as little as 6 months. It can be caused by any vibrating tool including hand-held tools and the like.

Employers have a legal liability to ensure the well-being of their employees while under their control. Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, specifically covered the use of vibrating machinery and and makes clear the obligations that employers have to their employees.

How can you minimise the dangers for your employees and lessen potential future claims?

  • Regular breaks for those using vibrating machinery and tools.
  • The provision of anti-vibration gloves.
  • Ensuring the correct tools are made available for specific tasks.
  • Initial and ongoing training with regards to health and safety and the use of vibration machinery, tools and equipment.
  • Record usage and, as importantly, rest breaks for any employees using the equipment.
  • Regularly check, service, or replace all vibrating machinery and keep a record of the action taken.

 

Click here to read about a developer was fined £600,000 at Aylesbury Crown Court for failing to assess or manage the risks associated with vibrating tools.

If you would like to talk to us about your existing Employers Liability Insurance or discuss cover call us on 01494 450 450. You will have your own dedicated account manager and we can make it easy for you to switch from your existing insurer if you require. We offer you flexible payment options, bespoke insurance solutions, specialist knowledge & impartial advice.

Sources:

HSE

 

Failing to carry out Risk Assessments could land you in more than hot water

Failure to carry out proper risk assessments can be a costly business, both personally and financially, as this example shows.

A groundworks company in the South East was employed to install a new fenced parking area. Whilst using an electric ground breaker to dig post holes, one of the operatives hit an 11,000 volt electricity cable. The resulting short caused a large flash and engulfed him in flames. He sustained serious burns to his face and chest,

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that groundworks company had failed to source and refer to the underground services plans prior to breaking the ground to determine the location of any cables within the planned working area.

The penalty for the accident from HSE was almost £35,000. The compensation claim from the injured employee is still to be agreed.

Carrying out a proper risk assessment could have avoided this life changing incident. It is something required by law, and means you need to identify risks and ensure you have sensible measures in place to control risks in your workplace, and prevent harm to employees and the public.

To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. You don't have to be a health and safety expert to draft a risk assessment. When you are thinking about your risk assessment consider what the HSE say.

"a hazard is anything that may cause harm; these can be hazards to physical health such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer or to mental health – if, for example the common causes of work-related mental ill health e.g. demands, control and support for individuals are not properly managed in the workplace

the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be."

As part of our Heath and Safety Services we can recommend experts who can help you to identify, manage and control your risks.

Their services include:

  • Health & Safety audit
  • Risk assessment
  • Training courses
  • Consultancy services


As your broker, we are here to provide insurance built around you. For a personal approach to insurance and a chat about your needs, call us on 01494 450 450 or apply for a Quick Quote today.


Sources:

Construction Enquirer

Health and Safety Executive

 

 

Brexit & driving in Europe

It is increasingly likely Britain will leave the European Union on the 31st October 2019 without an agreement in place.

A no-deal Brexit will mean that you will need a physical document, known as a Green Card, to drive in most European countries in the future.

What do you need to do now?

If you are not planning on driving in the EU in the near future, there is nothing to do. However, if you are outside of the UK on (or around) the 31st October, you will need to call us at least three weeks before your departure to ensure you can receive a Green Card in good time.

If Britain leaves the EU, without a deal in place, it will be a legal requirement to carry a Green Card if driving in any EU country or Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra.

What is a green card?

The Green Card has information about your vehicle such as its licence plate number and demonstrates that you have the necessary minimum motor insurance cover in place to be on the road. Drivers have to physically carry the Green Card (printed on green paper) with them.

A separate Green Card will be required for all trailers, but please be aware that all commercial trailers of 750kg or over and any trailer of 3500kg or over, must be individually registered if being used outside of the UK. Please let us know the details of all trailers being used outside the UK.

What happens if Britain leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement?

If Britain secures a withdrawal agreement before Brexit, you can drive in the EU as you would normally. We acknowledge that this is a developing situation, so we will be providing updated information on Brexit in due course.

 

 

J Bennett & Son are delighted to announce their membership of the exclusive Brokerbility network who are described as:

"a group of like-minded independent insurance brokers and who contribute annual premiums in excess of £600 million placed into the UK insurance market. Brokerbility group companies aim to share best practices, tailoring bespoke insurance solutions and service propositions for our clients"

Membership is by invitation and we were genuinely thrilled to have been asked to join a network whose membership represents the very best in staunchly independent, regional Insurance Broking firms.   

Click here to read more in Insurance Age

 

The often modular nature of cyber insurance policies means that they consist of a variety of different coverage areas.

For many people, this has resulted in confusion around exactly how this coverage fits together to create a uniform whole. To provide clarity, we have dissected a cyber policy - section by section - to show how each part functions.

The majority of cyber policies can be divided into two areas of cover: first party and third party.

First Party

The first party is you, so this cover accounts for your own financial loss arising from a cyber event. A cyber event is defined as any actual or suspected unauthorised system access, privacy breach, electronic attack or system downtime. It is vital to note that the majority of cyber claims stem from first party losses.

Third Party

The third party section covers you for claims made against you as the result of a cyber event. In the context of a cyber insurance policy, cybercrime typically refers to attacks that involve the theft of funds from the victim, as opposed to theft of data or other digital assets. Generally speaking, this usually happens in one of three ways:

Extortion: hackers threatening to expose or destroy data that they have successfully compromised in order to extort money.
Electronic compromise: attackers manage to hack into your network and gain unauthorised access to online accounting or banking platforms.
Social engineering: in this advanced scheme, attackers imitate a senior member of staff, a customer or a supplier in an attempt to mimic their tone of voice and make demands, such as transferring money or opening a malicious link.

Does your policy cover all cybercrime?

To ensure your cover is comprehensive, you should look for a policy that covers the full range of cyber crime types, including funds transfer fraud, ransomware, targeted extortion and emerging forms of malware such as ‘cryptojacking’, where your IT system is used to mine cryptocurrency and ‘botnetting’, whereby your systems are used to send malicious traffic.

You will need to ensure that your systems and procedures are robust, as your policy may include a condition whereby you must have agreed levels of security in place, such as call-back procedures on any requests to transfer money.

How quickly will you be up and running again?

A quick recovery from a cyber event is key; as such, incident response is at the heart of a strong cyber policy. This section of cover will generally pick up the costs involved with responding to a cyber incident in real time. This includes IT security and specialist forensic support, legal advice in relation to any data security breaches and the costs associated with notifying any individuals that have had their data compromised. A key aspect of a cyber policy is that it provides speedy access to specialists and covers the costs of accessing their service, making it highly important.

A strong system damage and business interruption section within a cyber policy is incredibly valuable. Helping to keep your business up and running, this crucial section covers the costs for applications and data to be repaired, restored or recreated in the event that systems are damaged as a result of a cyber event. This section also reimburses the loss of profits and increased cost of working as a result of any interruption to business operations caused by a cyber event, including prolonged system downtime.

Lawsuits and fines

Lawsuits and fines have the ability to destroy your business, which is why network security and privacy liability is another important part of a cyber policy. This section covers third party claims arising from a cyber event, including the transmission of harmful malware to a third party’s system and failing to prevent an individual’s data from being breached. It is essential to note that fines for a breach of certain sections of GDPR are up to 4% of total turnover, with a limit of twenty million Euros.

Although it is often optional, a section that should not be overlooked if you have a website or use emails in a business capacity is media liability. This covers third party claims made against you arising out of defamation or infringement of intellectual property rights.

As your broker, we are here to help you to source the most appropriate cyber cover to meet your requirements.

To find out more about how we can help you, call us on 01494 450 450 or get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

When arranging business insurance, it’s your duty to provide complete and accurate information relating to the risks you face. If you fail to do so, it may compromise your cover.

On 12th August 2016, a new act was introduced (the Insurance Act 2015), requiring any company taking out business insurance to disclose and give a ‘fair presentation’ to the insurance company of the risks facing their business.

Why was the new law introduced?

The new law was introduced to make circumstances and risks more transparent to the insurance company, ensuring there is no ambiguity and that the correct level of cover is set in place. Answers such as “see our website” or “refer to your records” will not be deemed acceptable.

What does this mean for me?

It means, when you take out business insurance, you must present any known business risks in a clear, accessible way. You’ll need to include all relevant facts, information and circumstances, enabling the insurer to make a fair judgment about the risk, level of the premium and terms of the policy, and whether they want to take on the risk.  This is described as information your senior management ‘ought to know’, which would be available to anyone conducting a search into your company.  

What happens if I fail to disclose information?

If you fail to disclose relevant information, your insurer may reduce payment for a claim, apply terms to the policy or even refuse to insure you.

What if I want to make changes to the policy?

The same criteria apply. If you need to make changes, or at renewal, it’s your duty to provide any additional or relevant information pertinent to the risk.

How do I know what information to disclose?

As your broker, J. Bennett & Son can help. It’s our job to advise you, ensuring you provide your insurer with all the necessary information so they have a real understanding of the risks involved and can provide you with appropriate cover. To find out more about disclosing and presenting risks, talk to us today on 01494 450 450 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sources:

https://www.bluedropservices.co.uk/blog/262/duty-of-disclosure-and-fair-presentation-of-risk-can-invalidate-insurance/

https://www.marsh.com/uk/services/multinational-client-service/duty-of-disclosure-and-fair-presentation-guidance.html (Note: Contains Duty of Disclosure and Fair Presentation download document)

17.06.2019
News
 

It is with much sadness that we must announce the death of John Bennett (the “& Son”) who passed away in his sleep on Thursday night at the age of 96.

John joined the firm after completing his service in the Royal Navy in 1945 and assumed responsibility for it upon the death of our founder Jake Bennett, in 1955. John finally retired in 1982.

A keen sportsman and much beloved & respected Broker, he was instrumental in the expansion of our business and steering it through the end of the traditional insurance tariff offices and into the computer era.

Our sincere condolences go to Rita, his 5 children & all the grandchildren together with our immense gratitude for his legacy which continues to this day.

 

Traditional PUBLIC AND PRODUCTS liability policies are increasingly including cover for financial loss as an extension, but what does it mean, do you need it and, if so are you adequately covered?

If a business suffers financial loss as a resulting FROM the actions of you OR YOUR business, they could file a claim against you, even if they don’t SUFFER PHYSICAL incur injury or damage. Such a claim could easily run into tens of thousands of pounds, which is why you may need cover for financial loss.

For example, a flooring contractor lays a floor that isn’t fit for purpose and the floor has to be re-laid, causing the delivery of a new machine to be delayed. The client faces additional costs for storage and transportation of the machine and claims against the contractor for financial loss. This would be covered by the contractor’s financial loss insurance policy.

Does your liability policy include financial loss? Some traditional liability policies include cover for financial loss, while others don’t or have restrictions in place that limit cover. Here’s a brief guide as to how the mainstream liability policies differ.

Public liability covers your liability to ANY OTHER PARTY ,OTHER THAN YOUR EMPLOYEES, WHERE LOSS OR DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY YOUR NEGLIGENCE. STANDARD WORDINGS DO NOT INCLUDE FINANCIAL LOSS

Products liability covers your liability to ANY OTHER PARTY ,OTHER THAN YOUR EMPLOYEES, WHERE LOSS OR DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY SOME DEFECT IN YOUR PRODUCT ARISING FROM YOUR NEGLIGENCE. STANDARD WORDINGS DO NOT INCLUDE FINANCIAL

Take professional advice This is a very brief overview to what is widely accepted as a complex area, calling for professional guidance. As your broker, it’s our job to assess your exposure to financial loss and ensure you have the necessary cover in place. To discuss further, please call us on 01865 292929 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources:

FINANCIAL LOSS. What is it, and when is it covered? A report from a Working Party of the IUA’s Liability Underwriters’ Group in association with RPC. Available as pdf download at:

www.iua.co.uk
www.tradesmansaver.co.uk

 

Most people would agree that those convicted of drink or drug-driving offences should be excluded from insurance cover as a deterrent. But do the same exclusions apply to those driving under the legal limit for alcohol or taking prescription drugs?

Some years ago, insurers Zurich and Allianz introduced policy wording that excluded anyone under the influence of drink and drugs - including drivers with minimal alcohol or prescription drugs in their system, thereby potentially invalidating their insurance. The Association of Chief Police Offers clarified that ‘under the influence’ meant being ‘over the legal limit’ and insurers quickly realised the exclusion was having unintended consequences and removed it entirely.

Today, if you are involved in an accident and have consumed alcohol, but are ‘under the limit’, your insurer will generally provide cover. If you are ‘over the limit’, there will be consequences, in terms of penalty points, convictions, fines, disqualification and difficulty in getting future insurance cover.

Significant exclusions
A section in your motor policy entitled ‘Significant exclusions and limitations’ includes the phrase: ‘Injury resulting from you driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a level which would be an offence in the country where the accident occurs’. Basically, this means your insurer will not pay any more than their legal liability if you are driving under the influence or convicted of drink /drug-driving. Under the Road Traffic Act, this means they will pay out for a third party claim, but not for your vehicle or injury to yourself if you are ‘over the limit’.

Passenger cover
As a passenger involved in an accident the insurance company may exclude passenger claims if they can prove you were new the driver was drunk.

The impact on your premiums if you have a conviction
A conviction for drunk/drug-driving will impact your insurance premium and some insurers may refuse to insure you. Legally, you must inform your insurer of your conviction for a minimum period of five years. (Some convictions can last for up to eleven years.) Steps you can take to lower an excessively high premium include going on a Drink Driving Rehabilitation Scheme, opting for ‘black box’ telematics insurance, restricting your mileage, improving security or downgrading your car.

Advice
As your broker, Mathews Comfort will look at your existing policy and advise on any exclusions in place. Likewise, if you have a conviction pending, we can advise you on your options. Please call us today on 01865 292929 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources:

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors: Insurance Exclusions – When can my insurance be void? https://motoroffence.co.uk/insurance-exclusions-when-can-my-insurance-be-void/
Insurer confusion over drinking and driving, BBC News  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17489887
Drink/drug driving conviction insurance help https://www.moneysupermarket.com/money-made-easy/drink-driving-conviction

 

Are you insured if you are “under the influence” of drink or drugs?

Motorists who cause accidents due to being ‘under the influence’ of alcohol or drugs should not be able to make a claim! Right?
Most people would agree with this as a deterrent to drink driving, where drivers are over the limit, but should the same exclusions apply if you take prescription drugs or are under the legal limit for alcohol?

A few years ago, wording began to creep in to motor insurance policies excluding anyone ‘under the influence’ of drink and drugs. This included anyone taking prescription drugs or with minimal alcohol in their system and meant their motor insurance could be invalidated.

The Association of Chief Police Officers clarified their position stating that being ‘under the influence’ meant being ‘over the legal limit’ and insurers such as Zurich and Allianz, recognising that the exclusion was having unintended consequences, removed it completely.

Today, if you are involved in an accident and have consumed alcohol, but are under the limit, your conduct is not considered illegal and insurers will usually continue to provide you with cover.

If you are over the limit of alcohol consumption, there are more negative implications, such as motoring convictions, penalty points, fines, disqualifications and the difficulty of getting future insurance cover. You may also find it difficult to get your insurance company to pay out for your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident.

Significant exclusions and limitations

Most insurance policies now include a section entitled ‘Significant exclusions and limitations’, explaining the various scenarios in which your insurance is either limited or invalidated. This includes the phrase: ‘Injury resulting from you driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a level which would be an offence in the country where the accident occurs’.

This means insurers will not pay any more than their legal liability under the Road Traffic Act for any claim where the driver of the car insured by them is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Road Traffic Act states that insurers still have to pay out for third party claims, even if an insurer tries to exclude a motorist from cover on the grounds of being under the influence of drink or drugs.

If insurers exercise this option your own losses will not be covered, and more worryingly, the insurer can then seek to recover their costs from you

Passengers

The insurance company may also exclude passenger claims if they can prove the passenger was aware the driver was drunk.

Impact on premiums

If you are convicted of a drink or drug-driving offence, you must tell your insurer about your conviction, which will impact your insurance cover and cost, until the conviction becomes spent.

Some insurers may refuse to insure you and others may price their quotes so high they are effectively refusing to insure you.

Check your policy for exclusions

As your broker, J Bennett & Son is happy to check your motor insurance policy for the possibility of exclusions and if you wish to check for exclusions or are facing the possibility of a conviction, talk to us today on 01494 450450 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sources:

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors: Insurance Exclusions – When can my insurance be void? https://motoroffence.co.uk/insurance-exclusions-when-can-my-insurance-be-void/

Insurer confusion over drinking and driving, BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17489887

Drink/drug driving conviction insurance help. https://www.moneysupermarket.com/money-made-easy/drink-driving-conviction

 

Our very own Peter Dowlen - as well as insuring Hot Air Balloons has now made cartoon history.

In a recent interview with Editor, Richard Wiles from Aerostat magazine Peter reveals all about his ballooning career.

You can read the interview in full here.

The statistics:

Name Peter Dowlen (Piggy)
Age: 65 years young
Location: Chilterns
Profession: Chartered Insurance Broker
BBAC Affiliated club: The Black Horse Ballooning Club
Syndicate/team Bennett Balloon Team
Pilot level/s and rating: CPL
Number of flying hours: Approaching 1,600 hours.

How did you get into ballooning?

I started through a friend in 1976, who learned to fly at Cirencester Agricultural College. I was always interested in aviation and, as an Air Cadet, I was lucky enough to fly Chipmunks, which whetted my appetite. After leaving school, I carried on flying fixed wing building up hours to get my PPL.

What are your memories of your first balloon flight?

It was 16th October 1976, with my friend Rob fuller. We landed in a tree. It was in Snapdragon, G-BCRE, a Cameron 0-77 with a Velcro rip. We were fortunate that the tree was opposite the Dog & Pheasant pub in Brook, near Godalming, Surrey. They had just opened as we finished packing away. I seem to remember being driven home after we were shown the door at closing time. I thought, this is great fun! I never went back to fixed wing after that.

Who did you train and check out with?

Robert Fuller and Andrew Langton. After the first flight, I bought two shares in the Snapdragon Syndicate. My instructor flights were with David Liddiard and check out was with Wing Commander Gerry Turnbull.

How long did it take to get your licence?

It took three years -marriage to my wife Gail, in 1978 intervened, so it could have been quicker.

How did you find the ground exams?

Fun. It was Gerry Turnbull at his house in Radlett. We became friends and his son, Richard and i sometimes fly together, as we share balloon insurance.

How was your first solo flight?

It was shortly after my check flight with Gerry back in October 1979. It was interesting to say the least, as I used the trail rope landing. Bad idea on your own in a 77 with a Velcro rip. I went up again, but fortunately the crew were fit and ran across the field and grabbed the line and got me down.

How did you get involved in balloon insurance?

It was following my joining the Snapdragon Syndicate. I was already working in insurance, which helped me to get to know the market and start work to design our own scheme. When I joined J Bennett & Son in 1984, we insured several balloons with General Italy and Lloyds of London. The first J Bennett balloon came on the scene in the Summer of 87, which sparked the growth of our Balloon Insurance business, culminating in us finally creating our own scheme, with our own wording and claims handling facility.

How many balloonists does J Bennett & Son insure?

We have approaching 200 policies and insure over 500 balloons. It is a real mix of private and commercial balloonists. From a small hopper up to 16 passenger public transport balloons.

You're the inspiration for a new series of adverts for J Bennett & Son, illustrated by cartoonist Rupert Besley: how did that come about?

From the team in the office, my nickname, my adventures, and of course how my crew (specifically Mary Sanders), have to get me out of scrapes. it's a lovely compliment and Rupert is an excellent cartoonist. We were lucky to find him.

What do you find the most difficult about ballooning?

The fickleness of the British weather, but with the keenness and loyalty of a local crew, we usually get lucky. If we meet and the wind doesn't drop, the Black Horse in Great Missenden serves excellent ales from a local Client, the Rebellion Brewery Company, in Marlow.

What was your most memorable flight?

There have been a number, but probably it was the flight over the English Channel with Mary in 1992. Sixty-two other balloons under the supervision of ace organiser, Derek Belton, flew a charity event, most landing at Calais airport after a two-hour flight. we landed at the far end of the runway and enjoyed some champagne whilst we awaited retrieval. By the time we got into the terminal, the other pilots had finished all the beer!

What was your most scary moment?

It was during a thunderstorm in Holland. An 'expert' met guy from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport had assured us, when giving the met, that there was no thunder in the vicinity. Five minutes after take off, we found out how wrong he was, and we had to make an emergency landing into a cow field, just missing all the cows. Fortunately, I had tow very large German ladies on board and the basket stopped quickly and the envelope deflated almost immediately. Thirty seconds after that, there was a bright flash and then a huge clap of thunder, followed by gusts well over 30 knots. We got soaked, but were safe.

What appeals most about ballooning?

The freedom and camaraderie and all those serendipity moments.

What irritates most about ballooning?

Unnecessary regulation and paperwork

Where have you flown abroad?

Ireland, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Austria and USA, and of course all over the UK.

What's your favourite balloon event?

There are too many to mention, but high on the list would be The Irish Meet, Twente Ballooning and latterly Todi. I have attended every Irish Championships since 1985.

What balloons do you currently fly?

Current balloon, a Cameron Z-90, G-CUB and an older envelope is a Cameron N-105, G-OJBS. Both are affectionately call Bennett.

Who are your regular crew?

Mary Sanders, Bex Chitty, Patrick and Robert Lunt and, on occasions, my son Chris.

How often do you fly?

I used to fly about eighty times a year and it's now down to about thirty. Quality, not quantity as you get older.

Have you any experience of gas ballooning or airships?

I was lucky enough to fly in a gas balloon at Twente Ballooning. It is my only gas flight so far, a fantastic experience, taking off in the middle of the night, able to hear all the sounds around you, without interruption from a burner of pilot light.

What's your favourite ballooning anecdote?

I heard a story where a fellow balloonist flew in fog. The forecaster said the fog would lift shortly, so our intrepid pilot, fully believing the forecast, took off. After an hour's flight, the fog had got much worse, but he decided to gingerly start a descent. As he was tapping his altimeter to check height, he had the misfortunate to see the ground coming up fast. He grabbed the burners, with both hands and started to burn, turning on all taps. But it was too late. In his path, looming through the fog, was a greenhouse, followed by a large vegetable patch and a beautiful row of runner beans, in full bloom. Next, the silence of the day was broken by the crashing glass, mixed with 24 million BTU's of propane shooting up into the envelope. The basket continued through the greenhouse and then into the beans.

The continual burning at last started to work. Wrenching the entire row of beans form the ground, stalks and all, our pilot is now approaching the house, at the same time as trying to extract the bean system. At roof level, he neatly pushed all the canes holding the beans off the basket and over the apex of the house. Our pilot then disappears like a cork out of water, into the blue sky and safety. Twenty minutes later the fog begins to clear and safe landing is made. I often wonder what the householder thought, as they woke to find the carnage outside and on the roof.

What are your ballooning goals?

Purely to enjoy myself safely and carry on as long as I can, health and regulations permitting.

What's your passion outside of ballooning?

All country sports, allotment gardening, motorcycling and cooking. I also enjoy nice meals, including fine wine and travel.

Cartoon Credit: Rupert Besley

 

In an ever changing world Intellectual Property has become one of the most critical assets in modern business.

Our friends at CFC Underwriting have put together an Intellectual Property Insurance Guide to help you through this complex and sometimes confusing area.

Intellectual property rights enable a company to invest in and reap the benefits of their creativity, innovation and branding, and prevent others from copying what they have developed. You might be surprised at how many IP rights can exist in a single product.

The guide covers:

What is intellectual property
The value of IP
Understanding IP risk
How a policy works
Policies in action - Claims Examples
Common misconceptions

You can read it in full and download the guide here

 

According to the Allianz Risk Barometer 2018, Business Interruption continues to be the top risk facing businesses for the fifth successive year. However, alongside the physical perils of fire, explosion and natural catastrophes, non-damage causes of Business Interruption are constantly emerging and becoming a much bigger issue, potentially causing large losses for companies without causing property damage.

New non-damage Business Interruption triggers can range from market developments and cyber incidents to the changing political landscape, making it essential for insured customers to understand the evolving threats they face.

Events that have caused significant disruption over the last 10 years

Cyber attack and technology failure, such as the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks in 2017
Terrorist attack or shootings, such as those seen in London
Damage at your supplier or customer premises

As companies upgrade, the impact of digitisation is a main driver of non-damage Business Interruption losses. System interconnectivity, outsourcing and the broadening aspect of cyber risk, including not only hacking, but also human error and technical failure, are all triggers

J Bennett & Son we can assess the current and emerging risks to which you are exposed and devise a solution that ensures your business is fully protected, filling in the gaps that aren’t covered by traditional business interruption policies.

Whether your supply chain is affected by political unrest on the other side of the world or you experience a cyber attack closer to home, we can help to protect your business with a bespoke policy tailored to your specific requirements. If you would like to know more why not call us for a chat on 01494 450 450 or email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sources:

NDBI: the missing piece of your business interruption insurance? https://www.corporateriskandinsurance.com/news/operational/ndbi-the-missing-piece-of-your-business-interruption-insurance/91533
Providing business interruption protection https://corporatesolutions.swissre.com/innovative_risk/npdbi/ndbi.html

Business Interruption: Looking Beyond the Physical https://www.marsh.com/us/insights/risk-in-context/business-interruption-looking-beyond-the-physical.html

Allianz Risk Barometer https://www.agcs.allianz.com/insights/expert-risk-articles/allianz-risk-barometer-2017-top-risk-bi/

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates that around 40% of SMEs are underinsured. Among the reasons for this are, some business owners believe they are adequately insured, without checking the detail, whilst others have used low figures as a means of reducing insurance premiums. Both are gambling with the future of their business, falsely believing they are fully covered.

The cost of under insuring

Take the case of a business that has insured its premises for £800,000. When the building is damaged by fire, it is calculated during the claim process that the rebuild cost is actually £1,000,000. Based on this the client has only paid a premium for 80% of the risk so using an ‘average’ clause in the contract, the insured will only be covered for 80% of the repairs leaving the business with a large shortfall.  The slight increase in the cost of the policy to ensure adequate cover was in place would have been a small price to pay, compared to the amount now required. Such scenarios are all too common, with the amount initially saved on the premium never equating to the consequences of a major loss.
 
What steps can an SME take to ensure the business is adequately insured?

There are a number of basic guidelines to follow. To start with, ignore the market value of the building and base cover on the cost of rebuilding. Cover for stock and equipment should be based on the new replacement cost and not on the written down book value. You should also consider whether busy periods in your business may need higher levels of cover.

Business interruption shouldn’t be forgotten.

Business interruption is another key area that is often uninsured. If your building is destroyed and needs to be rebuilt, it may take longer than you think to return to business as usual, and you may need temporary premises during the rebuild. What happens if you have cover in place for 12 months, but it actually takes 3 years? Factors such as site clearance, use of cranes, availability of building contractor, inspections, unforeseen issues and re-stocking can all cause delays, which is why it’s essential to have the appropriate level of business interruption insurance in place.

New and emerging risks represent another area of threat, also requiring appropriate insurance. IT and connectivity failure can cause a ripple effect across your business, damaging not only the business’s finances but also its reputation. Currency fluctuations can take their toll, with the pound continuing to struggle since the Brexit vote, resulting in pricier imports and exports losing value, and making the cost of recovery from a disruptive incident more expensive.

Cyber attack represents a real and growing threat, with attacks leaving mayhem in their wake, as businesses struggle to cope with lost business, a damaged reputation and a costly recovery process. In June 2017, ‘Petya’ malware infected computers across Europe, blocking access to files and programs, with victims receiving a ransom demand on their screens.

As your broker, it’s our job to assess your exposure to risk and advise on the necessary level of cover you need to have in place to cover rebuild costs, business interruption, IT failure, cyber attack and so on. With many years’ experience arranging business cover for SME’s and a full awareness of new and emerging risks, J Bennett is happy to advise, ensuring the policy we arrange provides adequate protection for your business, both today and in the future.

Why not call us for a chat on 01494 450 450 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

With the 29th March looming and, at the time of writing, no clear path to an orderly exit from the EU known, we have been receiving a growing number of calls from our Clients, wondering what happens to their insurance, if we leave without a deal.

I appreciate this is all very complex; if the politicians can’t work things out, how can a mere insurance broker like me, go one better?

Well, what we can do, is to look at the risks facing balloonists and see if there really is anything to worry about, whether we leave with, or without, a deal.

There are 3 main areas I wish to look at:

balloon insurance.

retrieve vehicles.

travel insurance.

Balloons

The liability part of a balloon policy reflects the compulsory insurance requirement brought in by the EU in 2004. Assuming a deal, all EU legislation will be commuted over on D Day, and will remain legal until our Government decides to either do away with it, change it or just leave it as is.

My guess is the latter. Whilst it is not perfect, it is sensible to require all aircraft owners to have minimum liability cover. The certificate that is issued to confirm cover, is familiar to all and accepted by all European meets, where most people who fly overseas go. The wording of the certificate currently states that cover applies “anywhere in the EU”. As the UK will no longer be in the EU, all certificates will be invalid on 30th March 2019 and will need amendment.

Cars

Motor insurance will also be affected by our departure. The older members amongst you will remember the days of the green card and Spanish bail bond. These were documents that all motorists had to obtain, prior to any trip to European countries, so their comprehensive cover, enjoyed in the UK, was suitably extended to the countries they planned to visit.

Aviva, one of the largest motor insurers, has set up a helpline, specifying that 2 weeks’ notice will be required by policyholders, intending to visit EU Countries, after a no deal Brexit, to obtain a green card extension.

Travel

The reciprocal medical arrangements that are currently enjoyed, may well be lost after Brexit – The British Medical Association has drawn up a paper on Brexit and it is clear, that in the event of no deal, these agreements would immediately cease.

Our view is that unless one is travelling for a very short period, with minimal luggage, and at low cost, travellers should always consider travel insurance. We frequently deal with claims for cancellation, lost baggage and medical issues whilst away and the only way to protect yourself from such risks, is to insure with a reputable travel insurer.

In conclusion therefore, things are going to change after 29th March. Depending on whether we leave with, or without, a deal, will determine just how much interruption there will be to normal life.

If you would like to chat through your options you can call me, Peter Dowlen on 01494 450 450 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

It’s no surprise to hear that cyber attacks are on the increase, affecting literally all types of business, regardless of size, but it may come as a surprise to learn that small businesses should be viewing cyber insurance on a par with motor or employers’ liability insurance.

We’ve all heard about the large-scale cyber attacks, such as the data breach at British Airways in August 2018, in which around 380,000 transactions were infiltrated, giving hackers access to customers’ personal and financial details. Or the attack on the Marriott Hotel group in September 2018, compromising the data of up to 500 million guests.

But what is not so well known is the level and frequency of cyber attack affecting small businesses across the country. According to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses, the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses are collectively attacked more than seven million times a year. In the years 2014 and 2015, this cost the UK economy over £5.26 billion.

Small Businesses targeted on a daily basis
 
With plenty of evidence to show that small businesses are being targeted and attacked every day, it’s perhaps surprising to learn that complacency is a problem and the ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude is still prevalent. A recent Cyber Readiness report found 78% of UK firms surveyed had major shortcomings in their cyber security readiness, with 45% of all business hit by cyber attack at least once in the last 12 months, and 27% of those SMEs. 

The fact is that cyber crime is a real and growing threat. All too easily, passwords and usernames can be stolen, systems hacked and malicious software or viruses downloaded via a rogue email message.

The recent case of an optician highlights how easily this can happen. An employee clicked on a link supposedly giving details of a speeding offence but in reality it triggered an email from Russia advising Cryptolocker had infected all the company’s business systems, and demanding a Bitcoin ransom for the decryption key. There was no alternative but to pay.

Although the majority of information was reinstated, the optician was unable to trade for a couple of days and spent weeks getting the business back up to speed. Fortunately, they had taken out cyber business interruption insurance, covering them against losses during this time.
 
One in four companies experienced a breach
 
In cases of cyber attach, recovery and reinstatement can be a problem. The Small Business Reputation and Cyber Risk Report, launched in February 2016 by the Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign and KPMG, revealed that one in four companies surveyed who had experienced a breach had been unable to grow in line with previous expectations and nearly a third took over six months to get back on track.

There’s also the problem of reputational damage. The same report revealed that 83% of consumers surveyed expressed concern about which businesses had access to their data and whether it was safe, and over half said that a cyber breach would discourage them from using a business in the future.

With breaches inevitable and GDPR legislation inflicting heavy penalties on those companies unable to secure their clients’ personal data, it’s never been more important to set up a cyber attack plan. J Bennett & Son recommends taking out cyber and data risk insurance to protect your business, providing cover for such areas as cyber extortion, breach costs, cyber business interruption, hacker damage and crisis containment.

The key is to determine the level of cover that suits your business, based on the latest information and your exposure to cyber attack.

If you would like to chat about the sorts of level of cover your businesses might need call us on 01494 450 450 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

 

A recent Cyber Readiness report involving a study of more than 4,000 organisations across the UK, USA, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, found major shortcomings in cyber security readiness at 73% of firms involved.

In the UK SME sector the failure rate was higher at 78%. Alarmingly, 45% of all businesses had been hit by at least one cyber attack in the last 12 months of which 27% were SMEs.

Of the SMEs attacked more than half were hit more than once in 12 months. Particularly worrying was how a cyber attack could damage day-to-day operations with 38% of SME businesses saying it took more than 8 hours to return to business as usual, (with 13% it took a week).

Beefing up your IT budget

Businesses recognised that they needed to invest more in IT security with the average business spending 10.5% of their IT budget on cyber security. Larger organisations were spending 12.2% with smaller firms at 8.9%.

With the arrival of GDPR businesses are having to meet this challenge head on, as financial and regulatory penalties are more likely for businesses that fail to adequately secure their client’s personal data. Businesses investment in security and insurance cover will need to increase, as data is the lifeblood of the digital world, and it is a business’s duty to take care of their customers data.

What can we do?

Breaches are inevitable and will happen. GDPR has brought it all into focus as businesses now have a duty to report it to the DPA (Data Protection Association) within 72 hours. So if name, address, date of birth, bank details, or any private or personal data about a customer is breached the organisation is obliged to tell those affected as well as the relevant regulatory body.

Investing in cyber and data risks insurance will protect your business and help you set up a cyber attack plan.

The key areas to include in your cover should be:

Ransomware -- Cyber Extortion. This is if a hacker tries to hold your business to ransom by corrupting your data.

Breach costs -- In the event of a data breach you will need cover for forensic investigations, legal advice, notifying customers or regulators.

Cyber business interruption -- This is compensation for the loss of income if a hacker targets your systems and prevents your business from trading.

Hacker Damage -- This covers the costs of repair, restoration or replacement if a hacker causes damage to your websites, software or electronic data.

Crisis containment – In the event of a data breach it is critical to minimise the damage to your company’s reputation. Having crisis containment cover will give access to external support e.g. public relations firm, provide you with support, help develop communications strategies or even run a 24/7 press office if needed.

The key is to find the right level of cover that suits your businesses. If you would like to chat about the sorts of level of cover your business needs call us on 01494 50 450 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

 

1 in 5 adults have been approached to make a compensation claim for holiday illness.

As the holiday season arrives, Horwich Farrelly, a specialist insurance industry law firm, have recently reported that bogus holiday sickness claims are costing the travel sector £50 million per year.

ABTA reported that the number of holiday sickness claims has increased by 500% since 2013. The same report also stated that 1 in 5 adults had been approached whilst on holiday to make compensation claims for holiday sickness.

ABTA supported by destination governments, tourist boards and their members, has launched a “Stop Sickness Scams” campaign and are calling for the urgent closure of a loophole in the law which enables claims management companies and legal firms to make more money in fees from sickness claims abroad, than they are able to from personal injuries in the UK.

Claims Management Companies

There is evidence from customers and the travel industry that Claims Management Companies (CMC’s) are contacting people and encouraging them to make a false claim with the suggestion that there is a ‘pot of money’ waiting to be claimed, but not making the customer aware of the consequences.

Contact has come in the form of unsolicited phone calls, text, email, social media etc with some people reporting that they have been approached in airports and hotels.

For the last 10 months Horwich Farrelly has been working with the travel industry to investigate potentially fraudulent claims and as a result it has successfully defended more than 2,000 claims as well as tackling professional enablers including doctors, solicitors and CMC’s that are reported to be behind the increase in claims volumes.

Horwich Farrelly has been urging tour operators to follow the motor insurance industry’s lead by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to tackling bogus or dishonest claims.

Mark Hudson, Head of Counter Fraud at Horwich Farrelly said “Unscrupulous CMC’s are fooling travellers into thinking that they can win back the cost of their holiday, and often more than that, by making bogus claims for holiday sickness. However, make no mistake these companies are in fact helping British tourists commit fraud. “

Making a false claim for holiday sickness could result in a fine and or a prison sentence in the UK or abroad, whilst the CMC’s take more in fees than the customer receives.

What the FCA have to say

The FCA are so concerned that they have announced a consultation on the future regulation of CMC’S ahead of taking responsibility for regulating their operations on 1st April 2019. It will conclude on 3rd August 2018 and recognises the concern that has been expressed for some time now about the misconduct in the CMC sector.

If you would like to know more or simply want to sit down and discuss your travel insurance why not give us a call on 01494 450 450 or you can send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll get straight back to you.

 

Sources: ABTA, YouGov Survey, Horwich Farrelly

 

With GDPR firmly in everyone’s sights we ran a seminar at the Oxford Belfry Hotel for our clients and business contacts.

Presenting were Will Richmond Coggan from Pitmans Law and Stephen Ridley from Hiscox Insurance. They covered the new law, it’s impact for businesses and cyber protection.

What did we learn?

At the centre of GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. Fundamentally almost every aspect of someone’s life evolves around data.  The new law is seeking to bring more transparency to people about what businesses collect about them and what organisations use it for as well as enabling people to prevent unnecessary data collection.

GDPR compliance means that not only will organisations have to ensure that personal data is gathered legally and under strict conditions, but those who collect it and manage it will be obliged to protect it from misuse and exploitation, as well as to respect the rights of data owners – or face the fines for not doing so.

Data breaches inevitably will happen. Information gets, lost stolen, hacked and can be released into the hands of people who were never intended to see it and often those people may have malicious intent.

GDPR breach notification

Once the new law comes into force it will introduce a duty for all organisations to report certain types of data breaches, which involve unauthorised access to, or loss of personal data to the relevant authority.

So if name, address, date of birth, bank details, or any private or personal data about customers is breached the organisation is obliged to tell those affected as well as the relevant regulatory body.

When does an organisation need to make a notification about a breach?

The breach must be reported to the relevant supervisory body within 72 hours of the organisation first becoming aware of it.

Can you just ignore it?  

No, it won't go away. GDPR might seem complex, but the reality is that it is consolidating principles which already form part of the current UK Data Protection Act. The breach notification and ensuring someone is responsible for data protection are part of the key changes. These areas must be addressed or you could run the risk of a fine.

There is no 'one size fits all' approach each business needs to examine what exactly needs to be achieved to comply and who is the data controller who has taken responsibility for ensuring it happens.

To find out more about how you can protect your business click here to read our cyber and data insurance helpful fact sheet.

We also sent out to our guests a handy proposal form. Click here to download it.  The more yes’s you have when you complete it the more compliant you are. The more no’s you get, the more work you may need to do.

If you would like to know more or simply want to sit down and discuss it why not give us a call on 01494 450 450 or you can send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and we'll get straight back to you.

 

On December 18th 2017, J Bennett & Son acquired Mathews Comfort Insurance.

J Bennett & Son was established in 1908 and is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in the South of England.

We are delighted to be working alongside a company that shares the same values and principles as us. Our shared approach is placing customers at the heart of the business, valuing each one and their requirements. It is this mutual attitude that “perfectly complements our strategic vision for the future”, says Peter Sutcliffe, J Bennett and Son Managing Director.

Peter Bird, Chairman of Mathews Comfort has said, "this is an exciting time and secures Mathews Comfort as an independent broker for the future and is a ringing endorsement of our strong team for all their hard work. For our clients, it will be business as usual with us continuing to provide them with a professional, expert service."

Together, we are embracing this change and will continue to offer a high level of customer service, exceptional policy coverage, relevant advice, and the latest products available on the market.

 

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the Mathews Comfort’s general insurance arm.

Established in 1851 Mathews Comfort has been arranging insurance, managing risk and providing financial advice for more than 165 years. As independent brokers specialising in a personal service for their business and private clients, they have the same approach and core values as J Bennett & Son. Their existing team including current Director Russell Thynne will continue to run the business from their office in central Oxford.

The ownership of Mathews Comfort Financial Services which is a separate entity, remains unchanged and moves to new premises in North Leigh from January 2018 where it will continue to provide the same Financial Planning services.

A policy of partnership

Our MD, Peter Sutcliffe said “We have long admired Mathews Comfort for their professionalism and are absolutely thrilled to be involved with Russell and the team. Bringing in Mathews Comfort gives us a combined 275-year heritage and I look forward to working together to ensure that both our companies remain firmly part of the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire landscape”.

One of the core principles in our business is “‘A policy of partnership” with our clients being at the heart of what we do, and Mathews Comfort have precisely the same approach so it’s a perfect marriage. Their business perfectly compliments our strategic vision for the future.

Peter Bird, Chairman of Mathews Comfort said, “This is an exciting time and secures Mathews Comfort as an independent broker for the future, and is a ringing endorsement of our strong team for all their hard work. For our clients, it will be business as usual with us continuing to provide them with a professional, expert service.”

If you would like to know more contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01494 450 450

 

Vote for Thame Cricket Club and Day Centre in the AVIVA community fund

Thame Town Cricket Club and Thame Tennis and Bowls Club  are looking for local support in a public vote for their AVIVA community fund application.  The Fund is offering the chance for important causes in the local community to get funding for their community projects.

At J Bennett and Son we have been an active sponsor of the cricket club supporting them regularly in their Open Day events, Summer Balls and Christmas Auctions.  This funding would have a direct impact on the community clubs and local groups.

If successful in their bid the grant would go towards fitting out the first floor of the cricket clubhouse which will be used by community groups and charities such as The Thame & District Day Centre and Thame Red Kite centre.

The Tennis and bowls club plan to use the funding to go towards fitting out the main community room in their rebuilt clubhouse which would be used by local community groups such as parent and baby groups and art classes.

Matt Swain, chair of the Thame Town Cricket Club said  “In common with many parts of the Country, recent years have seen continued cuts to services like day care and childcare. Both the Thame & District Day Centre and Thame Red Kite centre are having their funding from Oxfordshire County Council reduced significantly. They currently provide a valuable service to our community for some of the most vulnerable groups in society. Our new clubhouse facility will provide an opportunity for these types of local community groups and charities to continue to deliver high quality provision to the Thame community in a suitable and sustainable environment.”

We need your vote.

So to help Thame Town Cricket Club and Thame Tennis and Bowls Club be successful in their funding application we just need a few minutes of your time. If they receive enough votes they will be entered into the national finals and judged by a panel for a chance to receive up to £25,000.

Please click on this link and use your 10 votes to support their cause.

https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-5795

The closing date is 21st November 2017 so please get voting now.

 

As a balloonist, you can’t be successful without a good retrieve.
 
Correctly covering the vehicle and trailer, can be tricky. Those of you who use a van, with the balloon kit inside, also face potential problems.

Getting the right insurance is absolutely essential, if a claim is to be paid without any issues.

The main barriers raised by insurers
 
Most motor policies require you to have a ‘named driver’ as opposed to ‘any driver’. Any driver policies are hard to come by. The reality is you sometimes need to pick a driver at a moment’s notice without having to worry your about insurance.
 
Insurers can be very nervous about the carriage of gas. Most ask a question at the quote stage about hazardous goods. Propane gas comes into this area and if you reveal you can carry 140 litres of gas, most run a mile and decline to quote. Most of us follow best practice, laid down by the BBAC and ADR regulations*. You need an insurer who understands the risks in this area and who does not blink when the question is answered in the affirmative.
 
Insurers can be unhappy about vehicles being used off road. However most retrieval vehicles are 4 x 4’s. They are built for off road driving.
 
Insurers query the use of vehicles airside. We know this is rarely the case but they again can find this a reason not to offer insurance.
 

With this in mind, we have designed a policy for you and your retrieve vehicle, ensuring you are fully covered.

 

If you would like to know more or would simply like us to provide you with a quote why not contact Peter or Lee?

Peter Dowlen 01494 455 801 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lee Sargent 01494 455 819 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also fill in our Quick Quote form here and we’ll get straight back to you.

* If you would like to view the BBAC Propane code and LPG wording click here

 

What the industry calls Business Interruption or Loss of Profits Insurance, is actually cover your business needs to survive!

Independent research, commissioned by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), has revealed that millions of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are failing to protect themselves and their employees in the event of emergencies such as fire, flood or an act of terrorism.

Government figures suggest nearly one in five businesses suffers a major disruption every year. Further research suggests 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close down within 18 months, and 90% of those who lose their data are forced to close down within two years.

Businesses must have a robust Business Continuity Plan linked with Business Interruption cover.

What is business interruption insurance?

Business interruption is a type of insurance that is designed to protect businesses against the financial loss suffered as the result of a property claim. Unlike buildings insurance, which only covers physical damage, business interruption exists to cover the income a business would have received had the incident not happened.

Who needs business interruption insurance?

There are a number of factors that determine whether or not a business requires business interruption insurance, but above all else it comes down to whether or not substantial damage inflicted on the physical assets of the business would affect its ability to trade for any sustained period of time.

For example, in the event of a flood, a sole trader who relies only on a laptop and an internet connection to work would have little trouble finding a replacement machine and a temporary premises from which to operate. However, at the other end of a scale, a large business that holds a lot of stock or equipment would be more exposed should its assets be damaged or destroyed.

Because business interruption insurance is not a legal requirement, the onus is on you.

What events does business interruption insurance cover?

The two most common causes of business interruption claims are fires and floods. Ultimately though, business interruption exists to protect businesses from any property related incident that affects its ability to trade, so other causes for a claim may include burst pipes, impact, storms, theft and vandalism.

What is the business interruption indemnity period?

The business interruption insurance indemnity period is the period during which business earnings are covered under the terms of the insurance policy. The indemnity period is the time that the insurer will cover business interruption losses following the damage.

When choosing an indemnity period, it is important to consider the maximum amount of time it would take for your business to be able to reach the level of profitability it would have been at, had the loss not occurred. It should not be calculated on the basis of the time you think it will take to get the business trading again.

Even when the business is back up and running orders may not reach the expected level instantly as your customers may have found other suppliers, and you may not get them back.

After major property damage it could take many months to rebuild and replace damaged equipment. To then expect to be back to normal profitability within a 12 month period would seem unrealistic so you should opt for 24 or 36 months cover.

The typical cost of 12 months cover within the total cost a business insurance package is less than 10% and extending cover to 24 months only takes this up to 13%.


For a chat about this or any of our other insurance services why not give us a call on  01494 450 450 or contact us here.

 

As some of you may know, J Bennett & Son is an ancient & venerable organisation with a massive history.
 
We were recently leafing through our archives when we came across this letter

It is from the Eagle, Star & British Dominions Insurance Company, Ltd (what a great name!), now the Zurich which tells us that due to the increasing cost of Workmen’s Compensation claims & no “increase in the rates of premium charged to the Employers” that with regret, they must reduce the rate of commissions payable.

Only goes to prove that we have indeed seen it all before & here is the evidence………

 

Brexit gathers pace and if HMG get a move on we will formally be on our way very shortly. How will this impact your insurance?
 
Well we have already seen a change in our exchange rate, with the pound falling against other currencies, so this is good news for exporters, whose products have suddenly become more competitive, however imports are costing more which will push higher costs through many industries.

The areas where we see a danger of underinsurance are many and we will all see the effects.

Property

If you are insuring your machinery, contents and stock you need to consider where these are sourced and what raw materials are needed. After a slump, the price of metals is on the rise so machinery replacement costs, especially if made abroad, will go up. This will mean manufacturers prices go up and production costs will rise across the board.

The cost of replacing current stock will rise and this coupled with increased demand from overseas markets will mean exporters will need to carefully consider their cover to include their work in progress.

If you own buildings, then cover levels will need reviewing. The UK construction industry relies on imported materials for 30% of their supplies, so rebuilding and repair costs are also on the increase.

Business Interruption / Loss of Profits

With increased costs, suppliers may hold less stock leading on to delays in replacing goods and equipment. This will mean the right indemnity period is critical. Many businesses calculate how long they think it would take to get back to normal service after a loss and choose that time as an indemnity period.  This is a mistake as the cover is intended to make up the shortfall suffered by the business until it reaches the position it would have been in had the loss not occurred.  For any manufacturer 12 months cover will generally be insufficient. Remember customers whose orders you cannot meet may go elsewhere and if the new supplier does a good job, could be lost forever!

As insurers work on an estimated maximum loss to arrive at a rate, so their premium for 24 or 36 months indemnity is generally not much dearer than the 12 months that most buyers opt for.

Typically business interruption premiums for 12 months cover make up less than 10% of the cost of the average business combined policy, and doubling the cover would only take this up to 13%.
A recent survey for Aviva found 43% of customers were under insured by an average of 53%, and some customers cover was less than their wageroll.

Liability

The cost of settling personal injury claims has recently jumped dramatically following the change the government have made to the “Ogden rate”. Insurers were shocked by the assumed interest rate reduction which has gone from 2.5% to -0.75%. The cost of this is massive as a typical serious injury claim where provision was made for 30 years care, would previously have needed a lump sum of £4.2 million.  With the new rate this rises to £6.7m, so a 60% jump.

Whilst the most common cause of injury claims is motor accidents, slips and trips, injury at work and product failure also feature in the top five.  You should seriously consider your cover limit and think about a minimum of £5 million or possibly £10 million.

With the majority of claims being at the lower end, costs for higher limits are usually at a lower rate, so where £1 million may cost £1,000, going to £5 million would typically cost £1,500, so the more you buy the cheaper the cover is, pound for pound.

We've been providing insurance that is built around you since 1908. So to discuss your current insurance and a chat about your needs why not call us on 01494 450 450 or contact us here >>

 

Calling all Hot Air Balloonists. The clocks go forward in a couple of weeks time, which signals the start of the ballooning season proper.
 
A number of our clients are taking part in this year’s Datum RPO Cross Channel World Record flight and we wish them all the very best.

If you are taking part and you haven’t already arranged cover we thought it worth letting you know that our ‘standard hot air balloon policy’ does not cover you for intentional flights across the sea.

If you haven’t had a chance to put something in place yet and you need more clarification why not give Peter or Lee a call on 01494 450450 or click here and send us a message and we’ll get straight back to you. If it’s easier you can also send us a direct message via our Facebook page here.

In the meantime to all those taking part in this World Record attempt we hope you have a great flight and the weather plays its part.

Don’t forget we also offer free independent advice on Business Insurance and Personal Insurance so if you would like a chat about your needs call us on 01494 450 450 or apply for Quick Quote today.

 

J Bennett and Son Insurance Brokers has signed a new, two year sponsorship deal with Thame Town Cricket Club.
 
Matt Swain, Vice Chair of the club said, “we are delighted with the generous support from J Bennett & Son and are looking forward to having them on board.”

Future plans for the club include the development of a new Clubhouse and Pavilions. The cricket club plan to join forces with Thame Hockey Club who will use the new facility during the winter months. Fund raising is currently in full swing.

Long term partnerships.

This is not the first time that J Bennett & Son have been involved with the club having sponsored their “Open Day” last summer. They have been working alongside local businesses since they were first established back in 1908. Their philosophy is building long-term partnerships with their clients by taking a personal approach to insurance.

Mark Nicholl, Director at J Bennett & Son has enjoyed supporting the club over the past year and when the opportunity arose he was keen to get J Bennett more involved.

Nicholl said, “Thame Cricket Club is at the heart of the town and as a resident I have really enjoyed their regular events and fixtures. Clubs like these are incredibly important to the community but, for them to continue to thrive they must be supported by local businesses. It’s a pleasure to be able to be a major sponsor for the next two years and at J Bennett & Son we are very much looking forward to helping them fulfil their next chapter, the main target of which is of course the development of a brand new clubhouse.”

To contact Thame Town Cricket Club email Matt Swain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have questions relating to this or any of our services, then please don't hesitate to call us on 01494 450450 or contact us here

 

The latest email scam that is specifically targeted at businesses, resulting in huge financial losses.
 
Financial Fraud Action UK has recently warned that conmen are targeting individuals in business by sending them emails which appear to be from their senior colleagues, such as the MD, CEO or Finance Director.

The email requests urgent payment to be made into bank accounts outside of the normal procedure. Often a reason is given such as it’s a highly sensitive acquisition, merger or to secure new business.  The email address often looks legitimate and is signed by the sender.

It has been reported that some fraudsters have followed up with phone calls to appear legitimate and even a second person can be introduced posing as a lawyer or regulator. The account to which the payment is to be made is controlled by the fraudsters and if the funds are received they are immediately withdrawn with no likelihood of you seeing them again.

In recent weeks, two of our customers have suffered such a scam and not all insurance policies cover the loss.  At J Bennett & Son we have received a similar email.

If the payment is authorised ie. seen as legitimate and then authorised by someone in the company then there is unlikely to be insurance cover unless you have specifically taken it out. Insurance policies tend only to cover unauthorised ones. The average amount given to these fraudsters is around £35,000 but much higher amounts have been reported.

How can you spot them and what to do to avoid them?

1. Check unusual payment requests directly with the individual who has sent them – ideally in person or by telephone.

2. Don’t reply to the email or use the contact details from the email. It’s easy for the fraudsters to set up a look-alike email address.

3. Review your internal procedures and create a documented internal process for requesting and authorising of payments.

4. Check your insurance policy to see what cover you have.

5. Be cautious of unexpected emails which request urgent bank transfers even if it seems the message has come from someone in the company.

6. Create and regularly change strong email passwords.

7. Report the email to the Internet Service Provider (ISP), contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or use their online tool here


If you have questions relating to this or any of our services, then please don't hesitate to call us on 01494 450450 or contact us here

 

The insurance premium tax (IPT) is rising again – this time to 12%. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor recently announced this latest rise is due to take place in June 2017. Where will it stop?

There has been a steady rise for a number of years and has become known as the UK’s fastest growing stealth tax. It has been raised 3 times in the last 18 months. Insurers have warned that with this latest increase it could lead to underinsurance as the change is described as an “unwarranted attack”.

The British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA) angrily responded to the rise by issuing this statement.  “In this time policyholders have already seen an increase of 66% in IPT – this further increase to 12% in this regressive tax is outrageous and is a tax on protection which will hit everyone and especially those ‘just about managing’.

We believe that this increase is contrary to the stated policy of HM Revenue and Customs “that IPT should make the required contribution to HM Government revenue while minimising the effect on the take up of insurance

Who is going to feel it the most?
 
In basic terms all household and businesses that purchase insurance will be affected.  IPT affects more than 50 million policies and applies to those purchased by businesses, charities and individuals. Taken together the combination of the last 3 rises will raise over £13 bn for the Government over 5 years.

There are differing views but yet again motorists will be hardest hit, specifically young drivers.  The AA is reported saying that this latest increase will add around £10 a year to the average car insurance premium.

Steve Treloar, Managing Director of LV said “the government has incorrectly stated that insurance premium tax is a tax on insurers – it’s not, it’s a tax that consumers have to pay when they purchase insurance”.

Tim Ryan, Executive Chairman of UNA Alliance is quoted as saying “This is a significant blow. As a result this will significantly hit the pockets of families throughout the country with significant figures being added to the average buildings and contents policies.’

There is concern that these will not be the only rises and in time it could reach 20%

What can you do to tackle these rises.
 
We would recommend you talk to us.  As a broker we have strong relationships with many insurers which means we are not tied to just one company. It’s up to us to help you find you the best possible deal that is tailored entirely to your needs. We can review your current policies, business and personal ensuring you’re not paying more than you need to and look out for all of those hidden costs.

For a personal approach to insurance why not give us a call on 01494 450 450 or contact us here.

 

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s daring bid to fly with one of nature’s great migrations on a quest to save the Bewick’s Swans.


Sacha Dench set off on in September from Siberia, Russia travelling 7000Km across 11 countries by Paramotor to monitor the migration routes of the swans.

As a specialist in aviation insurance we were approached to provide the aviation liability risk cover for the team. Sacha flew by paramotor – paragliding with a propeller strapped to her back – to get as close as possible to flying as the swans do, hoping to shed light on the steady decline of the Bewick’s swans, whose numbers have halved in the last 20 years.

With the journey nearly complete it has taken them through Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and France. The final home straight across the French coast to England will mean Sacha will become the first woman to successfully cross the English Channel by paramotor.

The final part of the journey will hopefully end following the Thames up stream finishing at WWT Slimbridge.

You can follow their flight online checking their live updates and tracking their flight here  

Who is the team?

Sacha Dench is the expedition leader having 4 years of paramotoring experience and 8 years paragliding. She is also a British national free-diving champion so endurance is key to her success.  She is surrounded by a bigger team consisting of camera crew, drone filmmakers, photographers, mechanics, engineers as well being accompanied in the air at different stages by Alexandra Bogdanov – Paramotorist, Rob Keen - Microlight Pilot and Stuart Savage - Paramotorist and Flight Manager

Why the ‘Flight of the Swans’ is so important

According to the WWT website, between 1995 and 2010 the numbers of swans making the migration from artic Russia to northern Europe plummeted by more than a third – from 29,000 to just 18,000.  Sacha and the team wanted to see for themselves just why swans are unable to survive the journey. With this first hand information and existing research they can contribute to life saving conservation action.

They have a 4 step plan

Step 1. Restore most wetlands and prevent further loss of Bewick’s habitats.
Step 2. Protect more sites used for feeding and for rest by migrating birds.  
Step 3. Ensure more power cables and wind turbines are safely positioned.  
Step 4. Reduce incidents of swans killed as a result of illegal hunting.  
 
To show your support you can:

Act by signing their petition to help save the Berwick’s swan

Donate by donating you are helping them with their four step plan

Shop All proceeds from sales go directly to help save the Bewick’s Swans

 

The latest increase in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) took place on 1st October 2016 when the standard rate increased to 10%.  This will apply to most policies* effective after the 1st and any adjustments to policies in force before then after 1st February 2017.  
 
Since July 2015’s budget the IPT rate has increased from 6% to the new 10% rate.

The IPT is the tax on general insurance premiums, which in simple terms means all individuals and businesses will pay IPT on their policies.

What does this mean for you?

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI)

An average motor policy will rise by £2 a year.

The average home policy will go up by £1.60 a year.

UK businesses will pay as much as £75 million more annually.

Those who pay the highest premiums (such as young drivers) will suffer the highest price increases.
 
Why the increase?

According to the government the tax has been increased in order to fund “increased investment in flood defence and resilience.”

Steve White, CEO of the British Insurance Brokers Association said, “IPT is a tax collected and remitted by insurers, it is a tax on premiums paid by all policyholders – motorists, householders and businesses large and small.”

“Whilst we support the additional spending on flood defences we believe that this could have been funded by the projected £1.5bn annual funds paid to the exchequer as a result of the increase in IPT put in place only last November which puts an increased burden on policyholders, many of who are suffering from on going flood damage.”

The industry’s concerns

There are some concerns that in the SME market and for personal insurances people might start to insure for incorrect values or not insure because of the rise.

What can you do?

We would recommend you talk to us.  As a broker we have strong relationships with many insurers which means we are not tied to just one company. It’s up to us to help you find you the best possible deal that is tailored entirely to your needs.

For a personal approach to insurance why not give us a call on 01494 450 450 or contact us here.

 
Sources: Biba, Insurance Age, ABI

*There are a few exceptions.

Life insurance
Mortgage insurance
Insurance for spacecraft
Commercial ships and aircraft
International railway rolling stock
Lifeboats and lifeboat equipment
Goods in international transit

 

As a purchaser of insurance the new Act that came into force on 12th August 2016 means you have obligations to your insurance company as they do to you.

The Act applies to all insurance underwritten in the UK.

It aims to make recovery from insurers simpler and fairer in the event of a claim.

It applies to both business and consumer insurance although the new ‘Duty of Fair Presentation’ only applies to business insurance, as consumers were already protected by previous

legislation.

It improves fairness, transparency & certainty in contracts between commercial policyholders & insurers.
 
Here is a summary of Key changes

Duty of Fair Presentation

The previous duty of disclosure is replaced with the new Duty of Fair presentation which covers two key areas: ‘Reasonable Search’ & ‘Clear and Accessible’.

Reasonable Search

This means you must BE ABLE demonstrate that a reasonable search has been made to obtain all relevant information, pertinent to your risk, prior to presenting this information.

You must include all relevant knowledge of senior management of the business and those involved in buying the insurance (including the broker).

Reasonable enquiries must also be made of any relevant third parties involved, including external consultants, contractors and anyone insured by the business.

Clear & Accessible.

People can no longer supply a mass of data. Simply referring insurers to your website for further information would generally be unacceptable. Also adequate highlighting of unusual activities and/or known areas of concern that could affect the risk is required.

Warranties

These are the terms of your policy that require you to do something e.g setting your burglar alarm when your premises are closed. The new act aims to be much fairer where a breach that does not affect the circumstances OF THE LOSS cannot now be used to avoid payment of a claim.

So previously if you had not strictly complied with a warranty then the law said your insurer was discharged from all liability. For example even if your alarm had not been serviced but operated when a break in occurred, some insurers could have refused to pay. Now as long as your burglar alarm was on at the time of the theft your claim would be paid.

Fraudulent Claims

The changes mean when an insured makes a fraudulent claim, the insurer will now not be liable to pay any part of the claim, regardless of whether only part of the claim is fraudulent. The insurer can also choose to pay claims relating to any losses suffered after the fraud occurred.

What do you need to do?

Allow plenty of time to collect all relevant information prior to your renewal date. Make sure it is clear, concise and in an accessible format.

Ensure all management have contributed to the information gathering so you have all the facts.

Consult with anyone in the business who has knowledge relevant to the insurance you are arranging. E.g cyber insurance – speak to the IT manager

Be ready to answer any questions from your insurer and you are responsible for making sure they know everything about your business relevant to you cover.

Talk to us making sure you understand and agree with all the requirements.

What will we do for you?

Work closely with you to assess your insurance needs and fulfil your obligations under the new Act.

Work with you to understand who your senior management team is so that you can make sure you have consulted with everyone who may have information relevant to insurance being arranged.

Help you understand the type of information which may be relevant to disclosure to ensure ‘fair presentation’ requirements are met.
 
If you would like us to sit down with you and chat you through it call us on 01494 450 450 or email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources:

Biba https://www.biba.org.uk/

Aviva https://broker.aviva.co.uk/news/article/375/your-customer-guide-to-the-insurance-act-2015/

 

Why understanding your Indemnity Period is so important for your business

Business interruption insurance, also known as loss of profits, covers you against the loss of profit or revenue, should your business suffer from a disaster. Most businesses are aware that having this insurance in place is essential to protecting them, but not all understand the real importance of the indemnity period.

The indemnity period is the length of time compensation is payable to you whilst your business gets back on its feet.

Most policies offer a standard 12 month indemnity period but have you considered how long it may actually take to get your business back to the position it would have been in, had the loss not occurred? In our experience as an independent broker it can take much longer and evaluating this is something we can help you with.

So what could close your business down?

A flood, fire or vandalism.

Loss of utilities.

An explosion at a neighbouring building which closes access to your premises.

Damage to a supplier premises that prevents you from trading.

How to assess whether you have a suitable indemnity period? How long would it take your business to recover and be back to normal trading?

If you had to replace or repair machinery or equipment how long would it take? Are they specialist pieces, what is the lead-time, will they have to be specially commissioned?

If your premises were completely destroyed how long would it take to rebuild them. Planning permissions, building regulations, site clearance would all have to be factored into the time allowed.

Could you find alternative premises or do you need specialist ones in a specific area?

What would your customers do if you were unable to trade. Could you sub contract out or would you just lose them? How long would it take to rebuild your customer base?

What are the typical Indemnity Periods available?

As already mentioned, insurers offer a standard period of 12 months. We can investigate and price longer periods and often premiums are not proportionately higher so doubling your cover may not cost you double the price.

There are plenty of examples of where a business has not been able to get back to trading within the indemnity period because the Business Interruption Insurance Indemnity Period was inadequate so it’s vital that you are not underinsured.

If you would like chat about your Business Interruption insurance or your indemnity period why not give us a call on 01494 450450 and we’ll pop in to see you.

 

Summary of key changes for the new insurance act in an Infographic.

Infograhic of summary of key changes for the insurance Act

 

The trouble with banks is that some of the home insurance policies (often called Buildings and Contents Insurance) that they recommend may not offer such good value for money. This was drawn to our attention by a client of ours who approached us after receiving his renewal notice from his bank, who had always arranged his Home Insurance.

For the purpose of this example, we will call our client Mr B.

Mr B is retired and had recently been quoted nearly £320 as an annual premium for his Home Insurance cover. He simply asked us if we felt this was good value and could we do any better for him.

We put it into the computer system we use, which looks at many different policies, to try and find something that not only gave him a lower premium, but also offered him benefits that were more suitable to his circumstances. We have to admit that even we were surprised at the outcome.

Mr B had been quoted £319.51 by his bank for £500,000 of buildings cover and £50,000 worth of contents cover. Mr B was covered for accidental damage cover on his contents but not his buildings. We also noted that this policy didn’t cover any loss or damage to his personal possessions away from his home.

After a conversation with Mr B, we suggested he increase his contents cover to £80,000 and advised him to insure his personal possessions that he may take away from the home to the value of £2,000 and we also included accidental damage cover on his on buildings.

‘And that will be how much?’ asked Mr B, rather tentatively.

‘How about £150.51’ , we confirmed, ‘a saving of £168.64’. Mr B now does his Home Insurance with Mathews Comfort.

So, why not call us when your renewal statement comes through? We don’t promise a saving of nearly £170 but we will make sure your policy is suitable for your circumstances and as we are an Independent Insurance Broker, we can select from a wide range of policies.

Just phone 01865 208000 and ask for the Insurance Team.

 

J Bennett & Son sponsors Thame Cricket Club’s Open Day.

There was an excellent attendance with plenty of local support turning out to watch 5 teams compete in the centre piece six-a-side tournament. Thame Town’s under 16 team won this, led by Christian Warwick who beat ‘Typically Village’ in a very close and exciting final. Christian also won the Red Ball-Sponsored champagne moment cricket stump for hitting 3 consecutive sixes in the final.

Along side the tournament they ran a BBQ, Rugby Tots sessions with Chinnor Rugby Club, Bouncy Castle and Free cricket net sessions for junior cricketers overseen by their ECB qualified coaches.

Although the skies were blue and weather beautiful, the wind was too gusty for us to fly the J Bennett & Son Hot Air Balloon on the day.  Jo, who won the balloon ride at the Summer Ball Auction, had the opportunity to chat with our pilot, Richard and the rest of the crew and her flight has been rescheduled for a later date.  Unfortunately the maximum wind speed for the balloon to take off is 10mph, Sunday’s speed was close to 28mph.  However, Richard kept the younger guests entertained with a questions and answer session and showing off the balloon and the burners.

Matt Swainn, (TTCC Vice Chairman) said “Our thanks go out to everyone that came along on Sunday, all the volunteers that helped to organise the event. We received plenty of interest from new junior cricketers, who came along to have a try in our nets. The informal and fun six-a-side format also reinvigorated a number of former players who are now hooked again having found the old magic is still there! ‘Flexible formats’ in Cricket are a great way to expand our reach for those who want to join in on a more frequent and less competitive basis.”

Mark Nicholl, Director at J Bennett & Son Insurance Brokers said, “As a resident of Thame it was a fantastic opportunity to sponsor such a lovely event. Encouraging young people to come along and try a sport and be part of the local community event benefits everyone.”

For a personal approach to insurance call us today on 01494 450 450

 

The statutory framework governing insurance has changed. The new Insurance Act came into force on 12th August 2016 and represents the most significant change to insurance contract law in the UK for over 100 years.

We have put a short video together to explain the changes that may affect policyholders, please click here to view.

If you would like to discuss this further please do contact us.

 

 

Cast your mind back to where you were a week before Christmas, probably tidying up your projects, sorting paperwork and looking forward to the holidays. Clive O’Brien, Managing Director of Neat Concepts was doing just that back in 2012.

Neat Concepts an MDF manufacturing company focussing on innovative panel products uses specialised machinery and supply distributors around the world. This particular machinery is integral to the running of their business.

So at 5pm on a Friday afternoon a glowing ember in a dust extraction system did it’s worst and burst into flames. Although the fire was put out relatively quickly the damage it caused was significant. Destroying one section of the factory and roof.

A late Friday afternoon phone call into Peter Dowlen at J Bennett & Son Insurance Brokers resulted in the claims adjuster and Peter visiting the site first thing the next day to assess the situation. Although the factory was due to be closed over the Christmas period they had to be up and running very quickly in the new year.  On 2nd of January they opened their doors having created a temporary solution as all the existing machinery couldn’t be run at the same time.  Staff worked all day and overnight shifts to fulfil the orders, not an easy thing to do in the cold winter.

Peter was able to liaise between Clive, the loss adjuster and the insurer (Aviva) and a full claim was made. With the complete redesign and rebuilding of the extraction system taking 3 to 4 months their fire claim of £250,000 was paid, as was the £200,000 for Business Interruption.

Clive said, “It was a pretty stressful time to say the least but having Peter on my side who was willing to go into battle for us was fantastic. You just don’t know how important it is to be given good sound advice and judgement when it comes to insurance until you have to make a big claim. If I had picked another broker I’m not convinced we would have had the same outcome.”

For a personal approach to insurance call us today on 01494 450 450

 

Two Buckinghamshire teams are off to the Young Enterprise Regional finals in June.
 
Teenagers from across Bucks recently went head to head at the county’s Young Enterprise 2016 Finals, with Chiltern team, Telos and Aylesbury team, Healthy Heroes coming out on top.
 
Telos, a Young Enterprise Company made-up of 16 to 17 year olds from Dr Challoner’s Grammar and High Schools, won Best Overall Company and Healthy Heroes from Aylesbury Grammar School came runner up.

The finals took place on 6th May and were a culmination of 42 senior schools and over 800 pupils competing in the Milton Keynes, Aylesbury Vale, High Wycombe and Chiltern Areas.

Telos, have written, printed and sold The 100% Book - The Go to Guide for Teenagers, covering tips on writing CV’s, revision advice and ideas to keep you motivated. Available as a paperback they have now developed it into and eBook and iBook.

Health Heroes motto is “Educating through Entertainment” and promoting the importance of healthy eating.  They developed a fun card game for young children based on the top trump theme. So far they have been successfully selling their product via trade fairs, local markets and school events.

J Bennett & Son Insurance Brokers have been involved with the Young Enterprise charity in some form or other for a number of years and this year they had the pleasure of being able to sponsor County Finals 2016.

Peter Sutcliffe, Managing Director has been volunteering as the Chair for Young Enterprise in the Chilterns district for 3 years. Sutcliffe said, “ We recently sponsored the county finals and what a fantastic event it was. The calibre of those taking part was extraordinary and leaves me with enormous faith in the next generation. I’m always amazed by our Business Advisors who so willingly give up their personal time to share their business knowledge and encourage each team to be innovative and brave in their enterprises.”

The Young Enterprise Charity

Founded in 1962, the Young Enterprise charity has worked with over 4 million young people to empower them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to succeed in the world of work. Each year they work with 250,000 young people with the support of 5,000 volunteers and 3,500 business partners.

The Regional Finals take place on 14th June 2016 at Reading University.

Good luck to all those taking part, but a special good luck to Telos and Healthy Heroes.

 

As an independent broker we can offer you risk management advice, which is something you are unlikely to get if you go direct to an insurance company.
 
Whilst we can't promise that following our advice will have an immediate impact on the price you pay for your insurance, what we can say is businesses that take risk management seriously tend to have fewer accidents. Over time these businesses generally pay significantly less for their insurance.

Health and safety support, fire risk assessment and due diligence are just some of the areas we can help you with. But how does this help you? Having an independent broker is key to protecting your business. We can work with you to pinpoint your key business risks and ensure you are completely covered. We spot the things that you think don’t need cover, but you might in fact have liability for. We advise you on where the risk is.

Identifying threats and exposure is key

The last thing you need is thinking you’re secure only to find that a simple solution causes you bigger problems in the long run. For example, you have a small fire.  Damage to your building and its contents are insured, but have you got a disaster recovery plan?  Do you have Business Interruption cover? Are key staff insured and do you have detailed job descriptions which would enable someone else to fill in?

Each year around 280,000 employees sustain seriously injury resulting in absence arising out of work related activities. (Source HSE)

So our top tips are:

Get organised – get expert advice and help in identifying all the risks where your business might be exposed

Get planning – Prioritise your risks, focussing on the most important first

Evaluate the cost to your business if you had to pay for the areas which aren’t covered by insurance. What would this mean to your business?

So now you know the value of having an effective risk management process in place why not give us a call on 01494 450 450 and we’ll come and conduct a risk analysis for you and your business.

 

The tax on insurance has ballooned from 6% to 9.5%. If you take out a NEW policy before 31st May 2016 we will pay the difference.

Our hot air balloon specialist is an experienced pilot himself and has been improving our policy cover since we insured our first balloon in 1984.

Whether you are rides operator, on the circuit, or just fly for pleasure call Peter Dowlen 01494 455 801 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. quoting our code TAXSM

 

Insurance Premium Tax commonly referred to as IPT is a tax by the Government on general insurance premiums, including business, property, motor and home insurance.
 
The rise in the March 2016 budget comes hot on the heels of the last one in November when it rose from 6% to 9.5%. Some suggest, including the AA, that it is a tax on motorists, however the impact is more strongly felt by British businesses

Steve White CEO of BIBA (British Insurance Brokers Association) said, "We are extremely disappointed in this rise in IPT and this will mean insurance will become more expensive for the public as a result. Those hit by this stealth tax will include the 20.1 million households with contents insurance; 19.6 million with motor insurance and 17 million with buildings insurance."

What we know:

1 This is Insurance Tax, not VAT so it cannot be passed on, or recovered by businesses.

2 Insurance Companies cannot absorb the cost and we all have to pay.

3 The Government stated it is to go towards those affected by flooding, despite the Government’s lack of support of UK flood defences

4. It’s a classic stealth tax. The Revenue collected over £3billion from the UK population in the 2013 – 14 tax year when the rate was 6%.

5. It only went up 4 months ago from 6% to 9.5%. The cost of implementation is enormous why was it not increased to 10% in November?

6. The Revenue will collect an estimated 5 billion in 2016 – 17

Where will it end, are we seeing a future trend?  With the average rates across Europe already higher (Germany 16%, France 18% and Finland 24%) you can see why there is speculation that the rate is heading towards 20%

 
For more views on this click here.

 

The personal approach - Why an Insurance broker is better?

An example of how important a good policy wording is, was in evidence in not one, but two, recent J Bennett & Son private client claims.

Both involved the loss of valuable bracelets at functions in London hotels and both owners were very upset and distressed at their loss. Both clients were insured by the same insurer – Sterling Insurance, part of the Covea Group.

In the first incident, our own J Bennett & Son, director Peter Dowlen, was emailed in the early hours of Sunday morning by a concerned client. Peter was able to say what to do explain what to do and what we needed to pay the claim, and so by the Monday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the loss, Sterling had agreed full settlement in the sum of £10,700.

Exactly a week later, an identical situation befell another of Peter’s clients. This time, the bracelet was worth over £31,000. Sterling required their own claims investigator to visit the client. Again, all the correct advice and documentation had been supplied and, at the meeting, Sterling agreed full settlement. A few days later, the sum of £31,481, was transferred to the client’s bank account.

We believe both claims demonstrate the importance of using a broker, who knows the market and can recommend an insurer who wants to pay claims.

Both situations were very upsetting for those involved and, whilst we cannot wave a wand to make things better instantly, with our expertise and the use of a top quality insurer, we believe our service is the next best thing to magic.

If you have a general enquiry or any questions relating to one of our services, then please don't hesitate to contact us on 01494 450450 or by filling in our contact form here.

 

Are you covered for Cyber Crime?

A Government statistic from 2014 estimated that 81% of large companies and 60% of small businesses suffered a data breach. The cost can range from £600,000 to £1.15m for large businesses and £65,000 to £115,000 for smaller ones. Cybercrime is no small problem

Simon Calderbank, senior underwriter, IT at HCC recently said  “ cyber criminals don’t care what size a firm is. Hacking into a large firm can take ages so we’re seeing more cases where the cyber criminals target their suppliers instead. As their security may not be so robust, it can be a much easier way to get hold of the same data.”

Even something as simple as human error can still be costly. A laptop left on a train or emailing data to the wrong person can result in significant penalties under the Data Protection Act, and with the European Parliament set to change the EU Data Protection Regulation by 2017 planning ahead for your business is a must.

The main types of cyber crime are

Virus/malicious software infection

Ransomware

Phishing

Denial of service attacks

Unauthorised network access by outsiders/employees

Intellectual property/confidential theft

The term "Personal Data" is bandied around but how many of us know what it actually means? Personal Data is the data from which you can identify a living individual. The threshold for a breach in this area is pretty low. For example an employee’s email address contains the employee’s name and where they work. A look through the company’s website might say how long the employee’s has worked at the company and what their role is, making this ‘Personal Data”

So what can you do?

Get a risk management policy in place. Ring us 01494 450 450 as we can help you with that. We can take you through a simple cyber liability policy, which should cover you for first and third party liability as well as giving you access to various benefits.

Top Tips to reduce your cyber risk:

1. Network Security - Protect your networks against external and internal attack
2. Get Malware Protection
3. Establish a monitoring strategy
4. Education and awareness training
5. Create a home and mobile policy
6. Ensure continual secure configuration
7. Have a policy for all removable media
8. Manage user privileges
9. Set up and test an incident response and disaster recover policy.

Source: GCHQ

So, if your business

holds sensitive customer data such as names, addresses or banking information

is reliant on computer systems to conduct your business

has a business website

is subject to a payment card industry (PCI) merchant agreement
 
Your might need insurance protection so please give us a call on 01494 450 450 and we will be very happy to come and have a chat with you to discuss your options and what kind of cover would best suit you.

Finally this is worth checking just in case you think you are covered here are some common misconceptions which will mean you will NOT have adequate cyber cover:

1. Professional indemnity and liability policies may include a degree of 3rd party cyber liability cover but usually will not cover your own costs.
2. Business interruption insurance does not provide cover for non physical damage.

As a business you can also get help from the government run scheme Cyber Essentials Certification which encourages best practice.

 

According to a recent report from the Empty Homes Agency there are an estimated 600,000 unoccupied homes in England

Some of the common reasons why empty properties are at risk.

Theft: Empty properties are particularly vulnerable to thieves even if the building is completely empty of all it's contents. Pipework, copper and slate still have a value and are expensive to replace.

Vandalism: Empty buildings are easy targets for vandals and given enough time they can cause significant damage.

Trespassing and Squatting: In 2012 a new law was introduced making squatting in a residential property a criminal offence but not so in commercial properties. The civil courts, high legal costs and time make evicting squatters from commercial buildings particularly difficult.

Weather and Flooding: Weather and water damage can wreak havoc on an unattended property.

How can you protect yourself?

There are some basic measures that you can take to lessen the risk. First carry out a simple risk assessment to cover the following:

How easy it is for intruders to gain entry and remain undetected?

Whether there is anything in the property likely to attract thieves, and how secure items are.

Whether there are any hazards or defects that could create a risk of injury to others.

Look at installing security measures as quickly as possible. Whether it is alarms, lighting, cameras, locks etc.

Keep up the general maintenance of the property.

To read the article in full click here

 
If you would like to discuss your existing policy with us or just need some advice regarding your property insurance don’t hesitate to get in touch click here or call us direct on 01494 450 450

 

The cold weather is definitely here and the UK Met Office has issued a ‘be aware’ weather warning for the next few days.

There are plenty of simple steps we can take to protect our businesses, homes and motor vehicles. But most importantly we should plan ahead and take extra precautions if we are thinking of travelling.

Here are some top tips.

Snow and Ice advice

Where possible try to avoid travelling, but if you have to then make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time you hope to arrive.

Also carry a winter kit for your car.

Ice scraper and de-icer

Torch and spare batteries

Warm clothes and extra blankets

Boots

First Aid kit

Jump Leads

A Shovel

Road Map

Food, Water and a thermos with a hot drink

Driving in Snow and Ice needs extra care and attention, make sure you stick to the main roads and try to avoid exposed routes. Remember not all the roads will have been treated.

Always clear any snow off the roof and bonnets of your vehicle before you set off. Leave extra space between you and other vehicles and try not to brake suddenly – it may lock up your wheels and you skid further.

If you are responsible for staff, customer parking or pedestrian routes around your home or business ensure you have them gritted and clear your access areas.

Windy Weather advice

To help prevent damage to your property and your belongings make sure everything is secured or covered and where possible move them indoors.

Take particular care with trampolines, tie them down because they are not too big to blow away in particularly windy weather.

Close and lock all your doors and windows.

If you are travelling take extra care on the roads. It’s not just high–sided vehicles that are affected by windy weather and strong winds can still blow other vehicles off course. Take particular care on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees.
If you need any further advice see these useful links

UK Met office                              National Weather Warning Advice

Environment Agency                    Emergency Flood warnings

SEPA                                          Floodline for Scotland

NI Direct                                     Northern Ireland Floodline

Governement Highways Agency     English Highways

National Rail                                National Rails Service Disruptions

 
And if you need to make a claim don’t hesitate to get in touch we are here to help or call us direct on 01494 450 450

 

Christmas time is not a particularly nice time to talk about fraud but, as we are just about to enter the new year it's often the best time to review our business systems and processes.

Latest research figures suggest fraud in the workplace can take all sorts of forms and is ever increasing. According to a 2014 report by Cifas (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance Service) - cases of fraud committed inside an organisation (i.e by it's employees) rose by 18% in 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. This increase is down to a number of factors.

Fraudulent attempts to gain employment. e.g. applicants declaring that they hold professional qualifications specified for the role they are applying for, failure to reveal criminal convictions.

Some frauds are committed by well-established employees. The average length of service for those who committed fraud was 6.5 years before the fraud was discovered.  

Theft of data is on the increase and has far reaching consequences, Businesses need to have tighter restrictions of access to data and closer controls of systems.  

Dishonest actions such as theft of cash or submitting false expenses. These accounted for 40% of all internal frauds in the Cifa research.

So what can we do to ensure we are always on top of it?  Here are our latest Top Tips to see what to look for and how to prevent it.

1. Always conduct thorough background checks on all job applicants.
2. Always check references thoroughly.
3. Set up and maintain strong supervision controls.
4. Create clear firm reporting lines.
5. Set up and maintain strong financial internal controls including separate accounting duties and having 2 signatories authorising payments.
6. Educate your staff about fraud, fraud awareness and ethics.
7. Have a written 'code of conduct' this will establish guidelines and give your team a better idea of the business's principles.
8. Consider running external audits on internal controls but beware not to de-motivate your team.
9. Make sure you have checked your business insurance policy and ensure you have Fidelity Insurance and Cyber Cover. (Fidelity insurance covers a business against theft by employees and Cyber Cover protects you if you have a security breach or suffer a cyber attack)

If you would like to chat through your current insurance policy or make any changes please contact us here or ring us on 01494 450 450

 

The driving licence counterpart was introduced in 1998 to display information that could not fit on the photocard driving licence. It includes penalty point information and provisional vehicle entitlements. After 17 years of dutifully doing its job the counterpart will be abolished on 8 June 2015. This means that from the 8 June 2015, DVLA will stop issuing the paper counterpart and those currently in circulation will no longer have any legal status and should be destroyed.

The reason for abolishing the counterpart is to reduce the burden on motorists. There are of course a vast number of businesses and organisations that currently check the counterpart to ensure their employees are legal to drive and meet their insurance requirements.

The employer may then use the ‘check code’ with the last 8 digits of the driving licence number to view the driver’s entitlements and penalty points. This free, 24/7 service will be available this spring via GOV.UK

Read more - http://www.rac.co.uk/business/business-services-blog/dvla-advice-on-paper-licence-changes

 

With the ballooning season well under way, why not let us review your insurance. Our hot air balloon scheme has been developed with you in mind, whether you fly just for pleasure, have a business, or are on the circuit. Our dedicated hot air balloon specialist is an experienced pilot himself and has been continually improving our policy cover since we insured our first balloon in 1984.

The J Bennett Hot Air Balloon Insurance Scheme offers the widest possible cover and contains a no-claims bonus as well as other discounts to keep your premiums to a minimum.

Contact Peter Dowlen now on 01494 455 801 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and get your insurance reviewed today.

 

Self-employment has outstripped growth in permanent employment by three to one over the past ten years.

The number of us working from home and the number of us employing workers who work from home is also increasing within Britain. We now have the highest levels of self-employment in Europe.

Home workers

Our first piece of advice to you if you are a home worker, is don’t assume you’ll be covered by your home insurance. Most home policies won’t cover anything related to the business and some insurers will not even cover your home and contents if you have business visitors at home.  There are specific policies tailored to suit homeworkers and we can quote for this if required.
You should also check with your motor insurers to ensure your business use is covered.

This may all sound expensive and daunting, but with the right advice and support, it really doesn’t need to be.  Seeking our advice will give you peace of mind and leave you free to get on with making a profit.

 

Employers’ liability insurance is a legal necessity for the vast majority of businesses with staff, however 10% of SMEs thought it wasn’t a legal requirement in any scenario.  Furthermore, 25% also wrongly believe that employers’ liability insurance is only legally required once a business has more than one employee.

And it isn’t only employers’ liability insurance that some businesses are unsure of. When we asked about all types of business insurance less than 30% of SMEs said they are very confident that they have the right cover, and 10% admitted to having no business insurance at all. That is potentially leaving more than 600,000 SMEs financially vulnerable should a claim arise.

Source

 

We have an open event on the 4th June in our new offices. There will be food and drink available from 12 noon until 8pm. So if you would like to join us, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your attendance in order that we can manage the catering.

 

The J Bennett balloon was in action over Easter at the Black Horse pub in Great Missenden, Regulars at a village pub looked up, up and away at the weekend as a hot air balloon festival was held. The pub has its own hot air balloon club.  

Read the full article by the Bucks Free Press here - http://m.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/12874164.PICTURES__Pub_marks_Easter_with_hot_air_balloon_festival/

 

After many years in our 16th Century home in the High Street, we are moving to a modern open plan office in the country. From 10th April our new address will be:

9 North’s Estate, Old Oxford Road, Piddington, High Wycombe  HP14 3BE

We are very excited to be moving to new offices after all this time and hope that you will all come and visit us if you are passing by, as parking is both free and plentiful.  We will be holding an open house event on 4th June and hope you will be able to make it.  Full details will be posted on our website soon.

Our telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged, and whilst we are hoping for an uninterrupted switch of lines to the new building, please do bear with us.  If you do have any trouble with the landline numbers please use one of the following mobiles;  07768025086,  07813036882  or  07766017884.

Hope to see you soon!

31.03.2015
News
 

After over 20 years in our 16th century home in the High Street, we are finally moving to a modern open plan office in the country, but just a mile or so out of town.

From 10th April 2015 our new address will be:

9 North's Estate

Old Oxford Road

PIDDINGTON

High Wycombe, HP14 3BE

We are very excited to be moving to new offices after all this time and hope that you will all come and visit us if you are passing by, as parking is both free and plentiful.  We will be holding an open house event on 4th June & hope you will be able to make it – full details will be posted on this web-site soon. Our telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged.