Is your business protected against fraud and cyber crime?

Most companies will insure their assets for the traditional risks, such as fire and flood. One traditional risk, that is usually covered, is theft or attempted theft. So if a company is offered a Crime Insurance quotation, why would they take it up? Theft is covered under a normal material damage policy, so why protect your business twice?

What some companies don’t realise is that it may not be the physical assets that criminals are targeting any more, but the cash sitting safely in company bank accounts; a traditional theft policy won’t respond to this type of loss. You may have already heard reports from the police that while traditional crimes are falling, fraud and cyber crimes are on the rise. The Telegraph published an article earlier this year noting fraud and cyber crime are now the most common offences.

As crime numbers increase, so do the number of victims. You may think that fraudsters only target the largest companies and that criminals wouldn’t waste their time on small businesses. However, SMEs are much more likely to be targeted by criminals, as well as private individuals, due to less investment in controls and preventative measures. Research from Barclaycard in 2016 estimated that 48% of SME businesses have fallen victim to a cyber crime showing cyber fraud is a much more widespread issue than many businesses realise.

No matter how well-protected a business believes its systems and controls are, fraudsters often break through via simple tricks and human error. As brokers, we have seen various scams that usually involve impersonating a Director of a company; a criminal will hack the Director’s emails or carefully reconstruct their signature, mimic their language and send an email asking for an immediate cash transfer to a new bank account. Criminals bank on the recipient sending the money without question – after all, if it has come from the boss, you would act straight away, right? The button is pressed and once the mistake is discovered it is often too late for the bank to stop the transfer or recover the money.

To minimise the risk of a fraudster breaking through, you could perhaps make it protocol to call clients or colleagues to verify their emails are genuine. We realise that there is always the chance that one request might ‘slip the net’. This is where a specialist crime policy will respond and will cover losses from, but not limited to, external cyber fraud. Insurers are continually offering these specialist policies as the threat of fraud continues to grow.

ProAktive is continually recommending that crime cover is considered as an essential part of an insurance programme. A quick indication can be obtained from a few simple facts and figures before any forms need completing. If you would like an indication please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.

By Sam Harby Cert CII – Commercial Account Handler


18001 Standard – update

There has been a lot of talk, and not a lot of action, regarding the changes to the OHSAS 18001 standard, however things now seem to be moving along so we thought you would benefit from a quick update of where we are.

Firstly, 18001 is being revised as it isn’t actually an international standard, although it was used internationally. To overcome this situation the business community have pushed for a formal standard recognised by the International Standards Organisation. ISO have confirmed that this new standard will be designated as 45001.

The new standard was due to be published in 2016, however the draft put before the National Standards Bodies was rejected. A revision has now been issued for comment and, if approved, will be published in November 2017. The revisions are aimed at simplifying the terms and wordings used within the standard, so if all goes to plan this will be easier to use and understand.

For those of you that currently hold the 18001 standard, we anticipate that there will be a three year transition period so there should be no need to radically change your management systems immediately. You should have the opportunity to gradually meet the requirements of 45001 over this period.

We will continue to keep you updated as and when further information is released.

By Ian Clayton CMIOSH – H&S Manager


Can you repeat that?

Sprichst du Englisch? Parli inglese? Czy mówisz po angielsku? Parlez-vous anglais?

The above are examples of a simple question often used by us Brits when we’re struggling to find our way to the local bar when we’re off chasing some well needed sun! “Can you speak English?” is a simple and innocent question on holiday but back on UK soil and in the workplace this question has other implications.

On December 22nd 2016 the Immigration Act (2016) came into place which introduced the requirement for public sector workers who speak to the public as a regular and intrinsic part of their role to be fluent in English. This does not apply to the private sector.

Employers are generally entitled to draw up their own requirements however; they should make sure that the Equality Act 2010 is not breached. More specifically when requiring employees to speak English, the most obvious risk for potential discrimination is based on the criteria of Race.

A couple of cases to consider:

  • In 2010, an employment tribunal found that an instruction to a Polish worker not to speak Polish at work was direct race discrimination (Dziedziak v Future Electronics Ltd).
  • In 2015, the Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed that an instruction to only speak a particular language in the workplace could be discriminatory.

In practice, as long as an employee’s command of the English language is sufficient to perform their role the requirement for them to have perfect command or ‘better English’ may be seen as discriminatory. This also means that different job roles may require better control of the language. For example, sales representatives or your receptionist would be required to have greater command of the language than you would ask of a cleaner.

If you want to enforce the use of English in the workplace, or to ask for particular command of the English language during your recruitment process, it is important to consider whether the role requires interactions with the public/English speaking clients and if so what level of English is required. Asking for requirements above this may leave you open to the accusation of indirect or even direct discrimination.

For advice on this matter, or any other HR issues that may arise within your business, please contact the HR team on 01302 341 344.

By Kris Kerins Cert CII – Risk Services Adviser


Preventing injury – Manual Handling

We have recently been made aware of a HSE visit to a decorating client where the handling of plasterboard was identified as an issue for the Inspector. Handling plasterboard might not seem overly dangerous, however the HSE’s stance was that the use of plasterboard lifts was required to reduce the risk of injury. Despite the client’s protests, the HSE Inspector was inflexible and required the client to reconsider their Safe Systems of Work within 24 hours or to expect a Fee For Intervention letter.

We appreciate how busy you are, and so in light of the above, we thought it would be a good idea to quickly summarise the HSE’s guidance in these situations (full details are available from the HSE document CIS76).

  • Firstly, all panels should be loaded by machine and a plan should be in place which covers where the panels are being delivered to, so that they are as close as possible to the area they are being used in.
  • Movement of plasterboard panels should be assisted by panel trolleys, panel grips or other mechanical aids to prevent manual handling injuries associated with the repeated strain on the body from handling heavy or awkward loads with poor posture.
  • Using plasterboard lifts or adjustable props to position the boards is the safest option. Where positioning aids cannot be used, for example in stairwells or tight spaces, then smaller boards that are easier to handle should be used.
  • If possible then internal access openings such as ‘letterbox’ floor slots should be created to prevent the need to carry panels through doorways or up stairs.
  • Finally all workers should be trained on how to use lifting equipment and handling aids safely as well as plasterboards being purchased from suppliers who mark their weight on the plasterboards themselves.

It is worthwhile remembering that manual handling injuries do not often come from one off tasks but rather prolonged exposure to improper bending and lifting techniques. Manual handling injuries make up a significant proportion of the injuries causing staff to be off on long term sick.

If you have any questions on how to tackle any Health & Safety issues on your site, please contact us 01302 341 344.

By Ian Clayton CMIOSH – H&S Manager


Do I need Cyber or Crime cover if I have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

This is something I’m hearing quite a lot at the moment as clients struggle to understand the overlapping elements of these various covers.

There are rafts of businesses out there including Solicitors, Accountants, Surveyors, consultancy businesses and High Tech or Digital Businesses, who have a requirement to insure the outcome of their advice or service in the form of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII), which provides cover in the event of negligence or inadvertent error or omission.  A large number of these businesses will also hold either client money or data, or possibly both, which adds another layer of risk for these companies.

So the question for these companies is whether a negligent loss of data or money will be covered by their PII policy?

As you might expect, the answer to this question is not straightforward.  PII cover was designed to insure negligent advice or service to customers that resulted in a financial loss to the claimant rather than a physical loss or injury.  The reality is that when this cover was designed computers hadn’t been invented, let alone online banking, smart phones or indeed cyber-crime.  So whilst PII policies may respond, in some circumstances they are not designed with this intention and will certainly not respond as well as a specific Cyber or Crime Insurance policy.

Cyber Insurance is specifically created to respond to a data breach, including the loss of third party data, and will react to the consequences of such a loss including:

  • PR Costs to manage the impact on your business
  • Cost of writing to all data subjects, providing credit monitoring and the costs of answering the inevitable questions.
  • Legal fees to defend claims or regulatory action
  • First party cover for reinstating data on your network and the interruption to your business.

Crime Insurance is designed to compensate the business for a loss of money through fraudulent means, whether that be through Cybercrime or other types of fraud.  This applies equally to client money as it does the loss of the business’ own funds.

As things stand the types of insurers who offer PII cover are not necessarily the same as those who offer Cyber and Crime covers.  That said there are some who will offer a combined insurance to cover all three areas and where possible this is an attractive option.  If cover is purchased separately there is some potential for there to be gaps in cover or overlaps where claims could be picked up under two policies at the same time; this can cause confusion and difficulty.

If a combined policy isn’t available it can still be beneficial to have all three covers with the same insurer, so that there is no argument over who will be reacting to a claim when deadlines are tight and you want to get on with it.

So to properly protect your business you need to “Be ProAktive” and consider carefully how these three covers dovetail and which ones are most appropriate for the risks you face.

If you are unsure about the type of cover you might need, why not speak to one of our professionals and technology specialists?

By Sam Leeder ACII – Commercial Sales Manager




Changes to National Living and National Minimum Wage

Changes to National Living and Minimum Wage

After the Budget was released last month, we would like to remind employers of the changes to the minimum wage rates which were implemented on the 1st April 2017.

Employees over the age of 25 (who are not in the first year of an apprenticeship) are legally entitled to receive £7.50 an hour, which is an increase of 30p per hour on last year’s amounts.

Below is a breakdown of all changes across the age ranges for minimum wage rates.

DATE 25 & Over (Living Wage) 21 – 24 18 – 20 Under 18 Apprentice
Current £7.20 £6.95 £5.55 £4.00 £3.40
1st April 2017 £7.50 £7.05 £5.60 £4.05 £3.50


By law all employees are required to pay their employees these base amounts and the following pointers should be considered:

  • If your employees receive tips, these cannot count towards their national minimum or living wage.
  • Any deductions which could include deductions for poor timekeeping, costs of uniforms and/or tools must not take the employee below the minimum pay for their age group unless the contract allows for this in special circumstances.

It is worth pointing out that if you are found to be paying your staff below these minimum wage rates then you will be issued with a notice of underpayment. This notice will set out how much you owe your employees in arrears as well as the additional penalty imposed. Arrears which can go back several years, are paid at the current rate (which will be the highest rate) and you must pay the correct rates going forward. Your business will also be publicly named which could have reputational damage. 

If you have any queries regarding employment issues or would like more information on how the team can work with you to improve employment practices in your company, please contact us on 01302 341 344.


Combating the risk of violence for your employees

If you ask most people what Health & Safety management in the workplace is we’re sure you’ll get plenty of responses mentioning slips and trips, falling at height and even some horror stories about machinery. In reality Health & Safety covers a broad range of risks with one of them being the risks associated with working alongside and in front of people.

Let’s face it, life is stressful and people are complex, so it’s safe to say at some point you’ll have interactions with customers, colleagues or members of the public whilst at work, who you don’t see eye to eye with. The challenge arises when these interactions become hostile and how to protect your employees.

The HSE defines work-related violence as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’. Physical attacks are comparatively rare, compared to verbal abuse and threats, however as an employer you should have plans for both. boss yelling at subordinates

Firstly, keeping detailed records of any verbal/physical abuse or threats can be an extremely powerful tool. It allows you to identify any locations or specific contractors, sites or departments where your employees face higher risks of violence and allow you to combat this.

Once you are able to identify which employees are more at risk, risk assessments and arrangements can be conducted to help manage the risk of violence. Remember that these measures are put in place to protect your employees and allow them to perform better for your company.

When deciding on what arrangements to put in place it is worth considering that affecting the environment or putting physical measures in place, e.g. video cameras or alarms, can also reduce the risk or deter altercations. It may also lead to changes in the design of the job. Two examples are having site managers or drivers keep in touch regularly and preventing any lone working.

If the risk of violence is especially high then training for employees on spotting the signs of aggression and how to cope with or avoid aggression could be vital for allowing your employees to operate successfully and safely.

Ultimately any decisions made should protect your staff but also be suitable to fit in with your business needs; a happy employee is a more productive employee. To talk to our Health & Safety team about workplace violence or any other safety issues in your company call 01302 341 344.

Kris 2 HeadShotBy Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) Cert CII – Risk Services Adviser


The Ogden Discount

If we mention the ‘Ogden Discount’ to you, you’d probably look at us blankly. However the decision taken by the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, to change the way insurers calculate compensation awards for serious personal injury could have an impact on your insurance premiums.

In a nutshell the Lord Chancellor’s decision ensures inflation doesn’t erode the future value of compensation awards, most of which are paid on behalf of clients by their insurers. For instance, your motor insurer may make a settlement to a third party who you injured in a motor accident or as an employer, your insurer may pay compensation to an employee injured at work.Woman meeting a consultant

If the government proceed with the changes (and there is speculation in the press they may re-think) then in the event a 25 year old sustained a brain injury and was awarded £100,000 a year for life, under the old system he would receive total pay-out of £3.1m. Compare this to the new system where the award would increase to £8m.

Whilst the welfare of the victims of accidents is clearly important, insurers and brokers alike have expressed concerns as to the impact this might have on premiums. Added to this are brokers concerns around just how much cover you should actually buy. We frequently recommend our commercial clients to arrange public liability cover with a limit of at least £10m. If ‘Ogden’ proceeds we may well have to ‘think again’.

If you have any concerns about the adequacy of your cover please speak to us. We are here to help.

By Laura Scott Cert CII – Commercial Account Handler


Changes to ProAktive Financial Services

At ProAktive, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver high quality bespoke advice across both the general insurance & risk management operations and the financial services division.

As clients’ needs become more sophisticated it is clear that a high degree of detailed knowledge is expected from their advisers. This means that our business must also evolve in a way which is focused on enhancing the customer experience.  We must constantly keep up with changes in technology, communications, technical support and many other facets which need to be developed in line with the specialisms within our business rather than trying to find solutions that support two distinct services.

For these reasons, we have decided to create two distinct brands which will make it easier for our clients to access our services and benefit from technological and operational improvements.

The general insurance and risk management business will retain the ProAktive name and all the existing contact information will remain unchanged and we are delighted to announce that with effect from 03 April 2017 the financial services business will be rebranded as Ethos Financial Solutions.

Official Ethos logo and nameThis is a tremendously exciting time for the financial services business and we are looking forward to sharing our new brand identity with you in the coming weeks, although, for the time being there are no changes to our contact details.

Both businesses have a joint heritage and are of course linked by mutual clients and will continue the close working relationship that we have both enjoyed for over 40 years.


Lock, Stock and Barrel

Your stock sum insured – you might think this is a relatively straight forward sum insured to calculate, but there are a number of items to consider that might not be immediately obvious – it is not just the value of your finished product or the cost of raw materials.  iStock_insurance

When calculating your stock value you should also consider whether you have any of the following:

  • Stock in the Open – have you any stock stored outside of your premises in the open? This will need to be identified to insurers.
  • Goods in Trust – are you responsible for any items that you do not own?
  • Non-Ferrous Metals – any precious metals need to be separately identified
  • Work in Progress – remember to include work in progress – this can be a substantial element of your overall stock sum insured.

On what basis is stock covered? It is important to realise that cover is on an indemnity basis – claims will be settled on the basis of replacement cost i.e. the cost of the raw materials plus any value added by you . You must ensure you have the correct sum insured so in the event of a loss, insurers can put you back on track as if the loss had not occurred. Please be aware that should the sums insured on a policy be undervalued, a claim may be reduced proportionally in line with any under-insurance.

Are you fully covered? The team at ProAktive is available to assist if you wish to discuss any of the above. Call us on either 01302 341 344 or 0114 243 9914.

By Sam Geddes, Corporate Account Handler.