Third Party, Fire & Theft – Exactly what it says on the tin!

Yes, this cover will make your premium cheaper and yes, it is possible this cover may be adequate for you. But are you leaving yourself more exposed than you know? Your cover choice is not something that should be decided on a whim.

Whether it’s commercial Motor Trade, Fleet or Private Car insurance we all have the choice of what we are going to insure against at each (dreaded) renewal date. But when you are deciding here are some important covers you may not be aware Third Party, Fire & Theft doesn’t cover…

Cover Third Party, Fire & Theft Comprehensive
Driving Other Cars Benefit x Generally included, check with your insurer/ documents beforehand
New vehicle replacement x
Glass x
Accident Transport/ Vehicle Recovery Applies only if in relation to fire, theft or attempted theft incident
Medical Expenses x
Emergency Medical Treatment
Personal Belongings Kept in your Vehicle x
Replacement Locks x


The most important thing to know is that if you have an accident that is your fault, your vehicle will not be covered for any recovery or repair costs! We are already seeing an increase in the amount of claims as a result of bad weather. No one wants to fork out a large sum of money at any time let alone near the Christmas period.

Make sure your policy covers you for what you need! Paying that little extra now can save you a large sum in the future.

By Molly White Cert CIICommercial Account Handler

Even the HSE gets it wrong!

For our last health and safety blog of 2017 we thought we would reassure you that everybody can get it wrong when it comes to health and safety!

You may not be aware that the HSE conducts a lot of research on various production techniques at their full time laboratory in Buxton. In October 2016, they were testing a prototype hydrogen storage vessel in order to determine if the design would be suitable for use. The vessel had been connected to a hydrogen source when the connector failed and a quantity of hydrogen escaped under pressure. The hydrogen ignited and injured a HSE employee, who was stood nearby. 

Now normally, you might expect that the HSE would be reluctant to investigate themselves, however in this case they did just that. Their own inspectors found that there was no safe system of work for testing, and that there had been a failure to assess, plan, manage and control a fairly obvious risk of death or serious injury. Their inspectors went further and advised that if the HSE had followed their own, longstanding, published advice then the accident would have been prevented.

Again, you might think that that would be the end of it. The HSE is a government body and so cannot be prosecuted in the same manner as the rest of us. Fair play to them, though, they didn’t think that merely saying they were wrong is enough. As punishment, therefore, they accepted a Crown Censure. This is not a financial penalty, however it is an official record of a failing to meet the standards set out in law.

So what does this all have to do with the rest of us then? Well it highlights that even the experts aren’t infallible. Everyone can make mistakes and everyone can have lapses of judgement etc. What it does make us aware of though, is that the HSE looks at every incident in the same way. They’re not necessarily wanting to stop dangerous activities from happening, but they are looking for all activities to be planned, assessed, managed and controlled as far as is reasonably practicable. They are also looking for employees to be adequately trained to undertake the necessary tasks.

If you can ensure that you’re doing the above then you can be reassured that you are protecting yourself from criticism. If you have any doubts about whether you’re doing everything that you should be, please do not hesitate to contact ProAktive and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs further.

From everyone at ProAktive, we hope that you have a very merry Christmas! See you in 2018!

Ian Clayton CMIOSHHealth & Safety Manager

Motor Insurance Premiums: the reasons behind the increases

Motor Insurance premiums continuously rise but do you know the reasons behind the increases?

The construction techniques of vehicles are constantly evolving. We are building lighter, stronger vehicles with steel alloys, aluminium and carbon fibre to reduce the vehicle weight and emissions. At the same time, occupant safety is continually being improved which has seen the introduction of AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) and ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance Systems) being fitted.

The introduction of ADAS should bring a real benefit to all of us as it alerts drivers to potential problems with the use of cameras and sensors on the vehicle.  This should dramatically reduce the number of fatalities and is a step change in road safety.  Unfortunately, this also means even the simple replacement of a windscreen is no longer a straight forward procedure.  The process of a windscreen replacement can now involve the vehicle having to be recalibrated in a controlled environment, pushing the cost of a replacement windscreen up from a few hundred pounds to over a £1,000. A bumper claim is no longer just a bumper replacement; it has sensors, cameras and even radars increasing the repair costs by an average of 36%. So, although the number of accidents should be reduced, the repair costs of any damage have significantly increased.

As well as the change in construction we are also seeing a huge demand for alternative fuelled vehicles.  In the last year alone the demand for alternative fuelled vehicles grew by 6.3%, with plug-in hybrids soaring by 133% to over 18,000 vehicles. Public electric vehicle charging points are expected to outnumber petrol stations by 2020.

There are some real challenges the industry faces with regards to the repair of electric and hybrid vehicles, as they require specialist equipment and knowledge often requiring cars to be repaired by the manufacturer.  Some manufacturers are insisting vehicles that are involved in low impact, low speed collisions are inspected for possible battery damage where previously no claim would be made. 

In the last couple of years insurers have seen the first real increase in theft claims since 2003.  In fact in the last 12 months thefts have risen by 11%.  Thieves are now using modern electronic technology to bypass manufacturers’ security systems.  This type of crime is referred to as keyless theft or electronic compromise.  Thieves don’t need to steal the keys to take the car.    Insurers are seeing two distinct types of keyless thefts.  The first being where the keys handed over for legitimate reasons e.g. a car wash, airport parking, valet parking or at a hotel or restaurant.  Organised gangs are exploiting this, placing people into these job roles simply to get access to the vehicles.  It then takes the gangs less than 10 seconds to replicate the key allowing them to take the vehicle at their leisure.  The second is called ‘Immediate Theft’. This is where thieves hack into the OBD system, override the alarm and program a new key.  The whole process can take less than 20 seconds.  Unfortunately the equipment used to steal the vehicles is not illegal to buy and is readily available on the internet; it even includes tutorials on how to use it!  Worryingly there are approximately 13,000 suppliers offering this equipment on the internet.

All of this coupled with the rise in Insurance Premium Tax to 12% in June, the change in the Ogden Rate (which is used by insurers to calculate compensation claims) doesn’t paint a rosy picture for insurance premiums for us motorists going forward. However, insurers are currently trialling a new device called an OBD Protector (On Board Defence). This is a hardware solution which permanently integrates into the vehicle without the need to cut into the wiring, therefore doesn’t affect the vehicle’s warranty.  It works by stopping information travelling to the OBD port and prevents the thief from accessing the information.

This is a really exciting development in vehicle security and the device costs approx. £300 with no ongoing fee.  If trials are successful, it may be an alternative to having a tracker fitted and reduce keyless thefts dramatically.

By Clare CarbyPrivate Client Manager



GIG Economy – New Court Decision

On the 29th November a UK based window Salesman won a decision in the European Court of Justice which is being hailed as a landmark decision.

Conley King worked for a window company on a self-employed basis, between 1999 and 2012, before being dismissed from the firm. His case centred around his ‘employment status’. He argued that he was in fact a ‘Worker’ and therefore entitled to holiday pay for the period he was engaged by the Window Company.

The Company in question argued against this, claiming that Mr King, “worked as a Self-Employed Salesman under an arrangement that suited him.” They said, “We would like to reiterate that at no point was he prevented by us from taking any time off for holiday or otherwise, as there was no requirement for him to request it or for us to agree to it.” 

This however was not deemed a strong enough argument to prevent Mr King from being awarded ‘Worker’ status.

In the UK courts it was determined that Mr King should be considered a Worker and had therefore brought a claim for £27,000 worth of holiday pay, which he believed he was entitled to, whilst working for the firm over the 13 years.

The European Court was asked to decide whether EU law allowed him to claim for this entire period and they decided that there was no time limit for his claim, setting a precedent for further cases.


The new finding means that Employers who often use staff on Self-Employed contracts could face large limitations if the status of the worker is challenged at a later date.

It is estimated that about 1 million people are employed in this type of capacity, and are classed as independent contractors, meaning they do not have the right to redundancy payments and no right to receive minimum wage, paid holiday or sickness benefit (SSP). Based upon the recent case if someone could successfully argue that they should receive Worker status then they might be able to claim the above payments back to the start of their employment / engagement.

It is believed that this decision binds UK tribunals when deciding similar cases and going forward the Brexit withdrawal bill maintains European judgements made before the UK’s exit from the EU.

This recent case shows how Employers who operate with the GIG economy, or who utilise workers on a Self-Employed basis, will continue to be scrutinised over the status of their workers and held accountable for any short comings.

If you would like any further advice on this topic, or any other HR matter, please contact our HR Consultancy Team on 01302 341 344.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt) – Risk Services Adviser

6 tips for surviving the office Christmas party

Will your 2017 Christmas party earn you brownie points with your staff, bring your team together and serve as a great foundation for 2018? Or does the thought of it fill you with dread, worrying that it will fail to have the desired effect and do more harm than good?

90% of employers’ report having had issues arising from a Christmas party, from drunken behaviour, allegations of harassment and arguments – often now played out on social media. Not a recipe for sharing the festive spirit!

When planning your party a few simple tips and a bit of thought can help it go with a swing.

  • First step, ask your staff what kind of a night they would enjoy – you may be wasting your time and money if you don’t get their input!
  • Remind everyone about what behaviour is acceptable and importantly what is not.
  • Don’t forget anyone when sending out the invites – it’s important to be inclusive.
  • If you employ under 18s watch out for underage drinking and don’t let a ‘free bar’ spoil the night. Consider restrictions on the number of free drinks available or what drinks are free – e.g. beer & wine.
  • Remember Christmas can be a difficult time for some people (estranged from children maybe?) and religious sensibilities means not everyone will want to join in.
  • Should anything untoward happen on the night don’t overreact! Take action in the cold light of the following day and after proper investigation.

Enjoy yourselves and have a great party season! If you are looking for a bit more help with managing this (or if something slightly crazy does happen and you would appreciate some advice) you can get in touch with us on 01302 341 344 – ask for myself, Jodi or Louise.

By Angela Stancer ACII– HR Manager 

Should all Contractors have Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Many contracting businesses who do not specifically design anything for a fee will be unaware of the potential risks they may face in not carrying Professional indemnity cover.  In the increasingly litigious society we live in, where it would seem that everyone wants someone to blame, should you consider cover just to protect yourself if something goes wrong?  Often contracts will stipulate that Professional Indemnity cover is required but is this just ticking boxes or it is really necessary?

Professional Indemnity Insurance reacts in circumstances where a client claims to have suffered a financial loss as a result of a professional error made or alleged to have been made through services  provided.  You could argue that even though there has been no error, a policy would provide cover to defend you which would avoid heavy legal fees should the need arise.  Contractors may incur design exposures even when they have no contractual liability for design.  For example, they may have to make changes as the construction progresses following problems encountered on site.

Contractors have a huge amount of practical experience but are not design professionals and it is often when this practical knowledge, combined with professional expectations, that things can go wrong!  Professional designers are not unknown to design something that cannot actually be built and the contractors input may achieve everything intended.  However, if it does go wrong, everyone will be pulled into the claim and if the contractor does not carry their own Professional Indemnity cover this can become extremely expensive.

Professional Indemnity cover is arranged on what is known as a ‘claims made basis’ rather than the traditional ‘claims occurring’ which would apply to Employers or Public Liability incidents.  This means the insurer on cover at the time an allegation is made would be responsible for the claim rather than the one on cover when the error occurred.  It is therefore very important to review your policy carefully at each renewal, particularly if there is likely to be a change of insurer, to avoid any difficulties should an allegation be made after renewal.  This also means that cover needs to be purchased for a further period after completion of the work to ensure full protection continues.

There are advantages of having Professional Indemnity Insurance:

  • Peace of mind
  • Your business presents a professional image with a complete insurance solution, potentially opening doors to new clients.
  • If you’re a small contractor it can aid your business position in relation to IR35 regulations evidencing that you are genuinely self employed.
  • Cover also includes legal fees for defence should the unthinkable happen.

Premiums vary depending on the nature of your business and the risks involved but can be controlled by good risk management, discussions about indemnity limits and cover for any one claim or in the aggregate.

For very small businesses or sole traders professional negligence claims may not seem to be much of a threat because it hasn’t happened yet but it only takes one complex issue to take up management time and this can really threaten a business.

If you would like to discuss this cover in more detail, or to request a quotation, please do not hesitate to contact your Account Manager, or a member of the team, who will be happy to help.

By Jo Elliott ACII – Account Executive



HSE announces strategy for the next 3 years

Quite often you can be left wondering what a HSE inspector will be looking at when or if they decide to visit. Is it equipment they’re going to look at? Will it be my premises? Could they be looking at everything? Well the answer to these questions is “they might do”. One thing we do know, though, is that the HSE’s strategy for the next three years is Occupational Health. This means that its inspectors are now specifically asked to focus on issues within your workplace that might have an effect on your employee’s health. The HSE have billed this as their “Go home healthy” campaign.

According to the HSE:

  • 12,000 workers die each year from lung disease.
  • 9,000,000 working days lost due to musculoskeletal disorders.
  • 12,000,000 working days lost in 2016 due to stress. 

Whilst we cannot tell each and every one of you how to ensure that you won’t fall foul of the dreaded inspector, we can offer some tips to start you off with:

Lung Disease

  • Ensure that you know what chemicals your employees are using and what vapours or dusts they might be exposed to. This could be anything from paint fumes to asbestos fibres. This would normally be done via a COSHH assessment.
  • Think about how you might stop your employees being exposed. The best solution would be to remove the hazard completely, but this might not be practical. Instead, could you substitute a hazardous product for a less hazardous one? If you can’t then you need to control fumes and dusts by mechanical means wherever possible. Local Exhaust Extraction – even on building sites – is now expected by the HSE inspectors. Follow all of this up with Respiratory Protective Equipment for your employees to wear.
  • Train your employees on the risks involved with the work tasks and the controls that you’ve decided to implement.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Avoid manual handling where possible. Can you use mechanical means to transport the goods? Even if it is just a trolley that removes the human lifting element.
  • Assess your work tasks that might involve manual handling with consideration to the Task, Individual, Load and the Environment.
  • Ensure that your employees have received manual handling training.
  • Make sure that you know the weights of objects that might be moved – the HSE guidance is a maximum of 25Kg under normal situations for an adult male and 16Kg for an adult female.


  • Consider reducing work-related stress by consider the six key factors that can introduce stress in your workplace:
    • Demands – What are the workloads, work patterns and work environments that the employee is exposed to?
    • Control – How much say does the person have in the way that they do their work?
    • Support – Can you provide encouragement, sponsorship and resources to the employee by the organisation, management and colleagues?
    • Relationships – Promote positive working to avoid conflict and deal with unacceptable behaviour promptly.
    • Role – Do your employees actually understand their role within the organisation?
    • Change – Can you communicate organisational change (large or small) within the company?

If you can demonstrate that you’ve considered at least some of the above, you’ll be able to show the HSE Inspector that you’re serious about protecting the health of your employees. If you need advice on any aspect of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact our advisers on 01302 341344.

By Ian Clayton CMIOSH – Health & Safety Manager

Cyber Crime: a common phrase, often misunderstood and mis-sold.

I hear this term everywhere these days and I have to say, as an insurance broker, it concerns me a great deal. It falls into that catch-all category of insurance terminology, like “All Risks” and “Legal Expenses”, which without very careful explanation can over-promise and under-perform.

It is important to understand that when you consider covering these risks for your business, ‘Cyber’ and ‘Crime’ insurance policies are different. The term “Cyber Crime” refers to some form of computer or IT dependent criminal activity. This could be phishing, spyware, malware, hacking and social engineering. It can be a confusing term when applied to insurance.

  • Crime Insurance covers you for a criminal taking or misappropriating your money, securities or property.
  • Cyber Liability cover you for losses arising from the theft of data, such as employee or customer records.

Unless you discuss what it is you are actually trying to achieve with an insurance professional who fully understands these complex areas, you can still end with a claim falling between the gaps. For instance an employee who bypasses controls, believing a fraudulent request to be genuine, may unknowingly create a loss that standard crime and cyber policies will not cover.

In my experience when you actually get down to it, what most clients want cover for is fraud and misappropriation of funds caused by “Social Engineering” which of course muddies the water even further as this often results in the voluntary transfer of funds or data to a third party.

What is Social Engineering?

This is where a criminal obtains money, or confidential information, from unsuspecting and thus cooperative victims. It is now an endemic risk experienced by UK businesses. Perpetrators play on peoples’ emotions and rely on the human tendency to offer assistance when asked or in response to authority figures. Their methods have become increasingly sophisticated, convincing people to bypass security controls or divulge information.

Cover can be purchased to include acts where employees ‘voluntarily’ transfer funds or data, but it is important to note that insurance policies presuppose the existence of internal controls to mitigate loss and therefore insurance is not designed to be a substitute for a lack of such controls. These areas of cover and risk are new and fast moving; unless you speak to a broker who knows this subject inside out you could end up with an insurance policy that is simply not fit for purpose.

However, with a thorough understanding of your business and a little time, a robust safety net can be erected to protect you and your business from these exposures. Please contact us for more information.

By Dane Turner Dip CII – Broking Manager

Bank Holiday Planning for 2018

It may seem a bit early to be planning for 2018 however, with less than 8 weeks to the New Year (sorry!), it isn’t actually too far away.

For businesses who run their holiday year from 1st April to 31st March to fall in line with the tax year, the dates of the Bank Holidays over Easter may create a slight challenge as Easter straddles March and April.

In 2018, Good Friday will fall on the 30th March, therefore businesses with a holiday year of 1st April to 31st March will receive 9 bank holidays in the 2017-18 year and only 7 for the 2018-19 year.

Employers who provide only the statutory minimum entitlement of 5.6 weeks holiday (28 days), need to ensure that employees still receive their legal entitlement. You may therefore have to think about allowing an extra day of holiday for the 2018-19 holiday year if you have a ’20 days plus 8 bank holidays’ clause in your contract.

A full list of the Bank Holidays is set out below for the United Kingdom and Ireland for 2018.

Dates England & Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Republic of Ireland
1st January 2018
2nd January 2018 √             
19th March 2018
30th March 2018
2nd April 2018
7th May 2018
28th May 2018
4th June 2018
12th July 2018
6th August 2018
27th August 2018
29th October 2018
30th November 2018
25th December 2018
26th December 2018
TOTAL 8 9 10 9


If you would like any advice on holiday management for your employees, or on other employment issue, please contact our HR Consultancy Team on 01302 341 344.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt) – Risk Services Adviser

Your environmental liability: don’t fall short on protection.

An area of risk that many companies overlook is environmental impairment liability.

Regulations exist which impose responsibility for environmental damage. These regulations implement a ‘polluter pays’ principle, meaning that businesses must take precautionary measures to prevent environmental damage and take remedial actions if damage occurs. Failure to comply with regulations and or maintain proper standards can lead to high costs—from initial clean-up fees, remediation costs, fines and penalties to even imprisonment.

Many businesses mistakenly assume that their existing liability policies will also cover any issues that arise with pollution. Traditional public liability policies provide cover for pollution arising out of sudden & accidental occurrences only. There is no cover for any ‘gradual‘ pollution which may have built up over a period of time. This can leave a massive exposure gap. Environmental impairment liability, or environmental insurance, can plug this gap and go even further by offering cover for clean-up costs.

What does it include?

Policies will vary widely based on the insurer. Typical policies can include:

  • Own site clean-up costs
  • Third-party clean-up costs
  • Investigation and defence costs
  • Gradual pollution for third party legal liability during policy period
  • Cover for both new and pre-existing pollution incidents; each may have their own limits of liability, terms and excesses
  • Bio-diversity damage or environmental damage to protected sites or sites of scientific interest
  • Business interruption in the event production needs to stop or there is intervention by a regulator

A policyholder will typically have a duty of mitigation, meaning that it must take all actions to minimise the extent of the damage and prevent it from spreading.

Environmental impairment liability policies change from insurer to insurer. By working with ProAktive, you can be rest assured that your policy fits your business’ needs and keeps you compliant with the latest, most stringent regulations. We will work with you to help gauge your risks and make sure your business stays up and running, all while minimising its negative environmental impact. Call us on 01302 341 344 or 0114 243 9914 to discuss.