Issue 17 | Q1/Q2 2016
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Welcome...

Welcome to the latest edition of Cover Story. Since our last edition UK businesses have been affected by adverse weather with some suffering significant impact on business continuity through supply chain issues or damage from both wind and flooding.

Many of our clients have been affected, with losses and business recovery remaining highly topical in our industry. In this edition, we provide some insight into how some of our clients are taking proactive measures to limit the impact of another unpredictable and extremely serious event – fire.

Following our update in Cover Story 15 on the Insurance Act which becomes law in August this year, in this edition we focus attention on further significant changes in law that involves health and safety in the workplace and tougher sentencing guidelines which came into effect on the 1 February.

 

It is important businesses keep up to date with these changes to ensure you are evolving your risk profile accordingly.

At Griffiths & Armour we work closely to support our clients through this dynamic environment and we are happy to discuss any changes with you and how they could impact you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Matt Donnelly signature

Matt Donnelly

Managing Director

Griffiths & Armour Insurance Brokers Ltd

mdonnelly@griffithsandarmour.com
   
     

Serious implications for health and safety breaches

A image of scales

On the 1 February 2016, new guidelines for the sentencing of health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences came into effect. For the first time, courts in England and Wales have comprehensive sentencing guidelines covering the most common regulatory offences.

So how does this effect you? The potential impact of breaching health and safety regulations on your business could be significant with the new guidelines continuing a recent trend of marked increases in the level of fines being imposed by the courts.

The size of your business is a relevant factor. For large organisations turning over £50 million or more, the new guideline penalties for health and safety offences envisage fines of up to £10 million generally and up to £20 million for those convicted of corporate manslaughter. For very large organisations, the guidelines suggest increasing these amounts even further, in some cases doubling the level of fine.

The guidelines go beyond financial penalties for a company, with serious implications for individuals, including company directors. Sentences of up to 18 months and personal fines based on a proportion of your salary (up to 700%) could be imposed in the most serious cases. As a matter of public policy, any such fines cannot be insured - so they come straight off the bottom line, as do the prosecution costs.

To help you avoid becoming involved in potentially serious events that place your business at risk, we recommend you consider the following questions:

  • Have you had any health and safety management training?
  • Do you feel you are central to the health and safety systems/processes and communications within your organisation?
  • When was the last time your health and safety policy and systems were thoroughly reviewed?
  • Have you considered undertaking a claims defensibility audit?
  • Would you know exactly how to respond in the event of a major incident?

Griffiths & Armour have a specialist team supporting and advising our clients on this and other subjects and across all aspects of risk management. If you are unsure about how the changes above may affect you and your business, we would be happy to discuss with you in further detail. Please contact us via e-mail to: coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com

     
     

Cyber risks and high net worth insurances

High net worth individuals can be targets for cyber attacks given their standing in business and society. In response to this Griffiths & Armour offer an insurance solution affording protection from cyber-bullying, covering the cost of professional help, time off work and even relocation for those who fall prey to online harassment. Cover goes beyond traditional items such as property and personal belongings, extending to the person and how they cope with reputational recovery.

A profile image of Caroline Murphy

Policies are not only aimed at worried parents; adults who suffer harassment online can also be covered. So, for example, if an internet bullying campaign leads to the victim losing their job or their wrongful arrest, insurance may protect them in such an event. A victim may also be able to hire a reputation management team to counter any online smears, or pay for a digital forensic specialist to trace the abuse.

If you are interested in understanding more about this subject and the insurance policies designed to protect and support you, our expert Private Client team at Griffiths & Armour are on hand and ready to answer your questions. To find out more please contact Caroline Murphy (pictured) via email: cmurphy@griffthsandarmour.com

     
     

Nanotechnology

Some experts believe the effect of nanotechnology on the health, wealth, and standard of living for people in this century could be at least as significant as the combined influences of microelectronics, medical imaging, computer-aided engineering, and man-made polymers developed in the past century.

Whilst this form of technology is set to deliver major humanitarian advances, it’s not without its risks – primarily because of the size of particles used. As the name suggests, these are incredibly small, where a nanometre is one billionth of a metre.

With so much potential, it’s critical to get the balance right between managing risk and the significant opportunities nanotechnology presents. At Griffiths & Armour, we believe the insurance industry has a key role to play in supporting the companies involved in developing and advancing this area of science, many of whom would be unable to continue with their research and development activities without having sufficient insurance cover.

If you would like more information on how nanotechnology may affect your business, email: coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com

A graphic representing nanotechnology
     
     

Electric vehicles spark insurance concerns

Norway currently leads the world in the share of electric vehicles (EVs) purchased compared to total sales of vehicles – over 33% of all vehicle sales in 2015.

Here in the UK, consumers purchased just over 3,000 EVs in 2012 rising to 8,684 in 2015. There are now over 30 models of EV available to purchase in the UK with sales growth set to continue and some experts predicting over 1 million EVs on our roads by 2020.

Despite the positive growth predictions, finding appropriate insurance for your EV may not be straightforward in the shorter term with some EV manufacturers not adhering to the requirements of the UK insurance market by providing important details of repair specifications for their vehicles.

We are aware of one manufacturer, positioning themselves in the higher value luxury end of the EV market, whose vehicles are currently being declined by insurers or are having several conditions and exclusions placed on policies.

An image representing an electric vehicle

An additional issue is the tracking systems used by some EV manufacturers which have been developed in-house and are not currently compatible with UK insurers’ preferred ‘Tracker’ system software.

Conversations are continuing between EV manufacturers and UK motor bodies, including the Association of British Insurers and the Department of Transport, regarding the supply of repair and parts information and tracking systems to find a solution.

In due course, market forces will drive both manufacturers and the insurance industry to find common ground but in the short term, we are offering to conduct a thorough check on the insurance implications for our clients before they purchase a new electric car.

If you would like more specific information on the position of motor insurers and EVs get in touch by e-mailing coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com

     
     

Firefighting and the environment

Fire. It’s one of the worst possible scenarios that any business can face. In the event of a fire, over 55% of businesses experience severe impact on business continuity with over 7% categorised as a ‘business disaster’ i.e. never entirely recovering - losing orders, contracts, key employees or at worst, ceasing to trade, resulting in lost jobs and services to the community.

There are many factors that influence how quickly your business can recover from a fire event including severity of the fire, suppression systems, insurance policy coverage and the actions and effectiveness of the Fire & Rescue Service (F&RS) in dealing with the fire itself.

It may come as a surprise to many but the days when fire fighters could use large quantities of water without thinking of the potential environmental impact are long gone. As with any business or organisation, the F&RS can be prosecuted and held liable for clean-up costs if their activities, including firefighting, have caused or exacerbated pollution of the environment.

An graphic showing the impact of fire

If the impact on the environment is significantly reduced by allowing a fire on your premises to burn to a point where it can be managed with less impact on the overall environment, the F&RS may take that approach.

Many clients are recognising the impact this could have on their ability to recover following a loss and with our support are looking to mitigate any concerns. This includes site risk assessments, a comprehensive loss prevention report and a mitigation programme being drawn up which is based on the findings of the risk assessment.

The programme considers all potential environmental issues and what might be done to minimise the adverse consequences of a fire or other serious incident.

If you are interested in understanding more please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com

     
     

Supreme Court landmark
ruling on safe workplace travel

Employers are well versed in safe workplace responsibilities, from basics such as a safe desk area to providing appropriate and road worthy vehicles for field based employees. Some employers are required to provide personal protective equipment to staff as standard and you could be excused for thinking this only applies in more extreme roles involving higher levels of risk.

However, following a recent landmark verdict by the UK’s Supreme Court in an employers’ liability case, businesses need to give serious consideration to the scope of current workplace risk assessments or when work conditions warrant the provision of personal protective equipment.

The case in question was an action for damages against Cordia Services LLP (CSL), who provide services in the care sector, citing breaches of their common law duty of care, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

A image showing a judge and his gavel

An employee slipped on severe ice and snow, badly injuring her wrist whilst walking from one work-related appointment to another and CSL were found to have been negligent in failing to provide their employee with attachments for her footwear which would have provided a better grip in the icy conditions.

CSL were also found to be failing in their duties to provide ‘adequate instruction’ relating to equipment that should be provided and used, only making reference that employees should wear ‘appropriate footwear’ but not specifying what might be appropriate.

Judgments like this demonstrate a need for clients, especially those that require staff to travel between appointments, to remain vigilant and comprehensive in their safety regimes. If you would like more details on this case or support in reviewing your work place risk assessments, contact us at coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com.

     
     

Insurance market news

We are delighted to confirm that Matt Donnelly (pictured), the MD of our General Insurance Division, was made the Chair of the EMEA region for Assurex Global in October 2015. He will remain in term for two years and will oversee the strategic direction and focus for the region in this time.

A picture of Matt Donnelly

Matt also sits on the main executive board for Assurex Global, giving him strategic oversight for the entire Partnership and affording Griffiths & Armour exclusive insights.

All Assurex Global Partners place huge importance on delivering a cohesive, quality international solution. We work towards a common goal, placing our clients at the core of our proposition. Through first class service standards, consistency and unerring reliability, we are well placed to deliver on these demands. We are one team, providing unparalleled support to each other which in turn enables us to deliver for our clients.

The Assurex Global Partnership places over £20bn of insurance premiums per annum, through 600+ offices across all five continents. So if you operate internationally, Griffiths & Armour can help you manage risk and introduce programmes that protect your organisation today and support your future growth ambitions. Contact us at coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com to find out how we can help.

     

If you would like any complimentary advice regarding any of the articles you have read in this edition of Cover Story, please contact us on 0151 236 5656 or coverstory@griffithsandarmour.com.

Griffiths & Armour Insurance Brokers acts as manager for the corporate and commercial retail division of Griffiths & Armour. Griffiths & Armour Insurance Brokers Ltd is an appointed representative of Griffiths & Armour which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. © Griffiths & Armour. This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of fact or the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that might be of interest to Griffiths & Armour clients; specialist legal advice may be required where appropriate. Where links to third party websites are provided, we accept no responsibility for their content. The LinkedIn logo is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.