LATEST NEWS
20-03-2017

Government Announces Change to Personal Injury Discount Rate


When victims of life-changing injuries accept a lump sum compensation payment, the actual amount they receive is adjusted according to the interest they can expect to earn by investing it.

In addition, when finalising this amount, the Courts apply a Personal Injury Rate, also known as ‘Ogden’ or ‘Discount’ rate, designed to help calculate future losses for life (such as care costs) and future loss of earnings. The rate is applied using multipliers specific to each claimant taking into account their age and other factors such as their education, retirement age and life expectancy.

Last month the Lord Chancellor announced that commencing 20th March 2017, changes to these personal injury compensation payments, adjusting the rate from 2.5% to -0.75%. This rate change will dramatically increase the amount paid out for personal injury cases. For example, a £750,000 settlement due to a 43 year old claimant at the previous 2.5% discount rate, will increase to a compensation sum of £1,250,000 once the new rate is introduced.

The current rate of 2.5% has remained unchanged since 2001, therefore, the new proposed rate has been amended to reflect the current financial market and the likely return on investment. As I’m sure you have seen in the news and media, such a change will have an impact on insurance premiums. Whilst information is still coming through, I’m pleased to say that the farming insurers appear to be looking for lower than average increases in comparison to the rest of the insurer market. That said we will know more in the coming months, but rest assured that this is an industry issue affecting all insurers.

Many of the industry representatives including BIBA and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are lobbying hard to reduce the significant impact on the discount rate. We are members of BIBA and will continue to work with the association and our insurer partners to understand the impact on premiums going forward.

However, if you have any immediate concerns or wish to discuss your policy with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 0333 2026504


25-05-2017

Government Rate Increase to Insurance Premium Tax


In November 2015, we saw an increase of 3.5% to the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), increasing the rate from 6% to 9.5%, then in October 2016 IPT increased 10%.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a further increase of the standard rate from 10% to 12% with effect from the 1st June 2017. This instruction has been cascaded throughout the UK Insurance Industry.

Standard Rate IPT:
The rate increase is applicable to the standard rate of IPT only.

The higher rate of IPT which is charged for travel insurance, mechanical/electrical appliance insurance and some vehicle insurance, remains unchanged at 20%.

IPT Exemptions:
There are a number of exemptions from IPT, including:

  • most long-term insurance
  • reinsurance
  • insurance for commercial ships and aircraft
  • insurance for commercial goods in international transit
  • premiums for risks located outside the UK - these may be liable to similar taxes imposed by other countries


Mid Term Adjustments:
HMRC have not allowed a transition period.  They have allowed a backstop date of 1st June 2018 until which transactions effective prior to 1st June 2017 can be processed at the old IPT rate of 9.5%.

  • All additional premium MTAs on policies that incepted or renewed before 1st June 2017: 10% IPT.
  • All additional premium MTAs on policies that incepted or renewed on or after 1st June 2017: 12% IPT.
  • Return premium should be at the IPT rate paid originally by the customer, which is often the IPT rate at inception or renewal.

For the majority of our clients the standard rate of IPT will apply. The majority of insurers appear to be taking the same approach when implementing the rate increase on their systems. The rate applied to your renewal or any subsequent amendments to cover, will be clearly shown on your policy documentation. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the team here at Mole Insurance Services.


21-10-2016

Government Rate Increase to Insurance Premium Tax


In November 2015, we saw an increase of 3.5% to the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), increasing the rate from 6% to 9.5%.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a further increase of the standard rate from 9.5% to 10% with effect from the 1st October 2016.  

Standard Rate IPT:

The rate increase is applicable to the standard rate of IPT only.

The higher rate of IPT which is charged for travel insurance, mechanical/electrical appliance insurance and some vehicle insurance, remains unchanged at 20%.

 IPT Exemptions:

There are a number of exemptions from IPT, including:

  • most long-term insurance
  • reinsurance
  • insurance for commercial ships and aircraft
  • insurance for commercial goods in international transit
  • premiums for risks located outside the UK - these may be liable to similar taxes imposed by other countries

 Transitional Period:

This period runs from 1st October 2016 until 31st January 2017. This is applicable to insurers who use the Special Accounting Scheme, under which the tax point for IPT is the date an insurer writes the premium in their records. This allows insurers to write premium for policies that have incepted or renewed prior to 1st October 2016 at the old rate, provided it is processed on their systems by 31st January 2017.

New Business and Renewal of Policies:                                                                                                             

  • Inception/renewal date before 1st October 2016: 9.5%
  • Inception/renewal date on or after 1st October 2016: 10%

 Mid Term Adjustments:

Refund Premiums with effective date on or after 1st October 2016:

  • Policies incepted or renewed before 1st November 2015: 6%
  • Policies incepted or renewed after 1st November 2015 and before 1st October 2016: 9.5%
  • Policies incepted or renewed on or after 1st October 2016: 10%

Additional Premiums:

  • Policies incepted or renewed before 1st October 2016 and effective date of MTAs before 31st January 2017: 9.5%
  • Policies incepted or renewed on or after 1st October 2016: 10%  

From 1st February 2017, the new 10% IPT rate will apply to all premiums, regardless of when the contract was entered into. For the majority of our clients the standard rate of IPT will apply. The majority of insurers appear to be taking the same approach when implementing the rate increase on their systems. The rate applied to your renewal or any subsequent amendments to cover will be clearly shown on your policy documentation. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the team here at Mole Insurance Services.


19-10-2016

The Insurance Act 2015


The Insurance Act 2015 will govern every business insurance contract placed, renewed or amended on or after 12th August 2016. If you are purchasing insurance for your business then you are affected by the changes the Act requires of you in how you apply for your insurance cover.

Modernisation of the law to bring it in line with modern business practices is a key intention of the reform. Part of its aim is also to encourage dialogue and practices which support the understanding of risk.

When applying for your insurance, the traditional requirements for good faith and ensuring the accuracy of material information continue but this is expanded into a broader ranging requirement for a ‘fair presentation of risk’ which requires you to undertake a reasonable search for information pertinent to the risk and the insurance applied for.

The insurance policy contract itself, due to the Act, will change the way in which warranties and other contract terms will operate.

At Mole Insurance Services we are keen to work with you to ensure you are aware of your obligations under the Act. We will help and guide you in your endeavours to achieve fair presentation. We will also advise you on the changes in how your insurance policy will operate and the effect this may have upon your business as part of our making recommendations to you.

For further initial guidance on achieving fair presentation of risk, click here to download the BIBA Customer Factsheet. 

To read legislation in full, please click here.


12-07-2016

Machinery and Plant Safety in the Summer


Fire Risks

The summer months bring a flurry of activity, as farmers make the most of the long and hopefully dry days, undertaking activities such as haymaking, harvesting crops and replanting, or preparing silage to feed livestock in the winter months. As with most activities, the use of plant and machinery is inevitable. Mark Jones, Claims Manager for Rural Insurance advises, “We’ve seen a steady increase in fire claims, over recent years. The most common type of claim we see at this time of year is from machinery catching light due to overheating”.

Preventative Measures:

  • Make sure all machinery is serviced in advance of starting your harvest. Although it can seem like another expense, the cost of any interruption to your harvest resulting from a breakdown, or worse a fire, could be detrimental to your business.
  • It may sound obvious but at the end of a long day, do not put warm machinery into a barn until it has cooled down, particularly if it contains hay. You may think this an unlikely practice, however claims have occurred as a result of this.

Staying safe when using machinery:

Many serious and sometimes fatal accidents have involved the use of agricultural machinery and vehicles including tractors, balers, combine harvesters and even quad bikes. It is vital as a business owner to have safety measures in place that are communicated and regularly reviewed with all employees. We would also recommend that all training is logged and recorded. This should form part of your role to manage potential risks on your farm.

In accordance with the HSE, we recommend that prior to using plant or machinery, these checks should be carried out:

  • Is the machine you intend to use suitable for the job?
  • Are all safety devices such as guards in place and working correctly?
  • Are you (or the operator) properly trained to do this job/use this machine? Has the instruction manual for the machine been provided, read and understood?
  • Is the right personal protective equipment (PPE) available and worn
  • Has a risk assessment been carried out?
  • Has the work been properly planned and communicated to those who may be at risk?
  • If two or more people are involved, has everyone understood what needs to be done and has a system of communication been agreed on?

If risk assessments and regular training is provided, this checklist should not delay you in your work, it’s a matter of making sure you can confidentially answer ‘yes’ to the above and have the peace of mind that you are putting the safety of employees, family and yourself first.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your farm insurance,please contact us on 0333 202 6510.

 


09-05-2016

Farm Safety


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regularly reports that the Agricultural sector is now the number one industry for accidents in the workplace, having overtaken the construction industry. According to the HSE website, there were 33 fatal injuries in 2014/15to workers in agriculture, with 160 worker fatalities over the last five years. The ability to demonstrate a responsible and proactive approach to risk management can also have a positive impact on your insurance premiums. Having controls and processes in place to avoid things going wrong should ultimately lead to fewer losses and fewer claims resulting in lower increases at renewal, in addition to providing a safer workplace for employees, family and visitors.

If you’re planning on reviewing your insurances with us; talk openly and honestly with our Farming Account Managers about your health and safety procedures and we will do our best to assist you.

Here’s a checklist to help get you started:

  • Is plant and machinery properly fenced, guarded and maintained? The HSE reported that over half of injuries sustained on farms from livestock are due to inadequate facilities.
  • Are telehandlers, hoists, boilers, steam containers and other pressure vessels inspected to comply with statutory law requirements, including lifting accessories and tackle?
  • Do you have someone working on the farm responsible for health and safety in the workplace and are they adequately trained?
  • Do you have a written Health and Safety policy? Is this communicated to employees?
  • Do you have an up to date accident register? Are there any patterns emerging and have you taken action to avoid similar accidents happening in the future?
  • Do you have a log of the training provided to your employees and most importantly do you regularly reaffirm that training?
  • Do you complete and regularly review risk assessments? They’re easier than you think, it’s about applying a common sense approach by simply considering the possible hazards and putting safety practices in place to minimise the risk of accident or injury.

To help you prioritise, here are the most common causes of non-fatal injuries which occur on farms:

  • handling, lifting or carrying
  • slip, trip or fall on the same level
  • being struck by moving, including flying or falling objects
  • falls from heights
  • contact with machinery
  • being injured by an animal

Having a proactive approach to risk management on your farm, should be viewed as a priority, not a hindrance. In the event that something does go wrong, being able to evidence how you manage risk is paramount.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review with our Farming Account Managers. Contact our team on 0333 2026504.


19-01-2016

Pavey Group unveils expansion plans with Mole Valley Farmers


Leading South West Broker in agricultural and rural insurance opens new office in Holsworthy.

Pavey Group has announced a major expansion of its insurance service offered to customers of Mole Valley Farmer co-operative.

The company, which incorporates Mole Insurance Services and has offices in Torquay and Exeter, will establish a new specialist office at Mole Valley Farmers’ Holsworthy location, as part of their close and growing working relationship.

The team will focus on providing customers in and around the surrounding areas with a tailored insurance service, which offers competitive premiums, and a fully managed claims service.

Initially the branch will open with four members of staff which will include two highly experienced Account Managers who have particular expertise in arranging and managing both commercial and agricultural insurances.

   

Graham Brown, Managing Director of Pavey Group, said: “We are delighted to be expanding Mole Insurance Services. This is a real sign of our commitment to providing a credible alternative to the existing agricultural insurance markets and another major step forward in the growth of Pavey Group.

“By working with Mole Valley Farmers, it is an opportunity to expand our agricultural and commercial services in Devon and beyond and for Mole Valley Farmers to provide another tailored service to their loyal customer base. Our combined expertise and focus on the customer should make us a strong player in this market.

“A key driver for this announcement is the success we’ve already seen with Mole Insurance Services since we launched this service in 2014. In less than two years we’ve received over 1500 enquiries and already built a strong customer base. We have enjoyed a long standing, professional relationship with the Farming Co-Operative for over 12 years, and look forward to working with them on this exciting opportunity.”

Andrew Jackson, CEO of Mole Valley Farmers comments “I am pleased that Pavey Group incorporating Mole Insurance are now going to be here in Holsworthy. Farm customers will be able to discuss their insurance needs at their convenience with an insurance broker that understands farming and can provide a competitive quote based on that clear understanding of the customers’ requirements”

Pavey Group, which has 98 staff based in Devon, has been arranging insurance for businesses and individuals in the South West and beyond for over forty years. The company is a Top 100 Independent Broker in the UK and in 2015 was awarded ‘Chartered Insurance Broker’ Status by the Chartered Institute of Insurance.

Cheryl Philips, Pavey Group Sales and Marketing Manager, said: “The new office allows us to proactively respond to the increased level of enquiries we are receiving, which for farms includes an on-site review and dedicated Account Manager lead service. For other insurances such as smallholding, commercial motors, public liability, property owners, equine, home and car; clients can either continue to contact us by calling our existing telephone number or alternatively are welcome to call into the office to discuss their individual requirements with the team.”

The new office at Holsworthy will open on Monday 1st February initially from their temporary office 6 Bank House, Chapel Street, Holsworthy, moving to their permanent office late Spring, early Summer.

 


08-12-2015

Environmental Impairment Liability


As a farmer, smallholder or landowner, you could be held responsible for pollution arising from your activities either in the past, present or future, resulting in a significant financial loss. On a daily basis it is not uncommon for you to be working with pollutants such as fuel, fertilisers, silage, milk or slurry and with pollution cases on the rise, ensuring you have the correct level of cover has never been greater.

What does EIL cover?

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance covers the cost of repairing environmental damage. Actions can result in both common law claims, and claims arising from UK and EU legislation.

In particular, EIL can provide cover for:

  • Both sudden pollution and gradual pollution
  • First party (own site) clean-up costs imposed by the Environment Agency
  • Third party liability
  • Nuisance claims such as reports of offensive smells or odours
  • Legal costs and expenses

Mole Insurance Services understand the importance of supporting you in the event of a claim. Our fully managed claims service can be instrumental in the smooth handling of any potential loss.

Claims do occur:

Whilst the number of environmental liability claims remains relatively low at present, the costs are significant. We are however warned by insurers that they anticipate increased volumes in the coming years’, we are advised by leading farm insurer Rural that the claims example shared below, is deemed relatively low cost compared to most.

An underground slurry tank leaked into a watercourse, the slurry travelled downstream killing thousands of fish. It travelled past a holiday camp but fortunately no campers were bathing in the river, and the contaminated water did not escape into the holiday park system.

The Environment Agency were employed to carry out the clean-up operation, all costs are covered by the client’s Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance, the current reserve sits at £300,000, the client paid an excess of £1000. Had the contamination spread to the holiday park the claim costs would have increased considerably.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review with our Farming Account Managers. Contact our team on 0333 2026504.


19-10-2015

When did you last review your Farm Insurance?


As we find ourselves in what is one of the biggest renewal quarters for farming insurance, we ask ‘Are you adequately covered and are you paying a fair premium for your insurances’?

With this in mind we’ve put together a checklist of things you could do to prepare for an insurance review?

What is the current rebuild cost of your home and farm buildings?

Setting the correct sums insured means a loss can be covered in its entirety and not suffer the application of average which could be applied. Inappropriate sums insured could delay a potential claim, resulting in further expense and disruption. This is not about increasing premiums rather, ensuring that you have the correct amount of protection in place.

Does your current policy include recently purchased livestock, machinery and plant?

If not make a list of what you think may not be covered, and we will review cover options with you.

Are you aware of your claims history, particularly incident that have occurred over the past three years, and has your insurer kept you updated with settlement costs?

If in doubt, ask for a copy of your claims history or we can obtain this information on your behalf. It is important you have a good understanding of your claims history to help our Farming Account Managers from the outset. Non-Disclosure of previous claims could impact the terms offered by an insurer.

Does your business description fully describe the activities you undertake?

You should provide us with full details regards to any diversification such as holiday lets, school visits, and other activities.

Top Tip: Allow the time to give our Farming Account Managers a guided tour, talk to them about your business, and be prepared to review your current insurance cover, this will allow us to identify any gaps and inaccuracies helping us to create an insurance programme that’s right for you.

In the majority of cases where we have conducted a review, we have been able to offer competitive premiums but most importantly provided cover which is tailored to suit each of our clients. Your insurance is about you and your business; does your current insurance provider understand what is important to you?

To arrange a review of your farm insurance, please contact our team on 0333 2026504.


01-04-2015

Top Tips for Arranging Your Insurance


“…the difference in premium might not be as great as you think, but the result of being underinsured could be devastating.”

Arranging your personal insurances may not be the most exciting of tasks, but the importance of getting your cover right is paramount, should you ever need to make a claim. Rest assured that insurance providers are here to help you; we all have to work to guidelines as outlined by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Your renewal

For those with policies covering personal and/or business use such as farms, smallholders, commercial motor or any type of business insurance, you would be deemed a ‘Commercial Customer’. The guidelines state; Renewal notices are ‘in good time’, to make an informed choice, make changes or look for alternative quotes and advice, should you wish. Here at Mole Insurance Services we endeavour to begin our review process 4-6 weeks prior to your renewal date and aim to provide you with your renewal terms approx. 14 days prior. For farms, this often includes a pre-renewal meeting to ensure that your current insurance programme is suited to your current needs.

If you are purchasing insurance to cover you in a private capacity such as your home, car, horse, pet or travel, you are deemed a ‘Consumer’ and therefore should expect to receive your renewal notice from your existing insurer approximately 21 days prior to your renewal date.

Reviewing your cover

When did you last review your insurance and the limits provided within your policy? For farms in particular, this should be reviewed annually and well in advance of your renewal date, we would recommend at least one month in advance. The review stage of dealing with your insurance should not be underestimated, as failure to set your cover correctly and prior to your renewal date could impact on any future claims settlement. Unfortunately, there is no grace under an insurance policy, should an incident occur it would be difficult to negotiate terms post renewal.

If, following a claim you are deemed to be underinsured, your insurer may apply the average clause which essentially means that your claim could be reduced by the same percentage as you are underinsured. We all know that our premium reflects the limits we set; our advice is to always set your limits correctly as the difference in premium might not be as great as you think, but the result of being underinsured could be devastating.

Providing accurate information

It is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information not only when taking out your insurance policy but throughout the life of the policy. Failure to provide all relevant information could lead to no insurance protection. Insurance companies share information, particularly claims data. If you are ever in doubt, please refer to your insurance adviser.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review of your insurance; contact our team on 0333 2026504.