This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

For today’s businesses, protecting data and digital assets with cyber security is as essential as locking the office doors at night to protect physical property.

Now the government has announced that firms could face fines of up to £17 million, or 4% of their global turnover, if they fail to protect themselves from cyber attacks from the 25th May 2018.

Potential losses in the event of a cyber attack are huge, with unsecured businesses not just risking the safety of their own bank accounts and documents, but potentially gambling with the data, bank details and digital property of clients, partners and customers.

In this case, the cyber security crackdown is particularly aimed at essential service providers, such as water, energy, transport and health firms, the cyber hacking of which could cause huge societal disruption.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said fines would be a last resort.

“We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to live and be online, with our essential services and infrastructure prepared for the increasing risk of cyber-attack,” he said.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said fines would not apply to firms which have safeguards in place but still suffer an attack.

Companies will need to show they have a strategy to cover power failures and environmental disasters. The DCMS said firms that take cyber-security seriously should already have measures in place to prevent attacks or system failures.

The move comes as the government decides how to implement the Network and Information Systems (NIS) directive, which becomes law across the EU next May and is aimed at protecting services.

Earlier this year, a government survey found that nearly half (46%) of British businesses discovered at least one cyber-security breach or attack in the past year, most often involving fraudulent emails being sent to staff or security issues relating to viruses, spyware or malware.

If you have any concerns about your cyber security, or want to know whether your business would be protected in the event of an attack, simply give us a call today.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Illegal working – could your business be at risk?

This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

It’s important to be familiar with your legal duties towards those you employ. We take a look at how this covers the right to work in the UK.

If you’re an employer in the UK, it’s your legal duty to prevent illegal working, regardless of the number of employees you employ. The ramifications of not checking employees’ right to work can be costly and damaging.

The law on preventing illegal working is part of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. The Government has since introduced a statutory code and amended the legislation to strengthen the civil penalties that you as an employer may be liable to.

The legal duty that an employer must follow begins before an individual is recruited. Any employer who employs someone they know or has reasonable cause to believe has no right to work in the UK is committing an offence. The civil penalty can be up to £20,000 per illegal worker and in some circumstances, a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

So what do you need to do as an employer to protect yourself?

As part of your recruitment process, it’s your responsibility to ask the individual to provide documentary evidence of their right to work in the UK. The Home Office has published a list of acceptable documents in ‘An employer’s guide to right to work checks’. This guidance also provides tips on how to conduct these ‘right to work’ checks correctly. The document the individual needs to provide may be as straight forward as a valid passport.

What steps do I need to take?

You should check the original document(s) in the presence of the holder, make and retain a clear copy and make a record of the date of the check. The Home Office have a check list that can be completed with each of these steps. This process then forms a ‘statutory excuse’, which may help your defence if a worker is found to be illegal.

If the employee’s right to work in the UK is time limited, you must repeat the checks in line with the guidance.

Which employees should I check?

Checks should be conducted for all new employees and you should not make any assumptions about an individual’s background or work status. There may be different rules that apply to existing employees who started before May 2014. In these circumstances, it’s best to seek advice. It’s worth noting that if you have employed the individual through a third party recruiter or if you have new employees as a result of a TUPE transfer from another business – you must still complete the required checks.

If in doubt always seek advice or clarification from the Home Office.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Natural disasters predicted to account for £72bn insurance claims in 2017

This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

Reinsurance firm Swiss Re estimates insurance claims following hurricanes, earthquakes and natural disasters make 2017 one of the most expensive years on record.

The old adage ‘one thing after another’ has rarely seemed truer than in 2017, with the relief efforts to help victims of one storm, hurricane, flood or earthquake barely under way before another part of the world is hit by a natural disaster.

In August, Hurricane Harvey caused 80 deaths and tremendous flood damage across the state of Texas. Hurricane Irma ripped across the Caribbean and Florida in September, while Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Also in September, two earthquakes hit Mexico, causing at least 90 deaths.

Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurance firms, has estimated that total damage from these events will cost the global insurance industry $95bn (£72bn).
Meanwhile, insurer Hiscox claims 2017 will be one of the worst years for insurance claims relating to natural disasters.

Christian Mumenthaler, Swiss Re’s chief executive, said: “The most recent natural catastrophes have been extremely powerful and we extend our sympathies to all those affected by these events.”

The reinsurance company, which helps support insurance companies facing high volumes of claims, did warn that the estimates may be adjusted and are “subject to a higher than usual degree of uncertainty”.

Of course these costs related to personal and business insurance claims, but the human, environmental and societal cost is even greater. The economic cost, which includes damage not covered by insurance policies, such as damage to crops, business and financial markets, has been estimated to reach $300bn.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Drop Zone Posters

This was posted by on October 10th, 2017

Dear Clients,

We hope by now those people that have employers liability insurance held with us for Tree surgery or forestry contracting have received there “drop zone” poster

We decided to arrange this due to the nature of injuries we are seeing on a regular basis involving ground crew when working under the canopy of a tree surgeon.

We are of course there to pay for the injured party however it is the effect we have seen on the families involved that no monetary payment can repay! With this in mind we do hope that it will make the ground crew think before entering the drop zone as ultimately it is them that end up hurt.

We have experience of life changing injuries to our clients ground crew, so we hope this will remind them of the dangers

Please stay safe!

Below is a link to the poster should you want to hand it out to staff as a flyer

A2 Poster

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Unimog Insurance

This was posted by on October 10th, 2017

We have specialized in arboricultural/tree surgery/forestry insurance for the last 20 years, and have come across many types of ‘special vehicles’ or modified vehicles used in connection with clients businesses.
From cars, to van, tippers, Cherryickers, tractors, forwarders, telehandlers there has never been a shortage of variety of agricultural vehicles we haven’t seen.

However, there is one in particular that always seems to stand out. The Unimog!

The Unimog is a range of multi-purpose all-wheel drive medium truck produced by Daimler and sold under the brand name Mercedes-Benz.

The first model was designed shortly after World War II to be used in agriculture as a self-propelled machine providing a power take-off (PTO) to operate saws in forests or harvesting machines on fields. Due to their off-road capabilities, Unimog’s can be found in Europe, they are commonly used as snow ploughs, municipal equipment carriers, agricultural implements, forest ranger vehicles, construction equipment or road-rail vehicles. It was designed with permanent all-wheel drive, with equal-size wheels, in order to be driven on roads at higher speeds than standard farm tractors.

It is this similarity with tractors that has led many people over the years to register them as ‘agricultural vehicles’ with the DVLA, and insure them as Tractors under the incorrect tax classification and often the wrong policy. It is only the MB Trac that can be considered a tractor in this respect.

It is essential to point this out to our clients, or anyone purchasing a Unimog that there is not a one size fits all insurance for these types of vehicles. ‘The Use’ of the vehicle is as important as the vehicle type itself in determining the right insurance, and the correct registration with the DVLA. For more information please visit:
Even the DVLA and advice for Unimog’s states “In principle a Unimog by default would be classed as a truck, a vehicle that carries goods” and means it should be classed as a Commercial Vehicle over 7.5tonnes.
This is crucial as it also means a Cat C or Operators Licence should be in force to operate them!

Agricultural engines used for Agricultural Use

However, it is possible to classify the Unimog as an Agricultural vehicle (i.e. a tractor), if it is only used for agricultural purposes. Under this classification it has lower tax but is limited to lower speeds and cannot go on motorways. It is only acceptable if used solely as an agricultural in the woodland or 1.5km (1 mile radius) of the farmland or base of operation.
It has come to our attention that many of our customers were not aware of these restrictions, and as an independent intermediary and specialist in your industry we thought it necessary to clarify.

Agricultural engines are restricted to purpose-built vehicles that:

• are designed and used solely for agriculture, horticulture or forestry work
• are used on public roads only for going to and from a place of work.
• if used on a public road, do not carry any load except such as is necessary for its propulsion or for the operation of any machinery built-in or permanently attached to the vehicle

Agricultural processing vehicles

• are used for the movement of built-in machinery – for processing agricultural, horticultural or forestry produce – used while the vehicle is stationary
• are used on public roads only for going to and from one place of work
• if used on a public road, do not carry any load except such as is necessary for its propulsion or for the operation of the processing machinery

Vehicles used between different parts of the land

An agricultural vehicle can be used on more than one piece of land if it:
• is used only for agriculture, horticulture or forestry work (i.e. 100% not used as a commercial vehicle or outside the radius for tractors)
• is used on public roads only when passing between different areas of land occupied by the same person
• Does not travel further than 1.5 kilometers on a public road when passing between two such areas and has a nil licence in force in respect.

In Summary: Points to note

– If the Unimog in question is being used to travel further than 1.5km, then it should be classed as a commercial vehicle.
– If the vehicle is not used 100% for forestry use, then it should be insured as a Truck.
– If it is used for more than one location, travelling to multiple places of business & not just a single woodland or contract, then it should not be registered or insured as an agricultural, but instead as a HGV commercial vehicle.

Published by Matthew Fenton

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Motor Insurance Market results for 2016

This was posted by on June 15th, 2017

It has today been announced by EY that the net combined loss ratio for 2016 business is 109%. This basically means that for every pound insurers received in motor premium they paid out £1.09

As you can imagine this is not a sustainable business model so I can therefore see insurers looking to increase premium as they have been since the beginning of 2017

We accept some premiums may need to increase due to poor loss ratio however working with our partner insurers we will certainly be negotiating on our client’s behalf to minimize any premium increases

Unfortunately any increases will be compounded by the increase in insurance premium taxation from June 2017

If you have found that your motor premium has increased please call us on 01604 492644 and ask for Matthew or Jason who will be able to offer you terms from our panel of insurers

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Skeleton Keys For Ford Transits

This was posted by on June 14th, 2017


We’re picking up quite a few claims when Ford Transits are being broken into and there is no sign of forced entry. We can only assume that this a result of the Skeleton Keys that are easily available from sites such as Amazon (for as little as £20!). It’s madness really that this such items can be available to the general public and we can only recommend that Ford Transits owners be extra vigilant and consider increasing the security on those vehicles.

Here’s a video of how easy those £20 keys can get in to a Ford Transit:

Published by Rudi McIlravie

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Are You Buying Enough liability Cover? The Ogden Discount Rate Change Explained

This was posted by on May 23rd, 2017

The Discount Rate – sometimes called the Ogden Rate (after Sir Michael Ogden QC) is the rate used by the legal profession to calculate the value of claims for catastrophic injuries. It is used to work out the initial amount of money somebody requires in order to generate a future income from that initial lump sum. The rate effectively determines what investment return you should expect to get on your money – the lower the rate, the more money you need to give somebody in order to generate a pre-determined level of future income.
On the 27th February Lord Chancellor announced she would be reducing the rate from +2.5% to minus 0.75% after the 20th March 2017. The reason the rate was changed is that it had not been reviewed since 2001 and it was felt that 2.5% did not reflect the current investment climate.
How does it affect me?
The cost of catastrophic personal injury claims will increase significantly. These are claims that result from brain or spinal injuries and mean that the injured party is unable to work and/or unable to care for themselves. The arboriculture industry is particularly susceptible to such injuries because of the nature of its work. The future loss of earnings and the costs of caring for a severely disabled claimant often form the largest part of a personal injury claim – it is these elements that are affected by the lowering of the Ogden Rate.
If claims cost more then it is likely that insurers will have to increase premiums to offset this. However, the greatest financial risk to your business arises from the inadequacy of the limit(s) under your Liability insurance.
In the early 1990s it was unusual for a personal injury claim involving a single claimant to cost more than £1m. More recently, prior to the reduction in Ogden Rate, it was rare for even the most serious claims to cost in excess of £10m. Now, following the rate reduction, the legal profession are valuing claims in excess of £20m – and that is for a single person getting injured. Imagine the cost if an accident at work resulted in two or three of your employees or members of the public suffering significant injuries as described above?
Here is an example of a claim:
A 21 year-old employee suffered a complete spinal cord injury when struck at the base of the neck by a falling branch. He has been left with permanent paralysis affecting all limbs and will require 24 hour care for the rest of his life. As a result of the Ogden rate shift the value of his claim for future losses increases dramatically. Looking at lifetime care needs alone, where these would have previously been valued at £5.3m, using the same estimates for the annual cost of care the total value now increases to £14.8m under the new Ogden rate. Once all future losses are taken into account the total value of the claim increases from £9m to £20.9m.
What should I do?
The standard limit for Employers’ Liability insurance in the UK is £10m (including legal costs). Many larger firms buy much more than this because they have a large number of employees. We now have a situation where a £10m EL limit may be inadequate to deal with a catastrophic injury to a single person. An insurer will not pay more than the limit that is provided by the policy. If a court awards damages to a claimant that are more than the limit under the policy then YOUR BUSINESS will be responsible for the balance. Remember that legal costs will be incurred on top of any damages claim.
You should also consider the adequacy of your Public Liability limit if your business involves work that could result in injuries to persons other than your employees.
To enquire about increasing your Employer’s Liability and/or Public Liability cover please call 01604 492644 and ask for Cameron or Geoff.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Attention all Tree Surgeons

This was posted by on April 11th, 2017

It’s clearly apparent that Organised Crime is on the Increase.

Is your Plant & Machinery insured on the correct basis?

Are you Under Insured?

What would the consequences to your Business be if all your Plant was stolen of damaged

When was the last time you reviewed & completed an Inventory of plant based on up-to-date values?

Due to the fluctuation  in exchange rates.. plant and machinery have increased over 30% in  value over the last 4 years.

From speaking to New clients that have recently moved over to us from other Insurance provider.

I have heard some horrendous stories of clients being underinsured, and of Insurers refusing Insurance/reducing cover to Indemnity from New for Old. or even tripling renewal premiums.


How can we reduce the risk against a loss?       

Tractors, quad bikes, power tools, JCBs, loaders, Wood chippers  forklifts – have a vast array of items of value to attract a rising wave of criminals. Current estimates place the value of plant theft alone at £1 million each week*.

Historically manufacturers have not always fitted security devices to (plant). It is quite common to find a £60,000 excavator, without any form of reliable security, being left overnight on an open contract site! Equally, a significant amount of driven plant is not road registered and often manufacturer markings are either difficult to find or easy to remove. This means that, not only is it easy to steal high value items of driven plant, the lack of proper identification mean Police have little chance of accurately identifying rightful ownership should they suspect an item has been stolen.

Many of these items will be insured so it’s not necessarily the cost of the stolen property that is damaging. Quite often it’s the uninsured cost of downtime and idle crews, along with the effect of increased insurance premiums, that could have a serious effect on the profitability of some UK businesses.

There are a few simple measures that could make the lives of would-be criminals more difficult:

  • Mark all equipment, vehicles and machinery with an identification number or unique mark or Blue Water Easily, removable parts on equipment should also be marked.
  • Where possible and practical, disable the equipment by removing the distributor cap, rotor arm or battery or consider the use of immobilisers.
  • Ensure that gates are secured with robust padlocks or chains.
  • Consider the installation of CCTV cameras to deter thieves and provide copies of any filmed theft to the relevant police authorities.
  • Secure equipment with heavy chains and good quality locks. Either chain or lock items of equipment together. Individually chain chainsaws, brush cutters, Kombi systems and blowers as this not only makes the items more secure but also makes it easier for you to unlock that item
  • Put lockable caps on fuel outlets to prevent theft.
  • Advertise deterrents – put up warning signs to let potential thieves and trespassers know that there are watch dogs, alarms on the premises and identification marks have been made on all equipment.
  • Where possible, make use of sensor operated lighting on outbuildings or storage sheds.


  • If you would like to discuss either your current security arrangements or insurance please call 01604 492644.  

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Tools Kept Under The Tipper body?

This was posted by on March 30th, 2017

We’ve recently been advised that some Tree Surgeons keep their tools under their vehicle’s Tipper body over night. We strongly advise against doing this, as thieves have learned of this and claims cannot be paid out when tools are stolen in such a circumstance.
We indemnify claims from vehicles when they are on site but when on the client’s premises, tools should be stored in a locked building or compound.

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