WILLIAMSON CARSON & CO LTD – TERMS OF BUSINESS FEBRUARY 2019
By asking us to quote for, arrange or handle your insurance, you’re agreeing to these terms of business.
Our Disclosure – how we select the insurers
We only offer products from a limited number of insurers and for certain products we only offer insurance from a single insurer. We regularly review and compare the insurers we recommend in terms of cover, price, quality of service and claims handling. The appendix of this document contains a list of the insurers that we deal with. In certain circumstances we may use another intermediary to help place your insurance.
Conflict of interests – we are transparent in our relations with clients
We will endeavour always to act in the best interests of you our client. However, circumstances can arise where we or one of our other clients may have some form of interest in business being transacted for you. If this happens or we become aware that our interests or those of one of our other client’s conflict with your interests, we will write to you and obtain your consent before we carry out your instructions and detail the steps we will take to ensure fair treatment.
Claims Handling Arrangements – taking care of your claims
When acting on your behalf in relation to a claim, we shall use all reasonable endeavours to handle all elements of the claim with due care, skill and diligence including forwarding to you promptly any payments received from your insurers. We will advise you promptly of the insurers’ requirements concerning claims, including the provision of information required to establish the nature and extent of the loss. You should note that in circumstances where one or more insurers underwriting your risks has become insolvent or is delaying payments, we cannot and do not accept liability for the uncollected amounts. However, we will offer you every assistance to submit a claim for the unpaid amounts in liquidation, receivership, schemes of arrangement or similar processes We may act on behalf of an insurer in negotiating and settling claims under a delegated authority and we will inform you if this is the case when you notify us of the claim. In these circumstances we will endeavour to ensure that there is appropriate segregation of duties.
Cancellation of Insurances – if you change your mind
Your policy documents detail your rights, if any, to cancel any insurance you have taken out. As a customer you may have a statutory right to cancel the policy within 14 days or 30 days depending on the policy type. This period commences from either the day of conclusion of the contract or in some cases when you are told the contract has been concluded or the date when you receive the contractual terms and conditions and any other statutory pre-contractual information, whichever is the later. If you do cancel this insurance contract within the period, you must return all documents you have received including any certificates on insurance and you may be charged a proportion of the premium and any of our fees that you have incurred.
Otherwise, the insurance contract may entitle you or insurers to cancel it at any time by giving notice in accordance with the policy terms. If you wish to give notice of cancellation, please write to us with 30 days’ notice and return any relevant certificate of insurance to us. You should note that some policies include provision for what is known as ‘short period’ rates to be charged in the event of cancellation of the policy during the period of the policy. Such rates are higher than those based strictly on the time the policy has been in force as a proportion of the annual premium. Please note that we do not refund fees we may have charged you to handle your insurance, we also retain the right to any commission payable by insurers in respect of insurance contracts we have organised. In certain circumstances we may impose a cancellation fee to reflect the administrative costs we have incurred.
In the event that you fail to pay the premiums by the due date, insurers may or may not give notice of cancellation of the policy which would normally be from inception. If insurers wish to cancel this insurance contract they would normally write to you at the last known address they have for you on their records.
Return Premiums – to help facilitate policy changes
Return premiums may arise if an insurance risk is reduced or a policy is cancelled depending on the precise policy terms and conditions. Insurers may not allow a return premium if any claims have been made in the period for which a return premium might otherwise accrue. Client Money is money of any currency that we receive and hold in the course of carrying on insurance mediation on behalf of our clients (including you) or which we treat as client money in accordance with the FCA client money rules. A copy of these rules is available on request or within the Client Assets Sourcebook of the FCA Handbook.
Premiums Held for Insurers (Risk Transfer) – the basis on which we can collect premiums
We have agreed with certain insurers to collect and hold premiums from you as agents of those insurers. Therefore, once we have collected premiums from you, under the terms of our agreements with insurers those premiums are treated as being held by the insurer. It will not be Client Money but will be insurer money, held and managed in the same way as Client Money and in the same Statutory Trust Client account. We will remit the premiums to insurers, after deduction of any commission due to us, in accordance with the terms of our agreements with insurers. Whilst this arrangement, known as “Risk Transfer”, affords you extra protection in the event of our financial failure, it does mean that in the event of insurer insolvency we would not be permitted to return any premiums not remitted to insurers at the date of their insolvency. Similarly, if we were holding claims monies due to you in such an eventuality, we would not be able to remit them to you.
Client Money Segregation (Statutory Trust Client Account) – helping to protect your payments
Client Money will be segregated from our own and held in a Statutory Trust Client Account. This account is set up as a trust governed by FCA rules and held at a bank in the UK. If we become insolvent, the terms of the trust dictate that customers will have a prior claim on the client money in the Account according to the respective interests in the client money. The costs relating to the distribution of client money may have to be borne by the trust. In certain circumstances, client money may pass through other authorised intermediaries and managing general agents before the insurers receives it.
Funding – making payments to you or on your behalf
There may be instances where we fund certain payments made to you or on your behalf, voluntarily or involuntarily, in respect of premiums, returns or claims. Should these arise, you accept that such payments were made for your benefit and that unless otherwise paid to us by insurers you may be asked to repay the full amount of such payments to us and, until fully paid, the outstanding amount is a debt due from you to us.
Document retention – to not retain information longer than necessary
It is our practice to retain insurance documents for business effected on your behalf for up to 3 years, either electronically or in paper form. For some types of insurance it is possible to make a claim long after its expiry date and therefore we recommend that you retain all your insurance documents safely and for as long as necessary. You are advised to keep copies of any correspondence you send to us or direct to your insurer.
Insurer Insolvency – if the insurer fails
We regularly assess the financial stability of the insurers we recommend however we cannot guarantee the solvency of any insurer or be held responsible for any additional costs that may be incurred in replacing cover with an alternative insurer.
This means that you may still be liable for any premium due and not be able to recover the premium paid, whether in full or in part, should an insurer become insolvent.
Termination of Authority – how to end our relationship
Our authority to act on your behalf may be terminated by either of us giving 14 days notice to the other in writing, or as otherwise agreed, without penalty and will take effect from the date of receipt. Upon termination, we shall: • be entitled to all fees and commissions that have been paid or are due to be paid for insurances already placed • upon receipt of all monies due to us and/or insurers, transfer all of your files to you or another party nominated by you unless you request us to continue certain work, including claims handling, and we are able to continue and agree to do so and have agreed appropriate additional remuneration with you.
Governing Law – legal coverage
This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and the parties agree herewith that any dispute arising out of it shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
Our commitment to the prevention of crime – helping to ensure we are not unduly influenced
We maintain on an ongoing basis, anti-corruption/bribery policies and procedures, including but not limited to adequate procedures under the Bribery Act 2010, to prevent corruption/bribery offences. Neither party to this Agreement shall be involved in the offering, promising or giving of any financial or other advantage to any person in breach of any law against bribery (including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing the Bribery Act 2010). If you have any reason to suspect that there has been a breach of this requirement, please contact our Compliance Officer at the address given below and we will take appropriate action. The Compliance Officer, Williamson Carson Insurance Brokers, 3rd Floor, Templegate House, 115-123 High Street, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0LG
Our remuneration – how we are paid
Our remuneration may be as a commission payable by insurers out of the premium you pay or a fee from you or, by agreement with you, a combination of both. We do not take credit for commissions due until the premium has been received from you. Fees and commissions are deemed fully earned even if the insurance policy is amended, terminated, voided or cancelled during the policy period. Where we introduce clients to a premium finance company, we may receive a fee based upon the volume of business transacted and further remuneration relating to the administrative services we perform for them. In the handling of client money, we may also earn interest or benefit from foreign exchange differences and it is a condition of doing business with us that you agree that we may retain such earnings. You are entitled at any time to request information regarding any commission which we may have received as a result of placing your insurance business.
Credit Facilities – to help facilitate your payments
In order to be able to offer you credit facilities we have obtained relevant consumer credit permissions from the FCA. We normally accept payment by cash, guaranteed cheque, bank transfer or certain credit/debit cards. You may be able to spread your payments through insurers’ installment schemes, a credit scheme with a third party finance provider, or a facility we have arranged ourselves. We will give you full information about our payment options when we discuss your insurance in detail. We may keep certain documents, such as your insurance policy document or Certificate, while we are waiting for full payment of premiums. In these circumstances we will ensure that you receive full details of your insurance cover and will provide you with any documents that you are required to have by law.
Premium Finance – other ways to make payment
If you elect to pay the policy premium by using a finance facility offered by us, you will be provided with full terms and conditions of the finance facility separately, including any charges levied for using this method and your responsibilities. Please be aware that the finance company may make an additional charge if the facility needs to be reinstated following either a default of payment or if you cancel the arrangement. Please read the cancellation clause in your policy documentation carefully as a return premium may not be payable following cancellation for certain classes of insurance. If the premium is paid under a Direct Debit arrangement in such circumstances, you will be responsible for settling any outstanding premium amount.
Your Duty to Make a Fair Representation (Consumer Act 2012 / Insurance Act 2015) – making sure you declare all material facts
Your insurance / protection cover is based upon the information you provide to the insurance company. Where you are buying insurance as an individual, this means that you must take ‘reasonable care’ to answer all questions asked by the insurer fully and accurately. For general insurance policies such as car insurance or liability insurance, once cover has been arranged, you must immediately notify the insurers or us of any changes to the information that you have already provided. Failure to provide accurate and up to date information may invalidate your insurance cover and mean that a claim may not be paid.
All other clients (e.g. commercial clients) must still disclose all ‘material circumstances’ which are known or ought to be known by your own senior management team, including those responsible for arranging the insurance and any agents acting on your behalf, prior to inception and throughout the period of the policy.
When conducting a reasonable search you should consider the activities in your business, the risk they may pose to you and others and who holds this information within your business and ensure all relevant facts are disclosed and presented fairly.
A ‘material circumstance’ is a circumstance which would influence the judgement of an insurer in determining whether to take and insure the risk and, if so, on what terms. If you do not, this may result in claims being rejected or not fully paid as well as the insurance being potentially cancelled at any stage of the policy including at inception (i.e. treated as if it never existed), depending upon the manner and extent in which you fail to comply with this duty. Again, failure to disclose ‘material circumstances’ may invalidate your insurance cover and could mean that a claim may not be paid.
Adequacy of sums insured and limits of indemnity – ensuring you have the right amount of cover
At all times it is your responsibility to ensure that the sum insured values and policy limits are adequate and reflect current, continuing and future reinstatement/replacement costs. Whilst we may assist in establishing and maintaining insured values, we cannot accept responsibility for their accuracy. We strongly recommend where applicable that the appropriate professional (e.g. surveyor / accountant / valuer) be consulted to ensure that the sums insured under the policy are correct. We are able to offer recommendations to professional and reputable firms when required.
Limitation of Liability – the extent of our liability
We acknowledge that we may be liable to you for loss, damage, costs and expenses arising under or in connection with the services provided by us to you, whether arising in contract, tort and/or including our negligence subject to the following provisions:
(a) Unless otherwise agreed by us in writing, our maximum liability under or in connection with our services to you whether arising in contract, tort and/or including negligence shall not exceed £1 million in respect of any one claim or series of claims emanating from a single cause or circumstance.
(b) We shall not be liable to you for losses due to any act or omission by you or any other party including but not necessarily limited to providing false, misleading, inaccurate or incomplete information or documentation.
(c) We shall not be liable to you or deemed in breach of this agreement for any delay or failure to perform any of our obligations to you where such delay or failure was due to any cause beyond our reasonable control.
(d) In circumstances where you appoint us to act as your Insurance Intermediary (Broker) and administer policies arranged by another intermediary or intermediaries, we will not be liable for any loss resulting from the advice or possible negligence of your previous intermediary or intermediaries however caused.
(e) We shall not be liable for any losses incurred as a direct consequence of the financial failure of an insurer, underwriting agency, insurance intermediary or any other third party.
Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude or in any way limit our liability for fraud or death or personal injury caused by our negligence or any other liability to the extent that the same may not be excluded or limited by law nor to the extent that we have a duty or liability to you under the regulatory system applicable to Insurance Intermediaries or under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 including any subsequent replacement or modification.
Additional Protection – what happens if things go wrong?
Williamson Carson are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’), 12 Endeavour Square, Stratford, London, E20 1JN. Our FCA Register number is 146295. You can check this on the FCA’s Register by visiting the FCA’s website http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/systemsreporting/register/search/financial-services-firms or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
If you are dissatisfied with our service, you can make a complaint. Our complaints procedure is available on request. If you wish to complain, please contact us by writing to Matthew Whinney, Compliance Officer at 3rd Floor, Templegate House, 115-123 High Street, Orpington, Kent, BR6 0LG or phone 0208 659 5038.
If the matter is resolved within 3 business days, we will write to you to confirm this. If it cannot, we will seek to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and keep you informed of progress. If we cannot agree a solution between us, we will explain why. We will confirm our final response to any complaint within eight weeks of your complaint. If you are:
- A private individual, or
- An enterprise or small business firm which satisfies the following criteria: turnover must be below £6.5m; and either less than 50 employees; or an annual balance sheet* of below £5m.
- A charity which has an annual income of less than £1 million or
- A trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1 million.
Unless we notify you in writing to the contrary we will treat you as a “retail client” which means you have the highest level of protection under the regulatory system. If you cannot settle your complaint with us, you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (‘FOS’). Please be assured we treat complaints very seriously.
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (‘FSCS’). You may be entitled to compensation form the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. More information about compensation scheme arrangements is available form the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk
By asking us to quote for, arrange or handle your insurance, you’re agreeing to these terms of business.
Data Protection and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
Personal information you provide is very important to us. We need all relevant details to ensure the insurance we provide is accurate and suitable for your circumstances. It is held on our computer database and paper files for as long as we may have any contractual responsibility for advice provided. We take great care to protect this information. We outline below a few aspects of which you should be aware.
Some third parties provide services to us such as business processing, compliance advice or regulatory issues (including regulatory bodies), which may necessitate the disclosure of more than just basic details. You agree that information held by ourselves may be disclosed on a confidential basis, and in accordance with Data Protection regulations, to such third parties or potential purchasers of our business. You consent to the use and disclosure by us of the data which may be transferred electronically, e.g. e-mail and you agree that we may contact you in future by any means of communication we feel appropriate at the time.
Insurance providers may administer contracts you have with them and provide other services, from centres outside Europe that may not have the same standard of Data Protection laws as the UK. However, they are required to put a contract in place ensuring that your information is adequately protected, and they will remain bound by their obligations under the Data Protection regulations even when your personal information is processed outside Europe. You can withdraw your consent to our processing your data, and you can request a copy of information we hold about you. If you wish to do either or want to clarify any aspect, please contact our Compliance Officer. If you are unhappy about any aspect you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (https://ico.org.uk).
Marketing – occasionally we may wish to contact you with details of other products or services we think may interest you. If you consent (which you can withdraw at any time) to us contacting you for this purpose, please tick the boxes at the end of the agreement. We don’t share your personal information for marketing purposes with third parties.
Anti-money laundering regulations
We are required to verify all clients’ identity; to obtain information on the purpose and nature of business we conduct for you and ensure information is up-to-date. For this purpose we may use electronic identity verification systems and conduct checks from time to time during our relationship. Agencies may note searches which can be shared with other firms to prevent fraud. We may also ask for original documents which we will record to meet our obligations.