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Sometimes we think we wouldn’t be believed if we revealed how many of our clients were underinsured when they came to us! Put another way, if we were paid £10 for every time this was the case, we reckon we could be retiring to the sun sometime soon! Back in 2012 a national survey showed a staggering 80% of companies were underinsured – unbelievable! Commercial insurance is pretty straightforward if you ask us -- that’s why we can take care of it so well for you. But time and time again bosses have not grasped all they should about what they need or sadly, they may have had poor advice from their current broker. A later survey, from 2014, concluded some 62% of respondents were underinsured due to lacking in business interruption insurance – many responded they didn’t even know if this was included in the insurance they had paid for. Just wow. Can you imagine such a lack of scrutiny in other areas of your business? Would anyone take such a laid back attitude to credit control or sales? Inevitably then and unfortunately, you may only actually find out your company is underinsured when something terrible happens – so you really don’t want to leave this to chance. What do we mean ‘something terrible’? Well how about the following for starters – all predicaments that can be adequately covered with the right insurance:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Data breach/cyber attack

Yes it really is that simple – can you afford not to have a policy in place against these catastrophes? Don’t get complacent – and don’t let your broker neglect your developing needs. Overlooking updating your insurance – or choosing to ignore growth in the hope of saving money -- could mean you are only insured for the initial market value. That means you would only be partially covered in the event of a disaster. Short-term savings could never truly make up for payments needed towards your insurance if the worst happened. And what if you had to close for a while as damage was repaired – it really doesn’t bear thinking about. Put this right by: Speaking to Falcon to review your policies to make sure they are as they should be. Sure, you could crunch the numbers yourself, but if you haven’t been able to get on top of this up to now, trust us, let us respectfully suggest you may just need our help.

From April this year, more and more pensioners are expected to invest in property. Many on the verge of retiring will look to the sector as a new way of making money – something they may not have considered before. Such a change is attributed to more financial freedom afforded by Government pension reforms inspiring investment in buy to let properties. Neil Woodhead, founder of Ready Rentals, an online support service for private landlords, says: “We have noticed a greater interest from in becoming a part of the buy-to-let market in response to the new legislation. "Some of these 'silver' clients are looking to release money from their pension and others have had money tied up in bonds that are coming to an end." Other silver buyers are approaching the buy-to-let market from another interesting angle when it comes to funding their retirement – these are creating a "piecemeal portfolio", having previously purchased a single large buy-to-let property and, in light of the changes in the market, are diversifying by selling the property to buy two or smaller rental properties instead. The reasoning behind this move is a decision to purchase cheaper properties in areas where long-term capital growth is not as substantial but shorter-term rental yields are. Mr Woodhead said: "One client has sold a modern flat for £160,000 (originally bought for £110,000) and has now purchased two one-bedroomed flats in a cheaper area instead for £28,000 each. This move has ensured that his rental per month has in fact grown from £550 to £730. "Upon retirement, he originally had the view to sell the property and reinvest in a pension fund but instead took the option to change tack. He could see greater benefits in looking for regular rental income rather than longer-term capital growth and his story provides a good example of how those of retirement age are now looking at bricks and mortar differently." It certainly seems to be a growing trend. A recent survey by Platinum Property Partners revealed that a third of those heading for retirement are considering purchasing a buy-to-let property or properties.

The European Union has caused another controversy – by telling owners of lawnmowers, golf buggies and mobility scooters they need motor insurance. Every motor-driven vehicle -- including those only ever used within privately-owned land, will have to be covered. This comes after a European Court of Justice ruling in a case about a tractor trailer involved in an accident in Slovenia. In Whitehall, ministers fear the rules could even apply to ride-on lawnmowers because the definition of motor vehicles is so vague. ABritish government spokesman told The Daily Express: "It is still not clear what this will mean in practice and we are working closely with insurers, the European Commission and other Member States to identify how this ruling could be applied. "We will, of course, consult before making any changes and we are determined to get a sensible outcome.” A European Commission official said: "We completely understand people's concerns about this issue. "This is a relatively new judgement from the ECJ so the implications haven't been worked through yet. "The directive we're talking about does allow EU Member States to exempt certain categories of vehicle. "So the Commission is working through this issue with a number of Governments, including the UK's, to ensure that we have a solution to any problems that may arise."  

A quarter of people who took part in a recent national survey say they are in the dark about new drug-driving legislation. The law, relevant in England and Wales, sets limits for eight illegal and eight prescription drugs. Police can now take up to three roadside saliva tests to investigate any drugs used. If any are positive, then the driver is escorted to a police station for a blood test. Anyone found guilty will be hit with an automatic driving ban of at least a year, as well as a potential jail term of up to six months and a fine of £5,000. Their driving licence will also show they have been convicted for drug driving, which will last for 11 years. These moves aim to lessen wasted time, money and energy spent by police officers and the legal system cause when cases are thrown out due to the difficulty of proving that a driver’s behaviour is affected by a prescription  drug. The Department for Transport’s road safety arm ‘Think!’ launched a bid to increase awareness and has pledged to highlight the dangers of prescription drugs. It’s asking people who take medication, and aren’t sure if they are safe to drive, to check with their doctor or chemist. The eight prescription drugs that are included within the new law are: clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, methadone and morphine. Road safety minister Robert Goodwill said: “We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them, to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist.”

In order to avoid as much stress as possible , it's important you have everything in order with your insurance claims so that your business isn't more adversely affected should you need to make a claim. Here are five steps to make sure you can have peace of mind that all is as it should be.   1. Report any claim to your insurer as quickly as you can. Did you know insurers can issue what are known as “reservations of rights letters” where they can suggest that their position has been affected by the late reporting of incidents. 2. Gain the help of a trusted broker. 3. Assign someone in your business to make sure all warranties and conditions  are being complied with. This could include site security, fire plans or the removal of waste materials, and so on. 4. Make sure your insurance cover is in line with relevant terms and conditions of any lease you have on any property you occupy. 5. Scrutinise the wording of your policy. If an insurer challenges any aspect of a claim due to any warranties not being fulfilled, you could face a long period of uncertainty

 Just look at this fantastic ice cream seller in Turkey – can you believe his technique? It certainly has his customers hooked. Here in Britain, with a three-month heatwave predicted, ice cream vans are set for a busier time earlier in the year than they are used to. The sound of the ice cream van music has been the backdrop to our summers for around half a century – even if it has also been the inspiration for some classic jokes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sedG1kBtn1M So many of us have fond memories of growing up in freer times where a visit to an ice cream van was a wonderful treat. These days, with huge competition for our kids’ attention, we sadly don’t hear the ice cream man so often. As with so many industries, challenges faced by ice cream sellers, along with other catering van owners, can be tough. They work exceptionally hard.  We know every penny counts. That’s why we have worked hard to make sure the insurance we provide for ice cream sellers is the best around at competitive prices. We’re committed to getting you the best deal and giving you one less thing to worry about when you’re out on the road in this glorious sunshine – long may it last! If you’d like to chat about your insurance needs for your van or fleet of vans, please get in touch we would love to hear from you. http://www.falconinsurance.co.uk/contact-us

A Merseyside fraudster who manipulated a car insurance website to secure £10,000 worth of cover for just £10 is the latest in a long line of rogue claimants who has been brought to justice. Callum Mullen, 33, fiddled the system to pay just a fraction of the full cost to insure his Vauxhall Vectra. Fraud costs insurers billions of pounds a year and is estimated to add around £50 a year to the average household bill according to the Association of British Insurers. A new survey has shown 64% of respondents believe that it’s now “socially acceptable” to make fraudulent claims while some 81% reckon it’s acceptable to exaggerate claims – which make up around 80% of insurance fraud. The government has now set up a taskforce to crack down on such fraud. Made up of members from industry and consumer bodies as well as the Insurance Fraud Bureau and Financial Ombudsman Service, the taskforce aims to build on consumer understanding of insurance fraud and reinvent the way the industry communicates with its customers. We wish them every success – improvements in this area can’t come a day too soon.

So your organisation has bought a new minibus – congratulations – we know how hard it can be in these times of restricted budgets to find the funds! But if you have raised the cash yourselves through finding ways to boost donations, what a brilliant achievement! Now that you are the proud owner of a new minibus – there are a number of areas that you really need to focus on to make sure you are doing all you should. These are:

  • Minibus Health & Safety
  • Minibus Driver Eligibility
  • Duty of Care for Minibus Operators
  • Accessibility

Information on all of the above can be found here: Driving More government advice General information Minibus insurance We know every organisation is unique and operates within different circumstances, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mini bus insurance from Falcon. But whoever your driver and passengers and whether you work in the public or private sector, you rely on the best suppliers to keep your vehicles on the road. Don’t forget how essential the right insurance is. Our cover protects you if things don’t go to plan and helps you minimise costly downtime. Contact us today if you would like to discuss your particular requirements. (Contact details) As with all our areas of expertise, Falcon offers the following:

  • Unrivalled customer service
  • Competitive rates
  • Excellent product knowledge
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff
  • Speedy documentation
  • Option of monthly instalments available
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