Archive for March 2012

Business Insurance Quotes Caveats

Disclose All Material Facts When Comparing Business Insurance Online

If you are in business you will want the re-assurance that the business insurance policy you bought is actually going to cover your losses and pay out in the event of a claim.

It is an unfortunate fact that when then worst happens and your business makes a claim on the policy, that either the offer from the insurance company is nothing like what you lost or expected to receive to get the business flowing again, or worse still that the claim itself is contested or repudiated.

The majority of these problems occur at the proposal stage which translates in modern parlance to the quote stage.

All the information a business supplies when applying for business insurance quotes online, will eventually become part of the policy contract. All insurance contracts come under a class of legal contracts subject to the rule of ‘utmost good faith’ and this requires full disclosure of material facts. If mistakes are made when filling in online forms and comparing business insurance quotes, then this will cause problems for the policyholder when a claim is investigated.

The FSA is already investigating the use of default data in form fields for personal lines products sold online and the potential for these contracts to be missold. We asked Insurance Blogger to have a closer look at this increasingly occurring problem that will only be exacerbated by the increased popularity, particularly for small business insurance, of using an online business insurance supplier.

Get Your Business Details Correct When Applying Online For Business Insurance Quotes

Applying for business insurance quotes online has become a simple process and many of the five million small businesses in the UK are purchasing cover this way.

It is now easy to get both business property and liability insurance quotes and buy cover online from numerous outlets including commercial insurance brokers, direct business insurance companies and business insurance price comparison sites.

Every type of business cover can be bought online if your company does not employ more than fifty employees, and even these larger cases are handled today by helplines and callback facilities.

The practice of buying cover online is particularly of interest to small business and self employed tradesman, often working from home. An hours research and comparison of business insurance quotes could save a small business a significant amount in annual premiums.

There are however sometimes major problems that arise for businesses that buy online, further down the line, if they are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim against the policy.

The majority of the problems that can delay a payment or repudiate a claim, occur because of the information about the business that was supplied or given, when first getting a business insurance quote.

It is therefore imperative when getting quotes online that the correct information about the business is supplied.

In particular clams will be questioned when the business is either misrepresented by the information supplied or there has been an alteration to the business activities which was not declared when getting the quotes.

Misrepresentation can be either deliberate to avoid paying additional premiums or unintentional, however neither is an excuse and will be penalised.

Deliberate misrepresentation is for example a builder applying for builders liability insurance quotes,who uses heat and works at height but who declares he only works on single storey extensions. Another example would be a company applying for employers liability who only declare half of the workforce.

Unintentional misrepresentation is far more common but can still lead to disappointment when making a claim.

Get your sums insured right

The most common mistake made by business men and women when applying for business insurance cover online, is to declare the value of property at a level less than its true worth. This could apply to declared sums insured for commercial buildings and or contents insurance.

If the declared value of the sums insured is less than market value or the cost of re-instatement, whichever is applicable to a particular policy, then the claim will be subject to what insurance companies call ‘Average’. All properties will be subject to average if the market is inflationary and prices have risen over the period of the contract.

Average is applied to a claim and is a means by which the insurance company will reduce its liabilities. Average assume that the businessman will cover the loss for the difference between the declared sum insured and the true value and will reduce the claim amount proportionally.

Claims will also be repudiated and denied where it is found out that their has been an alteration to the original cover described at the quote stag which later went on to form the policy contract. For example if a motor trader has not declared that he also runs a taxi business with the same vehicles in the evenings for hire and reward.

To avoid disappointment and ensure that your business is properly covered be prepared with the correct and most up to date information about your business, when applying online for business insurance quotes.

When applying for business insurance quotes online it makes sense to use a company that can either offer fixed levels of cover so that you know that your business falls within these, or provide additional help and advice from an expert or broker on the phone.

At UK Commercial Ltd. you can compare business insurance quotes online from multiple suppliers who offer various levels of cover so that you can avoid losing out to average, at a claim.

Commercial Insurance On The Internet

Until recently it was extremely difficult to purchase commercial insurance online. In the last couple of years there has however been an explosion of small business and SME commercial product offerings appearing online and an equally large number of comparison sites, some general price aggregator and other specialist commercial insurance broker websites.

With so many new products and markets for modern risks emerging, knowing what business insurance cover is available online has become increasingly difficult with more choice.
Insurance Blog asked the insuranceblogger to investigate:-

Commercial Insurance Distribution Channels on the Internet

If you worked for a UK Insurance company just twenty years ago or anywhere else in the world for that matter, you would not have heard the term Internet distribution channel, except perhaps in the idle chat of the IT department boffins and analysts in the company cafeteria.

There were only two main distribution channels, or ways of moving insurance products to the market and the Internet as a serious sales and marketing contender would have to wait another ten years to appear.

At the time, the main channels were the direct channel, which meant producing insurance products that could be sold directly to the public from a call centre, thereby cutting out the costs and expense of managing a middleman, and the broker or intermediary channel.

The broker channel was further sub-divided into insurance brokers, agents, tied agents, consultants, sub-brokers, managing agents for Lloyds and the affinity corporate market.

Both channels offered different propositions for the same products dependent upon the way a policy was sold.

At the time only personal lines insurance products such as car and home insurance were available via the direct channel.

It was also considered that commercial insurance and business insurance were too complicated a product to sell direct over the phone, would take up too much time and would require a bank of approved underwriters with scripts to man the phone lines, as no commercial insurance autoquote systems existed. Consequently nearly all commercial insurance was sold via the intermediary channel.

This dual path situation for the sales, marketing and deliverance of insurance polices continued until Insurance finally became a product that could be bought and sold on the Internet. The earliest offerings around the turn of the Century were for personal lines insurance and there was barely a mention of Commercial insurance, save for the odd contact us button.

Ironically as personal lines insurance developed over the Noughties and became a much larger channel of distribution, the two previous direct and broker channels re-established themselves online, this time in much closer competition.

However both the insurance companies and the insurance intermediaries were caught napping as a new distribution channel emerged on the Internet; the aggregator or price comparison site, and in record time accounted for over 90% of online Internet insurance sales.

The public love to compare prices and the fact that most personal lines products could autoquote without the intervention of an underwriter, meant they could all be aggregated into an online insurance price comparison site, such as we see everywhere in the media today. This is a testament to the comparison sites success as a channel in its own right.

Commercial Insurance in the meantime was still in its infancy as a channel on the Internet, until very recently.

The inertia was mainly due to the reluctance of the large general insurance companies to standardise and autoquote for commercial products. They felt the risk was too high and underwriters resisted the change.

The change came about by market forces as the Broker channel started to sell commercial products using its own web-enabled back office systems.

This meant that online business insurance brokers could collect information about a businesses insurance requirements on a website form, and pass the data to its internal systems. These back office comparison systems are composed of a panel of insurers and providers that provided autoquotes.

Straight through processing to an insurance company could be carried out by the existing EDI or electronic data interchange mechanism.

The single broker business and commercial propositions soon became the target of the price aggregators and the large and now very rich comparison sites, who started to offer online insurance comparisons using broker panels in 2009, which rapidly became popular with small business.

The large composite commercial insurers were forced to respond and last year released a string of autoquote products into the Internet channel including packages for shops, offices, pubs, commercial let property, tradesman, professionals and commercial liability to name just a few.

The fact that it is nigh on impossible to watch television for more than an hour or two today, without seeing an advert for a builders public liability and tools policy from a dotcom is proof that the Internet has finally arrived as a commercial insurance distribution channel.

Commercial Insurance online is available from UK Commercial Insurance. The UK brokers operate one of the largest commercial insurance quotes comparison sites on the Internet.

Thinking of Letting Your Property? Things To Consider When Buying Landlord Insurance

If you are thinking of letting out your property, it’s important to familiarise yourself with your responsibilities as a landlord. These are clearly stated in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Under common law, landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of their let property and its contents and that no injury or damage can be caused to the occupants, neighbours or the public.

Abiding by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

The act states who is legally responsible for repair and maintenance areas within the property, even down to the responsibility of a blocked sink. And, abiding by this act goes above and beyond your business insurance policy and lettings agreement. This would also include regular maintenance checks; ensuring all electrical systems are in a safe condition and meeting IEE wiring certificate regulations, as well as the annual servicing of the boiler.

Finding tenants

Finding suitable tenants to occupy your property is obviously a priority to get cash flowing in. This is also particularly important as many insurers will not provide cover unless you have a tenant in the property. The type of tenant could also effect your insurance; some providers won’t insure your property if it is let to students for example. It is also advisable to check references from previous landlords, and credit check new tenants.

Whilst you can advertise your property in local newspapers or even shop windows, there are a number of benefits of using a lettings agent. Not only can they make the process quicker and easier, they will also advise you on the terms of the contract, financial aspects of the letting process and other legal issues. This does come at a price though (usually a percentage of your monthly rental income).

Getting the right insurance

Once you have found your tenants, you’ll need to make sure your investment is protected through an insurance policy that covers your needs. It’s important to understand the cover that comes as standard and the benefits of optional extras that can be added so that the policy is tailored to your specific needs.

Generally speaking, material damage cover is included in most policies and covers loss or damage to your property from a number of hazards such as fire, lightning, flood, water damage from a burst tank or pipe and even accidental damage.
Property owner’s liability also comes as standard within most policies and covers costs that you may be legally liable to pay if anyone suffers an accidental injury or their belongings are damaged in connection with your ownership of the property.
If rain leaked through the ceiling and damaged the tenant’s television for example, and you were found liable for not maintaining the property, then the property owners liability aspect of the policy may cover a claim made to repair or replace your tenant’s television.

Of course, accidents can happen which are out of your control. But to provide you with peace of mind, accidental damage cover within your insurance policy could help protect your asset. More unusual benefits are offered by some insurers too, helping to cover your investment in a range of situations. Cover against theft or accidental damage to the property by the tenant(s) is one example.

Finally, if there are any changes to the property such as new tenants, or an upgrade to your fixtures and fittings, you will need to tell your insurer. If you fail to keep your policy up to date, the cover may become invalid.

Three Pigs Convicted Of Insurance Fraud

The Guardian is reporting that the verdict is in at the trial of the three pigs on Insurance fraud.

The pigs have been found guilty of attempting to defraud an unnamed UK household  insurance company out of thousands of pounds and bearing false witness and committing perjury in the recent trial of Mr Wolf, who the pigs had been telling porky pies about. The pigs lies were sniffed out when claims farmers smelt a rat. The rat later confessed to fixing the insurance sting for the pigs.

Justice Fox described the pigs defence as ‘ham’.  He said “Pigs who make false claims put up the cost of insurance for all of us. The pigs will be sentenced at a later date. Insurance Blog hopes they fry!

Follow the best non-insurance insurance story this year at http://www.guardian.co.uk

Comparing Commercial Insurance Quotes Online

A Guide to Comparing Commercial Insurance Quotes

You can’t turn the telly on these days without seeing an advert for tradesmans business insurance or commercial liability with all the big insurance comparison websites and direct insurance companies vying for attention at one dotcom or another. Insurance Blog asked Insurance Blogger Dave Healey to take a look at commercial insurance and small business insurance websites in the UK and see how easy it is to get commercial insurance quotes.

One upon a time it was virtually impossible to obtain commercial insurance quotes without a visit to the nearest regional General and Life offices of a large corporate insurer or if you were lucky a local high street commercial insurance broker who had access to at least one commercial insurance agency for most risks, and if really lucky this broker would have specialist business insurance schemes or access to Lloyds underwriting facilities.

Comparing Commercial insurance quotes just wasn’t an option for most businessmen who had better things to do with their time so they usually took the advice of a local broker who could at least place the business. Local and provincial brokers would appoint account managers and inspectors to regularly meet with their commercial clients and keep all the business local. Inertia set in and kept the competition down and prices for cover high.  Shopping around and comparing commercial insurance and getting a range of quotes just was not feasible until very recently…..

Today all sorts of commercial insurance products are available online either direct from insurers or via an intermediary such as a commercial insurance broker with online placement facilities. Some of the larger commercial intermediaries offer comparison sites for SME business, as do all the top four general price comparison sites that dominate the screens and rankings. The broker offerings are usually much wider than the price comparison sites and they have access to many more markets.

The downside to buying commercial insurance over the Internet from say a site more known for comparing car insurance or comparing credit cards, is that there is no one at the end of a phone to give you advice about your commercial risk and when it comes to claims…….computer says uh! Would you buy business insurance off this man?

For comparing commercial insurance quotes it is always wiser to use a broker comparison site. A UK Commercial Insurance broker site will allow you to compare products and prices from all the top insurers on their panel and offer advice and claims help when you need it. They can also arrange for cover for larger risks and provide services like surveys which are often a condition of the commercial insurance quotes given imposed by the system underwriting rules.

If you operate or are responsible for any type of business entity or commercial enterprise, in order to obtain the right insurance for the company you will need to find and compare suitable commercial insurance quotes. A quote is an offer of certain defined insurance covers in a policy for a monetary price.

Quotations can be obtained from numerous sources including locally from specialist high street insurance brokers, over the phone from insurance companies or brokers, or from the many online companies and comparison sites offering all types of insurance cover.

A commercial insurance quote forms a legal offer and is the basis of the contract of insurance between the proposer and the underwriting company. The information you provide on the quotation form is used to calculate both the premium quoted and the levels of cover offered on a policy. The quote data a company provides will be used to complete the policy documents. It is therefore very important that when applying for commercial insurance quotes that the information you supply about your business activities is correct and truthful.

Most companies offering quotes will agree to honour the price offered for a period of thirty days or one month following its issue. When obtaining a quote, regardless of the source, ensure that you retain the reference number which will enable you to either take up the or recall and revise the offer at a later time. Prices offered can fluctuate and a premium offered one week may not be available the next.

Quotes and premiums can be obtained for all business types and all business and commercial risks for both business liability and property insurance, either separately or combined in what is known as a package.

Commercial property insurance will typically provide cover for buildings and contents of business premises of varying types and sizes. For example a shopkeeper would be interested in covering his glass shop front and shop stock whilst a small draughtsman business would require a price for covering the business office equipment. For this reason quotes for a business are often given by insurance companies for packaged policies that are property specific, such as shop insurance quotes or office insurance quotes.

When looking for cover search for companies that offer quotes for your particular type of building. Let property buildings only insurance quotes are available for landlords who just want to cover the buildings, fixtures and fittings. Equally commercial property tenants and lease-holders can obtain quotes that only cover the contents, stock or liabilities.

Liability quotes can be obtained with either combined property insurance packages or as a standalone quotation for individual business liabilities. The most popular liability products quoted for are public liability insurance, employers liability insurance, product liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Commercial liability quotes are widely available online for most trades and professions. Packages often offer all risks cover and if you are looking online most systems allow you to pick and choose various liability coverage options

When comparing quotes online you will not have the assistance of a broker to advise you. It is vital therefore to ensure that you check that the levels of indemnity and covers offered are sufficient for your business, because levels of commercial insurance cover quoted for, can vary as often as the price.

Commercial Insurance quotes are available from UK Commercial Insurance who operate one of the UK’s largest online commercial insurance comparison and online brokerages.