2016: A Year In Review. A collage of faded images throughout the year with text across the page.

2016: A Year In Review

2016 was a busy year for the directors and staff of Brownhill Insurance Group. We would like to share our year in review with you.

January

We love art and the start of the year saw us sponsoring and exhibiting at the London Art Fair.

London Art Fair. Art Now Stand

LAF 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We welcomed the first of six new members of staff to our extended family when Mathew Dominquez joined our Private Clients team.

February

New staff members this month were Rachel Penning and Oliver Marquis who joined our Personal Lines team.

March

As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we were proud to choose St Christopher’s Hospice as our charity for the year 2016 – 2017. As some of you may be aware this is a charity close to our hearts.

April

Easter saw the refurbishment of our office, a smarter sleeker feel; with room to expand.
Which was great because we welcomed another newcomer, Ben Henderson as Commercial Executive into the Commercial Department.
New Office after our office refurbishment
With our clients in mind, members of our VIP Art Club continued to receive complimentary invitations courtesy of our gallery clients and contacts to various London art fairs and exhibitions. Once again we were able to invite a number of our clients to the Allianz-sponsored Saracens v Harlequins rugby match at Wembley.
In April, we also proudly sponsored the Other Art Fair with several events throughout the year, including the picture below at Victoria House.

The Other Art Fair

May

We were pleased to continue our close association with Bromley Football Club. As well as being a club sponsor, we also host the annual Kevin Andrews Memorial Cup at Hayes Lane. This year we managed to raise £1,200. Proceeds from the day were split between St Christopher’s Hospice and Cancer Research.

KAMC 2016 Teams

June

The art department hosted an afternoon tea at Le Meridien Hotel in partnership with Caiger Contemporary Art. Artist Rod McIntosh delivered a talk and tour of his exhibition at the hotel – ‘A Captured Moment’.
Steve painting

July

As a number of our staff regularly attend different networking events, we decided to hold our own social networking occasions. Our first was held in the evening in our newly refurbished offices on the hottest day of the year but was greatly enjoyed by all.

August

Just a small alteration but we finally changed our registered company name from Brownhill Morris and West Ltd to Brownhill Insurance Group Ltd on 1st August 2016.

September

For the second year running, we exhibited at the Bank on Business Expo held at the historic Biggin Hill Airport. We not only met some old contacts but we made a lot of new ones.

We were delighted to sponsor St Christopher’s Hospice’s Classic Car Show in Norman Park, Bromley.

A little reshuffle in the office and we now have a designated Sales team.

Finally, Annie Burgess joined us from school for 2 weeks work experience and stayed on as our apprentice office junior.

October

In October, Lauren Andrews was the next to join us as our Marketing Assistant. With her arrival, our social media and website blogs have been given a boost with regular interesting articles on a wide variety of subjects.

You can read our blog here – http://brownhillgroup.co.uk/blog/ or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Having reached the finals of the Bromley Business Awards for the 4th year running, we were pleased to be “Highly Commended” in the Employer of the Year & Best Business for Customer Service categories at the gala awards ceremony held at The Warren.

BBA table

We were pleased to enter St Christopher’s Hospice into the Aviva Community Fund to win up to £25,000. After a joint effort over social media, we were thrilled to hear that they had received enough votes to become finalists. Unfortunately, they did not win this year but were awarded £500 for becoming a finalist. Thank you to everyone who voted.

Staff donated prizes for a raffle and wore it pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, raising £122.00.

Wear it Pink

We said a fond farewell to Dora Tramonte who after celebrating 10 years with us, left to return home to her roots as a hairdresser (pun intended) in Devon.

November

Our new advertising poster went up under the bridge at Shortlands Station. We are very proud to say we have been providing insurance to the residents and businesses in the local borough for more than 35 years.

December

Our second networking event of the year was held in the afternoon at Aqua Mediterranean Restaurant where our guest speaker was no other than Michael “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards! Both of our social networking events were a great success and we look forward to hosting more in 2017.
Eddie The Eagle

We would like to take this opportunity to thank those clients who helped us raise an additional £240 for charity as part of our recent Season’s Greetings Charity Campaign. Rather than sending out a physical card, we thought we would be green and save the trees. We instead made a £1 donation to Living On Bereavement ( Charity Number: 1166617) and ASSERT (Charity Number: 1021882) for every client that clicked on the ‘Donate’ button in our Season’s Greetings email sent to them.

Staff members donned their festive jumpers whilst at our Christmas Lunch for Save the Children, raising £58 for this worthwhile cause.

Finally, we ended the year celebrating our annual Christmas Party at the Grosvenor Casino.

Christmas Party

There are lots of exciting things in the pipeline for the forthcoming year so watch this space.

Brownhill Insurance Group & Bounce Life at their December networking event at Aqua Bar & Grill

Brownhill Insurance Group & Bounce Life – Networking Lunch

Friday 2nd December saw host to what could well become the annual ‘festive season opener’, and the place to be for Bromley business owners. Brownhill Insurance Group & Bounce Life entertained a merry crowd of over 70 guests on East Street, Bromley for a three-course lunch at Aqua Bar & Grill. With friends, colleagues and acquaintances giving up their Friday afternoons, expectations were running high for the arrival of Olympic ski jumping hero – Eddie the Eagle; as guest speaker.

Watch our 1 minute promo video below or the full 30 minute video at the bottom of this post.

Guests flooded in from 12pm and after an hour of networking with new and familiar faces, it was almost time to eat. Everyone took their seats and Ashley Reading from Bounce Life welcomed the room and quickly had everybody back on their feet again for a game of ‘Heads and Tails’. Based on the life of guest speaker Eddie The Eagle, there were 6 rounds of questions before 6 finalists were brought to the front and a winner found. Congratulations to Patsy Appleton for winning a meal for two at Aqua.

Compliments must be given to the chef and the staff at Aqua for delivery of over 70 beautiful meals all at once. From starter to dessert there was praise from all around the room.

After the main course had been consumed and washed down with water and/or wine, Ashley again took the microphone to introduce Eddie the Eagle for his guest speaker spot. Delivering on expectation, the jolly and at times comical Eddie entertained the room with his enthusiastic stories of adventure. He wrapped up with a Q&A of which there were many questions.

Brownhill & Bounce – Event 02.12.16

Although the event officially ended at 4pm, many were still there at 6pm including Eddie who was very obliging for posing for photographs and signing autographs. We can honestly say that he is the most genuine and kind man who always had a smile on his face. If you have not seen his film then we would thoroughly recommend it. (Trailer below)

It was a great event and one aimed at bringing our business community together including the lovely Deputy Mayor of Bromley, Hannah Gray.

Gillian from Brownhill Insurance Group & Ashley of Bounce Life would personally like to thank everyone that attended; it was a truly fantastic afternoon. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Best wishes for the season and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.

View looking up at the side of a blue block of flats with balconies on each window

Referencing a Tenant

Insurance can be whittled down to a very simple summary, “a small known loss (the premium), in exchange for a potential, unknown, large loss (a claim). But what happens when the financial loss you have suffered is not covered by an insurance policy?

Loss of rental income can be claimed for if your property has suffered from an insured event e.g. fire damage, storm damage, escape of water. However, a landlord’s insurance policy is not designed to provide cover should your tenant fall behind with their rental payments.

If cover is needed for rental arrears you should consider a landlord’s rent guarantee policy to cover your legal costs incurred and the rent arrears due. As with any potential financial loss, it is better to be proactive than reactive. Listed below are some helpful touchpoints with regard to referencing your tenant and ensuring your property is in good hands:

Application stage:

All the information needed from your prospective tenants should be listed here on one form as well as your intention to carry out personal, professional and financial checks.

Online credit checks:

Names, previous addresses, credit score and any history of financial difficulties can be found and verified online to aid your research. There are many online companies able to provide this service. An online search of price and previous customer reviews can be carried out to ensure that the product is suitable for your needs.

References:

A rule of thumb when prospecting tenants should be that they are earning at least 250% of their annual rent due to you. E.g. £10,000 a year rent should be covered by someone who is earning £25,000 a year after tax. Authorisation from your potential tenant to their employer to verify that they are in employment, for how long they have been employed by the company and their salary can help minimise dishonest applications.

A guarantor:

Any guarantors should be checked with the same due care and attention as the tenant. Should your tenant find themselves in financial difficulties, their guarantor should be able to meet their financial obligations to you.

Landlord’s legal expenses starts at £30.00 and a rental guarantee is £65.00 for the year. Should you have any queries regarding these policies then please do not hesitate to contact our office; we can provide written quotations showing all relevant terms and conditions on request.

Gable

Another Unrated Insurer Enters Administration

Troubled Liechtenstein insurer Gable was the second insurer this year to be placed in administration due to its inability to raise sufficient capital to be solvency II compliant.

This highlights the risks to brokers and their clients of placing business with an unrated insurer.

Brownhill Insurance Group would like to reassure our clients that we only use rated and trusted carriers who we know to be financially stable and secure and are both regulated by the FCA and protected by the FSCS.

We have a duty of care to our clients, to ensure that they are never put in the position of having their insurance provider go into administration or being unable to pay claims.

Read more here on Gable entering administration.

Update: Liechtenstein court appointed liquidator for Gable Insurance on 17 November. www.insuranceage.co.uk/insurance-age/news/2478129/gable-now-in-default-states-fscs

Cyber-compressor

Cyber Liability Insurance

As technology becomes increasingly important for modern business operations, the value of a strong Cyber Liability Insurance policy will only continue to grow. The continued rise in the amount of information stored and transferred electronically has resulted in a vast increase in the potential exposures facing businesses. In an age where a lost laptop or hacked account can compromise the personal data of thousands of customers, protecting yourself from cyber liabilities is just as important as some of the more traditional exposures.

Why Cyber Liability Insurance?
A traditional commercial insurance policy is extremely unlikely to protect against most cyber exposures. Standard commercial policies are written to insure against injury or loss and will do little, if anything, to shield you from electronic damages and the associated costs they may incur. Awareness of the potential cyber exposures your company faces is essential to managing these risks.

Possible exposures covered by a typical cyber policy may include:

Data breaches – Increased online consumer spending has placed more responsibility on companies to protect clients’ personal information. Loss of sensitive personal or financial information may subject you to fines and sanctions from the Information Commissioner.

Business/Network Interruption – If your primary business requires the use of computer systems, an insured event that ceases your ability to use such systems could cause you or a third party that depends on your services, to lose potential revenue. Time and resources that normally would have gone elsewhere will need to be directed towards the problem which could result in further losses. This is especially important as denial of service attacks by hackers have been on the rise. Such attacks block access to certain websites by overloading an organisation’s server causing the website to crash.

Intellectual property rights – Your company’s online presence, whether it be through a website, blog or social media, opens you up to some of the same exposures faced by publishers. This can include libel, copyright or trademark infringement and defamation, among other things

Damages to a third-party system – If an email sent from your server has a virus that crashes the system of a customer or the software your company distributes fails, resulting in a loss for a third party, you could be held liable for the damages.

System Failure – A natural disaster, malicious activity or fire could all cause physical damages that could result in data or code loss.

Cyber Extortion – Hackers can hijack websites, networks and stored data, denying access to you or your customers and will often demand money to restore your systems to working order. This can cause a temporary loss of revenue plus costs associated with paying the hacker’s demands.

Cyber Liability Insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technologies; risks that other types of business cover will not. The level of cover your business needs can vary depending on your range of operations and subsequently, exposure. It is extremely important to identify your areas of risk so a policy can be tailored to fit your unique needs. Brownhill Insurance Group is here to help you analyse those needs and make the right cover decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk.

b-a-n-k-on-business

Bank on Business 2016

A busy day started for the Bank on Business Expo at Biggin Hill with the set up of the Brownhill Stand.  Once in place, it was a smart and eye catching display which was admired by the other exhibitors and visitors alike.  The Hole in One putting game saw fierce competition and was won by Steve from FAB-Racing who promised his colleagues that he would share the contents of the food hamper prize on their next trip to Donnington Park.  Good luck guys!  Our business card draw was won by David Spragg of T&C Printers who was presented with a bottle of champagne.

The day was a great opportunity to meet other local business people and to help with questions they had about their insurance policies.  With plenty of visitors to the Brownhill stand, lots of questions were answered and people leaving satisfied, knowing that they had received professional and impartial advice.

Overall,  a successful day was had by all.

Unwanted-Calls

How To Avoid Unwanted Calls

Bombarded by unwanted calls from Personal Injury and PPI companies?

Most businesses today use mobile phones and unwanted calls are not only annoying and distracting but a waste of valuable time.

Customary advice is to just ignore all unrecognised numbers and change your number if it becomes intolerable, however this isn’t an option for many as a call from an unknown or withheld number could potentially be a new client and it can be time consuming and costly to update websites, business cards and headed paper should you make a change.

Help is now at hand as there is now a way to pretty much stop these calls dead in their tracks.

A new opt-out service was launched by Ofcom and the Telephone Preference Service in May 2016. Mobile users can now sign up for free by texting “TPS” followed by their email address to 85095,  ensuring that their mobile number is added to the UK database, it is then illegal for companies to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls without the recipients permission and can incur severe penalties of up to £500,000 imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office for non compliance.

Although they cannot guarantee you will never receive an unwanted call again, as there will always be unscrupulous callers that ignore the “Do not call” database; however, a reduction in the number of nuisance calls should be seen within 28 days. Unfortunately callers based overseas are not bound by this regulation.

Reduce the number of unwanted calls on mobiles and landlines, texts, spam in your email box or on instant message apps and even post through your door.

  1. Add any numbers confirmed as spam to your block callers/reject list on your mobile phone.
  1. For landlines, register with the Telephone Preference Service by going on line at tpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0345 070 0707.
    Opt out services can only go so far in reducing the numbers of unwanted sales, marketing and charity fund raising calls, overseas call centres  and silent calls can usually be the most troublesome. Should this be an issue, you could consider a call blocker device. These attach to your phone and are used to block different types of calls. Some even screen your calls by asking the caller to give their name before the call is connected.
  1. When receiving a spam text, never click on any links or reply by texting STOP; any response confirms that your number is live and could be sold on. Read this Money Saving Expert article for more information.
  1. Be careful when online who you give your details to and always look for the “opt out” box, to avoid your details being used in future marketing and being sold on to other companies. Although not the most efficient scheme, you can register with the Mailing Preference Service on www.mpsonline.org.uk or by calling 0845 703 4599 (automated service).
  1. In an attempt to stop spam on instant message apps such as iMessage or WhatsApp, you should do so via the app. Often you can report spam directly under the message you have just received. Read this if you are an iMessage user or this article if you use WhatsApp.
  1. You can also opt out of the junk mail delivered through your door by the Royal Mail by emailing your name and address to optout@royalmail.com. Due to security reasons you will receive a form by post for completion and return. Royal Mail will then cease to deliver leaflets within 6 weeks.
  1. When entering competitions or surveys always use a specifically set up email account for purpose and protect your privacy with TrueCall38, a free service whereby you use the telephone number 0333 88 88 88 88, when dialled the caller receives the following message “TrueCall38 is handling my calls. I prefer not to be contacted by phone, so please contact me via my email address. Goodbye!”
  1. Use TrueCaller to search a number to see if it is a nuisance call, or download the app on your phone for it to report it to you automatically.

What does the future hold?

Which? Are urging the Government to take action on 15 recommendations out lined in an recent official task force chaired by them in relation to how personal data is used, the prevention of companies withholding their number and making senior executives personally accountable by law for their company’s nuisance calls.

For further information or to sign their petition please go to – www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-stop-nuisance-phone-calls

Data from the Information Commissioner’s Office shows between 1 January and 31st May 2016 they received a total of 58,107 complaints about nuisance calls and texts, with an estimated 2% of people reporting them to the regulator, the true figure is much higher.

For further information from ICO please go to – www.ico.org.uk/action-weve-taken/nuisance-calls-and-messages

Social-Evening

Brownhill Insurance Group host summer social evening

The hottest day of the year so far saw Brownhill Insurance Group hold their first social evening on Tuesday 19th July at their newly refurbished offices on East Street in Bromley, for what will become a regular event.

The main objective of our intimate gathering was to connect with local business owners and public figures to exchange information and start to develop what we hope will become lasting relationships. Our guests were able to network with other like minded people in an informal atmosphere where members of our staff were also available to offer help and advice on any insurance matters they may have had.

It was a great first event and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended and particularly Gavin from Cow and Pig restaurant for providing the delicious canapes, which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

If you would be interested in attending one of our open events, please contact Keith Penning on 0208 353 8956 or keith.penning@brownhillgroup.co.uk. It would be great to see you.

Cyber-compressor

Could Cyber Crime Affect Your Business?

In 2015, cyber crime became the most prevalent criminal offence in the United Kingdom, affecting around 8 million people. Despite this, nearly half of UK businesses do not believe they will be a target as they may deem themselves ‘too small’ to be a valuable target. After all, when multi-national companies have so publicly found themselves subject to an attack, why bother with a local I.T company or solicitors office? Industry research however notes that more than 7 out of 10 cyber attacks target businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

On average, the cost to a small/medium sized business following a breach is between £75,000 – £311,000. What is not included within these costs are those incurred in rebuilding the damaged reputation and trust of a brand following an attack. One high-profile telecommunications company recently announced within their financial results that a security breach saw them lose 95,000 customers and £60m in revenue following the theft of 150,000 customer details. How many years and millions of pounds will need to be spent before those losses have been recovered? Cyber liability insurers may be able to be extended cover to include loss of gross profits following reputational harm as a consequence of a loss.

On a more positive note, it is believed 4 out of 5 cyber attacks can be prevented by undertaking basic security measures. For more information on cyber security and liability insurance cover, contact Brownhill Insurance Group. Our commercial team can guide you through the needs suitable for your business, with cover starting from £250.00 upwards.

The most common forms of cyber threats:

Ransomware: A malicious piece of software that locks all of the data a company’s computer systems that can only be unlocked after paying a ransom – generally between £250-1,000 or more. In early June the University of Calgary paid over £10,000 to restore data and emails that were held to ransom.

Hacking: A criminal will attempt to exploit a vulnerability within company security to access its data. This will usually take the shape of banking or card details belonging to a customer of the client.

Denial-of-service attack: A company’s website is overwhelmed by a high-volume of data being pushed to its servers, which can interrupt systems from a matter of hours to weeks at a time.

CEO fraud: A cyber criminal posing as a senior person within the company, by hacking an email account, will instruct someone with financial authority to transfer money as a matter of urgency to a specified account. According to the FBI, this has cost businesses across the globe more than £1.4 billion in the last 24 months.

Cyber Risk Exposure Scorecard - Blog Header

Cyber Risk Exposure Scorecard

Cyber Risk Exposure Scorecard

Cyber Risk Exposure Scorecard

In recent years, cyber attacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats facing organisations of all sizes. The Internet and other network operations have created risks that were non-existent less than a decade ago. When cyber attacks (such as data breaches and hacks) occur, they can result in devastating damage, such as business disruptions, revenue loss, legal fees, a permanently tainted reputation, and more. It is important to remember that no organisation is immune to the impact of cyber crime. As a result, cyber liability insurance has become an essential component to any risk management programme.

Brownhill Insurance Group is pleased to offer for free to businesses a cyber risk exposure scorecard to help you identify problem areas within your business.

Download PDF.