This document is effective from 01 April 2022 (and supersedes all Terms of Business previously issued by us). Please read it carefully. It sets out the terms upon which we agree to act for our clients and contains details of our regulatory and statutory responsibilities. It also sets out some of your responsibilities.
Please contact us immediately if there is anything in these Terms of Business which you do not understand or with which you disagree.
About our company
Skreen Financial Services Ltd registered in England no. 12205466, trading as Ponsford Insurance Services, 10/12 Queens Road, Portishead. Bristol, BS20 8HT is an Appointed Representative of Hayes Parsons Ltd (trading as Hayes Persons Insurance Brokers), registered in England, no. 816448 of Beacon Tower, Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 4XE and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to transact general insurance business. Their Financial Services Register number is 311881.
You can check any of this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website https://register.fca.org.uk/
We are also members of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and of the Compass Network
Our products and services
For commercial insurance, we will select products from a range of insurers using a fair and personal analysis unless we advise you otherwise at inception or at every renewal.
The services we provide (‘the Services’) are as follows:-
- Advising you and making a recommendation on your risk exposure and insurance needs, unless otherwise stated
- Arranging cover to meet requirements
- Help with ongoing changes
- Assistance on claims made on insurance policies we have arranged
- General risk management (and where to clarify this activity is neither FCA regulated nor FOS or FSCS protected)
Treating customers fairly
We aim to provide our customers with an excellent customer service to ensure your insurance requirements are met and to act with you in an honest, fair and professional manner at all times in accordance with your best interests.
Methods of communication
We will normally communicate with you by email, post and telephone, in addition to any meetings we may have with you, and in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.
Whilst we monitor the financial strength of the insurers with whom we place business, it should be noted that the claims-paying ability of even the strongest insurers could be affected by adverse business conditions. We cannot, therefore, guarantee the solvency of any insurer or underwriter. A liability for the premium, whether in full or pro rata, may arise under policies where a participating insurer becomes insolvent.
The terms of any insurance that we arrange on your behalf will be based upon the information provided by you to us or to your insurers.
If you are a consumer (an individual buying insurance wholly or mainly for purposes unrelated to your trade, business or profession) you must take reasonable care to answer all questions put to you about your proposed insurance fully, honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you do not understand the meaning of any question, or if you do not know the answer, it is vital that you tell us. Once cover has been arranged, you must immediately notify us or your insurer of any changes to the information that has been previously provided. The most serious consequence of failing to provide full and accurate information before you take out insurance, or when your circumstances change, could be the invalidation of your cover. In that instance it would mean that a claim will be rejected.
If you are a commercial customer, or someone buying insurance mainly for purposes related to your trade, business or profession, you have a duty to give a fair presentation of risk to the insurer and to provide information in a clear and accessible manner to a prudent insurer.
A fair presentation is one which clearly discloses every material circumstance which you, your senior management, or persons responsible for arranging your insurance and including ourselves as your agent, know or ought to know following a reasonable search.
In the event of any deliberate or reckless breach by you to present the risk fairly, the insurer has the right to avoid the policy and retain the premium.
You are advised to keep copies of any correspondence you send to us or direct to your insurers.
Our remuneration may be a fee, as agreed with you and detailed below and or, a commission from the insurer which is a percentage of the total annual premium.
Further, if the type of policy we sell reaches specific volume and/profit targets, some insurers may also pay us an additional bonus
We may also receive a commission expressed as a percentage of the loan made to you from the specialist third party premium finance provider.
We may make the following minimum charges to cover the administration of your insurance:
Arranging new policies and renewals £100
Cancellation and refunds (we refund after deduction of our commission/fee) £100
Mid-term adjustments £50
Methods of payment
We normally accept payments by cheque or bank transfer. It is often possible to spread payments through a credit facility we have arranged with a specialist third party premium finance provider. We will give you full information about premium payment options when we provide quotations and at renewal.
Personal credit checks
When you ask us to obtain quotations for personal insurance products, you should be aware that some of the insurers we approach will carry out personal credit checks as part of the underwriting process. This means they will review information held by a credit reference agency. Whilst a record of the search will be added to your credit record, we are advised this will not have any detrimental effect on your credit rating or history.
To comply with Consumer Credit legislation, providers of personal credit are required to carry out affordability assessments before making advances of credit. This means that whenever we are asked to arrange personal premium finance, we will pass your name, address and date of birth to the finance provider, to enable it to carry out an assessment. In assessing your application, the provider may search information held by a credit reference agency. Please note the credit reference agency will add details of the search and your application to their records, whether or not your application proceeds.
You are responsible for the settlement of insurance premiums within the terms advised to you, so that we can make the necessary payments to your insurers. We have no obligation to fund any premiums on your behalf and cannot be held responsible for any loss which you may suffer as a result of a policy being cancelled or otherwise prejudiced due to the late payment of a premium where the delay is attributable to you.
Credit agreements and agreement payment defaults
We operate as credit brokers and not as lenders when arranging any premium finance agreements.
We exclusively use Close Brothers Premium Finance for the provision of premium finance facilities.
If any direct debit or other payment due in respect of a credit agreement entered into with our suggested provider of premium finance to pay insurance premiums, associated fees and charges is not met when presented for payment, or if you end or do not complete such credit agreement, you acknowledge and agree that it may be necessary for us or the premium finance provider to cancel on your behalf the insurance policies being paid by the said agreement, unless you immediately make other arrangements to pay the remaining balance of the insurance premiums. After cancellation, you agree that you will be responsible for any time on risk charge still outstanding and the finance provider’s reasonable costs after application of any refunds allowed by the insurers. You will be responsible for putting in place any alternative insurance arrangements you need, unless you have been able to satisfy the requirements we may have in such a situation to provide an alternative solution.
Your policy will normally last for 12 months but the premium finance instalments may last for a different period depending on which payment option you choose.
Where there is an alternative premium finance arrangement available with the insurer, with a lower annual percentage rate, we will make you aware of this so that you are able to make an informed choice as to which is most suitable for your needs.
Handling client and insurer money
Client money collected for onward transmission to insurers, and return premiums due to clients from insurers, is held by Hayes Parsons Ltd in a Client Bank Account, under a Statutory Trust in accordance with FCA rules.
For the purpose of some transactions, please note that client money may pass through other authorised intermediaries before the insurer receives it.
Where Hayes Parsons Ltd collect or hold money as agent of the insurer they may also hold that money in the same Client Bank Account. Client money will be deposited with one or more approved banks, a list of which is available on request. Interest will not be paid to clients in respect of money held in client bank accounts.
In dealing with us, you are consenting to us holding your money in this way.
All information provided by our clients is treated as confidential and is only disclosed in the normal course of us negotiating, arranging and administering your insurance. This may include disclosing information to our panel of insurers and insurance providers and including their services provided such as claims loss adjusters, and to our service providers who manage our information recording, protection and data security.
We will not release your information to any other third parties without your consent, with a few exceptions for example where requested by court, a regulatory body, or for information already in the public domain.
We comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) from 25 May 2018 on under reference Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) OJ L 119/1, 4.5.2016
Unless stated otherwise in our documentation all quotations provided for new insurances are valid for a period of 30 days from the date of issue. You should be aware that quotations may change or be withdrawn if the information given to us or your insurers in proposal forms or declarations differs from that provided at the time the quotation was issued. Specimen policy wordings are available on request.
Changes to your cover
We will normally deal with requests to increase or amend cover on the day your instructions are received, or the next working day if a weekend or public holiday. Sometimes changes cannot be processed without obtaining additional information. If additional information is required we will contact you as quickly as possible. We will confirm changes to your policy, once agreed, in writing. We will also advise you of any extra premiums you must pay or premiums we must return to you.
Receipt of instructions
We do not consider instructions to arrange or change cover sent to us by post, email or facsimile, or left on answering equipment, to have been received until they reach the relevant personnel in our offices and receipt has been confirmed to you in writing. We do not accept responsibility for instructions which do not reach us due to failures in the postal, electronic or telecommunications systems.
We provide insurance documentation to you free of charge and send it electronically. Should you wish to receive your insurance documents in a different format such as in hard copy and sent by post then please let us know.
Our aim is to produce documentation and correspondence in a clear and accessible format. In the event of any uncertainty we would ask you to let us know immediately. Our staff are always happy to clarify the cover provided.
You should check all policy documentation to ensure that the details are correct and the cover provided meets with your requirements. Any errors should be notified to us immediately.
If your policy includes Employers’ Liability insurance it is prudent to keep a copy of all Employers’ Liability Certificates issued. It is important that you can identify the insurer for your statutory liabilities for each period of insurance and we therefore strongly recommend that you retain this certificate to evidence the insurance in place as long as potential liability exists. The certificate can be retained on your computer rather than displayed on the wall providing all employees have access to it.
If we take over the servicing of insurance policies which were originally arranged through another insurance broker or intermediary or directly with an insurer we do not accept liability for any claim arising out of the advice given by that broker, intermediary or insurer, nor for any errors, omissions or gaps in your current insurance protection.
We would ask you to contact us without delay should any aspect of a policy which has been transferred to us causes you concern or if you need an immediate review. Otherwise we will endeavour to review all transferred policies as they fall due for renewal.
Making a claim
You must report all incidents that could give rise to a claim as soon as you become aware of them by contacting our office. You will be advised if you need to complete a claim form or produce documentation to support your claim. In certain circumstances late notification may result in your claim being rejected and many insurers ask for claims to be notified within certain timescales.
If the claim involves damage to your property, please do not dispose of damaged items and/or authorise repair work (except in an emergency or to prevent further damage) until your insurers or we advise that you can. If your claim involves damage to third party property or injury to persons please pass copies of all correspondence, including solicitors’ letters, to us immediately and unanswered. Any attempt to negotiate or respond to the incident without prior reference to your insurers or us might prejudice your cover. You must not, under any circumstances, admit liability for a loss without prior permission from your insurer.
You should be aware that a claim arising after renewal of the policy has been invited might affect the assessment and acceptance of renewal by your insurers.
Conflicts of interest
As an independent insurance broker we act on behalf of you, unless we advise you otherwise at inception or every renewal. We are subject to the law of agency which imposes certain duties on us. We also have proper regard for the interests of others, including insurers for whom we act. Where we become aware of any actual or potential conflict of interest we will inform you of the situation, the options available to you and obtain your consent before we carry out your instructions.
We recognise the importance of service and set ourselves high standards. Should there be an occasion when we do not meet your expectations we are equally committed to dealing with any complaint in a thorough and professional manner. If you wish to register a complaint please contact us by telephone on 01275 840400, e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail.
If you cannot settle your complaint with us you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk) for an independent assessment and opinion. The FOS Consumer helpline is 0800 023 4567 or contact them at Financial Ombudsmen Service, Exchange Tower, London E14 9SR.
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). You may be entitled to compensation from the FSCS if we cannot meet our obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim.
Insurance advising and arranging is covered for 90% of the claim, without any upper limit. For compulsory classes of insurance, Professional Indemnity insurance and certain claims for injury, sickness or infirmity, insurance advising and arranging is covered for 100% of the claim, without any upper limit. Further details about compensation scheme arrangements are available from the FSCS on their website www.fscs.org.uk or via their helpline on 0800 678 1100.
Termination of authority
You may terminate our authority to act on your behalf with 14 days’ notice or as otherwise agreed without penalty. Notice of this termination must be given in writing and will take effect from the date of receipt. Termination is without prejudice to any transactions already initiated which will be completed according to these Terms of Business unless otherwise agreed in writing. You will be liable to pay for any transactions or adjustments effective prior to termination and we will be entitled to retain any and all fees or brokerage payable in relation to policies placed by us prior to the date of termination.
If you take out a personal insurance policy through us which lasts for more than one calendar month you may have a right to cancel the cover up to 14 days from the later of the policy start date or the date you receive full policy documentation from us or your insurers, or the renewal date or the date you receive full renewal documentation from us or your insurers.
You will be informed if you have such a Cancellation Right in separate documentation. Should you decide to exercise the Cancellation Right you will be entitled to a refund of premium less an appropriate pro rata charge for the period of cover given before the cancellation right was invoked. If the premium has not been paid, a charge may be made for the period of cover given prior to the exercise of the Cancellation Right. Should any claim occur prior to the exercise of the Cancellation Right where the claim terminates the insurance cover, your insurers may not allow a refund of any of the premium paid.
If this Cancellation Right is not exercised within the 14-day period as stated above, and you decide to cancel the policy at a later date, the amount of any premium refund will depend upon the cancellation terms of your insurance policy and our possible retention of any commission earned or administration fee earned. To exercise the Cancellation Right you should contact us at our normal address or your insurers at the address shown on your policy.
Cancellation of policies
If you wish to cancel your policy in circumstances other than as described in the section headed Cancellation Right, you may be entitled to a refund of part of your premium as long as no claims have occurred during the time you have been on cover. The refund due may not necessarily be proportionate to the remaining period of cover. Additionally you should note the following:
- Insurers do not normally allow refunds in cases where a minimum and deposit premium has been charged
- Cancellation may not be possible until you return your certificate of insurance to us or your insurers
- Cancellation of a direct debit does not necessarily cancel a policy and any balance of premium owing may be requested by the insurers.
When your policy ends or is cancelled, we will send you any documentation and information to which you are entitled on request.
Law and jurisdiction
These Terms of Business shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law. In relation to any legal action or proceedings arising out of or in connection with these Terms of Business we both irrevocably submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
You are deemed to have accepted these terms of business and give your consent for us to operate in the ways described, unless you advise us otherwise within 7 days of receipt.