Accepting our Terms of Business
By asking us to quote for, arrange or handle your insurances, you are providing your informed agreement to these Terms of Business. We draw your particular attention to:
• The sections headed ‘Processing of your personal data’,’Credit checks” and “Issuing documentation”.
For your own benefit and protection, you should read these terms carefully. If you are unsure about any aspect of our Terms of Business or have any questions regarding our relationship with you, please contact us at the above address.
The Financial Conduct Authority
Alan Brown & Co (NI) Ltd t/a AB&C Insurance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Our Financial Services Register number is 595863.
Our permitted business is introducing, advising, arranging, dealing as agent and assisting in the administration and performance of general insurance contracts, credit broking and supplementary debt-related administration in relation to insurance instalment facilities.
You may check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website, www.fca.gov.uk/register/ or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
Helping you to decide
Typically our role is to advise you and, after we have assessed your needs, to provide you with a personal recommendation explaining why the insurance product recommended best meets your requirement. Where we can offer the availability of an instalment facility in order to pay the insurance premium by regular payments, we do not offer advice or make personal recommendations in relation to this but we may ask some questions to narrow down the selection of options available; you will then need to make your own choice about how to proceed.
We will not provide further personal recommendations following the arrangement of insurance cover, unless you notify us of a material change of circumstances or formally request that we review your insurance arrangements.
The capacity in which we act for you
We act as an insurance intermediary, not an insurer. We will usually act on your behalf when arranging your insurances, when helping you make any changes to your policy, when you renew your insurance and in the event of a claim. If there are any circumstances where we act as an agent of the insurer, we will let you know the capacity in which we act before we finalise your insurance arrangements.
Scope of Service including our product range and the range of insurers used
We provide a personal recommendation and select personal and commercial insurances from a fair and personal analysis of the market available to us using our panel of insurers. For certain classes of insurance, we carefully select products from a limited number of insurers or a single insurer, which means we do not give a personal recommendation on the basis of a fair and personal analysis. This applies to the following classes of insurance – Travel, Motor and Family Legal protection are sourced from single providers, Sunworld and Provincewide Claims Ltd respectively. We will give you further information about this before we finalise your insurance arrangements.
We will not in any circumstance guarantee the solvency of any insurer.
If we propose using another intermediary to help place your business, we will confirm this to you in good time before any arrangements are finalised.
We may also be able to offer finance for insurance instalments through the insurer and / or Close Brothers Premium Finance. We will give you further information about your payment options when we discuss your insurance in detail.
In agreeing to do business with ourselves you accept that we can issue documentation by e-mail or by post. E-mail is not a secure form of communication and for this reason we cannot guarantee the security of the e-mail or its contents or that it remains virus free once sent.
We act as agents of the insurer in collecting premiums and handling refunds due to clients. Such monies are deemed to be held by the insurer(s) with which your insurance is arranged.
Cancellation of insurances
You should make any request for the cancellation of a policy to the contact details included in this Terms of Business in writing or by phone. Any relevant certificate of insurance must be returned to us or to the insurer concerned. In the event of cancellation, charges for our services will apply in accordance with the ‘Payment for our services’ section above. The terms of your policy may allow insurers to retain the premium in full or to charge short-period premiums in the event of cancellation before the policy expires.
Ending your relationship with us
Subject to your immediate settlement of any outstanding premiums and fees, you may instruct us to stop acting for you and we will not impose a penalty. Your instructions must be given in writing and will take effect from the date of receipt.
In circumstances where we feel we cannot continue providing services to you, we will give you a minimum of 7days notice. Valid reasons may include but are not limited to non-payment of premium or fees, commission clawback by insurers where instructions are given to another party to handle the customer’s insurance(s), failure to provide requested documentation or information, deliberate failure to comply with terms set out within the Terms of Business or insurer’s documentation, deliberate misrepresentation or non-disclosure or attempted fraud, use of threatening or abusive behaviour or language, or intimidation or bullying of our staff or suppliers. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, if our relationship ends, any transactions previously initiated will be completed according to these Terms of Business. You will be liable to pay for any transactions concluded prior to the end of our relationship and we will be entitled to retain commission received for conducting these transactions, together with all fees charged by us for services provided.
If you are a consumer, you are responsible for answering any questions in relation to any proposal for insurance cover honestly and to the best of your knowledge, providing complete and accurate information which insurers will require. This also applies to your responses in relation to any assumptions you may agree to in the process of applying for insurance cover. This is particularly important before taking out a policy but also at renewal or if you make a mid-term amendment to your policy.
If you fail to disclose information, or misrepresent any fact which may influence the insurer’s decision to accept the risk or the terms offered, this could invalidate the policy and mean that claims may not be paid.
If you are a commercial customer, you have a duty to give a fair presentation of risk to the insurer. This means that you should disclose every material circumstance relevant to the risk being insured following a reasonable search within your business to identify and verify such information. This should include information which you and where applicable your senior management, persons responsible for arranging your insurance or other relevant third parties know or ought to know and should include all information that would influence the judgement of the insurer or that would put the insurer on notice that it needs to make further enquiries.
Examples of material circumstances are:
• Special or unusual circumstances relating to the risk;
• Any particular concerns which led you to seek insurance cover for the risk; and
• Anything which those concerned with the class of insurance and field of activity in question would generally understand as being something that would be dealt with in a fair presentation of risks for this type of insurance.
The information must be presented in a way which would be reasonably clear and accessible to a prudent insurer. If you are unsure whether to disclose any information you should speak to us. You need to take into account the size & complexity of your business, and allow yourself sufficient time before your renewal date to consider and / or assess your insurance requirements.
Failure to provide a ‘fair representation’ may result in a number of remedies by the insurer. If the breach was deliberate or reckless the insurer can void the contract and keep the premium. If the breach was not deliberate or reckless the insurer can void the contract, proportionately reduce a claim settlement or amend the insurance policy terms and conditions then review the merits of a claim on this basis.
You should therefore always provide complete and accurate information to us when we ask you about the insurance risks your business faces before taking out a policy, at renewal and throughout the life of the policy. This also applies to your responses in relation to any assumptions you may agree to in the process of applying for insurance cover.
Complaints and Compensation
We aim to provide you with a high level of customer service at all times but, if you are not satisfied, please contact the ‘Customer Services Manager’ at the address shown above.
When dealing with your complaint, we will follow our complaint handling procedures. A summary of these procedures is available on request.
If you are still not satisfied, you may be entitled to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Except in the case of a business employing 10 persons or more and with a turnover or annual balance sheet total exceeding €2 million, a charity with an annual income of £1m or more or trustees of a trust with a net asset value of £1m or more. For further information you can visit the FOS website www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for our insurance mediation activities. You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. If you are eligible to claim from the FSCS, compensation is available in relation to insurance advising and arranging as follows:
• 90% of the claim, without any upper limit
• 100% of the claim, without any upper limit for
compulsory classes of insurance (such as Third Party Motor or Employers Liability) and professional indemnity insurance and general insurance claims arising from the death or incapacity of the policyholder owing to injury, sickness or infirmity, all where the insurance intermediary has failed to pay money to an insurer, pay away money it has received from an insurer, or has failed to take steps to allow the insurer to effect the contract of insurance.
Further information about compensation scheme arrangements is available from the FSCS on 0800 678 1100 (freephone) or 020 7741 4100 or www.fscs.org.uk.
Payment for our services
We normally receive commission from insurers, product providers and, where applicable, finance providers. Any commission we receive will be paid by the insurer or product provider from the insurance premium. Any commission we receive from the premium finance provider will be paid from the finance repayment. On request, we will be pleased to provide information about any commission received by us in the handling of your insurances.
For Commercial customers – In good time before the conclusion of each insurance contract, or upon renewal, we will remind you of your right to be informed of the level of commission which we receive from underwriters and premium finance providers. 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.
We do not charge any additional fees (payable by you) for handling your insurance or arranging premium finance unless we have agreed these with you in advance.
Any fees we do charge are set out below:
Personal Service Charges
• New business £25
• Mid-term amendments £20
• Renewals £25
• Cancellations £30 **
**our cancellation charges will not apply to consumers cancelling within the 14-day cooling off period
Commercial Service Charges
5% of Premium including IPT / VAT (Subject to a minimum of £30 and maximum of £1000)
You will receive a quotation which will tell you the total price to be paid, and which identifies any fees, taxes and charges separately from the premium, before your insurance arrangements are concluded.
Full payment of premium and fees is due before cover commences, or as otherwise stated under terms of credit, or in the debit note, invoice or statement issued to you. Failure to pay the premium due will mean that your insurance policy might not commence or that it will be cancelled.
We also draw your attention to the sections headed ‘Cancellation of insurances’ and ‘Ending your relationship with us’.
All customers must fully check all details on any proposal form or Statement of Facts and pay particular attention to any declaration you may be asked to sign. It is important that you read all insurance documents issued to you and ensure that you are aware of the cover, limits and other terms that apply. Particular attention must be paid to any warranties and conditions as failure to comply with them could invalidate your policy or mean that claims may not be paid. You must inform us immediately of any changes in circumstances which may affect the services provided by us or the cover provided by your policy. If you are unsure about any matter, please contact us for guidance.
Processing of your personal data
In your dealings with us you may provide us with information that may include data that is known as personal data. Where we process personal data, we comply with statutory data processing requirements as set out by the Data Protection Act 2018. The personal data we will collect will include information relating to your name, address, date of birth, contact details and health or criminal offences.
In processing personal data for insurance purposes about health or criminal offences, we will only do so to enable us to provide our service to you and on the basis of it being in the public interest.
We will only use your data for the purpose for which it was collected. We will only grant access to or share your data within our firm, firms associated with us and with other authorised third parties and product and service providers such as insurers and premium finance providers where we are entitled to do so by law under lawful data processing. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides you with Access Rights that allow you to gain an understanding on the data being processed, who we share it with, for what purpose, why we need to retain it and retention periods, to object to the processing and to place restrictions on the processing, to request copies of your data and to request the deletion of your data.
How we process your personal data is detailed further within our Privacy Notice. Please refer to www.abcni.co.uk
We, and other firms involved in arranging your insurance (insurers, other intermediaries or premium finance companies) may use public and personal data from a variety of sources including credit reference agencies and other organisations. The information is used to help tailor a price, to ascertain the most appropriate payment options for you and to help prevent fraud. Any credit reference search will appear on your credit report whether or not your application proceeds. If you have any questions about this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact us
Conflict of interests
Occasions can arise where we, or one of our associated companies, clients or product providers, may have a potential conflict of interest with business being transacted for you. If this happens, and we become aware that a potential conflict exists, we will write to you and obtain your consent before we carry out your instructions and we will detail the steps we will take to ensure fair treatment.
Alan Brown & Co (NI) Ltd t/a AB&C Insurance have a minority share in Provincewide Claims Ltd & Hexagon Underwriting, both of which are used to provide services to our clients. Appropriate sets of controls are in place to ensure no customer interests are compromised.
Claims handling arrangements
You should take note of the required procedures in the event of a claim, which will be explained in the policy documentation. Generally, insurers require immediate notification of a claim or circumstances which might lead to a claim. We will employ due care and skill if we act on your behalf in respect of a claim.
In the event of a Motor or Household claim we may pass your details to relevant Claims Management Companies. They will employ due care and skill whilst acting on your behalf in respect of a claim.