Tel: 0121 561 4196
Terms of Business and Important Information We Must Disclose to You
1. Terms of Business (“Terms”)
In these Terms references to “we” or “us” are to the firm whose details are set out in the covering letter that accompanies these Terms.We recommend that for your own benefit and protection you should read these Terms carefully. These Terms constitute our standard client agreement upon which we intend to rely and will apply to our appointment by you and the services that we will provide. If you do not understand any point please ask for further information.
IN PARTICULAR we draw your attention to CLAUSE 9 and CLAUSE 14 of these Terms which relate to the amount you will receive if you cancel
your policy, and the maximum amount we will be liable for in the event of our negligence.
These Terms supersede all proposals, prior discussions and representations (whether oral or written) between us relating to our appointment as your agent in connection with the arranging and administration of your insurance. These Terms constitute an offer by us to act on your behalf in the arranging and administration of your insurance – in the absence of any specific acceptance communicated to us by you (whether verbal or written) you are deemed to accept our offer to act for you on the basis of these Terms by conduct upon your instructing us to arrange, renew or otherwise act for you in connection with insurance matters. If you do not wish to be bound by these Terms then you should not instruct us to arrange, renew or otherwise deal with your insurance needs.
2. How to make a claim
If you wish to report a claim or potential claim, please follow the instructions provided with your insurance company’s documentation, quoting your policy number or other reference given to you.Alternatively, if we need to be notified as well as (or instead of) your insurance company, we will have provided you with details (and a telephone number) at the time we sold you your policy and/or in the documentation you received from us.
For some policies, insurers give us authority to act on their behalf in settling claims. In these circumstances, and in recognition of a potential conflict of interest, we will seek your permission for us to deal with such a claim.
3. Who are we regulated by?
The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) is an independent watchdog that regulates financial services. We are authorised and regulated by them and you can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768. Our permitted activities are recommending insurance policies (and in cases where we do not give a recommendation we will tell you); arranging insurance cover; dealing as agent and assisting with the administration and performance of policies – all in connection with general insurance.
4. Are we covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”)?
Yes. You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations, depending on the circumstances of the claim.
For compulsory classes of insurance, insurance advising and arranging is covered for 100% of any claim, without upper limit. Further information about compensation scheme arrangements is available from the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk
Our objective is to provide a high standard of service to you at all times. However we recognise that things can go wrong occasionally and if this occurs we are committed to resolving matters promptly and fairly. If you wish to register a complaint please contact us:
• in writing, to the Managing Director at the address shown on the letter (or business card) that accompanies this document, or;
• by telephone, using the number shown on the letter document (or business card) that accompanies this document, or;
• in person, at the address shown on the letter (or business card) that accompanies this document.
In all cases please quote your policy number or other reference we have given you. If you cannot settle your complaint with us you may be entitled to refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Our Complaints Procedure is available upon request.
6. Our Services
We are an insurance intermediary acting on your behalf as your agent in arranging your insurance cover. Our services may include advising you on your general insurance needs, arranging insurance cover with insurers to meet your requirements, issuing policy documentation to you in a timely manner and helping you with any ongoing changes you wish to make to your insurance.We may also help you make a claim against your policy.We will endeavour to ensure that the products or services we offer you match your stated requirements.We will seek to identify your insurance needs in reliance upon information which you provide to us. If we cannot match your requirements, we will explain the differences in the product or service that we can offer you. If we cannot match all your requirements, we will seek to provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision about your insurance.
We will explain the main features of the products and services that we offer you including details of the insurer, main details of cover and benefits, any unusual restrictions or exclusions, any significant conditions or obligations which you must meet and the period of cover. If you need extra time to consider the products or services we have offered you, we will endeavour to confirm: (a) how long you have to accept the insurance on the terms we have offered, and/or; (b) give you a written quote if you request one, including all the information we believe you need to make an informed decision, and/or; provide you with a sample policy if you ask for one.
7. The fees we charge for our services
We will usually charge a fee for our services (typically when you buy or renew a policy) but you will always be informed of any such charge before you purchase a policy. Our fees are non-refundable even if you cancel your policy (see clause 10 for further details). During the term of the policy we may charge up to £10 for issuing duplicate documents and up to £50 for changes to your policy. We will charge a fee for payments made with a Credit Card, at £5 for transactions up to and including £500, and 2% of the transaction for amounts above £500. All fees will be inclusive of any applicable tax that may be levied from time to time.
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In certain circumstances your insurer may repay part of your insurance premium(s) to us. This can occur where, for example, the risk covered by your policy is reduced or the policy itself is cancelled.Where the amount of the refunded premium is less than £10 (per policy) we will retain such amount, but where a mid-term adjustment or cancellation charge is made we will set it off against such charge. This paragraph does not affect any cancellation/refund rights which you may have (see clause 9).
8. Your duty in relation to the questions asked
In arranging your insurance both we and the Insurers will ask a number of questions which you are required to answer. Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly, to the best of your knowledge and provide full answers and relevant details. If you do not answer the questions honestly or to the best of your knowledge then your policy may be cancelled or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
Where help text is provided in relation to a question please ensure that you read this fully to ensure the correct answer is provided.
9. Cancellation Rights and Mid-Term Adjustments
You will find full details of your cancellation rights, and any related charges which may be levied by your insurer, in the terms and conditions of the insurance policy produced by your insurance company. Cancellation rights vary between insurers. Depending on the type of insurance you will have either 14 or 30 days (the “Cooling Off Period”) to cancel your policy with effect from: (a) the day you receive the full terms and conditions of the policy, or; (b) the day the policy is sold - whichever is the later. Please note that a Cooling Off Period does not usually apply to policies of less than one month’s duration, or single-trip travel policies. To exercise your right of cancellation, contact your insurance company or contact us either by telephone or by letter in each case in the manner and within the time limits set out in your policy documentation. If you exercise your right to cancel your policy within the Cooling Off Period you will be charged for the period during which you were temporarily covered, and other charges (such as an administration fee, see clause 8) may be applied by us or the Insurer(s) to cover the costs in arranging the cancelled policy.
YOUR ATTENTION IS SPECIFICALLY DRAWN TO THE FOLLOWING:
Where you cancel your policy AFTER the expiry of the Cooling Off Period or where you request a mid-term adjustment which reduces the cover provided under the policy, we reserve the right to charge you for our time and costs.This will result in us reducing the amount refunded to you by
the FULL amount of the commission and fees we would have received had you not cancelled or amended your policy. The reason for this is that
the majority of our costs are incurred either in initially finding and setting up your policy or in the annual renewal process when we might check the ongoing suitability of the cover the policy offers. These costs are recovered through the commission we earn. If you cancel, this does not give us an opportunity to recover the costs we incurred and would often result in us making a loss. However, any charge made will not exceed the cost of the commission and fees we would have earned.
Where you are paying for your insurance by instalments (and an instalment payment is not received by us or the relevant premium finance provider on or before the date when it is due to be paid) you agree that we may on your behalf instruct the insurer to cancel the insurance (or where the first instalment payment has not been received, notify the insurer that the policy has not been taken up) and offset any refund of premium which may be received against any money which you owe to us, the insurer and/or the premium finance provider. In such circumstances you will remain liable for any time on risk or other charge.You will also be responsible for putting in place any alternative insurance.
10. Our right to set off monies you owe us
It is our practice to set-off any amounts due to us from you against any monies which we may receive on your behalf (such as claims monies or premium refunds).
11. Information on our remuneration
Other companies (including members of our group of companies) may act as underwriting agents, intermediaries for insurers or Lloyd’s/London Market placing brokers in connection with your insurance. Where such companies are involved in placing or servicing your business they may charge an administration fee or other payment which will be passed on to you and disclosed separately from the cost of your insurance. Such businesses earn commission in respect of placing such business which is separate from that which we receive.
In addition to commission which is paid to us by insurers we may earn a “profit-share”, management or administrative fees and other payments from
insurers for efficiently managing business transacted with them. These payments may be calculated by reference to various criteria such as overall annual profitability of the insurance business transacted, taking into account the total amount of claims arising under policies we place with them. “Profit-share” payments are not directly referable to individual policies and consequently it is not possible to calculate such payments on an individual policy basis, meaning that we are unable to disclose to you how much your policy contributed to any “profit-share” payment we might receive. Ordinarily, and if such a “profit-share” payment is received (which is not guaranteed) it represents a small proportion of the normal commission we receive and will be retained by us.
Depending on the services which you have asked us to perform we may earn referral fees from third parties which are incidental to the insurance arranged for you. Such payments may be derived from a number of incidental activities including arranging premium financing, risk management, legal expenses cover and uninsured loss recovery services and will be retained by us. In limited circumstances additional amounts may also be paid to us by third parties where a hire car is arranged following an accident. In each case we will retain these payments.
From time to time insurers may make loan facilities available to us on commercially advantageous terms as an incentive for us to efficiently and profitably manage business transacted with them. This may involve (for example) reduced or nil interest rates and extended repayment terms which apply to such loans provided we meet or exceed efficiency and profitability targets set by the insurers in respect of the business we have placed with them. During the course of our appointment we may hold certain monies on your behalf. This may include premiums to be paid to insurers, commissions derived from your insurance, claims monies and other sums. Interest and investment returns which are derived from such sums whilst temporarily held on your or your insurer’s behalf will belong to and be retained by us in addition to any other remuneration which we may earn in connection with the services which you have asked us to perform.
For each insurance contract, including any subsequent renewal, you have a right to request information regarding any remuneration that we may
have received as a result of placing your insurance business.
12. Insurer Solvency
Whilst we will endeavour to place business with insurers who demonstrate an adequate level of financial solvency, and although their regulator requires them to maintain a minimum level of capital, we cannot guarantee the solvency of any insurer. We do not monitor insurer solvency on an ongoing basis, and shall not be liable for losses suffered by you in the event of the insolvency of an insurer.
13. Notification of incidents
It is essential that you notify us promptly after discovery of all incidents or allegations that may result in a claim against your insurance policy. You
must do so whether you believe you are liable or not. Any failure to do so may result in your insurer refusing to accept a claim. Any letter or other communication making allegations which could give rise to a claim which is received by you from any third party must be passed to us immediately, without acknowledgment. Only by providing prompt notification of incidents can your insurance company take steps to protect your interests.
14. Limitation/Exclusion of Liability ----YOUR ATTENTION IS SPECIFICALLY DRAWN TO THIS CLAUSE WHICH LIMITS OR EXCLUDES OUR LIABILITY TO YOU
Our liability for losses suffered by you as a direct consequence of any negligent performance of our services shallbe limited in all circumstances to £5,000,000 per claim. In respect of any other claim arising out of our performance or non-performance of the services hereunder our liability shall be limited to the amount of commission and fees which we have received for arranging your insurance cover during the 12 months prior to such claim arising. We shall not be liable to you for any economic loss, loss of profit or loss of business, whether directly or indirectly occurring and which arises out of or in connection with these Terms. Nothing in this paragraph shall exclude or limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence, or for loss caused by our fraud, wilful misrepresentation or breach of regulatory obligations owed to you. You are welcome to contact us to discuss increasing the limitations of our liability and/or varying the exclusions set out above.
15. Your insurance policy(ies)
As and when we feel it appropriate we may review your policy and look to enhance and/or extend the cover offered. This could be in response to new
product developments or to a change in your circumstances.
16. Terms of Payment
In the absence of any alternative terms which we agree with you in writing (such as payment by instalments which we can arrange for you) our payment terms are as follows:
• new policies – full payment of premium and fees on or before the inception date of the policy;
• mid-term adjustments to existing policies – full payment of any additional premium and fees on or before the effective date of the change;
• renewals – full payment of premium and fees prior to the renewal date.
We normally accept payment by cash, cheque, debit or credit card or monthly instalment (full details available on request). It is imperative that you
comply with all payment terms and due dates set out in this paragraph or any such other terms and dates which we agree can be substituted
for any of them. In the event that you fail to pay any premium or other fees due then your insurer may cancel your policy from the inception or
renewal date and any claims submitted may be rejected.
17. Payment of premium using Third Party Instalment facilities
If you choose to pay for your insurance premium using our finance providers your details will be passed on to them.Any queries or questions will be passed on to them.Any queries or questions about the service provided by the finance providers should in the first instance be directed to them and they will provide you with their contact details.Where your policy is paid via the finance providers and you choose to renew your cover (or we renew your cover pursuant to clause 18 of this agreement), we will again continue to pass your details to the finance providers. If any direct debit or other payment due in respect of the credit agreement you enter into with the finance providers to pay premiums is not met when presented for payment, or if you end the agreement with the finance providers, or if you do not enter into a credit agreement with the finance providers we will be informed of this by the finance providers. If you do not make other arrangements with us to pay your insurance premiums (please see clause 16 of this agreement) you acknowledge and agree that we may instruct on your behalf any relevant insurer to cancel the insurance and to collect any refund of premiums which may be made by the insurer, and if any money is owed to the finance providers under your credit agreement to pay it to the finance providers or if the finance providers have debited us with the amount outstanding, to use it to offset our costs. In assessing your application for credit the finance providers will search the public information that a credit reference agency holds about you. The credit reference agency will add details of the search and your application to their record about you whether or not your application proceeds.This and other information about you may be used to make credit decisions about you and undertake checks for the prevention and detection of money laundering. If your application for credit is accepted, the finance providers will send you a welcome pack detailing their full terms and conditions and commence collection of your instalments. The credit agreement will be included for you to sign and return. The finance providers may begin collecting your Direct Debits before you
return your signed credit agreement to pay for any insurance cover you are receiving. If you have any questions about your instalments, contact the finance providers. On renewal of your insurance policy we’ll continue to pass your details to the finance providers unless you instruct us otherwise. Please read carefully the pre-contractual; explanations and the information regarding the cost of credit (including any representative examples). Together they provide important information in relation to the credit facility available from the finance providers. To use the finance provider’s facility you must be resident in the UK, aged 18 years or over and hold a bank or building society current account which can support Direct Debt payments. Credit is available subject to status.
18. Important Information Relating to Renewal of Policies
Prior to the expiry of your policy where we will be inviting a renewal we (or your insurance company) will endeavour to send you details of the cost and terms to renew your policy. On occasions your renewal may be offered with a different insurer, however, we will notify you if this is the case
in writing before the renewal date. This may happen in response to changes to your products, or the availability of new products, or in response to
changes in your circumstances. In order to protect your interests relating to the risks/property you have insured, and in the event that we do not receive your instructions and payment prior to the date of renewal, we reserve the right (but shall have no obligation) to renew your policy and (in the case of direct debit/instalment payments) to continue to accept payment from you unless and until you specifically notify us or your insurance company in writing that you wish to cancel your policy. In circumstances where we have assumed (in the absence of instructions to the contrary) that renewal is required you may be liable to make payment to us and/or your insurance company.
19. How we hold your money
Premium(s) and any other monies we may hold on your behalf (for example refund premiums and claim cheques received from an insurer) will be held in Trust until such time as they are remitted by us to your insurance company/to you. This may be a Statutory or Non-Statutory Trust account operated in accordance with FCA regulations. However, some (but not all) of the insurance companies we deal with have agreed to deem any premiums that you pay to us as having been received directly by themselves. This improves your protection against financial loss in the event of our insolvency. Please note that this is not the case for all the insurance companies we deal with and where this added protection does apply it may only extend to premiums, and not to any claim payment, refund or other monies that we may from time to time hold on your behalf. Should such an arrangement be agreed with an insurer(s) we may not hold your funds in Trust because of this added protection.
We will take commission earned from insurance companies in connection with your insurances, from the Statutory or Non-Statutory Trust account, only after we have received your premium (or received it from a third party finance provider on your behalf). This may occur before payment of the premium to the insurance company and will take account of the Terms of Business we have agreed with the insurance companies.
Where we hold money in a non-statutory trust we may use the funds in that account as a short term credit facility to fund another client’s premium before it is received from that other client and/or to pay claims and premium refunds to another client before we receive the same from an insurer. The total funds held in the non-statutory trust account must always comply with the FCA regulations to ensure you are protected from the loss.
Occasionally as part of the process of finding a policy that suits your requirements, we may pass your premium to another insurance intermediary who will also be required to hold your money in Trust until the premium is deemed to have been received by the relevant insurer. Between receiving any money from you and us passing it on to insurers (and vice versa), we may remove it from the Trust account in which it is held to another account in order to earn interest or other investment income from it. In such an event the account in which it is placed will be set-up with the same Trust protection as the account from which it is removed. To improve the efficiency of our business we may wish to transfer your policy between companies within the Towergate Partnership group of companies. In such circumstances we may transfer any money we hold on your behalf to a new bank account with the same trust protections as the existing account to ensure that the protection afforded to your money remains in place at all times.We will retain any interest or income accrued.
By accepting these terms you consent to the way we will hold your premium (and/or other insurance related money) in accordance with this paragraph.
20. Confidentiality and Data Protection
All information about you of a sensitive or personal nature will be treated as private and confidential. We will however use and disclose the information
we have about you in the course of arranging, placing and administering your insurance. This may involve passing information about you to insurers, other intermediaries, risk management assessors, uninsured loss recovery agencies and other third parties involved (directly or indirectly) in your insurance. We may also pass information about you to credit reference agencies and premium finance providers in connection with the assessment of your financial standing generally and, in particular, where you have requested a premium instalment plan – this may include details of your payment record with us. We may also pass information about you to other companies which are in or are associated with our group.We or they may also use the information we hold about you to provide you with information on other products and services we or they can offer and which we or they feel may be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive marketing information from us or them, or for us to disclose information about you to other parties for marketing purposes, please contact us immediately. In the interests of security and to improve our service, telephone calls may be monitored and/or recorded.
21. No Waiver/Our Right to Assign
Any delay on our part in enforcing any of the rights under these Terms, either in whole or in part, shall not be deemed to be a waiver of such right. We may freely assign or delegate all or any part of these Terms and/or the services to any third party. In the event that we assign or delegate all, or any part, of these Terms to a third party your rights under these Terms will not be adversely affected.
22. Governing Law
These Terms and conditions are governed by English Law and we both agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
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