General Terms of Business for Clients

These terms of business (the “Agreement”) set out the nature and scope of the services Avocet Insurance Consultants (“Avocet”) will be providing to you, and other information required by law.

Introduction

This agreement shall apply to our relationship from, or after,  1 January 2014. This agreement may not be assigned by you without the express written agreement of the other party.

By instructing us to act you will be deemed to have accepted the terms of this Agreement and to have requested to deal with us in English unless we specifically agree with you otherwise.

About Avocet

Avocet Insurance Consultants is a division of Cooper Darwin Credit Insurance Consultants which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) as an insurance intermediary.  Our firm reference number is 300189.

You can check the details of our authorisation on the FCA’s website http://FCA.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FCA on 0845 606 1234 (from the UK) and +44 (0)20 7066 1000 (from overseas).

Who do we act for?

As an independent insurance intermediary we generally act as an agent for our clients.  As such we put the duties we owe to you above our own interests.

We may in certain circumstances handle claims on behalf of insurers.  We will advise you when these circumstances occur and inform you of how we will deal with any possible conflicts of interest.  If we give you notice of a conflict of interest you will have the right to cancel this Agreement immediately.  If you do not cancel the Agreement we will continue to provide the service.

We are not an insurer.

Our Services


Negotiation and Placing

Where you require a bespoke service, we will discuss your insurance requirements with you, including the scope of cover, limits sought and cost of cover.

We will keep you informed of our progress and identify where we are unable to obtain all or part of the cover sought by you.  We will use reasonable endeavours to implement your insurance programme, subject to available insurers, before the intended date of inception, renewal or extension of cover (whichever is appropriate).  We cannot however be responsible for the consequences of late instructions or the actions of third parties.

We will provide you with the information you need to make a decision about insurance cover available.

Market Security

We assess insurers and markets with whom we place business, using public information including that produced by recognised rating agencies.  We do not, however, guarantee or otherwise warrant the solvency of any insurer or market used for your requirements.  The decision regarding suitability of any insurer or market rests with you.  If you have any concerns regarding any insurers chosen for your insurance requirements you must advise us as soon as possible and we will discuss them with you.

Quotations

All our quotations are subject to subsequent acceptance by insurers, unless otherwise stated.  All premiums quoted include our commission.

Servicing and Claims

We will send you documentation confirming the basis of the cover, details of the insurers together with details of amounts and the date that the premium is due.  We will forward the policy documentation and any amendments or endorsements to your policy together with any other documentation which may be required by law as soon as reasonably practicable.

Except where we otherwise agree with you, or where market practice determines otherwise, we will provide our claims handling services during the policy period for the policies placed by us.  Our claims handling services will cease where you have instructed another entity to assume the claims servicing obligations for your insurance.

Our claims handling services include, upon receiving the required information from you: the notification of the claim or circumstances to insurers; representing you in the resolution of the claim and arranging the collection and/or settlement of the claim in accordance with market practice and your policy terms and conditions. Where claims are to be dealt with by you direct with insurers we will provide advice and support as requested.  We are not authorised to accept, receive or hold claims payments from insurers on your behalf.

Our Respective Responsibilities


Proposal Forms

For certain classes of insurance you may be required to complete a proposal form, questionnaire or similar document.  We will provide guidance if needed but we are not able to complete this document for you.  In most cases, the information you provide will be the basis of or form part of the insurance policy.

The provision of incorrect or incomplete information may result in the insurer denying a claim or avoiding the policy (cancelling the policy from the start).

Disclosure of Information

You are responsible for providing us/insurers with the information we request from you to enable us to seek the cover your require.  We will not be responsible for any consequences which may arise from any delay or failure by you to do so.

Further, you must disclose to us/insurers all information which is material to your requirements for cover or which might influence insurers in deciding to accept your business, finalising the terms to apply and/or the cost of cover.  Insurers do not have a duty to make enquiries of you.  Failure to make such disclosure could result in the policy being rendered void, so that claims would not be paid.  The duty of disclosure applies before the start of cover, when all material information must be disclosed to insurers to enable terms to be negotiated and cover arranged.  This is not limited to answering specific questions that may be asked.  Any material changes which may occur or come to light after a quotation has been given must also be notified to us and your insurers. 

You also have a duty to disclose a material change when the policy is varied, renewed or extended.  In addition, changes which substantially increase the risk, or relate to compliance with a warranty or condition in a policy, must be notified at once.

You should not rely on casual observation of any material aspect of the risk by us or any other third party as satisfying your obligation to disclose material matters concerning your cover.

Please contact us immediately if you have any doubts about what is material or have any concerns that we may not be aware of material information.

Your Policy

We will use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that your policy documentation is forwarded in a timely manner.  Your policy documentation will confirm the basis of the cover, give details of the insurers together with details of amounts of premium and the date it is due.

You are responsible for reviewing your insurance documentation together with other related documents which may be sent to you from time to time to confirm that they accurately reflect the cover, conditions, limits and other terms that you require.  Particular attention should be paid to any policy conditions, warranties and subjectivities as failure to comply with any of them may invalidate your coverage.  If there are any discrepancies you should consult us immediately.

Claims

You are responsible for notifying claims or potential circumstances that may give rise to a claim.  To ensure full protection under your policy, you should familiarise yourself with the provisions of your cover and procedural requirements in relation to claims and to the notification of those claims.  Failure to adhere to the notification requirements, particularly in relation to timing, as set out in the policy or other coverage document, may entitle insurers to refuse your claim.  In presenting a claim it is your responsibility to disclose all facts which are material to the claim.

Changes of Circumstances

You must advise us as soon as reasonably practicable of any changes in your circumstances that may affect the services to be provided by us or the cover provided under your insurance policy.

We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable of any resultant changes in premium or terms and conditions of your policy.

Provision of Information

The services we provide to you are for your exclusive use and all data, recommendations, proposals, reports and other information provided by us in connection with our services are for your sole use, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Renewals

You will be provided with renewal terns in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements, or otherwise notified that renewal is not being invited.

Payment of Premiums

You will provide settlement of premiums directly with insurers in accordance with payment date(s) specified in the insurers’ relevant payment documentation (“Payment Date”). Failure to pay by the Payment Date may lead to insurers cancelling your policy.  We draw your attention to the significant time taken for non-Sterling cheques to clear and we therefore recommend that all non-Sterling payments be made by electronic transfer.  Your liability for premium whether in full or pro rata may arise under policies where a participating insurer becomes insolvent.  Premiums will include insurance premium tax at the current rate.

Client Money

We are not authorised under FCA rules to accept any premium money from you on behalf of insurers.  All premium monies must be paid directly by you to insurers.  Any return premium monies due to you are to be paid directly by insurers to you.

Your Liability for Tax

Avocet is not a tax adviser and consequently makes no representation to you as to your liability or otherwise for tax on any sums that may be paid to you under a contract of insurance.  It is your obligation alone to make declarations in respect of, and to account to any relevant revenue authority for all insurance proceeds.

Our Remuneration

Our remuneration may be as a fee paid by you to us, or as a commission.  Any commission which is due and payable out of premium paid by you and rebated to us by the insurer(s) with whom your cover is arranged.  On occasions we may be remunerated by both commission and a fee.  Commission and fees are earned at the time of placement of the policy and we are therefore entitled to retain all fees and commission in respect of the full policy period for cover placed by us.

In the event of a mid-term adjustment, we may be entitled to further commission from any additional premium.

Usually no return of commission/our fee will be given once our remuneration has been earned if the insurance is later cancelled.  Please refer to your specific policy documentation.

Our Revenue Disclosure policy

At your request, we will disclose to you in writing the commission (and any of our associates) receive in respect to your policy.

Cancellation of this agreement

This agreement may be terminated by either you or us giving notice in writing to the other party or as you may otherwise be advised.  In the event our services are terminated by you we will be entitled to receive any and all fees or brokerage payable.

Electronic communications

We may communicate with each other by electronic mail, sometimes attaching further electronic data.  By consenting to this method of communication we and you accept the inherent risk (including security risks of interception of, or unauthorised access to such communications, the risks of corruption of such communications and the risks of viruses or other harmful devices).  Notwithstanding that we and you have reasonable virus checking procedures on our system, you will be responsible for virus checking all electronic communications sent to you.  You will also be responsible for checking that the messages received are complete.  In the event of a dispute the Avocet system shall be deemed the definitive record of electronic communications and documentation.

Confidentiality

We will treat any information in our possession which relates to your business as confidential.  It will be necessary, however, for us to disclose information that you consider confidential to insurers or other parties, when acting on your behalf, where we reasonably consider such information to be material to the risks being covered, or for internal review and audit purposes.

Please note that under English law your insurers may be entitled to re-inspect placing and claims documents that they have already seen in connection with your insurance.

Document Retention

It is our policy to retain documents for business effected on your behalf in electronic or paper format for a minimum of six years.  Thereafter we may destroy documents without further reference to you.

In relation to certain types of insurance, it is possible for claims to be made long after the policy has expired.  It is therefore important that you keep your policy documentation safely, and in accordance with statutory requirements.

Data Protection

Any personal information provided by you may be held by Avocet and your insurer(s) in relation to your insurance cover.  It may be used by Avocet or your insurer(s) relevant staff in making a decision concerning your insurance and for the purpose of servicing your cover and administering your claims.  Information may be passed to loss adjusters and reinsurers for these purposes.  This may involve the transfer of your information to countries that do not have data protection laws.

Money Laundering

UK money laundering laws require us to obtain evidence of the identity of clients for whom we act at the start of a business relationship.  For companies (other than listed ones) evidence of identity will usually comprise of a copy certificate of incorporation, a list of directors, a list of shareholders and a registered address.

Third Party Rights

Unless otherwise agreed between us in writing no term of this Agreement is enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

If you are not happy with our service

Our complaints procedure adheres to the guidelines set out by the FCA on Complaints Handling.

Your Rights

It is our intention to provide you with a high level of customer service at all times.  However, if you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our insurance mediation services, you may make a complaint either in writing or by any other means to your usual point of contact or to:

Charles Cooper
Cooper Darwin Credit Insurance Consultants
48 Church Street
Orford
Woodbridge
Suffolk, IP12 2NT
UK

Our Commitment

We aim to resolve all complaints in a fair and speedy manner, usually by close of business on the business day following receipt of the complaint.  If we cannot resolve the complaint by close of business the next day after the complaint has been received, we will:

(a) acknowledge your complaint in writing within five working days either with a full response or information about the progress of your matter and a contact name for future reference;
(b) within four weeks of receipt of your complaint, provide you with a final response, or if appropriate, a holding response if the matter has still not been resolved; and
(c) within eight weeks from receipt of your complaint, send you a final response, or offer you redress as appropriate.

Your complaint will be resolved as quickly as possible in a fair manner, but if you are still dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint and you are an Eligible Complainant, you may refer it to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of receiving our final response.

Generally, and Eligible Complainant is one who is:

(a) a private individual
(b) a business which has a group annual turnover of less than £1 million at the time the complaint is made:
(c) a charity which has an annual income of less than £1 million at the time the complaint was made.
(d) a trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1 million at the time the complaint was made.

Copies of the Financial Ombudsman Service’s explanatory leaflet can be obtained free of charge from us.  Details of the Financial Ombudsman Service can also be found by visiting their website at:

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

or by writing to the Financial Ombudsman Service at South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR or telephoning them on 0845 080 1800 (from the UK) and +44 0845 080 1800 (from overseas).

Governing Law

This Agreement, which sets out the terms of our relationship with you, will be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law and any dispute arising under it shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Avocet Insurance Consultants, 48 Church Street, Orford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 2NT UK

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3713 9515