New EU driving licence will reduce fraud

A new driving licence model was introduced across Europe earlier this year, to guarantee freedom of movement for EU motorists and more importantly, to help reduce fraudulent activity.

The new credit card style licence will replace more than 110 different variants currently in circulation. It will establish standardised rules on the design of the licence, medical examination requirements and will lease the period for which it is valid.

The license will be in a different format to older styles. The expiry date will be shown on the front, with all vehicle categories listed on the back, with dates to show the driver’s entitlement. All new licences will be issued in this format, with existing ones being replaced at the time of renewal or, at the very latest, by 2033.

To harmonise all the licences, there are a number of changes to the rules in Great Britain; these include new towing rules for both cars and small vehicles. They stipulate that drivers with category B licences issued after 19th January 2013 will only be able to tow small trailers, weighing no more than 750kg, or heavier ones where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is no more than 3,500kg. In order to exceed the 3,500kg limit the driver must pass a mandatory test and get B+E entitlement on their licence.

There are also changes to bus and lorry driver requirements. As well as a new minimum age of 24 to drive a bus, unless holding a Certificate of Professional Competence, driving licences issued to drivers of medium and large lorries, minibuses, buses and coaches will be valid for a maximum of five years.

Bus and lorry drivers will also need to sign a medical declaration to renew their licence, with those aged over 45, requiring to submit a medical examination report, proving that they meet the required standards. These changes came into effect for new drivers passing their test after 19th January 2013, with existing drivers, who typically hold a 10-year licence, coming under the new rules at the earlier of licence or lorry/bus entitlement renewal.

For more information on how this may affect your fleet policy, or for any other motor insurance related enquiries, please call our experienced team of advisors, on 03330 112288.


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Motor premiums slump to lowest level in two years

The average price of car insurance in the UK has fallen by 9.8% over the last year, taking premiums to their lowest levels since January 2011, according to research from  the AA.

The AA’s British Insurance Premium Index revealed the average cost of car insurance was £594.86, representing a reduction of 3% on the previous quarter.

The Director of AA Insurance, Simon Douglas said: “This fall, the biggest the AA’s Index has recorded since it started in 1994, is the sixth successive quarterly drop in premiums.  It will be welcome news for hard-pressed motorists facing sharp fuel price increases.”

However, the index also revealed that not everyone benefitted from price drops, with young female drivers facing a small increase.

Douglas said “The background of falling premiums has helped insurers to more effectively manage the premium gap between men and women, although young drivers have fared least well.  Some new and young women drivers will have seen a small premium increase, even after taking their no-claims discount into account.”


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Home Insurance

The AA’s research also looks at the cost of home insurance, where the average price has fallen 5% over the last year to £130.45

Douglas said that the selection of Flood Re would help to keep premiums affordable: “While the details have yet to be thrashed out, I understand that the Flood Re agreement will see premiums for homes in flood-prone areas capped in line with council tax bands, making them affordable.

“I do see this as very welcome news, although primary legislation will be needed, as well as EU approval before the agreement takes effect, which will take time.”

However, Douglas did have one warning for insurers about the agreement:

“If there is a major flood disaster soon after the agreement is finalised, it will most likely lead to a sharp rise in home premiums, as we saw following the 2007 disaster,” he said.

To discuss your motor and home insurance requirements in more detail, call NPA’s specialist team of account handlers on 03330 112288.

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Bring in our experts to efficiently settle your claim

Insurance claims can be complex, time consuming and confusing.  Getting an insurance claim settled is about knowing exactly what to do and having the right information with which to provide your  insurance company.

Lorega is a long standing partner of NPA, employing over 70 independent Chartered Loss Adjusters (regulated by CILA) who work on behalf of our policyholders to prepare, negotiate and settle their insurance claims effectively and as fairly as possible.  Their experts have a wealth of knowledge gained over 25 years of experience, and can effectively `hold our clients hand’ through the entire process, from initial trauma to conclusion, giving our clients absolute control of their claim.

A client of ours recently suffered a devastating total-loss fire claim to one of their commercial units (four further units were also damaged).  Fortunately, they had purchased a Lorega Loss Recovery policy at renewal in June 2013. The incident took place at 18:30 on the 2nd July 2013. The very next afternoon, Steve Williams (one of Lorega’s highly experienced Loss Adjusters) joined our claims manager to visit the incident site. They assessed the scope of the damage, collating the necessary information and providing immediate and practical advice, not only to our insured, but also to the tenants of the damaged units.

For more information, or to discuss Lorega’s services in more detail, please call our specialist brokers Mark Francis or Stewart Drysdale on 03330 112288.

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‘Pay as you go’ HR support sets new trend for small businesses

BusinessHR works closely with NPA Insurance Broking Group, providing a ‘Smaller Employer’ HR Service, giving easy and quick access to high quality HR support at      minimal cost.

The service is more practical and proactive than using a solicitor and is a considerably more cost effective option. The cost depends on the number of employees; for employers with up to 15 staff, the cost is £95 per month plus VAT. For employers with 16-25 staff, the cost is £175 per month plus VAT.

The service includes:

  • An HR Documents compliance update: there is always a need for employers to be compliant with employment and discrimination law. That fact is well illustrated by the case of a hairdresser who burnt the hair of a client and could have been dismissed fairly. However, because her employer did not have the right HR policy and did therefore not follow the correct HR process in dismissing her, the employee was eventually awarded £5,000!
  • An experienced advisor will carefully assist you to implement standard HR policies, employee contract and staff handbook by phone, email and online meetings. If you would like an onsite visit, this can be arranged at an additional cost. All of your policies will be stored online, enabling you to access the latest version at anytime from any computer. We will then maintain your policies on an annual basis or more frequently, if there is a significant change in the law.
  • An Advice Service. You will have access to friendly HR advisors, by phone or email. They are all MCIPD qualified and have substantial HR management experience in a number of sectors.  They provide clear, practical, commercially orientated guidance, to help you resolve your HR issues. They do not just quote the law. All advice given by phone is confirmed by email and a complete case file is maintained on our system for your benefit.

We understand that you do not want to pay for services that you may not use too often. So for example, the contract for employers with up to fifteen staff includes four hours of free advice time annually. Through our experience, four hours is likely to prove adequate. If you do unexpectedly have a major HR problem, which requires more advice time, then you can buy additional time at a good discount.

BusinessHR’s interactive HR website will provide you with a wealth of HR information such as ‘Step by Step’ guides on handling most employee situations. A key benefit of using our website is that it provides regularly updated letter templates which ensure that you always include the information required by law in any letter you send to an employee.

Employers with over 25 staff

BusinessHR’s ’CompliantCare’ service may well be the most likely solution where staff numbers exceed 25. We work with our clients to ensure their existing HR policies, contracts and HR handbook are compliant with the law, involving a site visit, online access to the revised HR documents, unlimited access to our advice line and interactive HR website and an annual site visit. Pricing is based on staff numbers.

It is the quality and friendliness of our service which distinguishes us from our large competitors. Our clients include a major insurance company, The Chartered Management Institute, a well-known fast food franchise, a large logistics company and members of the trade association for the IT industry, Intellect.

For more information on BusinessHR’s service, contact our specialist account handler Chris Jackson on 03330 112288.

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Directors and Officers Liability Insurance 2013

We live in an increasingly litigious society, with ever greater regulation, in which businesses and directors face the prospect of more claims than ever before. These claims can arise from scenarios such as, actual or alleged breach of trust, breach of duty, neglect, error and wrongful trading.  Even winning a case can still leave you with associated legal costs that can in themselves be crippling.

Many directors and officers of private companies are unaware of the dangers that are open to them personally, or believe that they are immune to attacks from employees, regulators, shareholders and creditors. Many assume they are protected by their company’s Limited liability status but this is not the case and the number of actions against Directors is set to increase dramatically.

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