Archive for August, 2014

Serviced Offices- The Possibility of Data Pilferage

Posted by 30 August, 2014 (0) Comment

An interesting thought on the the possibility of data pilferage and how easy it may be for someone who services your office.

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So how many of us think our serviced offices are secure?

 

Work finishes, you tidy up and go home. Thousands, perhaps millions of us do this every day. Next day, you have a clean place to work. Magic!

But what happens in between. The magic is not automatic. People do arrive and clean. But how do they get in?

Keys of course, the same keys as you use to lock the door behind you and open it in front of you. Oh no, you might say, we don’t pay for the cleaners…..we do it ourselves. The cleaners might not know that.

Not a problem for most yet when the IT is down or the phone bill is up, people start asking questions

A massive phone bill will be noticed. The issue is the unnoticed. Data pilferage is on the increase. Cleaning companies don’t pay their staff a living wage so they’re susceptible to offers of bribes or worse. Imagine that, the lowest paid workers in the entire EU and they’re wondering around our offices unaided.

Of course the massive company that you pay for cleaning recruit the best. They’re recruitment process is second to none. That’s why they “lost” security guards just before the Olympics. Because they are so well organised. Fail.

Check your insurance!

 

If you are looking for insurance on a serviced office, check that the security requirements don’t mean your doors have to be locked before they pay for a break in. Or keep the cleaners out by sticking a hotel style “not today thank you” sign on your door.

Wrap up: Those offering you office space will tell you what they want you to hear in order to select their space so ensure you dig deeper to find out about the insurance history of the premises.

Top tip: The locks on offices ain’t London are woefully inadequate when compared to the locks insurance companies require. If it needs to be replaced, get the landlord to replace it before you sign on the dotted line. Use it as a bargaining chip.

Categories : After The Event,All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Design Insurance,Domian name protection,General Requirements,Intellectual Property Insurance,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Patent Insurance,Solicitors insurance,Trade Secret Protection,Trademark Insurance Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,

Property Managing Agents- Part of our fees are for NOT arranging cover

Posted by 16 August, 2014 (0) Comment

A shameful article about Property Managing Agents failing their client when looking after their property, favouring one leaseholder over another and, critically, failing to arrange insurance despite collecting the premium.

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Treating customers fairly?

 

I have claims to make, yet no service

 

I first met Paul at breakfast and found him hugely charming and terrible engaging. Not many people will dance their way through a presentation yet that’s exactly what he did. We clicked and discussed many things other than dance and risk reduction.

He introduced me to Gail who was having difficulty getting any service from their property’s managing agent – it was a terraced house in central London split into four apartments – despite water leaks needing to be fixed and repairs to her flat undertaken. Gail explained that the Property Managing Agents were so unresponsive they had decided to start their own company and take matters in-house. However, they had already paid for an annual insurance and wanted to make a claim.

There’s no cover!

 

For the right person, I am always happy to take over a policy and ensure that the claim is settled fairly. Gail and her neighbours authorised me to do this and Axa Insurance acknowledged receipt of our letter within days of it being submitted. It then slowed down and despite many calls Axa were unresponsive.

Another leaseholder raised the urgency when a lender requested evidence of insurance in order to authorise a remortgage. We pressed the Axa panic button, making contact with the most senior contact we have at that insurer and were told in hushed tones “the Property Managing Agent did not pay the premium so we cancelled the cover…..last year”. What is it about people not being able to bring themselves to give you bad news? I’ve never shot a messenger in my life.

All systems go!

 

I arranged an alternative within minutes of Gail authorising me to do so. We are talking about a property close to £1,000,000 with a history of water damage so it’s lucky we know which insurers want to cover these. Axa were unable to help in the timescale required! The annual investment was settled by credit card and documents were sent to the lender to ensure funds were released in time.

Gail has been trying to obtain a refund, to no avail, and is going to the Insurance Ombudsman. I fully expect the Property Managing Agent to be struck off the FCA register although I doubt their governing body will prevent them managing properties. The saddest thing is that it appears that one of the leaseholders is loosely connected to the fraudsters so it is a tricky scenario. They are an absent landlord and their lack of care in selecting tenants is causing problems for all the residents, not to mention their neighbours. Legal process is the only avenue open to them yet that has already started.

Wrap up: Leaseholders have a right to know where their fees are being spent. If you ask an agent what they are earning from insurance they have to tell you. They can be struck off for remaining silent.

Top Tip: Some Property Managing Agents charge ridiculously low fees but they top them up with hidden charges in insurance premiums. It has been know for them to cream 40% off the top and an accountant I know recovered £80,000 in fraudulent fees from a particularly deceitful company.

Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,General Requirements,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , ,

How T&C’s Can Really Help Businesses

Posted by 2 August, 2014 (0) Comment

What THEY think they can get is what’s important!

 

This article is all about perception, how T&C’s can really help businesses warn off chancers and how a good set will dovetail with insurance.

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Treating customers fairly?

 

Derek had been a client for some years when he called and advised “I’ve received a rather worrying letter from a temp I placed”. It appeared their placement wasn’t going to be renewed and they wanted Derek to pay them for not having any work. Although the company that had employed them told the temp it was because “someone else had returned to work”, they told Derek “off the record, they were rude and argumentative”.

Derek was concerned that the relatively new “AWR” regulations had given the temp the feeling that they could gain compensation. We were aware of changes in regulations before they came into place, Derek and I had discussed the implications and he agreed to put protection for the business in place when they came into reality.

A legal eagle will correct me here if I’m wrong

 

The regulations give temporary workers the same rights as permanent employees after they had been employed for 12 weeks. Regrettably, this has caused some employers to “use” people for a limited time and then replace them unceremoniously. There is always a downside when employer regulations change. It generated more income for temp agencies yet also increased the risk of them getting dragged into what are, in reality, disputes between employer and employees.

After discussing with his insurers we were able to help Derek construct a reply which referred the complainant to the T&C’s they had previously agreed to. These made it clear that Derek’s company worked within the regulations yet were not responsible for maintaining their continuous employment.

Now go away……politely of course

 

The fact that they had tried to gain unwarranted compensation from his company meant Derek was well within business boundaries to remove the over aggressive temp from his register. If they had been less confrontational they may have kept their position or, at least, Derek would have recommended soft skills courses for them to undertake before he could redeploy them. People do change for a whole variety of reasons, their personal circumstances having a huge amount to do with their persona.

A salutary tale yet Derek was reminded how important it is to maintain great (rather than cordial) relationships with clients. This would ensure they were well informed when someone who interviewed brilliantly started to lose the plot. So it makes sense to protect a business and it’s directors before vindictive allegations or requests for compensation are made. Personal attacks are not a form of defence when employment disputes are raised so he was grateful he had people “on his side” to defend him to the hilt and pay compensation that tribunals feel is appropriate.

Wrap up: People change yet you can still ensure you’re not dancing with the devil by undertaking the right checks, as long as they are fair and balanced, into people’s backgrounds. Indeed, insurers help you with this when you avail yourself of their protection.

Top tip: Many plausible people have turned nasty and money certainly has a language of its own. The compensation culture is nothing new so tread carefully when it costs little, if anything, to mount a claim against a business. Don’t go overboard, ask your peers what the key risks are in their business.

Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,General Requirements,Liability Insurance Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,