Premium Credit back online after Cyber Incident

Premium Credit, the UK company which provides finance to customers to pay their insurance premiums, is back online after suffering a ‘cyber incident’ which left their systems offline and with no access to phones for more than a week.

Many brokers were left in the dark by the situation with very little contact coming from Premium Credit. However, the major FS company say that no data breach was identified and they’ve now released a statement on their website thanking customer for their patience.

The call centre is taking calls although they still only have limited access to emails.

From a customer perspective, it appears that there may still be a little bit of a waiting game. Despite the communications lines becoming available once more, the investigation continues into the exact nature of the attack.

But they do say that to their knowledge, no customer data has been compromised.

There had been rumours which suggest hackers were in complete control of the Premium Credit database.

Premium Credit has though confirmed that any customer payment delayed by the incident will not incur charges or be classed as a default.

Cyber-attacks like these are unfortunately becoming more and more common. And the fact the aftermath of the attack lasted over a week, shows how serious an incident it was.

In a changing criminal landscape, cyber insurance is becoming a must-have. Many companies could not function without their IT. They store sensitive and personal data, as well as information that keeps systems running day-to-day.

We are here to offer advice on cyber insurance to all our clients. Contact us today for more information.

For now, Premium Credit is open for business.  We’ll keep you up to date with progress on this story. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Fire Door Safety Week 24-30 September 2018

It’s the last week of September, but you probably already knew that. It’s also the 39th week of the year and just 89 days till Christmas, although you probably knew that as well.

But you probably weren’t aware that it’s also Fire Door Safety Week. If you did, hats off to you.

Fire Door Safety week acts as a reminder to everyone to make sure that all fire doors are in proper working order and fit for purpose. Fire doors save lives; they’re not just for box-ticking.

Here are some facts about the proper use of fire doors that you might not know:

  • It is illegal to keep fire doors wedged open
  • You need to carry out formal checks of your fire doors at least every six months to look for damage
  • You must carry out maintenance to ensure that your fire doors continue to remain effective.
  • Smoke from a fire can spread rapidly if unchecked – thick, black smoke can fill a building within minutes.

Fire Door Safety Week was established by the British Woodworking Federation and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in 2012. The idea was to raise awareness about poor installation and inadequate maintenance.

As much as it seems like overkill to have an entire week dedicated to it, the need for this awareness campaign is greater than you’d think. In fact, a review undertaken by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in 2015 found that:

  • Over 61% of fire doors inspected had problems with fire/smoke seals
  • More than one third of fire doors had incorrect signage
  • A significant number of fire doors had a gap between the door and the frame greater than 3mm
  • More than 20% of doors had unsuitable hinges
  • Almost 1 in 6 had damage to the door leaf.

Fire door management is a key part of your risk management, an area of insurance that we take extremely seriously. We’re not just here to help cover against claims. We want to prevent them in the first place.

Speaking to a certified fire door inspector, or a member of our risk management team, is essential in ensuring that you are completely up to date with regulations and your doors are properly maintained and installed. Some of the issues that the professional will examine are:

  • Handles that have been replaced with aluminium ones or other non-fire door related door furniture
  • Locks that have been installed which have an open keyhole, not protected by intumescent material
  • Ventilation panels have been installed and not suitably fire rated
  • Glass has been replaced with non-fire rated glass, or has been covered over with privacy film
  • Parts, such as magnetic locks, have been removed leaving holes in the doors which would allow smoke to spread through
  • Hinges have become worn or misaligned, leaving gaps in the door that will allow smoke to spread through
  • Intumescent seals and smoke seals that have been damaged or removed and not replaced
  • Damage around the edges of the door where trollies and sack carts etc have been pushed through, leaving gaps around the edges
  • Fire doors have been completely removed.

If you’d like to take the first steps to make sure your doors are compliant, get in touch today! Click that ’email us’ link at the top of this page!

What will change with the new Manslaughter Definitive Guidelines?

On 31st July, the Sentencing Council published new guidance on sentencing for manslaughter cases. The new guidelines will be retrospective, meaning they will apply to any gross negligence manslaughter cases not concluded before the 1st November deadline.

So why is this important to you?

Gross Negligence Manslaughter, where the breach of duty of care by an individual causes or significantly contributes to a death, is the most serious offence that an individual can commit for a health and safety breach. The new sentence guidelines show just how serious the consequences can be. It’s important that your business has the tools in place to avoid such action being taken against you, or your employees.

The guidelines propose four levels of culpability ranging from ‘low’ to ‘very high’, but all of which will result in some form of gaol time. For the lowest level of culpability, culprits can expect a two year sentence, but this moves up to 8 or 12 years very quickly if a judge determines that new flashpoint features such as cost saving and disregarding very high risk of death, are met.

How is culpability decided?

As previously stated, there are a number of flashpoints, or contributing factors that determine an individual’s culpability. For the most part, these are determined based on the level of the negligence, such as if more than one life was put at risk, or that warning were not adhered to.

A high culpability would meet a number of those factors and would result in a gaol term of over ten years. The most common factors are cost saving as a motivation for the breach, and blatant disregard for risk of death. Typically, if either of those two factors aren’t met, the culpability would be considered medium at most. This just shows how important it is that thorough checks are committed and that all risk warnings are actioned.

It is difficult to foresee what a judge would regard as ‘blatant’ disregard, so our advice would be that any disregard could fall into that category.

In cases where the culpability is considered ‘very high’, both cost saving and high disregard for death will be found. Sentences for this level of culpability range from 10 to 18 years.

Very high culpability cases range in type and scenario. Consider the case of Indian takeaway shop owner, Mohammed Zaman of Huntington, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of customer, Paul Wilson, after he had replaced almond powder with ground nut mix as part of a cost cutting exercise. Zaman showed a blatant disregard for the safety of his customers by showing a ‘no-nuts’ message in his menu. He also triggered the cost saving factor.

Another very recent and high profile case is that of Grenfell Tower. The investigation is still ongoing, but it is very possible gross negligence manslaughter sentences will be considered, given the repeated ignored warnings that the tower wasn’t safe, and the cost saving on the cladding.

Risk Management

We asked our Risk Director, Jane Dronsfield, what impact she thought the new guidelines would have:

“Following implementation of the Guidelines, we expect a rise in the sentences handed down in manslaughter cases, with lengthier, custodial sentences and fewer suspended sentences. The old guidelines allowed for a much higher degree of judiciary discretion, whereas the new guidelines seek to create a framework taking into account the culpability of the offender. Culpability categories are defined with reference to a number of factors set out within the Guidelines. Whilst a number of the factors would not necessarily be relevant in the context of workplace deaths, there are many factors that are common within many of the cases we see, which could potentially push offenders up through the category ranges. One example would be where the offender showed a blatant disregard for a very high risk of death resulting from negligent conduct and the negligent conduct was motivated by financial gain (or avoidance of cost).

We have seen a sharp increase in the number of individuals being prosecuted for health and safety related offences.

Gross Negligence Manslaughter is not just an offence that can be directed towards senior management in a business following a workplace death; any person can be implicated.”

If you’d like to speak to Jane, or any of our fantastic risk management department about how you can stay on top of your risk management, use the contact form on the top of this page. Remember, in gross negligence cases, inaction is a crime.

Contractors Professional Indemnity- when to notify your broker and insurer of a potential issue?

In the latest of our series of insurance opinion articles by our Claims Director, Jody Thirkell, he discusses when you should notify your broker and insurer of a potential issue.

As a specialist in contractors’ insurance we are well aware that things often go wrong on construction projects. But when should you notify your Broker and Insurer that you have a problem?

Your professional indemnity insurance will likely be arranged on a claims made basis. This means the insurer on cover at the time the claim is made is the insurer who deals with the claim, not the one on cover when the problem first arose. Your policy will also likely contain a condition that requires you to notify ‘any circumstance that may give rise to a claim’ and this is where it can get tricky!

What exactly is a ‘circumstance’ in this context? Your insurer is unlikely to want to be bombarded with notifications for every snagging issue you encounter on site but on the flip side would certainly want to know from the outset if there is a fundamental flaw with the design of the building, or part of it. However it is what lies in between these extremes that often causes a problem.

If you are aware of an issue and choose not to disclose it and that issue manifests itself in a claim in the future, your insurer could well have the right to decline the claim for non-disclosure, particularly if the policy has gone through a renewal or you have changed insurer.

What, then, is the solution? At Romero we will speak to the insurer when cover is being placed and ensure that we are very clear on what the underwriters would expect to be notified and what they wouldn’t.  We then convey this to our client in clear terms. If all parties are aware of what is expected and everyone complies, it becomes much less likely that a claim will run into difficulties when they do arise.

As always, communication is the key!

If you’d like to speak to Jody about anything you’ve read in this, or any other of his articles, send us a message and we’ll put you in touch! You can do so via our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts!