Bruce Millington joins from within to bring brokers ‘all together better’

We are delighted to announce the appointment of experienced commercial broker, Bruce Millington, as our new Schemes, Placement and Relationship Manager.

Part of our continued commitment to bring members “All Together Better”, Bruce brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this important role. Working in relationship development positions in various intermediary organisations around the UK, he joins us from Sutton Winson, where he was head of commercial broking, managing the team, clients and insurer relationships.

Speaking of his career move, Bruce said: “Having spent 14 years at Sutton Winson – a founding UNA Alliance member – and well over 20 years before that in the industry, the opportunity to work on the team at UNA and devote all my experience to supporting fellow brokers and insurers is incredibly exciting.”

“My background and experience have provided me with a deep understanding of how to bring the best together for our members and insurance partners. I’m already in regular contact with each of our member organisations, albeit virtually at the moment, and I’m looking forward to getting out on the road and bringing us all together even better as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Hailing his appointment the “perfect addition” to the UNA Alliance team, Executive Chair, Tim Ryan, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Bruce officially. Coming from within, if you like, as a UNA member and a former Chair of our UNA Placement Group, Bruce already knows our members, he understands our organisation and exactly how he can make a difference for them. His skills and experience really couldn’t be better.”

Broking beyond Brexit

At our UNA V Conference in November, we were delighted to welcome Federico Shaw, from Tysers, who discussed the concerns many of us will be feeling about broking beyond Brexit. 

There are many areas of our work that are likely to be affected, and preparedness is key. Luckily, we’ve had over four years to work up plans and, while most people would have hoped for a soft Brexit – retaining close relations and many of the benefits of staying within the single market, a no deal scenario looks set to take place. 

Here are four areas to review: 

Market access

While in the UK we have probably unmatched expertise in assessing and underwriting unique risks, the European market opens up access to a greater network for us. Retaining access to the European market is, therefore, essential for many broker businesses. 

Brexit, though, means that UK-based insurance brokers that have, until the end of this year, carried out business in the European economic Area (EEA) will lose their passporting rights, therefore unable to do business via Freedom of Services in the EU. 

So, as brokers, there is a need for us to organise partnerships or to set up as an agent or broker business in a European Union country before 31 December 2020. Many have already done this, for others, time is running out. If you are setting up a satellite business in the EU, you will also need to obtain the regulatory permissions required in that country. This can take up to six months to complete. 

Data protection

It doesn’t really seem that long ago that we were introducing the changes required of us with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, back in May 2018. Protecting the data we transfer, whether within the UK or further afield, is paramount. While the GDPR will still remain the binding law, and it will be taken into UK law, it’s important to regularly review for compliance. In order to maintain the flow of data from the EU into the UK, businesses may need to apply additional clauses – Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) to be put into place. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) offers more guidance, as well as a useful tool, for this. 

Customer communications

Hard Brexit will cause many impacts on insurance for our customers. Making sure they are well informed, and therefore ready with the additional covers they need, is a key role for brokers. From travel insurance to cover for motorists overseas, through to the communications you need to have with your customers if you are no longer able to access the unique covers they may need. Policy wording and contractual agreements should also be reviewed. 

Employing EU nationals

If you employ EU nationals, you may wish to support their application for the EU Settlement Scheme, to allow them to continue to live and work here. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2020 but remember that the person must have already been living in the UK on 31 October 2019. 

At the end of an incredibly challenging year, ensure you are prepared for Broking Beyond Brexit.

The cost of underinsurance

Underinsurance. It’s perhaps one of the aspects of insurance that is least understood. It’s also an aspect that can cause very real, but very avoidable, problems in the event of a claim.

Before the covid pandemic caused the country to lockdown during the first half of 2020, it was thought that around 40% of UK businesses had inadequate levels of insurance and 80% of commercial properties in the UK were also thought to be underinsured.

With an RSA report suggesting that one in four SMEs said that they would have to close if they had an unexpected £50,000 bill, having adequate insurance to cover a claim is vital. That said, with over a quarter of UK businesses forced to close during the first lockdown, cutting costs has, for many, been the difference between closures being a temporary pause or being permanently out of business.

Executive Chair, Tim Ryan, shines a light on underinsurance for our customers as a part of our focus on this topic over the coming quarter. 

What is underinsurance?

Whether for your property, fixtures and fittings, stock, business interruption, legal liabilities or any other aspect of your business, your insurance policy should ideally cover risks to those aspects enough to allow the policyholder to put themselves back into business in the event of a claim.

Underinsurance happens when that business (or an individual) fails to insure for a sufficient amount. Businesses can find themselves underinsured for a number of reasons, whether this is by accident or on purpose.

When the assets in your business are underinsured, the ‘average’ clause is likely to come into play. This clause requires you to bear a proportion of the loss if your assets were insured for less than their full reinstatement (repair or replacement) value.

So, if you are a business with a piece of plant that would cost £5,000 to replace, but you have requested cover for only £3,000, in the event of a claim, average will be applied and your insurance company is likely to pay out only £3,000. Leaving you to pick up the remaining £2,000. This rule also applies to partial losses.

Likewise, you may be a business with multiple risks, but you decide not to cover one of those to try to keep your insurance premiums lower. In the event of a claim, though, this can be catastrophic.

For retail businesses, perhaps the most prevalent time for underinsurance is during high buying seasons, such as Christmas, when raising sums insured with a seasonal increase for stock and contents will most likely be required. Keeping your insurance broker in the know about value of stock, as well as any changes to your business assets, is essential.

The dangers of being underinsured are clear and, in the event of a claim, an underinsured business could suffer a loss that is too large to bear, causing it to have to cease trading.

How to avoid being underinsured

Neither brokers nor insurers are keen to see their policyholders out of pocket, and we’re in the business of helping to protect our customers’ interests. With that in mind, we are on hand to help guide our customers through calculating sums insured, making sure the right insurance is in place and that it is as comprehensive as possible.

It’s in these areas that the true value of working with insurance brokers comes to the fore, offering the experience and market knowledge to find both the policies and the sums insured needed to properly cover your business assets and revenue. All ensuring you are able to rebuild your business properly in the event of a claim.

Helping to focus on underinsurance

At UNA Alliance, we're focusing on underinsurance, to research its prevalence and to highlight its risks. Watch this space...

Charity matters

Why charity matters all together better

There is no doubt that 2020 has, for most, been the most challenging year we have experienced for decades. The way we work has changed, probably in parts forever, and the massive impacts of the change forced upon us continue to reverberate, making many of us more insular as we concentrate on keeping our families, friends and colleagues as safe as possible. These circumstances have also had a profound effect on our tendency to give, though, and at a time when charities have never needed us more, the route to raising much needed funds is also harder.

Our Executive Chair, Tim Ryan, has written much on philanthropy in business and the important role and effect it has on us as individuals and businesses. In his most recent article on the subject, he highlighted the incredible community spirit that we experienced during the first lockdown of 2020, when many of our members’ teams were involved in volunteering, donating and raising money to support our country’s key workers and charities.

From rewarding ourselves with happy hormones, through to reducing stress levels, the act of giving offers many personal benefits – and it offers business benefits, too.

Community value

As a business, the actions we take are analysed and reviewed by our customers during their buying process. Being seen as an empathetic and caring organisation can be the differentiator needed to bring in a sale. In this way, while it’s important not to give just for the PR, it’s also important to make sure your community knows you have given. 

Employee engagement

Millennials are pretty much the largest demographic in work around the world, making up around 50% of the workforce. Millennials are career driven – they want more than just a job. So, they pay attention to what their employers stand for. Millennials are also philanthropic, with 84% giving to charity. 

Attracting talent

Just as communities and our customers appreciate a philanthropic approach, so the people you may wish to attract to work within your business, and your existing workforce, will feel more affinity for your company if it is seen as a giving business. 

Tax benefits

While giving to charity should not be motivated by tax reductions, when a limited company gives to charity it will be able to claim tax relief by deducting the value of the donations from the total business profits before tax is paid. For sole traders and partnerships, the rules are different and tax relief here is claimed by the individual, rather than the business. 

Personal feel good

As we learned from ZavFit at our UNA Conference on 12th November 2020, understanding what makes us feel good will have a profound impact on our day to day productivity. As individuals, when making charitable donations our bodies create a surge of dopamine and endorphins, making us feel happy.  The act of giving can lead to health benefits, too. In his book ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’, Stephen Prost says donating has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses. Donating may also improve physical health and bring longer life, as it can help reduce stress, too. 

At UNA, we focus on working together to bring better benefits for our broker community, as well as our customers all around the UK. So, while during our virtual conference we were unable to run our usual charity raffle, we did set up JustGiving pages to raise money for two charities that are very close to our hearts, and who are in need right now. 

Supporting Samaritans

This pandemic is the biggest challenge Samaritans has ever faced. Before Coronavirus hit, 20,000 Samaritans volunteers were answering a call for help every six seconds. This could be someone you know, family or friends in urgent need but unable to talk to anyone in the middle of the night. 

Now, the need for someone at the end of the line - 24/7, 365 - is more important than ever. Samaritans' helpline is feeling the pressure. They're likely to experience more people struggling to cope or in crisis and they may have less volunteers to help answer calls for help.  

So, we chose to support Samaritans Emergency Appeal to help them reach those who are struggling to cope. It will help Samaritans recruit more volunteers and work faster on different ways to be there. Apt, perhaps, that our conference was on World Kindness Day. Together. we can help change the life of someone who desperately needs them. 

Macmillan Cancer Support

We lost our friend and colleague, Andy Jenkins, in August 2020 and we have chosen to support Macmillan Cancer Support in his memory. This amazing organisation helps people with cancer, and their families, all around the UK, to live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial and emotional support. 

Visit our JustGiving page to learn more about our Annual Conference 2020 fundraising. All together better.

UNA Conference 2020

Organising a virtual conference a learning experience

It’s nearly time for the UNA Alliance annual conference and, this year, we’re focusing on ‘Rising Up’ to the challenges that lay ahead of us all as we make our way into (hopefully sooner rather than later!) a post-pandemic future.

This year’s conference takes place on Thursday 12th November and we’re looking forward to welcoming several hundred delegates, from across our membership, as well as our partners.

Had someone told us this time last year, while we were enjoying a packed ‘back to the future’ agenda and already looking forward to seeing each other again at this year’s conference, no one could have foreseen the very different circumstances we’d all find ourselves in now. With all of the additional planning and management needed to implement social distancing, and many other events having been cancelled this year, postponing our own conference could have been an easy option. But, at UNA Alliance, we love to get our members together. Planning a conference during social distancing restrictions, which have now turned into a full lockdown, has not been easy. So what have we learned that we can share with the wider world?

Live in person or virtual - theme is still king

With life for many busier than ever, asking people to take time out of their schedules to attend a conference requires content that will be have a real application and immediate use in their day to day life. This year, we’ve called upon UNA Alliance members, Tysers, to present on ‘Brexit – the way forward’, giving us all an insight into the preparations needed ahead of 31 December 2020, and reassuring us that we’re in a strong position going forward. And Anna Freeman and Greg Searle from ZavFit will introduce us to a new approach to money fitness – helping us to improve our mental wellbeing by improving our attitude to finance. We’ve sandwiched two speed dating sessions in between these two inspiring presentations, helping us all to stay in touch and make the most of our UNA Alliance together.

Planning the platform

We’re not going to lie…finding the right platform on which to run our conference wasn’t easy! We reviewed countless solutions, from top end off the shelf options through to bespoke opportunities. Our platform needed several different functions, including the ability to host live presentations for all our members and partners at the same time, as well as ‘break out rooms’ for our speed dating.

Some of the options we reviewed were unviable for budget reasons, while others simply did not deliver the functionality we needed. Working out what you want to achieve from your event, and what content you need to share, will help you to select the most appropriate platform for your event.

Working out the format

Obviously a normal, face to face conference includes activities with multiple formats. Planning that in a virtual conference is not so simple. Keeping content short is essential for a virtual event so, while we had many plans for our sessions this year, we pared it back to ensure we could keep it engaging for everyone online, too.

One of the elements we’ll really miss is, of course, our dinner event. This will, of course, need to wait until we can all be together in person, but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to support our communities so, in lieu of our usual ‘on the night’ charity raffle and auction, we’ve set up JustGiving pages to allow people, if they’re able and would like to do so, to donate to two very worthy causes: Macmillan Cancer – in memory of our dear friend, Andy Jenkins – and the Samaritans, helping them to continue their work supporting the wellbeing of people across the UK during difficult times.

 We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our delegates to our virtual event, and we will, of course, be sharing learnings from our conference in the weeks to come. As with any event, measuring success is key, and we’ll also share what went well, and what we’ve learned could be done differently, as well. Watch this space!