Is Restoration cover built into your Insurance policy?

Alexandra Richards, Private Clients Development Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers looks at why it is so important to ensure that your collection, whether private or corporate, has restoration cover built into the insurance policy.

Every insurance claim is different and each one has its own story to tell and can often be emotional.  Like other possessions, be it musical instruments, paintings or books, they usually have a sentimental value in addition to their market value.

Under a specialist collections insurance policy, the amount settled for an item that is partially damaged (be it through fire, water damage or simply by an accident) is not only the cost of restoring the item, but any subsequent drop in value.  However, the total amount to be settled must not exceed the value of the item, or else it is considered by underwriters as a ‘total loss’ whereupon they settle the full value of the loss.

The purpose of insurance is to put you back in the same position as you were immediately prior to the loss.

Restoration Cover Insurance Policy Bruce Stevenson

Recently we dealt with a case where a piece of art was badly damaged due to a fire.

A fire occurred in the ground floor reception room of a private home and although it was apparent that the drawing room door was closed, it was clear that a large volume of dense smoke permeated throughout most of the property.

Forensic testing confirmed that the cause of the fire was as a result of an exposed bulb of a halogen uplighter placed in close proximity to a combustible curtain fabric. The pattern of burning clearly showed that the seat of the fire was at the front of the drawing room.

There was fire and smoke damage to a number of ‘collection’ items including a watercolour that suffered extensive heat and smoke damage but was protected by glass.  Restoration work commenced to clean the surface and varnish to remove smoke deposits. Not only was the work physically damaged, but a smoke odour lingered. The reverse of the canvas was also cleaned, combined with Ozone treatment, good air circulation and filtration which resolved the problem of the smell.

In accordance with terms of the policy, costs were met for restoration plus any subsequent loss in value.  As evidence of the treated areas were visible under ultra –violet light, the insurer sought the opinion from two independent galleries who had dealings with the Artist and works of this nature, together with an auction house to ascertain the diminution of value, in percentage terms.

The watercolour was insured on an agreed value basis and it was confirmed that the value had depreciated by 55%. The claim was therefore settled for restoration and depreciation costs with the insured retaining the work. The insured was satisfied that the work was salvageable and not a total loss. The policy schedule was then amended to reflect the revised agreed value.

Accidental damage is the most frequent cause of collection claims so it pays to be prepared and work with the principle that prevention is better than cure.

For any further information please contact [email protected] or call 0131 553 2293

Dodging Food Poisoning at Christmas

It’s not long now until Christmas dinner will be taking centre stage on our dining tables. Fridges are bursting full with festive food and it’s party time. How do you avoid giving the unwanted gift of food poisoning to your guests?

Bacteria can spread from raw meat and poultry to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils.

Here are some tips to keep your Christmas food safe:

  • After touching raw poultry or other raw meat, always wash your hands with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Don’t wash your turkey before your cook it. If you do, bacteria from raw poultry can splash onto worktops, dishes and other foods. Proper cooking will kill any bacteria.
  • Always clean worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils with warm soapy water after they have touched raw poultry or meat.
  • Never use the same chopping board for raw poultry or meat and ready-to-eat food without washing it thoroughly with warm soapy water first.

Plan your cooking time in advance to make sure you get the bird in the oven early enough to cook it thoroughly. A large turkey can take several hours to cook properly, and eating undercooked turkey (or other poultry) could cause food poisoning. Where available, follow cooking instructions on the pack.

Three ways you can tell a turkey is cooked:

  • the meat is steaming hot all the way through
  • there’s no pink meat when you cut into the thickest part of the bird
  • the juices run clear when you pierce the turkey or press the thigh

If you’re using a temperature probe or food thermometer, ensure the thickest part of the bird (between the breast and the thigh) reaches at least 70C for 2 minutes.

For further information please visit the Food Standards Agency( Link – https://www.food.gov.uk/ )

Source: Food Standards Agency

 

 

Renewable Energy Department at Bruce Stevenson

Two days within the Renewable Energy Department at Bruce Stevenson are very rarely the same.  Whilst we are insurance brokers at heart, our team is very much within the Renewables sector as well.  In fact, we estimate that only 20% of our time is spent actually placing insurance.  The remainder of the time we are engaged in the Renewables sector and learning the marketplace.  From seminars to site visits, and even a perfume making class, here is a typical month in the life of our renewable energy department.

To understand the renewables sector, you have to be part of it.  That’s why we try to attend as many events as possible.  It’s great to find out where the market is going and understand new developments, but it’s also a good chance to catch up with clients.  Bruce Stevenson are members and advisors to Scottish Renewables, an organisation who leads and promotes the growth of renewable energy in Scotland.

One of the best parts of our job is getting out and meeting clients.  Whilst email and phone is a great way of keeping in touch, nothing beats face to face and getting out on site, and because most of our projects are in rural locations, we get to see some of the most beautiful sights in Scotland.  Our in-house Technical Consultant, Gary Bratt, carries out most of our site visits.  He is an Engineer to trade, with a post-grad in Renewable Energy.  As we said before, the better we understand the technology, the better the insurance we place, and Gary helps us with a lot of this.

Gary and our Director, Derek Skinner, carried out a site visit to one of our client’s anaerobic digestion plants.  This project is 6MW in size – so pretty big!  Anaerobic digestion works by converting food waste to energy by breaking it down until gas is produced.  This site was interesting because there are a number of smaller sites connected to it which makes placing the insurance that little bit more complex.

Despite our busy schedules, we still make time for team building with the insurers, solicitors and banks we work with.  We recently attended a perfume making class where everyone got the opportunity to make their own scent and take a sample home with them.  This was followed by dinner and a few drinks.  Days out like this are a good chance to catch up with other in the renewables sector to find out what’s happening and is a good opportunity to strengthen our working relationships which ultimately means we work better for our clients.

If you have any queries regarding Renewable Energy insurance please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Preparing your property for winter

With the cold weather settling in, now is a good time to prepare against the perils of winter and to help prevent damage to your property investment.

Freezing pipes

One of the most common causes of property damage during winter is freezing pipes, which can lead to a burst pipe resulting in, sometimes, large-scale water damage.

There are ways to help prevent this, including checking pipes for any noticeable cracks. RICS also recommend that any external pipes are insulated to minimise heat loss and prevent your pipes from freezing.

Service your boiler

Ensure that your boiler has been recently serviced by a Gas Safe engineer and is in working order.

Although this may come at a cost, it is far more cost effective than having to fully replace a faulty boiler in the event of a break-down. This will also assist in keeping your pipes warm and prevent freezing throughout the colder months.

Unoccupied properties

As your property may become unoccupied during the festive period, it’s important to review your insurance policy for any unoccupancy conditions that apply. You may need to notify your insurer that the property will be empty, or your insurer may request that your central heating is left on at a certain temperature (or in some cases the mains services are turned off).

If you are unsure, give us a call and we would be happy to review your policy. Failure to adhere to these conditions may result in a claim being repudiated leaving you out of pocket following a loss.

This is also a good opportunity to ensure that your existing policy is fit for purpose, e.g. landlords should ensure that a specialist landlord insurance is in place.

Roof and drains

Remember to ensure your drains, gutters and overflow pipes have been inspected by a qualified contractor and cleared of any blockages.

Falling Autumn leaves can potentially result in blocked gutters – this can lead to water damage on the roof and may cause damage to the walls of your property.

Have your roof checked for any cracked or missing slates, as this can also result in water damage to your property.

Give us a call

During winter it is better to be ‘safe than sorry’. If have any questions about your insurance policy looked after by Bruce Stevenson, or if you would like a no obligation quotation, please give us a call and we would be delighted to assist you.

Property Account Executive, Jamie McKenzie [email protected] or 07789403990

Highly Commended Winner 2017 of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight

We are delighted to have been given a highly commended award for our efforts at promoting Scottish Food & Drink during the recent Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2017.  The initiative encouraged businesses of all shapes and sizes to change just one thing to promote Scottish produce.  As members of Scotland’s Food & Drink we championed local producers and suppliers via our social media channels.

Speaking at the official prize giving at the NorthLink Ferries terminal in Aberdeen, Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight takes place every year and it’s a fantastic way of celebrating our growers, producers, chefs and restaurateurs’, as well as our vast and delicious Scottish larder.”

Main Sponsors of Fife Whisky Festival

INAUGURAL FIFE WHISKY FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED

The first ever Fife Whisky Festival will take place on Saturday the 10th of March 2018, at the Corn Exchange in Cupar.

Justine Hazlehurst, founder of Kask Whisky, and Karen Somerville, founder of Angels’ Share Glass, joined forces earlier this year to organise the festival and bring whisky back to the Kingdom of Fife. Karen said: “After many years of attending whisky festivals around the world, drinking the water of life in the name of research, Justine and I are both delighted to be able to bring this exciting new event to Scotland.”

The inaugural Fife Whisky Festival, which is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, will showcase the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife, bringing together whisky connoisseurs and beginners with the best whisky producers from Fife and beyond. With over 25 different exhibitors, including the Kingsbarns Distillery, Morrison and Mackay, Glen Moray, Isle of Arran and the Glasgow Distillery, there will be a huge range of whiskies to try.

Vince Fusaro, of the famous Luvians Bottle Shop, the festival’s official retailer, said: “From Friar John Cor in 1494 to, amongst others, farmer Francis Cuthbert in the present day, whisky certainly has come home to Fife. I’m immensely proud to be in the whisky world and to be playing a central part in the Fife Whisky Festival.”

Fife-based musical duo The Coaltown Daisies, famous for producing The Whisky Song for World Whisky Day earlier this year, are sure to get everyone’s toes tapping as they enjoy a dram or two.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Graeme Dempster at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, added: “We are delighted to support Fife’s first Whisky Festival, this sponsorship is one of a number of whisky event initiatives that Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers support. The whisky industry has complex insurance needs and we specialise in delivering tailored solutions to distilleries. We also insure private whisky collections so this really is a great opportunity for us to support an exciting new whisky event, which will be a huge success whilst raising awareness of what we do in this field.”

 

Cllr Margaret Kennedy, welcoming the Fife Whisky Festival to Cupar, said: “This is fantastic news for the town. Given, in Luvians, we have an outstanding local business with very sound knowledge of the product it is very fitting that Fife’s first Whisky Festival should be in Cupar. “I wish the festival organisers well with the event and look forward to hearing many cries of ‘Slàinte’ ringing out.”

To buy tickets and for more details about the Fife Whisky Festival, go to www.fifewhiskyfestival.com

:: For more details about Angels’ Share Glass unique products for whisky-lovers go to www.angelsshareglass.com

:: For more details about Kask Whisky, go to www.kaskwhisky.com

Cycling can be a risky business!

With our Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont now back in one piece (broken tooth and fractured elbow aside!), from his World Cycle, we have considered the potential hazards of this ever-growing sport.  Before we embark on a cycle or car journey most people undertake a mental Risk Assessment without even realising it. Things to do, things to take with you, things to avoid!

From a cycling point of view Hazards can include:-

Traffic

There are many other road users out there – cars, vans, trucks and other cyclists.  In the event of a cycling race controls could include route planning to avoid heavy traffic/ large vehicles etc.

Wearing the right kit is essential.  Should there be an incident having a qualified First Aider available with appropriate Fist Aid kit would be required. On any distance event, falls are inevitable and plans must be in place on how to deal with these, patch up the rider and get them back in the race.

 

 

Weather

We can’t control the weather or avoid it however tyre choice, appropriate waterproof clothing and changes of clothing being available can make a big difference to performance. Aerodynamic equipment, helmet, cycle frame, wheels etc will reduce the drag of head winds.

Mechanical Failure

The condition of a bike is critical to performance.   Appropriate tyres for the road surface of the stage or journey, available spare wheels to deal with punctures as quickly as possible, spare brake pads, lubricants and tools should all be available to make adjustments.  Daily servicing of the cycle will ensure the optimum machine reliability.

Fatigue

When fatigue sets in mistakes happen and there is an increased risk of falls / collisions. Nutrition and hydration are key.  Mark had to take in 9000 calories per day to ensure he was able to perform at the top of his game.   In cycle races on closed roads food and water can be passed from a car window. On public roads that is very dangerous so passing energy drinks / food to the rider by a support pedestrian as the rider passes at an agreed location is much more manageable.

In addition, good communication systems are required to get feedback from the rider as to how they are feeling. Planned breaks must be built into the journey and assessed as the trip continues to ensure they are effective.   Companion riders can be brought into the ride at appropriate times to help pull the solo cyclist along.

Injury

As with any sport it is critical to maintain peak physical condition.   Warm up at the beginning of a journey and warm down towards the end or after a stage. Whilst you may not be cycling 18,000 miles (!)  you may be taking part in an endurance event so having physios available for massage and treatment every day would be an important part of the regime.

For further information on our Risk Management services, please contact our Risk Management Consultant, Nick Morrall – 07977 559504 or [email protected]

Farming Insights – Post Brexit Funding

Farm funding

Jean Arnott-Glennie, our Farming and Estates Account Executive was recently invited to a seminar hosted by Shepherd & Wedderburn Solicitors where Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity, Fergus Ewing SNP MSP was the keynote speaker.

The discussion began with a reminder as to why the Common Agricultural Policy was originally set up under the Treaty of Rome 1957.

**The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy were stated as:

  • To increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour
  • To ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture
  • To stabilise markets
  • To assure the availability of supplies
  • To ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

*** Michael Gove MP recently agreed that the current level of support to Agricultural Industry should be maintained until 2020.  He also suggested that the Agricultural Industry should only receive support payments if they agreed to protect the environment and enhance rural life; and that farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out in future.

The move is part of what he referred to as his vision for a “green Brexit”. Mr Gove described Brexit as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet”.

This demonstrates a clear move away from food production and food security being at the top of the agenda. The suggestion being that more environmentally friendly activities should not just be rewarded but required, in order for future support being provided by the various government bodies.

Mr Ewing continued the discussion with looking at the steps that the Scottish Government had introduced since his tenure began including:

  • Retaining BSE free status for Scotland
  • Introducing 1st phase of the Beef Efficiency scheme
  • Women in Agriculture Conference
  • £10m Funding to Scotland Food & Drink Industry
  • £20m Funding to SRUC for advice services to the Agricultural community

He commented further that the Scottish Governments objective, put simply, was to drive forward Rural Development whilst protecting Environmental Concerns.

Also discussed during the seminar was the current split of EU funding within the UK home countries and the Scottish Government’s plans for this for the future.

An interesting Q&A session touched on food security in Scotland; Seasonal Labour supply post -Brexit; Devolved powers to Holyrood; The CAP IT system; How Support would be defined in the future and Penalties for infringements.

As is always the case when processes and systems are in the evolutionary stage, there were more questions than answers.  The future discussions between The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the UK Government Environment Secretary will make for interesting reading and many further debates.

For further information please contact Jean Arnott-Glennie on 07881 093485 or  email [email protected]

Sources:

** https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenvfru/671/67105.htm

*** http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40673559

Gap Insurance – Are you covered?

September is one of the busiest months of the year for the UK motor industry with the launch of the new registration plate

Jackson Lee* has advised that in September 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 469,696 new cars were registered.  Similar numbers are expected this year with around 80% of new cars being purchased on finance.

What is GAP insurance and why do I need it??

If your vehicle is stolen or written off due to an accident it is likely that your motor insurer will only pay the current market value for your vehicle.  This amount could be less than what you originally paid for your vehicle or even less than what you still owe on finance.  With 70% of consumers leasing and financing vehicles this is a financial risk many consumers face.  Universal GAP insurance is designed to protect you against this financial shortfall.

My motor insurance policy offers a new replacement vehicle whilst in its first year of registration. You may not be eligible for a new replacement vehicle if:

  • Your vehicle is pre-registered, i.e. new to you but has already been registered to the dealer to reduce VAT
  • Your vehicle has exceeded a certain mileage
  • You are not the owner/registered keeper of the vehicle. Consider lease agreements.
  • If current production is no longer available. Often insurers will then revert to the market value which will be significantly lower than their obligation under replacement vehicle cover.

Why should I buy GAP cover from a broker?

  • You are charged 12% insurance premium tax (IPT) opposed to 20% through a motor dealer
  • No need to cancel your GAP policy if you change your vehicle and you can change your vehicle as many times as you wish
  • In the event of a claim, Jackson Lee will assist you with verifying the value of your motor insurers claim settlement
  • No more paying for cover you don’t use. The product is annually renewable should you choose, eradicating the need to pay a lump sum upfront for a 3 year policy and runs in line with your current motor insurance
  • You are covered no matter how and when the vehicle is purchased. Motor dealers will only sell GAP at the point of sale and customers generally cannot return several months later to purchase GAP.
  • You are covered for the £250 excess in the event of a fault claim
  • Competitive pricing across all car makes, models and derivatives – available for new or used vehicles.
  • Just 3 policy exclusions and only 2 ½ pages of policy wording

You can now purchase GAP insurance for your vehicles from us at Bruce Stevenson.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 | email [email protected].

Underwritten by Jackson Lee Underwriting who have been accredited as the BIBA Approved Scheme provider for GAP since 2012.

 

Farming Insights – Harvest

It is safe to say it’s been a challenging season.  The mild winter resulted in little frost to kill off any malingering weeds and bugs. This was followed by a fantastically warm and dry spring and talk of an early harvest. However the 6 week drought impacted on the spring sown crops as well as the straw required for autumn livestock bedding.

As we headed into Agricultural Show season we faced rain and thunder storms. There was rain on St Swithin’s Day and true to form so far we have had the 40 days of rain that this predicts.

There is a saying that “Harvest will be when Harvest is”. The theory is that Mother Nature knows when we should be harvesting our crops for the autumn. In the 10 years I have been directly involved with day to day farming, the date that we start our spring crop harvest each year, has only varied by 7 -10 days – albeit that the silage crop start and finish date has fluctuated more with the changing weather and resultant grass quality and quantity.

Crops this year are, so far, looking reasonable. Those who were early with their sowing do not appear universally to have secured a premium yield, as the dry spell in the early spring resulted in slow germination in some locations – especially in sandy soils. Those who were later in sowing their crops appear to have attained higher yield and straw length than was previously predicted.

By the end of July AHDB reports that 50% of Winter Barley had been harvested alongside 27% of Winter Oil Seed Rape in Scotland. They further report that *“The better yields [9.5 t/ha] are tending to come from heavier soil types, whilst on lighter land, yields as low as 5.5 t/ha have been reported for the more water stressed crops”.

The AHDB Supply and Demand report ** noted at the end of July that the UK is forecast to be a net importer of wheat in 2016/17 and enters the new marketing season with a relatively lower level of stocks. They also forecast that Barley exports set to fall by 50% year on year, to the lowest level since 2012/13.  In addition the increase in Biofuel demand has increased the consumption of domestic maize this season.

However the annual steady increase in the demand for milling oats has continued.

What does this mean to the individual farmer? The lower stock of wheat being retained from last year means there may be a higher demand for purchase of wheat. This could affect the trading price in a positive direction, for those not already in contract. Those who are in contract, may see more leniency in terms of acceptability limits if the market price rises higher than the contracted premium per tonne.

Malting Barley export reductions possibly reflect the increased domestic demand for brewing and distilling and the call for “Scottish” ingredients for their geographically sensitive products.

 

 

The continued interest in renewable energy in the form of Anaerobic Digesters and Biomass/Biogas plants is resulting in higher use of maize and silage, rather than it being used in food production.

The Milling Oats Market seems still buoyant.  There are several types of interested purchasers for various manufacturing products and thus most quality standards of oats are being sold or contracted for purchase later in the season.

And once harvest is complete, the rush is on to prepare the land ready for the next crops to be sown – and so the cycle continues.

Sources:

ADHB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board)
*https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/markets/market-news/2017/july/21/gb-harvest-progress-2017-report-1.aspx
**https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1257945/21-June-UK-cereals-SD-final.pdf