Setting Sail – Boat Insurance

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the jobs that need doing before the season starts, so we thought it might be useful to list eight de-wintering tasks that can easily get forgotten about.

  • Give your topsides some attention. After giving your boat a thorough wash down to get rid of any mould and algae that’s built up over the winter you should remember to apply a protective wax to your topsides. If your topsides are painted or a dark coloured GRP, it’s worth investing in a wax which contains UV protection. This will help to slow down colour fade.
  • Check your anodes have enough life to last until the next haul out.
  • Ensure your batteries are charged.
  • Service your lifejackets. Don’t risk them failing to inflate when you need them most.
  • Check your flares are in date.
  • Winches – these should be serviced annually. There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to do it yourself, or get your local service agent to carry it out for you.
  • Purify your water system & tanks
  • Check your seacocks

If you have any questions about boat insurance please contact your Account Executive or Account Handler or alternatively reach us a [email protected] | 0131 553 2293

Precious Advice for Private Clients

We are always talking to our clients about the importance of regular valuations for their jewellery and watches.  We don’t want any of them to be in position where a valuable watch is lost and yet to replace it is going to cost thousands more than it was insured for. Many of the panel of insurers that Bruce Stevenson use offer what is called ‘extended replacement’. This means that if you have had a professional valuation carried out in the last three years the insurer will pay the full cost of replacing or repairing any damage even if it is more that the amount insured.

To get a view from a jewellery expert, we talked to Clare Blatherwick, who is one of the most experienced professionals in Scotland:

Q: When we think about jewellery we often think of diamonds, precious stones and pearls, but other types of jewellery can also be very valuable and perhaps more difficult to authenticate and value. Can you give some examples?

A: It’s easy to just think of valuable jewellery as containing big or important stones and that is frequently the case but there are instances of other types of jewels being less obviously valuable but of cultural and financial importance. Some good examples of this would be work by British designers from the 60s and 70s, such as Andrew Grima, whose collectibility factor has increased dramatically in the last few years. Jewels that can be considered works of art in their own right and pieces created with strong design as their driving force are seeing a real upsurge in desirability and value. One example would be the work of designer Suzanne Belperron who never signed her pieces, stating instead that ‘my signature is my style’. Her jewels command enormous premiums amongst those who appreciate her work. But her pieces can be missed by those unaware of her aesthetic or importance in the marketplace because there is no physical signature on her work.

Q: What should one look out for if one inherits a collection of jewellery –  how might you know you have a ‘sleeper’ amongst the collection?

A: That is a very tricky question. Ultimately it’s not easy for the person who has inherited a collection to know what they have and that underlines the importance of having an expert examine the collection on behalf of the owner. In fact, it’s not just people who have inherited their collection who may not realise what they have and it’s worth. The fact that the jewellery market is so dynamic can mean  pieces bought by an individual may have increased significantly without them realising. It is always an enjoyable part of the job to be able to advise a client that something in their collection is either much more valuable than they thought, or has a history and significance to it that they were previously unaware of.

Q: How can one recognise how old an item of jewellery is, as diamonds often look timeless?

A: I’m afraid that isn’t something that can be distilled into a quick sentence or two. I have been working in jewellery for over twenty years and am constantly still learning. I invest in continuing my education to ensure I am up to date with developments around synthetic and imitation gemstones, as well as new types of treatments. Not only are there constant advances being made by people who want to trick us with stones that have been treated or enhanced in some way in order that they appear better than they actually are. It’s important to be constantly looking at what’s appearing in the market and for common themes that might indicate a batch of fakes, of let’s say, Art Deco jewels or jewels purporting to be by a particular maker, has appeared from a particular part of the world. It’s interesting you say diamonds that look timeless and of course I understand what you mean but actually the type of cut of a diamond can reveal a great deal about the age of the diamond and often the age of the piece it is set into. The clever fakers know this too though and can have diamonds cut to look older than they are. It’s really down to experience and exposure to a lot of jewellery to determine what is right and what isn’t

Q:In layman’s terms what are the current value trends for items of jewellery?

A: Generally the market is very strong at the upper end where people are looking for alternatives to cash sitting in the bank. Natural pearls have seen a big increase in value over the last few years and although that market seems to have stabilised, values are still very strong. Coloured gemstones are big news at the moment with natural, unheated sapphires and rubies in particular commanding significant prices. Ultimately it’s a supply and demand situation. Certain gemstones such as spinel and Paraiba tourmalines can fetch prices more commonly associated with ‘precious’ rather than ‘semi precious’ gemstones and amber is also seeing a big increase in value due to interest from Far Eastern buyers. Jewels are starting to be appreciated as works of art, so as I mentioned before, jewellery by designers with a unique aesthetic are also experiencing significant uplift in value.

Q: If I own a collection of jewellery, should I get it revalued?

A: Your broker and insurer can advise as to how often they expect you to have your collection valued but I think it is safe to say that in the current dynamic market it would be unwise to rely on index linking to ensure you are properly covered. The jewellery market is fast paced and seeing some real spikes in areas, so if your pieces haven’t been looked at in the last 3/5 years then it’s definitely time for them to be revalued. And of course, there will be some instances where values have dropped so it makes sense to be confident you are not overinsured and paying a premium that is unnecessary.

Q: How much does it cost to get my collection valued and can you visit me to do it?

 A: I am delighted to visit clients at their home, office or bank to value their pieces. Whilst I’m based near Edinburgh, I see clients all over the country. Having to carry jewellery around is nerve-wracking for most people and this way that anxiety can be removed from the process. I charge an hourly rate rather than making a charge based on the value of the pieces. This is the fairest approach in my view and I’m always happy to chat through how many and what type of pieces a client has in order to give a good indication of the likely cost.

Clare’s contact details are below should you like to speak to Clare about your jewellery or indeed follow her on social media:

+44 (0) 7967 380191

[email protected]

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

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.


Home Security – Protect yourself

At Bruce Stevenson Private Clients we seek to advise clients on the best way to protect their home.

Evident physical security measures are a must, but perhaps less obvious is being aware of what you are posting on social media.  Photographs posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of you on holiday can be hacked or viewed by undesirable prying eyes, alerting them to the fact that your home is unoccupied.

Andrew Davies, senior risk surveyor at AXA Art Insurance Limited always says treat security like an onion – starting with the outer perimeter layer (your boundary) then the layer around the house (locks and alarms) with further layers (safes, panic buttons, valuables such as cash distributed evenly around the house) until only finally do you reach the core. The more layers an intruder has to overcome, the harder it will be to break in, which will take longer and therefore they are less likely to try.

Layers of security:

Perimeter /Boundary of your property

  • Make it hard to penetrate, even hedges can be thick, prickly and thorny.
  • CCTV
  • Gated entry with video phone and security lighting

1st Inner layer – the garden

  • Don’t leave things like ladders lying around, or bins that can be used to climb up to access windows.
  • Keep outbuildings locked so thieves cannot access tools and implements that could be used for breaking into your home.

 2nd inner layer – exterior of the house

  • Visible intruder alarm box on the exterior of the house.
  • CCTV and security lighting
  • Double glazed windows, window locks, minimum 5 lever mortice deadlocks on accessible doors

3rd inner layer – in the house

  • If you are planning on being away, make the house look occupied. Use lights on a timer, alert neighbours, friends and family and arrange for them to check the house from time to time, clear post away.
  • Use a housesitter.
  • Make sure alarms are set.
  • Use a door viewer and a door chain.
  • Use a safe for your valuables ensuring it is adequate for the values contained within it and try not to keep large sums of money in the house – if you must, make sure it is well dispersed around, but check your money limit on your insurance policy.
  • You can use a UV marker pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house name or number of your possessions.


  • 36% of all burglaries are crimes of opportunity, with burglars letting themselves in through unlocked doors or windows (Association of British Insurers)
  • You are 10 times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have basic security (Association of British Insurers)

If you would like some help with the security protections of your home we can help you.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 2293 | email [email protected].

Burglary – what you can do to protect yourself and your home

Earlier this year, industry-wide figures revealed that alongside its title of being the Scottish nation’s capital city and seat of power, Edinburgh also is the burglary capital of Scotland.  Homes in Balerno, Currie and Wester Hailes have seen the most break-ins with the EH4 area covering Dean Village, Comely Bank and the A90 to Barnton and Cramond following.

Michael Young, underwriter of high net worth homes in Scotland and expert in protecting your home from theft commented “At Hiscox, we have seen a spate of burglaries in Edinburgh and the Lothians. There has been no real pattern to this and the criminals do not care how they carry this out. Clients have had large amounts of valuables stolen in what seem like targeted attacks and we have seen gardening equipment and bicycles stolen from garden sheds. The best way of protecting yourself is to ensure you do all the things which are in your control to decrease the chance of you being the next victim.”

At Bruce Stevenson Private Clients we have seen thefts recently fall into two categories; thefts from outbuildings and thefts from homes whilst clients are away on holiday.  For both, evident physical security measures are a must, but perhaps less obvious is being aware of what you are posting on social media.  Photographs posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of you on holiday can be hacked or viewed by undesirable prying eyes, alerting them to the fact that your home is unoccupied.

Andrew Davies, senior risk surveyor at AXA Art Insurance Limited always says treat security like an onion – starting with the outer perimeter layer (your boundary) then the layer around the house (locks and alarms) with further layers (safes, panic buttons, valuables such as cash distributed evenly around the house) until only finally do you reach the core. The more layers an intruder has to overcome, the harder it will be to break in, which will take longer and therefore they are less likely to try. For further information on security layers please read our top tips.

Many break-ins are carried by an opportunist.  The thief hasn’t had to actually break in because a door or window has been left open or unlocked.  Our clients have had their cars stolen because they have left car keys on a table near the front door.  The thief has used a fishing rod or other long device through the letter box, lifted the keys and then made away with the car without any physical evidence of entry to the property.

As your broker, we ensure that your sums insured accurately reflect what you actually have and making sure your valuations are up to date.  Insurance is a purchase that we make but hope not to use.  Imagine for a moment that you have suffered a burglary.  It is often a good way to focus your mind and think about how you evidence to the insurers or loss adjustors just what has been stolen.

Start by imagining you have to make a claim.  It is hard to remember what was in a room, or outbuilding, which valuables were taken, their values and descriptions.   Photograph your rooms, have professional up to date valuations of your collectables, jewellery and watches and ensure a copy is kept ‘off-site’ or digitally recorded somewhere that is accessible away from home.  Insurance is there to put you back in the same financial position immediately prior to the loss.  Having a valuation from the 1980’s for your jewellery and watch collection that has been stolen is going to fall woefully short of what the market value to replace those items today is.

If you would like some help with the security protections of your home we can help you.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 2293 | email [email protected].

The Edinburgh Care Forum

We are delighted to announce that Alexandra Richards from our Private Client team has been accepted on to the Edinburgh Care Forum.  The goal of the Forum is to provide a high level of advice and support to those in need of specialist care. At Bruce Stevenson we know that insurance can be a complex issue and it can be a burden when ill-health or family issues bring a change in circumstances and priorities.

As members of the Edinburgh Care Forum, we can help to shoulder the burden of insurance  at these times (ensuring that a home is insured whilst unoccupied for instance), and we’ll work with other ECF members with complementary skills, including trusted lawyers, property managers, financial planners and other advisers, to be part of the crucial ‘circle of care’.

If you or a family member feel you might need some help and advice please get in touch with Alexandra on 07464 545648 | 0131 553 2293 | [email protected] or take a look at

Undertaking home renovations? Make sure you let us know.

Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers are experts at arranging insurance for your home and building works. We have a specialist knowledge in providing insurance solutions to homeowners who are undertaking high value renovation or extension works. Clients’ homes are often their most valuable asset with rebuild values in excess of £1m.  Renovation work can be an exciting but sometimes stressful project. Insurance cover must be checked prior to undertaking any work;

  • Will your existing insurers cover the buildings work?
  • If they do what exclusions may apply?
  • What is the maximum value of works permitted under your existing policy?
  • What is the project timescale?

We highlight to clients why it is essential that they remain in control of the insurance arrangements for their home and not rely on a contractor’s insurance to provide cover for the contract works. Home insurers are often unable to accept the risk of insuring the home if it is undergoing works in excess of £50,000.  Some home insurers may not be willing to insure your home at all if undergoing any sort of building works. This could leave your home uninsured if for example, a fire breaks out unrelated to the building works. Our ability to advise how to effectively protect the existing structure and insure the contract works under one policy means there are no gaps in cover or grey areas. This allows a cleaner, simpler claims process should there be complications. Whether the property is listed, a home of heritage status, a country or townhouse, we work with specialist insurers flexible enough to offer competitive and comprehensive cover. As an independent broker, we are committed to providing the best possible service, advice and support. We would welcome the opportunity to review and quote for your insurance needs on a no-obligation basis.

For further information, please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 | email [email protected].