The presents have been unwrapped and Christmas dinner has been devoured. A good time has been shared by all. Whilst we’re not trying to dampen the festive spirit, it’s important to carefully consider what you share on social media platforms this Christmas. Check out below our suggestions to consider before sharing!
- Turn off Location Settings – Only Santa needs to know where you live and he’s most likely on his way back to the North Pole by now.
- Checking In – By ‘checking in’ at other locations you are making it publicly known that you aren’t at home. This presents thieves will the perfect chance to act.
- Posting Photographs of Presents – We realise giving and receiving gifts is exciting. However it’s even more exciting for potential thieves to see what goodies may be up for grabs!
- Posting Photographs of Event/Travel Tickets – Online fraudsters can copy your name and barcode from photos you share online and are capable of making fake copies of your ticket. If you’re keen to share your experience of the event but want to avoid online ticket fraud, then consider sharing your photos post event.
- Background of Photographs – If you do decide to share on social media at Christmas, don’t forget to double check the background of the photo as well!
There are many Cyber Liability solutions available in the market and we understand that selecting the right cyber policy can be a complex exercise. If you need any support or advice or wish to obtain a quotation for Cyber Liability Insurance please contact Gordon Cameron on 0141 354 2890 or email [email protected]
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
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.
2017 has been a year of consolidation and steady growth for Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers. We are now addressing plans for continued growth and investment in professional development.
Over the course of the last 6 months we have reviewed our current branding and we are now delighted to launch our new, refreshed look.
This updated logo gives our brand a new lease of life and stands us in good stead for our future plans. While we have stayed true to our core values, we have given the logo a cleaner, more polished appearance. We are following our brand refresh with a new website which will launch in early 2018.
If you have any feedback please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would be delighted to hear from you. [email protected]
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.
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.
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
Santa won’t be arriving for another few days and when he does arrive he’ll be coming down the chimney. Each year levels of criminal activity peak at Christmas time. It is a time of giving and receiving, but more importantly a time which thieves thrive on. Here are our top tips for having a safe and secure Christmas.
- Lock your doors and windows every time you leave the house. Even if you’re just popping out to the shops!
- Hide all keys out of sight and remove any valuables from view of ground floor windows.
- Install a burglar alarm in a visible place. This will deter thieves as security measures have obviously been put in place.
- Install good outside lighting. Many outside lights are designed to come on when movement is detected and additionally can be programmed to turn on and off at set times.
- Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
- Leave lights in your house on a timer as this will make the property appear occupied.
- Secure bikes by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage.
Another option which you may wish to consider is joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. These schemes aspire to bring neighbours together to create a friendly and safe environment, in order to try and reduce criminal activity within the area. You can find out more information about these communities on the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network – https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/
It’s important to check that you’ve got sufficient cover for your home and contents. If you would like to discuss your contents insurance or you would like to obtain a quote, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 0131 553 2293 2293.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have been and gone. However there are still an abundance of online competitions and time is ticking to finish off Christmas shopping. We realise it’s a busy time of year, however it’s important to remember to remain vigilant online. Before shopping online, consider the following;
- Does the website you are visiting seem genuine? If not, steer clear and find alternative sites to purchase from.
- Does the website have a secure URL? It’s important to check the site is secure before sharing any personal information. If not, you could fall victim to online fraud. Make sure the URL has https: preceding the web address.
- Does the website URL and page title match the company name? If not, check they are at least similar to it. It may be the case that fraudsters have created a fake website which appears to be similar to that of the real one you looking for. Check for bad spelling and grammar, if you find several or an abnormal amount of errors, it’s likely the site is unsafe.
- Have you received emails offering deals which seem too good to be true? If so, it probably is too good to be true. To verify the offering, visit the company’s website where deals and other offers will be advertised.
For further information about Cyber Crime or if you think you have been a victim of cyber crime, visit the Victim Support website – https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/cyber-crime
Check out our favourite recipe for Eggnog
Ingredients – Serves 8
- 3 cups (700ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy or double cream
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- 5 eggs, separated
- 2/3 (130g) cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (175ml) Bacardi Dark Rum, or bourbon
In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, cinnamon, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, and nutmeg. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and allow to steep.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar until combined and thick ribbons form when the whisk is lifted. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to mix until the mixture is combined and smooth. Add bourbon or rum, and stir. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
Before serving, beat the egg whites in a large bowl or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into eggnog until combined. Serve and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Storm Caroline has brought a spell of very windy weather, starting at circa 6am this morning and once Storm Caroline departs, snow showers and sub-zero temperatures are expected to hit over the weekend.
Please find below, detail relative to the warnings in place below for your information;
Most regions currently have a “yellow – be aware” warning in place which on the Met Office matrix is a low likelihood/medium impact warning, the regions covered by the yellow warning are; Central Tayside Fife, NI, SW Lothian and Borders, and Strathclyde with the chief forecaster stating;
“The strongest winds will reach the west early on Thursday, extending east through the morning. Winds will start to ease in the west later in the morning and then all parts by late afternoon/evening. Snow showers will turn increasingly frequent and heavy across large parts Scotland and Northern Ireland during the evening”
Unfortunately Grampian, Highlands & Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland are on a higher level warning (amber) which sits at the medium likelihood/medium impact on the matrix – this gives a higher risk of structural damage and disruption, the Met Office report that;
“Storm Caroline is expected to bring a spell of very windy weather to northern Scotland. Gusts of 70 to 80 mph are expected widely with gusts to 90 mph possible in exposed areas. Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life. Some damage to buildings is possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs. Longer journey times and cancellations are likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected. There is a good chance that power cuts may also occur. Large waves are expected and beach material may be thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties”
Please note that for local regions the weather warnings are expected to be in place until 6pm on Thursday evening, however more northern regions are expected to experience the stormy conditions right through to circa midnight on Friday 8th December with Orkney and Shetland expected to be worst hit.
Further weather warnings in respect of snow and ice are also in place for the weekend as follows;
Friday – 00.05 until Saturday 6pm
Regions affected are; Central, Tayside & Fife, East Midlands, Grampian, Highlands & Eilean Siar, North West England, Northern Ireland, Orkney & Shetland, SW Scotland, Lothian Borders, South West England Strathclyde, Wales, West Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber.
With the Met Office reporting;
During Friday, increasingly frequent snow showers already affecting parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England will extend across many other northern and western parts of the UK. 2-5 cm of snow is likely fairly widely, with 10-20 cm in places, mainly northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and perhaps the northwest Midlands. Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight. The heaviest and most frequent snow showers will progressively become confined to northeast Scotland during Saturday. Possible travel delays on roads stranding some vehicles
If the weather is adversely affecting you please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us on 0131 553 2293. For further weather updates you can visit the Met Office Website.
Income at Bruce Stevenson, one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Scotland, rose during a highly successful year which also saw the firm increase its headcount.
The Edinburgh-based broker’s total income for the year to 30 August 2017 was £6.6m, against £6.4m in the previous twelve months.
Trading performance was boosted by a sharp rise in gross written premiums to £30m in the last year while the investment in staff recruitment meant gross profit came in at £1.4m against £1.5m in 2015/16.
Headcount has risen by 7% to 93 with the hire of senior managers James Geekie, in corporate business development, and Alexandra Richards in the Private Clients team. Additional staff were brought in to handle claims, which is a key service area supported by seven staff along with an expansion in IT and Marketing.
The firm is committed to long-term independence and several discussions are under way with a view to acquisitions. Most recently the firm acquired a book of business in the north of Scotland from H&H, an auctioneering business based in Carlisle.
Commenting on the results, Edward Bruce, chief executive of Bruce Stevenson, said:
“It’s been an extremely positive year for Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, we’ve hit our targets but it’s been a period of consolidation. We’ve invested in the business a number of strategic management appointments and customer service/ support roles.
“We are now focused on further growth with a focus on our core areas of business and potential acquisitions.
Looking ahead, Bruce Stevenson has a brand re-launch and new website which will be unveiled in early 2018. The immediate target is to hit double-digit growth again in the current financial year with a focus on the Firm’s core values of great teamwork, exceptional customer service and assured consistency.
There will also be continued investment in staff training and professional development.
Encouragingly a recent staff survey received positive feedback from the 85% of employees who responded, which supports the Firm’s commitment to being the ‘Broker of Choice’ for both staff and clients.
Bruce Stevenson made a policy commitment in January to donate a minimum of 2% of net profit to FareShare, its nominated charity. This organisation collects good quality, in-date surplus food from retailers and producers and redistributes it to 476 frontline charities and community groups. The commitment to this charity is underlined by the work the insurance broker does within the food and drink sector.
76 Coburg Street
Edinburgh, EH6 6HJ
Tel: 0131 553 2293
Fax: 0131 554 8324
James Sellars House
144 West George Street
Glasgow, G2 2HG
Tel: 0141 353 3539
79 High Street
Galashiels, TD1 1RZ
Tel: 01896 209353