When considering how to pay a significant lump-sum such as business insurance cover, it’s not as simple as ‘have we got the available cash or credit?’ Specialist premium finance can be a compelling option, particularly where you’d rather reinvest cash into the business rather than depleting your reserves.

The following are a number of reasons why individual consumers and business customers choose to pay for their insurance using premium finance:

  • Improved cash flow – freeing up the lump sum to use elsewhere ensuring customers have the required level of insurance cover without being held back by the upfront cost.
  • Lessens the impact of any increase in insurance costs. 
  • Eliminates the requirement for a large upfront payment to an insurance company, particularly for new purchases.
  • Multiple insurance policies can be attached to a single premium finance agreement allowing for a single payment plan.
  • Avoids the need to liquidate other assets to ensure insurance coverage by using other people’s money (leveraging the premium finance lender’s capital), customer can retain a significant amount of capital known as ‘retained capital’.

Gen2 can provide a simple tool to assess the relative benefit of reinvestment versus the costs of finance. When taking into account the facts that the vast majority of premium finance is off-balance sheet lending and that several policies (with the same inception/renewal dates) can be consolidated under one credit agreement, many opt for premium finance as a smart way to manage cash-flow.

Our partnership with Premium Credit allows our customers to take control over their Finances. Premium Credit is the leading provider of premium finance in the UK and currently helps over two million individuals and businesses spread the cost of their premiums.

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Shipping losses can dramatically cut into your bottom line, making it essential that you do everything you can to ensure that your goods are transported safely.

Preferred Goods

Thieves are not indiscriminate in their selection of targets. Certain types of goods are more susceptible to theft. Computer hardware and other consumer electronics, designer clothing, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol and tobacco products all have a history of being highly targeted. In general, thieves look for products that:

  • Are difficult to identify as stolen
  • Are small but have a high value
  • Are easy to transport
  • Are easy to resell

While you should always strive for strong security measures no matter the cargo, if you regularly deal in goods that have these characteristics, it is especially important that you institute anti-theft controls.

Mitigating Theft Risks

Start with the hiring process.While the value of selecting good drivers cannot be understated, you need to diligently check all of your employees involved in the process. Whether it’s a warehouse worker or an office clerk, if an employee knows about a lorry’s cargo, planed routes or any other logistical information, they have the potential to be a liability. Use aggressive background checks during the hiring process to ensure that you are bring on trustworthy employees.

Give employees the training they need.Not every employee will come to the job knowing what they need to do in order to prevent cargo theft. It is important that you institute an employee training programme that outlines their responsibilities. This is especially important for drivers; a driver who exhibits basic tenets of security is less likely to be targeted.

Maintain security during transit. Obviously, loaded vehicles are much more vulnerable while stopped. This makes it important to plan appropriate routes that allow drivers to take rest stops at secure areas. However, while routes should be chosen for their safety, they also need to be alternated frequently as repeatedly using the same route can give thieves a better chance to plan. Also, it is not uncommon for thieves to monitor shipping centres, waiting for an attractive target and then following the vehicle to its first stop. Encouraging drivers to put on at least 300 kilometres before their first stop can reduce the chance they will be followed.

Use technology to your advantage.Vehicle and cargo tracking devices, security seals, tractor air locks, locks and other devices can all be used to provide additional security. Depending on the cargo, a minimal investment in security devices could save you from a huge loss. Keep in mind, for these devices to be fully effective, employees need to be trained on how to use them. You also need to have a plan in place for alert features. If an on-board alarm signals you of a potential problem, you need to have a response planned out and ready to go.

Offshore & Marine can arise and protect you through every step. Contact us today.

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The below infographic emphasises the importance of purchasing robust cyber-insurance. It summarises the key statistics found in this year’s Cyber-security Breaches Survey, conducted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

With cyber breaches increasing in the ever changing world, don’t ignore your organisations risk. Get in touch today to to discuss our cyber related cover solutions.

Supply chain disruptions not only affect your top and bottom lines, and they can also damage your brand and relinquish market share. This article discusses your supply chain risks.

While lean production has become a cornerstone of successful supply chain management and a way for businesses to stay flexible and responsive to changing tastes in their markets, the dependence on and relationship with suppliers resulting from outsourcing and minimising stock creates a host of exposures. 

Successfully navigating and managing the risks presented by a complicated supply chain that spans across regional, national and especially international territory is a complicated endeavour considering the countless precarious factors that can cause disruptions or liability issues across the entire supply chain.

Risk Factors Abound

A key supplier or buyer can be debilitated for a number of reasons: natural (floods, pandemics, earthquakes, severe storms), human (terrorism, civil disorder, electronic security breaches) or technical (power failure, hardware or software viruses). These events can have dramatic effects on supply chain partners both upstream and downstream.

A single disruptive event in Asia, for example, could initiate a customer service nightmare in the United Kingdom. And disruptions are more common than one might imagine—a survey of corporate risk managers and supply chain risk managers by insurer Zurich revealed that 74 per cent of respondents had experienced a supply chain disruption within a 12 month period, not only affecting top and bottom lines but also damaging their brands and relinquishing market share. Potential effects of supply chain disruptions could include the following:

  •  Reduced market share
  • Loss of customers
  • Damage to image, reputation or brand
  • Higher cost of capital
  • Potential breach of contract
  • Failure to meet legal or regulatory requirements
  • Decrease in sales and increase in costs, from which many companies never recover

Considering Your Liability

Even worse, companies can be held liable for their supply chain partners’ mistakes. A defective or inherently dangerous product or part can cause liability issues for its designer, manufacturer, shipper, wholesale distributor, retail seller and installer, who are collaboratively and jointly responsible. In fact, even though a seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of the product, it can still be held responsible. Wholesalers or finished product manufacturers can be sued by an injured third party individually or together with any or all other parties involved in bringing the product to market and selling it to the consumer.

Reducing Your Exposure

What can a risk manager do to effectively mitigate risk in such an environment? Fortunately, there is a growing body of best practices for risk management across the supply chain. One of the most important things is to stay abreast of every development in your environment. Consider the following steps you can take to mitigate your business’s risk:

  • Choose suppliers carefully, and conduct regular audits and inspections if possible to ensure that their commitment to business interruption prevention matches yours.
  • Check the Moody’s or S&P rating of potential suppliers.
  • Verify suppliers’ insurance cover. Remember, a certificate of insurance is evidence of insurance only when the certificate is written, and not at any time after that moment. 
  • Clearly define contract scopes and draft contracts carefully with the assistance of specialised legal professional. Consider indemnification, hold harmless and defence agreements. 
  • Work with Gen2 Group to understand the extent of your exposure, and create a business interruption worksheet to quantify as accurately as possible the effect these exposures could have on revenue and profit. 
  • Re-evaluate the worksheet on a regular basis to account for changes in the market or your business model. Focus not only on the inherent risk of a broken link in the supply chain, but the interdependencies between links throughout the chain.
  • When there is a global event, examine your supply chain to see if any part of it might be affected. 
  • Be aware of developing risks, such as cyber- warfare, climate change, nanotechnology, synthetic biology.
  • After identifying risks, put a plan into place. While it is easy to prioritise speed over follow-through, identifying risks is of little use if steps are not taken to mitigate these risks. Plans might include these components or others:
  • Business continuity plan
  • Geographical diversification of servers
  • Plan to relocate business to an alternate location
  • Sourcing of goods from alternate suppliers
  • Some supply chain partners may have several locations that could keep the flow of raw materials going in the event of a disruption. Investigating these factors is an important component to creating a supply chain risk management plan. 
  • Transfer your risk by purchasing appropriate cover, which could include the following, depending on your exposure mix and risk tolerance:
  • Business Interruption 
  • Marine and Cargo cover for long voyages taken by commodities, components and finished products
  • Liability cover, including Commercial Public/Products Liability, and Directors and Officers Liability 
  • Other special endorsements specific to your exposures

Carefully read your policy and ensure that it includes cover of loss of supplier, stoppage of supply and interruption of service.

Collaborative Approach

Engaging supply chain partners and insurers in your effort to minimise supply chain risk and regularly reassessing exposures can help you to successfully manage your business’s risk from beginning to end of the supply chain. Offshore & Marine can help you every step of the way. Contact us today to get started.

0330 056 3665

[email protected]

By Nicholas Kazaz, Associate Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), 22 March, 2019


 Nicholas Kazaz is an experienced international commercial dispute resolution lawyer at international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), with experience of resolving disputes of subsea cable damage. Among others, he acts for and advises shipowners, charterers, energy companies, contractors, shipyards, ship managers and P&I Clubs. 

Over the past two years, the Club has seen eight damage to property claims allegedly caused by the snagging of fishing gear on subsea cables. Although the number of claims is reasonably low, due to the nature of the property suffering damage, the quantum of such claims is invariably high, sometimes reaching into millions of dollars. To raise awareness of such incidents the Club, in collaboration with Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), has produced the following guidance which supplements our repository of dedicated fishing vessel publications (this includes the Fishing Vessel Safety Booklet, Guidance for fishing vessel owners operating in the vicinity of subsea cables and the Fishing Operations Sample Risk Assessment). 

Subsea cables have been laid on the seabed since the 1850s. Whilst the majority of recently installed cables are buried beneath the seabed, a percentage of cables are unburied, which are then at risk of being scoured out by tides and currents or being snagged by fishing gear. Once partially or totally uncovered, cables can become a risk to fishing vessels and equipment. 

What are the risks for a fishing vessel owner and which vessels are at risk? 

The loss of the trawler Westhaven in 1997 remains a stark illustration of the risk posed by obstructions on the seabed. One of the Westhaven’s trawl doors passed under, and subsequently became snagged on, an oil pipeline in the North Sea. Whilst attempting to free the net, the vessel capsized and all four crew members lost their lives. This casualty came in the wake of a succession of fishing vessels sinking in the late 1980s including Gaylord, Mhari L and Grey Flamingo, which were lost when their gear became fouled on subsea cables. 

Vessels most at risk from uncovered subsea cables are those with towed gear, bottom and beam trawls, and dredges. As demonstrated by the Westhaven sinking, at best, a snag on a cable will involve the loss of fishing time, equipment and catch. At worst it could entail loss of life and the vessel itself. In the case of the Westhaven, the Marine Accident Investigation Board concluded that attempting to pull the gear free, rather than the snag itself, caused a loss of stability and ultimately the capsize of the vessel. 

Subsea cable damage is very expensive for all the parties involved. The cost of repairing a subsea telecoms cable averages £750,000 and can be up to £10 million for a power cable. Given their importance, the consequential losses resulting from cable breaks are equally significant. For instance, in 2017 a cable break led to loss of power to the Isles of Scilly, while in 2016 a break severed Britain’s main power link with France. If a cable operator can prove negligence of the fishing vessel, then it may well succeed in recovering substantial sums in damages from the vessel owner. 

In the Canadian case of Peracomo Inc v Telus Communications Co (The Realice) a fishing vessel snagged nets on a fibre-optic cable. Thinking that the cable was non-functioning, and intending on freeing the gear, the skipper raised the cable to the surface and cut it with a chainsaw. The skipper was found liable for damages of almost US$ 1 million. 

Aside from civil liability, damage to a subsea cable can also expose a vessel owner to criminal liability. Under English law, the Submarine and Telegraph 1885 Act permits prosecution of persons who deliberately or negligently damage cables. The high burden of proof has meant that few, if any, prosecutions have been brought. However, in the light of substantive technological advances allowing for the identification of accused vessels, and the scale of damage caused by breaks, we may see future prosecutions brought against fishing vessel operators. 

What advance steps should a prudent ship owners take ahead of a voyage to minimise the risk of cable damage? 

1. Correct navigation practices and passage planning should be implemented at all times. All voyages should be carefully planned. This can often be overlooked when operating in familiar waters. 

2. The area in which fishing operations are to be conducted should be assessed before commencing the voyage and operations. Subsea cables and other obstructions are shown with accompanying notes on admiralty charts as well as modern electronic charts and plotters (as mentioned below). However, users must ensure that charting systems are up to date and that electronic charts are correctly planned and assessed. 

3. Temporary and preliminary notices to mariners (T’s & P’s) provide advance warning of new subsea cables and other underwater obstructions and should be consulted. The notices are published on a weekly basis by the Admiralty and detail any new obstructions before the associated chart corrections are published. 

4. Radio navigation warnings and broadcasts via Navtext or EGC Safety Net can also provide useful information in relation to new Subsea Cables and other works. Navtext systems and other GMDSS receivers should be correctly configured to receive navigation warnings. Further guidance can be found in Admiralty List of Radio Signals (Vol. 5). 

What other steps should a prudent ship owner take to minimise the risks of cable damage? 

The Code of Safety for Fishermen and Fishing Vessels, 2005 includes the following: 

1.3.13 Particular care should be taken when the pull from fishing gear might have a negative effect on stability (e.g. when nets are hauled by power-block or the trawl catches obstructions on the seabed). The pull of the fishing gear should be from as low a point on the vessel, above the waterline, as possible. 

4.1.7 Fasteners (obstructions to gear on the seabed) are a source of danger on deck until the last section of gear is on board. The tension in the warps to clear fasteners should be from as low a point and as near to the vessel side or stern as possible. Great strains can occur in unexpected places when heaving on taut warps or by the motion of the vessel. Fasteners which result in the gear being parted at one end and the entire load being hauled from one warp present dangerous situations. 

4.2.4 When a net becomes fast to an obstruction on the seabed (a fastener), the winch drum brakes should immediately be released. The skipper should never try to recover a net from a fastener with the warp running over the block at the outboard end of the outrigger boom. There is a danger of capsizing the vessel in this way. The warp block at the outboard end of the boom should then be lowered and brought inboard. The same applies to hoisting heavy or unknown weights in this manner.

In addition to the above, fishing vessel owners should as a minimum; 

Keep their Automatic Identification System (AIS) operational at all times (as legally required to do if a vessel is over 15m); and never assume that cables are buried. 

Also, where practicable: 

Ensure they have the latest KIS-ORCA charts uploaded in their plotters; consult the Kingfisher fortnightly bulletins, which provide updates concerning the position and condition of subsea cables; or  

consult the Kingfisher fortnightly bulletins, which provide updates concerning the position and condition of subsea cables; or 

use local alternatives if operating outside of an area under the KIS-ORCA scheme.

There is no clear answer as to whether a fishing vessel should carry out fishing activities over a known subsea cable. There are obvious risks as highlighted in this article, which may be mitigated by following good vessel management practices. Ultimately, it will depend on the circumstances in each case and will be something for the skipper/operator’s discretion. That said, fishing vessel owners should very carefully consider the afore mentioned guidance. 

If gear snags, Members are advised not to attempt to recover it. This avoids a Westhaven-type scenario. Instead, owners are advised to plot their location and alert the coastguard. The KIS-ORCA scheme distributes up-to-date plotting information to fishermen. So far as this data is installed in their fishing plotters and the appropriate authority is notified within 24 hours of their arrival in port, fishermen may be reimbursed for the cost of slipped gear. In slipping the gear, Members are less likely to incur potentially costly claims from cable operators and loss of life. 

What does it feel like to be hacked?

Unsuspecting staff at a Brompton bike shop found out when they suffered a cyber attack in the physical form. 

In a first of its kind idea, we surreptitiously cloned a business for real and then turned the cameras on as the chaos played out.

Common hacking techniques such as ransomware and phishing were brought to life in the video through a series of simulated offline attacks; the real store was boarded up, displaying a ransom note demanding Bitcoin in exchange for re-entry; genuine stock deliveries were diverted to the fake ‘3rompton’ store, highlighting the potential effects of a phishing scam; finally the real Brompton store was flooded with imitation customers overwhelming staff, simulating a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

One in three (33%)* UK small businesses have suffered a cyber breach, yet a lot of businesses still aren’t aware of the growing threat that cyber crime poses; an attack can quickly overwhelm and paralyse a business. 

‘The Real World Hack’ brings to life what it means to be a victim of a cyber attack and provides the perfect opportunity to start the conversation on cyber and data insurance with your clients.

* Figure taken from YouGov Survey, Dec 2017 of 2,056 SME decision makers.

(Source: Hiscox Underwriting Ltd)

For more information please contact us on 0330 056 3665 or at [email protected] and our experts will be happy to help.