General Insurance Terms of Business for Commercial Customers
This section applies to commercial customers of Avis Insurance Services Limited. You are a commercial customer if you are arranging insurance for purposes in relation to your trade or profession.
If you are not a commercial customer, please refer to General Insurance Terms of Business for Consumer Customers.
Avis Insurance Services Ltd is an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our Firm Reference Number (FRN) is 306218. You can check this on the Financial Conduct Authority register by visiting the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
The Financial Conduct Authority is the independent body that regulates financial services. This document contains important information which the Financial Conduct Authority requires us to tell you and you should use this information to decide if our services are right for you.
We offer a wide range of insurance products and have access to leading insurers in the marketplace. For some types of insurance we deal predominantly with a single or limited number of insurers which we have selected.
Depending on the type of insurer arrangement, we will act as follows:
• For a single insurer we will act as your agent in sourcing the policy but as the agent of the insurer in placing the insurance and in the event of a claim
• For a limited number of insurers we will act as your agent in sourcing a suitable policy, placing the insurance and in the event of a claim, or
• Where we have carried out a "fair analysis" of the market in order to identify a suitable product we will have compared products from a large range of insurance providers in terms of cover, price, quality of service and other relevant features in order to select the right policy for you. We act as your agent in sourcing a suitable policy, placing the insurance and in the event of a claim
You may request a full list of insurers we use at any time.
We will explain the main features of the products and services that we offer you including details of the provider, main details of cover and benefits, any unusual restrictions or exclusions, any significant conditions or obligations and the period of cover.
We will ask you questions to narrow down the options available. You will not receive advice or a recommendation from us. It is up to you to decide if a particular product or service is right for you.
Under the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representation) Act 2012 it is your duty as a consumer to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation to an insurer.
Under the act a consumer is defined as an individual who enters into an insurance contract wholly or mainly for purposes unrelated to the individual’s trade, business or profession.
A failure by the consumer to comply with the insurers request to confirm or amend particulars previously given is capable of being a misrepresentation for the purpose of this act.
It is important that you ensure all statements you make on proposal forms, claim forms and other documents are full and accurate and we recommend that you keep a copy of all correspondence in relation to the arrangement of your insurance.
Please note that under the act an insurer has a remedy against a consumer in respect of qualifying misrepresentations in breach of the consumers’ duty of reasonable care where the insurer deems the misrepresentation to be either deliberate, reckless or careless.
If in doubt about any point in relation to your duty to take reasonable care and subsequent qualifying misrepresentations please contact us immediately.
Please be aware that current UK money laundering regulations require us to obtain adequate ‘know your client’ information about you.
We are obliged to report to the National Crime Agency any evidence or suspicion of financial crime at the first opportunity and we are prohibited from disclosing any such report.
We will not permit our employees or other persons engaged by them to be either influenced or influence others in respect of undue payments or privileges from or to insurers or clients.
Terms of payment
Our payment terms are as follows (unless specifically agreed by us in writing to the contrary):
• New policies: immediate payment on or before the inception date of the policy
• Alterations to existing policies: immediate payment on or before the effective date of the change
• Renewals: due in full before the renewal date
If payment is not received from you in accordance with the above terms, we, or your insurer may be forced to cancel or lapse the relevant policy/policies, which could mean that part or all of a claim may not be paid. You may also be in breach of legally required insurance cover.
If any credit or debit card payment used to pay for your insurance are reclaimed by the card holders bank the full balance of the premium and any associated charges will fall due immediately. If this payment is not made you authorise us to instruct the insurers to cancel your insurance. If you choose to pay by credit or debit card, any refunds will only be made back to that card.
Please note that we reserve the right to charge any overdue or outstanding premiums to the debit or credit card provided by you when the insurance was taken out.
When renewal is invited and the policy is paid by monthly direct debit we will issue a notice to you. To ensure that you are not left without cover in the absence of any response from you it will be deemed as your consent to cover being renewed automatically.
Payment by Direct Debit
Should you choose not to pay for your policy in full, we offer a direct debit payment option through a third party finance provider (Close Premium Finance) or via an insurer’s direct debit scheme. Please contact us for full details of the terms and conditions, interest and other charges. Availability is subject to status. A deposit may be required. Quotations are given on request.
If you wish to pay by Direct Debit you will be provided with a Consumer Credit Agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the contract. In doing so you authorise us to instruct the relevant insurer to cancel the insurance if any direct debit or any other amount due under the agreement is in arrears or not paid on time. You will also be responsible for paying any time on risk charge.
You are required to ensure a valid Direct Debit Instruction is arranged and remains in force for the duration of the repayment plan. In the event that the direct debit arrangement becomes invalid or is cancelled, you agree that this may result in us commencing policy cancellation procedures.
If we receive payment from your insurer in respect of any cancellation of or adjustment to your policy, you authorise us to retain this and/or apply it against payment by you of any money you owe us.
In the event of a claim, you must continue to pay the instalments until the full premium and charges have been settled.
Money Back Guarantee
If, within 48 hours of taking out a policy through ourselves you receive a lower quote from another insurer on identical terms to ours, subject to written proof and no claims being made, we will either match the alternative quote or offer a full refund of the premium.
Renewal of your policy
We will contact you about your renewal before your policy renewal date and we will send you a letter providing details of your renewal quote.
Renewals are invited on the basis that there have been no changes in the risk. We will remind you at renewal of what information you have given us and ask you to confirm that it remains correct. It is very important that you check this information carefully and confirm to us that it remains accurate and complete. If the information is incorrect or if anything has changed, you must let us know immediately as it could invalidate your policy or result in a claim not being paid. We will provide you with examples of what you need to tell us at renewal. We recommend that you keep a record (including copies of letters) of all information supplied to us for future reference and if you are in any doubt, please contact us.
You will be responsible for paying any time on risk charge and putting in place any alternative insurance and/or payment arrangements you need.
Any payment we receive from you will be held by us in a Statutory Client Trust Bank Account held with Barclays Bank. In some cases the payment we receive will be held on behalf of the provider with whom we arrange your policy as their agent. This means that any payment you make to us will be regarded as having been paid to the provider. This is known as risk transfer.
By instructing us to place insurance on your behalf you give your informed consent to these Client Money procedures. If there are any matters which you do not understand, or do not accept, you should discuss them with us before proceeding.
We may pass the money you pay us to another intermediary. We will only do this where it is a necessary part of the process of arranging cover for you.
No interest will be payable to customers in respect of the client account. Any interest earned will remain in the ownership of Avis Insurance Services Limited.
If insurance premiums are not paid within our payment terms we reserve the right to instruct a debt collection agency, using information retained on your file, to recover unpaid insurance premiums and this will result in further costs and interest incurred by you.
Notification of incidents/claims
It is essential to notify us immediately of all incidents that may result in a claim against your insurance policy. You must do so whether you believe you are liable or not. Any letter or claim received by you must be passed to us immediately, without acknowledgement.
Only by providing prompt notification of incidents to your insurance company can steps be taken to protect your interests.
Your policy summary and/or policy document will provide you with details on who to contact to make a claim.
Your policy document will detail your rights to cancel your insurance once you have taken it out. Depending on the type of policy you have purchased, you may be entitled to cancel within 14 or 30 days of either conclusion of the contract or receiving your policy documentation, whichever occurs later. This is often referred to as a cooling off period.
Where you cancel a policy before renewal you will be responsible for paying a charge to meet the cost of cover provided and administration expenses. Please see the Refunds section.
Charges and fees
As insurance brokers our remuneration for the services we provide may be a fee agreed with you and/or from commission paid to us by insurers based on the amount they charge you.
In addition to the amount charged by insurers we may also make charges to cover the administration of your insurance. Any applicable insurance premium tax will be shown on the documentation we provide to you.
The arrangement of new policies or renewals:
Up to a maximum of 40% of the premium
Mid-term adjustment :
Up to a maximum of 40% of any additional premium (this may be subject to a minimum of £100)
These fees are the maximum we charge and are usually considerably less.
We will advise you of the actual amount at the time of quotation or renewal and before you commit to purchasing the policy.
We do not make charges for credit card handling, direct debit setup, paper documents fees, duplicate documents, or requests for copies of personal data.
However, we do make a charge of £20.00 for dishonoured cheques or referral to a debt collection agency.
You are entitled, at any time, to request information regarding any commission which we may have received as a result of placing or renewing your insurance cover.
We take any commission once we receive your payment as cleared funds and prior to payment of the premium to insurers.
We may also receive additional remuneration from finance providers, claims management services and others.
Please ask us should you require further information.
Where a policy is cancelled before renewal, insurers charge to cover their costs, with the balance refunded to you, subject to no claim having been made. Full details will be available in your policy. In the event of an adjustment giving rise to a return of premium the amount may be refunded or held to credit.
Your attention is specifically drawn to the following:- Where you cancel your policy after the expiry of the cooling off period or where you request a mid-term adjustment which results in a refund of premium, we reserve the right to charge you for our time and costs. This will usually result in us reducing the amount refunded to you by 20%.
The reason for this is that the majority of our costs are incurred either in initially finding and setting up your policy or in the annual renewal process when we check the ongoing suitability of the cover the policy offers.
These costs are recovered through the commission we earn. If you cancel, this does not give us an opportunity to recover the costs we incurred and would often result in us making a loss.
For certain insurance policies, insurers will only provide cover where the premium is due in full on inception of the policy. This means that no refund will be paid if the policy is cancelled before renewal. We will advise you if this affects you.
In view of the cost involved in making changes to your policy, we will not issue refunds of less than £25.00.
It is our intention to provide you with the highest possible level of customer service at all times. However we recognise that things can go wrong occasionally and if this occurs we are committed to resolving matters promptly and fairly.
Should you wish to complain you may do so:
- In writing to the Managing Director
- By telephone on 01628 662666
- By e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you not be satisfied with our final response, you may be entitled to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Further details will be supplied at the time of responding to your complaint
Solvency of Insurers / Unrated Insurers
We cannot guarantee the solvency of any insurer with which we place business. This means that you may still be liable for any premium due and not be able to recover the premium paid, whether in full or in part, should an insurer become insolvent.
Insurance Companies can be either rated or unrated. There are benefits and disadvantages to both, so it is best to be aware of the facts before you decide which type suits you and your situation best.
What is an unrated insurer?
There are several high-profile international ratings agencies, who assess the financial stability of insurers and other financial institutions. The most well known are Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and A.M. Best. Where an Insurer has chosen not to be assessed, they do not receive a rating and therefore are classed as “Unrated.” Each agency has its own method of scoring, but the ratings are usually based on letters, to indicate the degree of credit risk posed. For example, an “A” rating means the insurer has access to plenty of credit and therefore easily able to meet claims. “C” rating indicates that the Insurer has poor ability to meet outstanding claims. There is no legal requirement for an insurer to be rated and brokers are not restricted to only doing business with rated insurers. Although our preferred option is to use rated insurers, in some situations, it may be in your interests to be offered rates from unrated insurers. Both rated and unrated insurers are capable of going bust, however unrated insurers have a higher risk of failing.
Why do we offer policies from unrated insurers?
Sometimes, these policies may be the most appropriate to you and your circumstances;
• They may offer a very competitive and attractive premium
• Sometimes, we may have no other option other than to offer you a policy from an unrated insurer
• Some unrated insurers have been dealing in the UK for several years and are deemed to be less risky.
• Their reputation may be supported by the Financial Conduct Authority, who themselves also authorise rated insurers.
What are the disadvantages of using an unrated insurer?
• Unrated Insurers are at a higher risk of becoming insolvent and not being able to pay out on claims.
• They may lack the appropriate levels of financial stability.
• Some unrated insurers, many of whom are based in European countries, are not subject to the same solvency test and regulations as UK based insurers.
• The unrated insurer may be difficult to contact directly should an issue or a concern about a policy arises.
• Claims payments may be delayed.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and you may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if we cannot meet our obligations.
Further information about compensation scheme arrangements is available from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme at http://www.fscs.org.uk
Confidentiality and data protection
We are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998 and we undertake to comply with the Act in all our dealings with your personal data.
All information about you of a sensitive or personal nature will be treated as private and confidential. We will however use and disclose the information we have about you in the course of arranging, placing and administering your insurance. This may involve passing information about you to insurers, other intermediaries, risk management assessors, uninsured loss recovery agencies and other third parties involved (directly or indirectly) in your insurance.
To make sure you get our best deal and to ascertain the most appropriate payment options for you and to protect you from fraud, we use public and personal data from a variety of sources including credit reference agencies and other organisations. Our search will appear on your credit report and will be visible to other credit providers whether or not your application proceeds. If you did not proceed it will be clear the search was for quotation purposes. By agreeing to the terms and conditions you agree to these uses of your information.
We may also pass information about you to credit reference agencies and premium finance providers in connection with the assessment of your financial standing generally and, in particular, where you have requested a premium instalment plan – this may include details of your payment record with us.
We may also pass information about you to other companies with which we are associated. We or they may also use the information we hold about you to provide you with information on other products and services we or they can offer and which we or they feel may be of interest to you.
Please notify us promptly in writing if you do not wish your details to be used for any of these purposes otherwise we shall treat the issue of these Terms as evidence of your informed consent.
Communications and documentation
We will issue all documentation to you in a timely manner. Documentation relating to your insurance will confirm the basis of the cover and provide details of the relevant insurers.
It is therefore important that the documentation is kept in a safe place as you may need to refer to it or need it to make a claim.
A new policy booklet is not necessarily provided each year although a duplicate can be provided upon request.
You should always check the documentation to ensure all the details are correct and if this is not the case you should contact us immediately.
If any provision of these Terms is found to be invalid or unenforceable in whole or in part, the validity of the other provisions of these Terms and the remainder of the provision in question will not be affected.
These Terms shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and the parties agree herewith that any dispute arising out of it shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the relevant court.
These Terms supersede all proposals, prior discussions and representations (whether oral or written) between us relating to our appointment as your agent in connection with the arranging and administration of your insurance. These Terms constitute an offer by us to act on your behalf in the arranging and administration of your insurance. In the absence of any specific acceptance communicated to us by you (whether verbal or written) you are deemed to accept our offer to act for you on the basis of these Terms, by conduct, upon your instructing us to arrange, renew or otherwise act for you in connection with insurance matters.