• Passwords – a simple guide to make you safer online

    Do you use the same password across multiple sites? If the answer is ‘Yes’ then you are putting yourself at risk. The online shoe retailer Office is the latest business to fall victim to hacking and suffer loss of customer information. This attack follows shortly on the heels of similar notifications from Ebay, Spotify and Tesco and some older attacks such as Sony, LinkedIn and Play.com. You may have even received e-mails from Office or one of the several other sites suggesting that you change your passwords, however it could be said that horse has bolted and the information stored on those sites is long gone. It is now the other sites where you use the same password which are now at risk. Whilst credit card information might not have been taken, customer names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and Office account passwords were stolen, but if you are using...

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  • The Q1 2014 Economic Snapshot provided by Atradius

    The Q1 2014 Economic Snapshot provided by Atradius, one of the UK’s leading Trade Credit insurers, makes a case for continued optimism with CPI, GDP & Insolvency figures showing positive trends. Credit availability according the Bank of England has continued to improve with increased lending being noted to small and medium sized companies. The note of caution remains however, that some companies will need time and a continued low interest rate environment to overcome their current challenges. Download the Atradius Economic Snapshot.pdf. The Oval Insurance Broking ICM Award winning Trade Credit team works with Atradius and other leading Trade Credit insurers, to help organisations manage the threats to their balance sheet of bad debt, default and insolvency. For more information contact: Jonathan Smith, Divisional Director (Birmingham) Telephone: 0121 237 1760...

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  • Kidnap & Ransom Insurance: it’s no longer a luxury measure

    The relative risks your people, your organisation and your assets face when operating in – or expanding into - overseas markets is driven by location. Business is global and you follow opportunity: and sometimes that means trading in volatile areas driven by war, civil unrest, corruption and organised crime - where the threat of kidnap & ransom is both a fact of life and a lucrative business model. Kidnap & ransom (K&R) has become a billion dollar industry: ransom payments totalling US$1.5 billion are paid on average each year. The average ransom demand in 2012 was US$2 million. Between 2010 and 2012, K&R in the Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula area (AQAP) generated US$20 million in ransom payments. In 2011, the average ransom per hostage in AQAP’s North African equivalent region was US$5.4 million5. So far, so predictable; but here’s the unsettling thing. The top 5...

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  • Charity Sector Challenges and Opportunities for 2014

    With over a quarter of this year now gone I thought I would reflect on the noises from the sector generally and our clients and contacts more specifically. The Charity Finance Group (CFG) kicked this off with their article on ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ where they talked about: Resilience within the sector to respond to changing environments The continued squeeze on welfare budgets that is putting enormous pressure on charities that deliver solutions How charities have been driven to drawing down on reserves to keep afloat The tough fundraising climate that exists with 77% of the Managing in a Downturn survey recipients saying that it was now more difficult to raise funds than in the past Charities working collaboratively to cut costs, whether this was delivering programmes directly or back office solutions Our clients and contacts tell us that some...

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  • How to Save Money on Vehicle Leasing Rates

    Leasing a fleet of vehicles is often one of the largest expenses a business has to bear. Whether it’s company cars for your sales team, or a contract hire agreement for work vans, the costs involved soon add up. However, there are ways to save money on your leasing rates – especially in today’s busy and thriving marketplace. In this article, fleet experts from CompareMyFleet.com outline five ways in which you can reduce your vehicle costs. Think carefully about which vehicles to offer staff For many businesses the fleet of cars or vans is as much about status as it is about cost saving and practicality. Of course you want to attract the best staff and display the best company image, but that doesn’t mean you need to offer a huge selection of top of the range cars. Being more conservative about the types of vehicles you choose is a sure fire way of saving money on your...

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  • The Lobbying Act and the Risks for Charities

    A number of our clients have asked us what we believe the risks are arising from the Lobbying Act. This Act more formally known as ‘Transparency Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill and informally called the ‘Gagging Bill’ has caused much controversy in the sector, as I know many charities fear that it will prevent them from being able to speak out on important issues during an election year (the next one will begin 18th September and run through to May 2015). Certainly, if you spend over the threshold (£20,000 in England and £210,000 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) you will need to register with the Electoral Commission and be monitored as a political campaigner. However, your organisation can spend up to £9,750 within an individual constituency, which may mean charities need to think about how they align themselves to parliamentary constituencies....

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  • The Flood Re Scheme: countering the commercial exclusions

    ‘Somerset Levels’ – two words now synonymous with serious and regular flooding in the UK. And après le déluge? The invoice, naturally. Annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.1 billion. Already 5.2 million properties are at flood risk in England – 300,000 of them business premises. The new Flood Re Scheme – guaranteeing affordable flood risk cover for at-risk homeowners – will be introduced in June 2015. It replaces the original flood insurance deal struck in 2000 between government and insurers that is about to expire. Sounds good in principle but it’s not that clear-cut. With Flood Re, there will be exclusions – lots. From Band H council tax properties in England and their equivalents elsewhere in the UK, through to homes built after January 1 2009, commercial properties, buy-to-let, holiday homes, residential leaseholds, housing associations and small to...

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  • Employer’s Liability insurance for Sub-Contractors

    Employer’s Liability (EL) insurance: we all know it covers compensation costs for employees who injure themselves or become sick as a result of the job. In construction, the key thing is managing the difference between labour only sub-contractors and bona-fide sub-contractors. Get it wrong and you end up paying for insurance you don’t need – or breaking the law by not having the right insurance in place. It’s a topical subject at the moment: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is clamping down on main contractors claiming to have self-employed contractors on their books who are, to all intents and purposes, employees. This all takes place within the framework of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), which was significantly overhauled in 2007. CIS sets the rules for payments by industry contractors to sub-contractors - based on each sub-contractor’s HMRC tax status - and covers...

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  • Oval Acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

    We are pleased to be able to confirm that Oval Ltd has today been acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG), together creating one of the largest commercial retail brokers in the UK. AJG & Co. is also one of the world’s largest insurance and risk management firms, employing over 16,000 people with operations in 25 countries and offering client service capabilities in more than 140 countries through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants. Within the UK alone, where it is known as Arthur J. Gallagher, the company employs well over 4,000 people across its specialty wholesale, commercial retail, personal lines and underwriting divisions. By becoming part of AJG, our UK footprint will grow to more than 70 offices, where our combined several thousand expert staff will ensure our clients continue to receive the highest quality service and support. Peter Blanc, Group...

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  • Cyber Risk in the Charity Sector

    When I talk to our Charity clients and contacts, individuals who are usually operating at a financial or operational level, about how they manage Cyber Risk, I find it is being handled differently in different organisations. In some Charities, Finance Directors are keen to push the management of the risk back to their IT Director, whilst in other organisations Finance Directors have ultimate responsibility for IT, but rely heavily on their IT team for reassurance that Cyber Risk is being well managed, rather than treating the risk as they would any other. The subject of Cyber Risk can be daunting and certainly when the likes of Barclays and NASA can be hacked it is difficult to see how smaller organisations can possibly maintain sound risk management, but it’s not impossible – it just requires the usual application of risk identification and quantification in order to decide how...

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