Most people would agree that those convicted of drink or drug-driving offences should be excluded from insurance cover as a deterrent. But do the same exclusions apply to those driving under the legal limit for alcohol or taking prescription drugs?

Some years ago, insurers Zurich and Allianz introduced policy wording that excluded anyone under the influence of drink and drugs - including drivers with minimal alcohol or prescription drugs in their system, thereby potentially invalidating their insurance. The Association of Chief Police Offers clarified that ‘under the influence’ meant being ‘over the legal limit’ and insurers quickly realised the exclusion was having unintended consequences and removed it entirely.

Today, if you are involved in an accident and have consumed alcohol, but are ‘under the limit’, your insurer will generally provide cover. If you are ‘over the limit’, there will be consequences, in terms of penalty points, convictions, fines, disqualification and difficulty in getting future insurance cover.

Significant exclusions
A section in your motor policy entitled ‘Significant exclusions and limitations’ includes the phrase: ‘Injury resulting from you driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a level which would be an offence in the country where the accident occurs’. Basically, this means your insurer will not pay any more than their legal liability if you are driving under the influence or convicted of drink /drug-driving. Under the Road Traffic Act, this means they will pay out for a third party claim, but not for your vehicle or injury to yourself if you are ‘over the limit’.

Passenger cover
As a passenger involved in an accident the insurance company may exclude passenger claims if they can prove you were new the driver was drunk.

The impact on your premiums if you have a conviction
A conviction for drunk/drug-driving will impact your insurance premium and some insurers may refuse to insure you. Legally, you must inform your insurer of your conviction for a minimum period of five years. (Some convictions can last for up to eleven years.) Steps you can take to lower an excessively high premium include going on a Drink Driving Rehabilitation Scheme, opting for ‘black box’ telematics insurance, restricting your mileage, improving security or downgrading your car.

Advice
As your broker, Mathews Comfort will look at your existing policy and advise on any exclusions in place. Likewise, if you have a conviction pending, we can advise you on your options. Please call us today on 01865 292929 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources:

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors: Insurance Exclusions – When can my insurance be void? https://motoroffence.co.uk/insurance-exclusions-when-can-my-insurance-be-void/
Insurer confusion over drinking and driving, BBC News  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17489887
Drink/drug driving conviction insurance help https://www.moneysupermarket.com/money-made-easy/drink-driving-conviction

 

We are on the look out for great talent. If you are interested in joining our team then send us your CV.

Account Executive

Mathews Comfort Insurance is a busy independent Commercial Insurance Broker based in the heart of Oxford City Centre. We are a well – established and expanding business and now are looking for a strong commercial broker to join our team.

The Role

Your role will be focussed around commercial business development and the generation of new business. This will include marketing to prospects, making appointments and visiting potential clients. You will be responsible for maintaining your portfolio of clients including providing quotes, retaining renewals and servicing your clients during the year. 

The Company

We are based in Oxford (City centre) and there will be a need to make the occasional visit to our High Wycombe office. We pride ourselves on our high business retention rate and happy relationships we have with have our clients. With a strong heritage that spans 165 years we have a reputation for delivering the highest levels of service and proven expertise in managing risk.

 The Benefits

An attractive package and negotiable salary which is availalbe on application depending on your experience and qualifications. Holiday – 24 days (plus bank holidays).

The Person

It is essential that you have Commercial Insurance experience, stand out communication and interpersonal skills. Excellent attention to detail and the ability to work to strict deadlines are a given.  Ideally you will have a good knowledge of Microsoft Office and Acturis and be ACII qualified.

The Process

If you would like to apply please send your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

Businesses today feel more threatened by business interruption than any other risk, according to Allianz’ Risk Barometer 2018, but traditional business interruption insurance is no longer providing sufficient protection, with companies increasingly adding to it with non-damage business interruption (NDBI) cover.

To explain… Standard business interruption insurance offers protection if your business is disrupted by a direct cause, such as fire, flood, storm or terrorist act, causing damage to property. However, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, a growing range of indirect perils is emerging that don’t inflict physical damage but have the potential to significantly disrupt your business operations.

Typical events over the last ten years that have caused significant disruption include:

> Cyber attack and technology failure, such as the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks in 2017
> Terrorist attack or shootings, such as those seen in London
> Damage at your supplier or customer premises

In this day and age, the resiliency of your business depends on how you manage disruption, whether the source is direct or indirect. NDBI insurance is designed to protect earnings and revenue even when there is no physical damage.

Here at Mathews Comfort, we can assess the current and emerging risks to which you are exposed and devise a solution that ensures you are fully protected, filling in the gaps that aren’t covered by traditional business interruption policies.

If you would like to find out more, or talk to us today call 01865 208000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sources:

NDBI: the missing piece of your business interruption insurance? https://www.corporateriskandinsurance.com/news
Providing business interruption protection https://corporatesolutions.swissre.com/innovative_risk
Business Interruption: Looking Beyond the Physical https://www.marsh.com/us/insights , https://www.agcs.allianz.com/insights

 

As proud sponsors of the Oxford Preservation Awards 2019 we are pleased to announce entries are now open.

In their 42nd year the OPT Awards recognise projects in and around Oxford that make a contribution to the city’s built and natural environment and celebrate good design and conservation.

This year’s categories are:

1          Building Conservation.

2          New Buildings.

3          Small Projects.

4          Landscape & Public Realm (includes Nature Conservation).

5          Temporary projects (which have contributed to the enjoyment of our streets and places).

Closing date for entries this year is Friday 24th May 2019 with the winners being announced at the awards evening on 5th November 2019 at St Johns College.

Anyone is able to nominate a project and the judging panel is made up of range of people with a wide range of skills and local knowledge of Oxford.

Russell Thynne, Managing Director of Mathews Comfort Insurance Broker said “Oxford is known throughout the world for its magnificent architecture, we are privileged to support the outstanding work of the Oxford Preservation Trust who promote preservation and modern design, protecting Oxford’s heritage.

Last year’s winners of the prestigious OPT plaque was the Cleric and Sinclair Building at Oxford Brookes University who won in the Large Building Conservation category. Chris Blackburn said back in Nov 2018 “We are proud of the transformation that this refurbishment has had on our campus estate, and the positive impact it has had on our students’ learning experiences and research activities. But the award from the Oxford Preservation Trust also demonstrates the significance of this project for the city and people of Oxford.

Debbie Dance, OPT Director since 1999 said: “This project is such a good demonstration of what the awards are all about.”

If you would like to get involved or enter click here to submit your entry or to read more about the Oxford Preservation Trust.

 

The cost of under insuring

Take the case of a business that has insured its premises for £800,000. When the building is damaged by fire, it is calculated during the claim process that the rebuild cost is actually £1,000,000. Based on this the client has only paid a premium for 80% of the risk so using an ‘average’ clause in the contract, the insured will only be covered for 80% of the repairs leaving the business with a large shortfall. The slight increase in the cost of the policy to ensure adequate cover was in place would have been a small price to pay, compared to the amount now required. Such scenarios are all too common, with the amount initially saved on the premium never equating to the consequences of a major loss.

So what can a business do to make sure the sum insured reflects reality?

There are a number of basic tips to follow:

1. Ignore the market value of the building
    Base your cover on how much it would cost to rebuild the property and clear debris from the site.

2. Keep up to date with the value of property and possessions
    Ensure you are insured for the replacement cost of items and not your net book value. If you purchase new equipment or you know the property value has gone up,
    revisit your policy to ensure it covers the increased value.

3. Monitor any stock fluctuations
    If your stock level fluctuates at different times of the year, such as Christmas, it could cause an upward spike in the required sum insure or introduce additional hazards.

Business interruption shouldn’t be forgotten

Business interruption is another key area that is often uninsured. If your building is destroyed and needs to be rebuilt, it may take longer than you think to return to business as usual, and you may need temporary premises during the rebuild. What happens if you have cover in place for 12 months, but it actually takes 3 years? Factors such as site clearance, use of cranes, availability of building contractor, inspections, unforeseen issues and re- stocking can all cause delays, which is why it’s essential to have the appropriate level of business interruption insurance in place.

Finally, you should also consider new and emerging risks, such as IT and connectivity failure, currency fluctuations and cyber attack. All could have a devastating effect on your business, which appropriate insurance could help to mitigate.

As your broker, it’s our job to assess your exposures and create a fair presentation of risk. With many years’ experience arranging business cover for SME’s and a full awareness of new and emerging risks, Mathews Comfort can ensure the policy we arrange adequately covers the value of your business. To find out more, talk to us today by calling 01865 208000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Reports of large scale cyber attacks are prevalent and regularly make mainstream news, such as the attack on the Marriott Hotel group in September 2018, compromising the personal data of up to 500 million guests, or the data breach at British Airways in August 2018, in which hackers infiltrated around 380,000 transactions, giving them access to customers’ personal and financial details.

The reality for small businesses is that it’s not just large scale attacks which are on the increase. Cyber crime is growing at a phenomenal rate, with attacks becoming increasingly commonplace and affecting more small businesses than ever before.

According to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses, the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses are collectively attacked more than seven million times a year. In the years 2014 and 2015, this cost the UK economy over £5.26 billion.

With these facts as a backdrop and plenty of evidence to show that businesses are being targeted every day, it’s surprising to find that some business people still believe they are safe from attack. They could not be more wrong. Passwords and usernames can easily be stolen and systems breached or hacked. Employees can easily download a virus or malware into the entire business network, simply by clicking on an email attachment.

In the case of an optician, an employee clicked a link giving details of an alleged speeding offence, inadvertently triggering an email from Russia, advising that Cryptolocker had infected all their business systems and demanding a Bitcoin ransom to receive a decryption key.

The resulting downtime, business interruption and potential loss of data is bad enough, but what about the threat of reputational damage? The Small Business Reputation and Cyber Risk Report, launched in February 2016 by the Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign and KPMG, revealed that 83% of consumers surveyed expressed concern about which businesses had access to their data and whether it was safe, and over half said that a cyber breach would discourage them from using a business in the future.

There is also the matter of recovery after an attack. The same report revealed that one in four companies surveyed who had experienced a breach had been unable to grow in line with previous expectations and nearly a third took over six months to get back on track. Fortunately, the aforementioned optician had taken out business interruption insurance, which covered the cost of not being able to trade for a few days and getting the business back up to speed over the following weeks.

Given the prevalence and widespread nature of cyber crime, Mathews Comfort believes all businesses should now be looking at cyber insurance on the same level of importance as motor or employers’ liability insurance. In the current climate, it’s not simply a good idea, but a necessity, particularly as traditional insurance policies may not respond to losses involving IT.

By utilising the latest security information and assessing your company’s exposure to cyber attack, we can tailor a cyber policy to meet your specific requirements. This can include such covers as cyber terrorism and extortion, loss of revenue, costs of containing a breach and public relations expenses to limit reputation impact. It can also include multimedia liability, intellectual property infringement, expenses to notify victims and third party & employee privacy liability for damages and claims.

In an uncertain world, cyber insurance helps to provide a level of certainty, giving you the peace of mind that your business is protected against malicious attack and the ensuing fall out. Our advice is don’t be complacent and don't wait till you’re under attack. Talk to us today about putting protection in place. Call 01865 20800 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

Oxford Open Doors is an annual celebration of Oxford across all walks of life, it’s places and people. Organised by the charity Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) in partnership with the University of Oxford free to everyone over the weekend of 8th – 9th September 2018. They are running a full programme of events including; discovering Tolkein at the Western Library, visiting the former home of C.S Lewis at “The Kilns” and celebrating women in science at the Museum of the History of Science. The list is endless. You can download the weekend’s events by clicking here

With over a hundred historical buildings being open to the public, the Radcliffe Observatory will be a highlight along with an old favourite, the Oxford Castle & Prison. For the first time you can visit the Painted Room at 3 Cornmarket, a hidden gem with Elizabethan wall paintings, previously the Crown Tavern where Shakespeare stayed and at one time Sir John Betjeman’s office.

If you are member of the Oxford Preservation Trust there is a full programme of events running throughout the week preceding the big weekend. The full list is available online. Click here to download the brochure or to find out more about becoming a member you can click here.

In it’s eleventh year the Oxford Open Doors event goes from strength to strength and Mathews Comfort Insurance Brokers is very proud to be a supporter. This year for the first time Oxford Open Doors will be offering internet users and local residents live streaming. Online viewers will be able to experience elements of the weekend from the comfort of their electronic device for free with select tours and lectures set to be captured and livestreamed directly via their website.

To watch their live streaming click here.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

On December 18th 2017, J Bennett & Son acquired Mathews Comfort Insurance.

J Bennett & Son was established in 1908 and is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in the South of England.

We are delighted to be working alongside a company that shares the same values and principles as us. Our shared approach is placing customers at the heart of the business, valuing each one and their requirements. It is this mutual attitude that “perfectly complements our strategic vision for the future”, says Peter Sutcliffe, J Bennett and Son Managing Director.

Peter Bird, Chairman of Mathews Comfort has said, "this is an exciting time and secures Mathews Comfort as an independent broker for the future and is a ringing endorsement of our strong team for all their hard work. For our clients, it will be business as usual with us continuing to provide them with a professional, expert service."

Together, we are embracing this change and will continue to offer a high level of customer service, exceptional policy coverage, relevant advice, and the latest products available on the market.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

The final leg of the Great Mathews Comfort Bake off competition was held in October.

mathews-comfort-cakes.jpg

Three further fine efforts are shown below, with Russell working with Chocolate, Jo working with icing and George showing his darker side, with Halloween as a theme. We can confirm that once again they looked excellent and tasted even better. This was all done to raise money for our Corporate charity SSNAP.

Now that the competition is complete, we will shortly be asking you to vote for the very best looking cake. Further details of that will follow in due course.

 

The Great Mathews Comfort bake off competition of 2017 continued in July with three more fine efforts. These included an excellent two tiered effort from Barbara Wagerfield and a superb Mathews Comfort themed cake from our Director, Dan Weston.


Whilst admired for their excellent looks, people were even more impressed with how they tasted.

It was all done to raise money for SSNAP and this is the second of three Bake Off competitions we will be having throughout 2017, before we finally ask you to vote for the best looking cake. Watch out for more news on that later in the year.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

Last month, we had our first charity bake off of 2017 when we encouraged some of the staff to don their baking hats and produce some cakes. As you can see, the results were very good indeed and we can confirm they tasted as good as they looked.

It was all done to raise money for SSNAP and this is the first of three Bake Off competitions we will be having throughout 2017, before we finally ask you to vote for the best looking cake. Watch out for more news on that later in the year.

The Great Mathews Comfort Bake Off

Finally, can we say ‘well done’ to all those who participated and also to those who dipped their hands into their purses and wallets to support such a great charity.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

Our brand new and modern website has been designed to look stylish with fast and easy navigation whether you are browsing on desktop, tablet or smartphone device.

The website is primarily split into insurance and financial services to help our clients find the information that they require quickly. We have also included a new media centre section where you can find useful documents, case studies, latest news from us and the industry and links to our client portals.

Should you look around the site and have a question for the team, please navigate to the contact tab at the top of the site. Here you can fill out our contact form and a member of the team will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Take a look around the site, you will find plenty of information about who we are, the services we offer, the sectors we work with and how Mathews Comfort can help you.

 

We were delighted to be acknowledged for our on going commitment to the Apprenticeship Programme by our Insurance Network at the recent ‘Live’ Conference.

Our Apprenticeship Programme, which was first established in the 1990s, goes from strength to strength and attracts high calibre young people to both the company and the industry. Evidence of our programme’s success lies in the fact that two of our early apprentices, Daniel Weston and Russell Thynne are now both directors of the company.

In recent years, the scheme has grown in importance and today is actively supported by the Government as a means of attracting young people to the industry. During the two-year programme, apprentices attend college and study for an NVQ in Business Administration, as well as working in the office and gaining invaluable ‘on the job’ experience in such areas as day-to-day administration, simple valuations, contacting providers, processing applications and keeping clients informed.

Committed to the programme, we continue to employ apprentices and can boast a number of success stories, with candidates qualifying in both financial services and general insurance. Very much part of the team while studying, candidates are encouraged to continue their studies and career progression within the industry once qualified.

We were delighted that Willis Towers Watson Networks officially recognised the success of the programme at the recent conference.

To find out more about our Apprenticeship Programme, please click here.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

01.11.2016
News
 

The first premium bond was sold on 1st November 1956, with £5 million worth of premium bonds sold on the first day alone. There are now 21 million people holding more than £63 billion in premium bonds, proving that they are still a popular form of investment. The first draw was held on 1st June 1957 for a top prize of £1,000. In the intervening six decades, £17 billion has been handed out in the form of 355 million prizes using updated versions of the original electronic random number indicating equipment (that’s ERNIE to you and me).

With premium bonds celebrating their 60th birthday in November, it’s a great opportunity to look at just how good an investment opportunity they are to add to your portfolio. Whilst they remain popular and now offer two jackpots a month of £1 million each, they are essentially a lottery rather than a viable investment opportunity.

For every £1 you invest, you receive one unique bond number, which gives you one entry into the draw to win a tax-free cash prize. You won’t earn any interest on your premium bonds either, as all the interest accrued is used to fund the prizes. The odds of winning £25 for each bond number is 26,000 to one, with the odds of winning the £1 million jackpot rising to 26 million to one. All of which means that only those lucky few who win one of the bigger prizes will receive a return which beats inflation, so if you’re after a guaranteed return, premium bonds are not the savings product for you.

However, there are some benefits to putting your money into premium bonds. As a National Savings & Investment product, all the money invested is backed by the treasury. This means that your cash is protected in full as opposed to the security offered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which banks offer. Cashing in your bonds can be done easily either by post, phone or email, and there are no charges for doing so.

 

Please click here to download as a PDF.

 

The trouble with banks is that some of the home insurance policies (often called Buildings and Contents Insurance) that they recommend may not offer such good value for money. This was drawn to our attention by a client of ours who approached us after receiving his renewal notice from his bank, who had always arranged his Home Insurance.

For the purpose of this example, we will call our client Mr B.

Mr B is retired and had recently been quoted nearly £320 as an annual premium for his Home Insurance cover. He simply asked us if we felt this was good value and could we do any better for him.

We put it into the computer system we use, which looks at many different policies, to try and find something that not only gave him a lower premium, but also offered him benefits that were more suitable to his circumstances. We have to admit that even we were surprised at the outcome.

Mr B had been quoted £319.51 by his bank for £500,000 of buildings cover and £50,000 worth of contents cover. Mr B was covered for accidental damage cover on his contents but not his buildings. We also noted that this policy didn’t cover any loss or damage to his personal possessions away from his home.

After a conversation with Mr B, we suggested he increase his contents cover to £80,000 and advised him to insure his personal possessions that he may take away from the home to the value of £2,000 and we also included accidental damage cover on his on buildings.

‘And that will be how much?’ asked Mr B, rather tentatively.

‘How about £150.51’ , we confirmed, ‘a saving of £168.64’. Mr B now does his Home Insurance with Mathews Comfort.

So, why not call us when your renewal statement comes through? We don’t promise a saving of nearly £170 but we will make sure your policy is suitable for your circumstances and as we are an Independent Insurance Broker, we can select from a wide range of policies.

Just phone 01865 208000 and ask for the Insurance Team.

 

The statutory framework governing insurance has changed. The new Insurance Act came into force on 12th August 2016 and represents the most significant change to insurance contract law in the UK for over 100 years.

We have put a short video together to explain the changes that may affect policyholders, please click here to view.

If you would like to discuss this further please do contact us.