Meet The Kingsbridge Team – Lauren Costello, Client Services Advisor

As promised, here’s the next installment in our ‘meet the Kingsbridge team’ series.  Our next victim participant is Lauren Costello, champion show-jumper and future zoo keeper.  Thanks for taking part Lauren.

Name: Lauren Costellolauren

Role:Client Services Advisor

How long have you been working with KPSOL?

Since November 2011

What does your job role include?

I speak with at least 50 people a day on the phone as well as responding to email enquiries.  Most of the conversations I have are with freelancers and contractors who are interested in the KPSol insurance package and either want to put a policy in place or have questions about the cover levels and whether it’s the right policy for them.

I also work with some of our business partners.   Often accountancy firms are keen to ensure their contractor and freelancer clients have the necessary insurance in place and many recruitment agencies insist on it before they’ll add them as candidates.  KPSol works closely with them to help them provide an end to end service.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A famous show jumper, a vet or a zoo owner (I’d actually still like to own a zoo)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Making a difference for a client is important to me and when I can do that I get a real buzz.  I also count myself as lucky to work with some brilliant people so just being in the office is enjoyable, even if I’m having a tough day.  We have a lot of fun.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Last year I went to the Gastech exhibition at ExCel in London.  One of our specialisations is in providing cover for Oil and Gas professionals and this is a huge, global event for the industry.  It hadn’t been held in the UK for 40 years (it’s in South Korea next year!) so I was really lucky to be able to attend and meet so many people in the industry.

What is your favourite thing about the company and what makes them different to work for?

The company has grown quickly over the last few years and it’s given opportunities to and invested in a young team (myself included) and it continues to do that.  Although traditionally the Client Services team would probably be referred to as a call centre, we’re encouraged not to be robotic, to build a real rapport with our clients.  We’re involved in planning and agreeing processes and we have regular communication from senior management around strategy and developments in the business.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Horse riding and watching the rugby.  I’m also a cinema addict!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

When I was younger I won the regional Jump Cross event on my horse, it’s a mixture between show jumping and cross country.  I was also on a TV show with Eddie Izzard once, I can’t remember it though!

Any advice you could give to someone looking to get a job in a similar environment?

You need to be very proactive.  Although most of the enquiries the Client Services team deals with are inbound, we still have to actively build relationships with our clients and make sure we’re answering their questions quickly and accurately.  You need to have a passion for customer services and also a willingness to learn and develop a good understanding of your clients’ needs and the insurance industry in general.  It’s hard work, but really satisfying.

What do you think makes Kingsbridge stand out from other insurance providers?

We’re often able to cover people who haven’t been able to get insurance elsewhere, or who thought they would have to pay thousands to get cover.  The set package of insurance is designed so our clients have peace of mind that they have the right cover, without the time and confusion they can experience from sourcing separate policies from multiple providers.

Any advice you have for freelancers or contractors looking for insurance?  

It’s vital that you’re adequately protected and equally, that you’re protecting anyone who might be affected by the work you do.  Don’t assume that you are automatically covered by your agency, your accountant or your professional body.  This is not always the case and we have so many contractors getting in touch, panicking as they won’t get paid until they can provide proof of insurance.

 Where do you hope to be in a few years’ time?

The plan is to get more involved with the work that the team that manage our partnerships and affiliations do.  I’m training with them at the moment, working towards a role as an account manager. 

We’ll be featuring more Client Services profiles over the coming months.  If you need to talk to a member of the team for a business insurance quote you can call on             01242 808740 or send an email to enquiries@kpsol.co.uk.

 

What Is Contractor Insurance?

Working as a self-employed contractor may give you freedom to be your own boss, but it also means that you have to take on all responsibility for your actions. Taking out a dedicated Contractor Insurance policy ensures that you get support when you need it most.

Whether you work in Engineering, Finance or IT you are likely to need Professional Indemnity Insurance (also known as PI). In the event that a client is unsatisfied with the work you’ve carried out for them, due to a breach of professional duty. PI can help cover legal fees incurred if a claim is made against you.

It’s recommended that contractors keep Professional Indemnity Insurance continually, even though you may be between jobs or taking a short break from work – a past client could still bring up issues and, to be covered, you must have insurance in place at the time the claim is made against you.

Occupational Personal Accident cover is important if you encounter an accident at work which leaves you unable to carry out your job in the future.  An insurance policy should be able to give you weekly payments while you recover, or a lump sum if you find yourself unable to work in the long term.

If you work from a client’s premises, or anyone visits yours you have a duty to protect anyone who might be affected by your actions. Public Liability Insurance will help cover you if property is damaged or a third party is injured whilst you are carrying out your work.

The volume of polices available can be confusing, at Kingsbridge Professional Solutions our insurance package covers the above policies (as well as Employers’ Liability and Directors’ and Officers’ Liability) to make Contractors Insurance simple and affordable.

Funny Insurance Claims You Couldn’t Make Up

cowHaving the right insurance is no joke but it’s not all doom and gloom in the world of insurance either.  Every now and again we hear of some rather amusing situations – don’t be embarrassed to ring us, we’ve heard it all! Here are some funny insurance claims you couldn’t make up!

1. A jeweller sent in an insurance claim after repairing a customer’s £200 watch he then accidently returned a £10,000 Rolex – only noticing as he left the shop that he had forgotten to note down the customers contact details. We don’t know what the result was, perhaps the customer was kind enough to return it?

2. A holidaymaker in Sri Lanka suffered an accident as a result of a coconut falling on her head whilst she read in the shade below. She claimed for her hospital expenses.

3.  A driver rang up with this claim – “I was driving along a road and saw there was a farming fete in fields ahead, all of a sudden I saw a man dressed as a potato, this quite surprised me and I lost control of my vehicle and landed in a ditch” (The man dressed as a potato was at fault of course!)

4. One burglar in the US robbed a house, accidentally locking himself in the garage. He was stuck there for more than a week as the homeowners were away on holiday. He survived by eating dog food stored there. When the man finally got away he made an insurance claim for ‘undue mental anguish’. He was compensated almost half a million dollars!

5. A Devon farmer claimed that his iPhone had been lost in the back end of one of his cows – he had been using it as a torch whilst calving in the middle of the night. Unsurprisingly, the mobile appeared a while later but wasn’t working.

Do have any insurance stories to share?  Why not post them in the comments box?

Freelancing – A Risky Business?

Any freelancer or contractor working through their own limited company will have experienced the complexity of purchasing business insurance products.  One of the most common questions we’re asked by contractors and freelancers is simply ‘what insurance do I actually need?’

Firstly, when freelancing, you need to establish the risks your business faces and your legal obligations.  But let’s also consider your clients, the assumptions they make and the (often standardised) contracts they will expect you to comply with.

  • Professional Indemnity insurance is vital if any errors you make or negligent advice you give leads to financial loss or damages the reputation of those relying on your expertise.  Including legal defence costs and any damages awarded to the claimant it’s a crucial insurance to hold when expertise is what your clients are paying you for.
  • Whether you work from a client’s premises or have visitors to your own place of work, you have a duty to protect anyone who might be affected by your activities.  Public Liability insurance would provide cover if someone was injured or property was damaged as a result of your actions in carrying out your duties.
  • Employers’ Liability insurance is compulsory for almost all UK businesses with limited exceptions. Freelancers and contractors who don’t employ anyone are exempt,  however, many clients’ standard contracts are drawn up without consideration for the specific legal requirements which apply and will simply insist upon this type of cover.
  • Occupational Personal Accident insurance protects you financially if you become unable to work due to injury as a result of an accident at work.  As a freelancer you will likely have very limited financial support available while you are unable to work.  By paying a weekly benefit while you recover, or a lump sum if you are permanently unable to work, Personal Accident cover is highly recommended for freelancers and contractors.
  • Directors’ and Officers’ Liability insurance gives you financial protection as a company director where you could be held personally liable if you fail in any of the numerous responsibilities you accept to run and represent a company in an appropriate manner.  Situations where a claim can arise range from financial misrepresentation to alleged legislative breaches.

By understanding your main exposures and contractual obligations we’ve created a package of business insurance designed specifically for freelancers and contractors.  For further information visit www.kpsol.co.uk

How Do Freelancers And Contractors Keep In Touch?

Kingsbridge MD, Steve Wynne, tests his reactions at Gastech

It’s been a busy few weeks for KPSol, both in and out of the office.

We’ve been raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness, attending exhibitions and strategy planning for fast approaching 2013.

All of this activity means we’ve been connecting with colleagues, partners and clients more than ever and I’ve been thinking about our Freelancer and Contractor clients who don’t always have the luxury of someone sitting across a desk from them.

So how do Freelancers and Contractors connect with one another?

One sector that appears to be actively encouraging networking amongst its peers is that of the Oil and Gas sector.  What would outwardly appear to be an insular career path is just not so when it comes to Oil and Gas Freelancers and Contractors.  KPSol are regularly invited to attend conferences, events and trade shows within this industry and we were delighted when, on the 8th October, Gastech returned to London after 40 years.

Our stand proved to be a popular installation with the inclusion of a reaction testing machine, used by Formula One teams for driver training.  It wasn’t easy to resist the challenge, as you’ll see from the image of our very own Managing Director, Steve Wynne.

Professor Brian Cox OBE, Research Fellow, Author, Broadcaster, CERN Project & BBC Television had this to say about the conference and exhibition;

“To be able to talk to the people at the cutting edge, you know, you’ve got your people here who are important, influential and employers of people that I and my colleagues in the university sector educate, so for me, that’s a real value.”

However, not all industries hold regular events and what of Freelancers and Contractors working offshore, overseas or those who simply can’t afford to take the time away from their businesses.

Social media is one option but it’s also a hotly debated communication method amongst the business community and this includes Freelancers and Contractors.  One school of thought and the generic advice has been to only connect with those companies that could offer you a contract immediately.  The thinking is that if you are using social media as a marketing tool, then you should only target potential clients and that other connections won’t lead to paid work.

But who knows where your Freelance and Contractor connections could lead?  Today’s entrepreneur may well be the next Steve Jobs or your Freelancer contacts may make the move back into a traditional environment and a position that could provide you with future contracts.

Freelancers have many and varied skills which often complement each other.  Knowing someone you can team up with could make the difference between you winning a contract or not.  Knowing your industry and your peers and keeping a regular dialogue with them also means that you’re first in line when it comes to work referrals.

Of course, like any networking method, relationships take time to develop and if you view social media purely as a method of generating new business you’re likely to become disillusioned fairly rapidly.  But if you’re looking for a way to stay connected to your peers, industry news and for a method of getting a quick and candid opinion, it could well a medium worth exploring.

New Website for Freelancer and Contractor Insurance

We’re always looking for ways to simplify the process of obtaining freelancer and contractor insurance and we think our relaunched website does just that.

With all of the functionality our clients have come to rely on and some exciting new features, we believe you won’t find a simpler way to get cover for your business.  Live chat allows you to connect instantly with a member of our team and our Insurance Guides and FAQs make it easier than ever to get access to the information you need as a Freelancer or Contractor.

Combine this with Instant Quotes and Policy Documents within 10 minutes and you’ll find kpsol.co.uk an invaluable resource.

You can also take advantage of our Price Promise Guarantee and Refer a Friend incentive, making KPSol’s Contractor and Freelancer Insurance Package the best possible cover at the lowest possible price.

We hope you enjoy navigating the new site.  We’re always looking for ways we can improve and we’d love to hear from you if you have any comments.

 

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Ltd – Proud to be Chartered Insurance Brokers

Kingsbridge Risk Solutions Ltd have recently been awarded the prestigious Chartered Insurance Brokers designation by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
This is the industry’s gold standard for firms of insurance brokers. It confirms that we have satisfied rigorous qualification criteria by retaining highly-qualified staff who subscribe to the membership conditions of the CII.
It also involves a commitment to continuing professional development and adherence to an industry standard Code of Ethics. You can view the Code at www.cii.co.uk/code.
There are less than 100 Chartered Insurance Brokers in the UK. When you use a Chartered firm you are dealing with proven professionals. The CII is empowered by the Privy Council to award Chartered status, and the award is only made in deserving cases. And while Chartered titles are steeped in history, they remain the benchmark of professional excellence and integrity.
Only the UK’s premier insurance broking firms qualify for Chartered status. If you wish to know more about how using a Chartered firm can ensure you get the best possible advice, service and support, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Note: With over 93,000 members, the CII is the world’s largest professional body dedicated to the insurance, savings and financial services sector.

Making Contractor Insurance Easy

Most contractors facing an uphill battle to find work within their specific industry, whether they are trawling through job vacancies or wrestling numerous application forms it is not surprising to find ‘convenience’ at the top of their list when sourcing insurance.
It is quite fair to say that insurance is not the top priority for many contractors, however, many clients or agencies will expect to see verification of not only Professional Indemnity Insurance, but also Employers and Public Liability Insurances. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the contracts to specify minimum amounts for each policy and if you are not in immediate possession of these, there is no chance of being paid!

Also, a recent report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed the ‘engineering’ sector has been the only sector showing increase, month by month, with the chair of REC’s Engineering and Technical division, Philip Higgins stating, “the engineering sector has witnessed a health growth in demand all year and this is accelerating”, meaning that many contractors are showing more flexibility in the industries they are working in, proving further that one of the main benefits of contracting is the flexibility to work where the demand for labour is.

So, with both of these points taken into account, why aren’t insurance companies showing the same trend?

Modern freelance professionals are looking for a quick, convenient insurance package that will cover them for their role as an itinerant contractor and not be dependant on the job title and industry they work in.

With this information, Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance have designed an all-encompassing contractor insurance package, covering the main exposures that a contractor would be subject to. This isn’t a policy where premium is affected by the industry of work or job title, offering clear exclusions and restrictions, the policy eases the worry that contractors have that they may not be covered for any new roles they take on.

Personal Accident Insurance = Peace Of Mind

Personal Accident Insurance

A noteworthy report for all contractors was issued this month highlighting the importance of holding personal accident insurance.  The report confirmed that the self employed were at most risk of financial loss if hospitalised.  Of 400 contractors surveyed, an amazing 72% didn’t have any kind of insurance that would help the financial burden of being unable to work through a workplace accident.

When purchasing insurance cover such as professional indemnity and public liability for their limited company, it is obvious that some contractors neglect the significance of obtaining cover for themselves in the case of accident.

A contractors self employed status means they are likely to have no other person to hold responsible following an accident, but a simple affordable personal accident cover could protect them from the inevitable financial pitfalls.

Experts in freelance insurance, Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance offer a package of insurance which includes personal accident cover that not only insures for accidents that occur at work, but also for any accident that takes place whilst commuting. Kingsbridge offer a weekly benefit of up to £500 whilst recovering from an injury.  In addition to this, lump sum payments are payable for death or permanent disability resulting from an occupational accident.

Recent claims have seen our insurers award weekly payouts to claimants for periods of incapacity from 2 to 12 months, providing £26,000 benefit in the worst case.  Our insurance package provides contractors the peace of mind of having their own cover in the event of a mishap, regardless of the blame. Have you thought about the potential loss?

Could you afford to go for months with no income?

See the detail yourself at www.kingsbridge.co.uk

Don’t get caught out by AWR

AWR

The new Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) will come into force later this year and for those keen to be seen as outside the scope of the regulations focus will return to IR35 tests.

In the draft guidance “the definition of an agency worker excludes those who are in business on their own account”, but simply owning a Limited Company and putting your earnings through it will not be enough to put you beyond the scope of the regulations. Any dispute would require the worker to prove that their circumstances, arrangements and company set up genuinely support their self employed status.

A number of factors can be considered in this regard but it is likely that you will need to demonstrate a number of them to succeed in convincing HMRC. Contractors who take fiscal responsibility for any negligence in their advice and purchase appropriate business insurance will be seen as different to those choosing to rely on indemnity from the end client in the same way as an employee would.

Other factors which could be considered are the purchase of your own business equipment, computer hardware and software together with appropriate licences, personal protective clothing for site visits etc. In addition supporting your own professional development through training, or perhaps subscriptions for membership to a professional body in your chosen field.

All of these things are generally provided for employees but if you rely on them it could support the view that your status is only really in place for job flexibility or tax reasons and it would be likely to lead to additional scrutiny from HMRC.