Posts by fortyfour

Cyber-attacks: how they occur and how to protect against them

May 30th, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Cyber-attacks: how they occur and how to protect against them”

It can be difficult to comprehend the cyber risks your business is exposed to, particularly if you have never experienced a cyber-attack. Therefore, many choose to bear the consequences themselves without understanding how significant these can be. However, Cyber and Cyber-crime claims are now making up more than 50% of all claims in the insurance market, so managing this risk is no longer a task for the IT team, but a Board level consideration.

In this blog we explain some of the most common cyber-attacks, how they occur and how you can protect your business against them:

Funds Transfer Fraud / Social Engineering Fraud

Almost all companies invoice their clients for payment for their goods or services, as well as working with several suppliers who will in turn invoice for goods and services they provide to the company. When paying these invoices electronically it is all too easy to fall victim to cybercriminals who can intercept electronic payments and divert them to fraudulent accounts.

These attacks can be perpetrated in a number of ways including:

  • Social Engineering – whereby a member of your accounts team might be tricked into paying funds into a fraudulent account, following an extremely convincing call from someone pretending to be the client/supplier and advising of a change of bank details.
  • Invoice Fraud – whereby an invoice attached to an email can be intercepted along the way, with the details changed to that of a fraudulent account before being released, seemingly with no discernible changes.

These risks can be mitigated by training your employees to look out for the tell-tale signs that a fraudster may be involved, including the creation of high pressure/urgency, as well as implementing procedures such as call-backs to a known contact before accepting a change of bank details. 80% of Cyber claims involve employee error, so training your staff is a crucial element of your Cyber risk management.

Ransomware and Data Breaches

The most valuable asset that most companies hold is their data, rather than physical assets such as their property or plant/machinery. Whether a company relies on their systems to trade day to day or holds sensitive customer data, cyber criminals know all too well that the majority of companies cannot survive a ransomware attack for long.

Ransomware attacks can result from something as simple as an employee opening what appeared to be a ‘CV’ attached to an email that came from someone purporting to be on the hunt for a job. For a sophisticated cyber-criminal, this is enough for ransomware to be installed on your network, giving the hacker the ability to not only shut down your network but also to access and leak data you hold.

Cyber criminals have recently pivoted away from shutting down a network and demanding a few hundred pounds for the key to unlock; instead, they are sitting in the network for months on end, gathering data that can be sold on the dark web or leaked, and then using this knowledge to demand ransoms of up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

How to mitigate your risk:

  • Use reputable antivirus software and firewalls – this is your first line of defence, so maintaining a strong firewall and keeping your security software up to date is critical.
  • Patching (updating) – Regular patching of vulnerable software is necessary to help prevent infection that takes advantage of out-of-date systems with known vulnerabilities.
  • Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication – enforce a strong password policy and multi-factor authentication. This will also reduce your risk of Business Email Compromise (BEC), which is another prolific problem and can lead to downtime, reputational impact, and large financial loss.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has provided further guidance with actions you can take to reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack whilst the threat level is heightened here.

We are here to help

To learn more about how to protect your business against cyber risks, contact our specialist, Jason Cohen:

A guide to Management Liability insurance

April 18th, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “A guide to Management Liability insurance”

Legal actions may be brought against companies for a variety of reasons ranging from allegations of financial mismanagement, to alleged liability for injury/illness or for loss of or damage to property. Therefore, board engagement with Management Liability insurance is critical to protect your business.

What is Management Liability Insurance?

Management Liability insurance is a suite of covers designed to offer legal protection for you, your fellow Directors and Officers and your company for wrongful acts you have, or are alleged to have, committed. There are three sections to this suite of covers:

Directors & Officers Liability (core) – Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability insurance provides protection for the Directors and Officers of a company for claims against them for wrongful acts committed solely by reason of their acting as a Director or Officer of a company.

Employment Practices Liability (optional) – Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance protects your company against financial loss from claims made by employees for a wide range of employment practice violations, including unfair dismissal or discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability, religion, belief, or sexual orientation.

Corporate Legal Liability (optional) – Corporate Legal Liability (CLL) is similar to D&O but provides indemnity in respect of costs and awards for any allegations/claims made against the company (entity) as opposed to individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we also need Corporate Legal Liability?

As claimants will want the best chance of success, they will deploy a scattergun approach against you (the individual) and the company you work for. Therefore, purchasing Corporate Legal Liability ensures an all-encompassing protection.

What is the need for Employment Practices Liability cover?

These immediate issues aside, Employment Practices Liability (EPL) is a vital cover as it defends your business against the allegations of wrongful dismissal, discrimination, and harassment to name a few.

What is a wrongful act?

Examples of wrongful acts include:

  • Inland revenue investigation
  • Flouting regulations
  • Making a poor business decision that effects income &/or shareholders or brings the business in to disrepute
  • Making an acquisition with no/scant due diligence that then puts your core business at risk
  • Closing business locations and causing loss to the landlord
  • Sanctioning a site clearance without an environmental survey putting protected wildlife at risk
  • Taking over a business and its obligations but not fulfilling them

In short, anyone can make an allegation of a wrongful act for any number of reasons and Management Liability cover will defend you, as long as you have not acted fraudulently or committed a criminal offence.

Who is covered under a Management Liability insurance policy?

All past, present, and future:

  • Executive Directors
  • Non-Executive Directors – (The liabilities of non-executive directors are the same as those of executive directors)
  • Shadow Directors – A Shadow Director is someone who is not a registered Director of a company but exercises control or influence over a business and on whose instructions the Directors of the company act. Professional Advisors are not regarded as Shadow Directors. A Shadow Director is treated in many ways as a real Director of the company concerned and so will be bound by the same duties and obligations
  • Officers – Managerial and supervisory roles

What is the most common type of claim under the policy?

Whilst claims can be brought by anyone, the most common claims relate to allegations of Employment Law failings such as:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Failure to promote/recruit

Are there any exclusions under the policy?

Generally speaking, cover is broad and designed to pay defence costs and awards, irrespective of cause. However, certain types of risk are typically excluded, such as deliberate acts, criminal acts, wilful misconduct or damages for bodily injury and property damage.

A risk management checklist for Directors and Officers

Our specialist team have drafted the following guidance to protect yourself as a Director/Officer:

  • Educate yourself on the risks that drive litigation and regulatory actions
  • Invite subject experts to board meetings to discuss emerging risks
  • Draw on the expertise of insurers and learn from D&O claims trends
  • Reduce risk by developing robust governance and strong culture
  • Encourage diversity of knowledge and experience at board level
  • Carry out due diligence on business partners for corruption, ethics, and cyber risks
  • Do not be afraid to question and challenge the conduct of others
  • Take red flags seriously and act on them

Next steps

For more information on how you can protect yourself and your fellow Directors and Officers within your organisation, get in touch with Jason Cohen:

Underinsurance ‘made worse’ by rising construction costs

March 20th, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Underinsurance ‘made worse’ by rising construction costs”

It is crucial to ensure your building is insured adequately and important to consider the rising costs in products and materials.

If you are concerned about the adequacy of your cover, please contact us to discuss at

Infographic credit:

It is vital to insure your building correctly – ‘You get what you pay for’

March 20th, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “It is vital to insure your building correctly – ‘You get what you pay for’”

If you are concerned that your building may not be adequately insured, please get in touch with us to discuss at

Infographic credit: 

9 out of 10 UK properties are insured for the wrong amount

March 20th, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “9 out of 10 UK properties are insured for the wrong amount”

We are continuously focused on discussing this subject with our clients to ensure they are covered correctly. 

Please feel free to contact us to discuss further at

Infographic credit:

Hamilton Leigh in partnership with KVF Consultants

January 22nd, 2023 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Hamilton Leigh in partnership with KVF Consultants”

Hamilton Leigh is proud to work in partnership with KVF Advisory, health and safety consultants who specialise in the Motor Trade sector, offering our clients a bespoke and robust approach to risk management.


KVF Advisory Services £125 plus VAT per site per month

  • An annual visit from KVF plus full access to CANOPY Safety* (innovative Health & Safety Management & Compliance software):
    • Single or multi-site
    • Unlimited user access
    • Interactive dashboard, with actions, notifications, and reminders
    • Audits
    • Checklists
    • Risk assessment library
    • Online accident book
    • File management
    • MI reporting
    • Help function
  • Fully scored audit completed with risk profile conducted and follow-up actions (fixes) provided
  • Unlimited email and telephone support
  • Additional visits subject to availability

CANOPY Safety £100 plus VAT per site per month (software only option)

  • Full access to CANOPY Safety* (our innovative Health & Safety Management & Compliance software):
    • Single or multi-site
    • Unlimited user access
    • Interactive dashboard, with actions, notifications, and reminders
    • Audits
    • Checklists
    • Risk assessment library
    • Online accident book
    • File management
    • MI reporting
    • Help function
  • Unlimited email and telephone support
  • Additional visits subject to availability

* CANOPY Safety is a live and interactive online Health & Safety Management tool with online reporting, including accident book with templated policies and procedures for customer use.  This inhouse KVF owned and built system allows multiple users access to their Health & Safety documentation at any time from any web enabled device 24/7/365

Fire Risk Assessments £500 plus VAT per premises

  • Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) will be conducted by a NEBOSH qualified professional with fully detail report provided upon completion:
    • KVF standard rates are charged at
    • 20% discount available to existing KVF customers


  • Online e-Learning system
    • Our Intuity online training platform includes over 60 training courses covering multiple Health & Safety topics.  We’ve also added some HR modules such as Anti-Money Laundering; Data Protection / GDPR; and Information Security.  All priced at just £15 per module, per user, per year.
    • The Health & Safety Induction covers six key areas: Workplace Health & Safety; COSHH; Display Screen Equipment; Fire Awareness; Manual Handling; and PPE and is great value at just £15 with additional courses available to purchase on request.
    • Unlimited email and telephone support

First Aid & Fire Marshal Training

  • KVF are also able to provide face to face classroom based First Aid and Fire Marshal Training at your own premises. Further details and prices available on request.


For more information, or to arrange an introductory meeting with KVF, please contact Jason Cohen:

Plan ahead to avoid the impact of inflation on motor trade insurance premiums

September 22nd, 2022 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Plan ahead to avoid the impact of inflation on motor trade insurance premiums”

According to US bank Citi, consumer price inflation is set to peak at 18% in early 2023 — nine times the Bank of England’s target, raising their forecast once again in the light of the latest jump in energy prices.

This couldn’t come at a worse time for motor dealers as high running costs, new vehicle production disruption and staff retention/salary pressures continue to add strain to an already low margin industry.

Post-pandemic supply chain bottlenecks, higher energy and transportation costs, along with shortages of labour were already contributing to higher inflation at the start of 2022. Now the war in Ukraine has further fuelled global inflationary and supply chain pressures, affecting motor trade Business Interruption claims, due to longer waiting periods for parts and materials.

All of the above directly impact insurers’ overall claims costs, none of which were factored into their 2021 pricing.

Tight labour markets are also increasing the severity for large claims. In what has been described as the ‘Great Resignation’, skilled and unskilled workers are in short supply as many have changed career or taken early retirement, just as demand soared after the pandemic. In the UK, job vacancies outpaced unemployment in the first quarter of 2022 for the first time on record. Increased competition for workers and higher wages drives up repair costs, as well as the cost of defending legal claims.

The question being asked by insurers is where are costs going to go next?

To generate forecasts, actuaries look back at past influences on claims inflation to assist with their estimations of ongoing impact. However, with so many recent seismic events, actuaries can no longer rely on historic patterns or data.

Data on the claims impact of new technologies, such as hybrid and electric technology is sparse; however, specialist repairs are often necessary due to the high voltage exposure and the safe and responsible disposal of damaged batteries.

What we do know is that improvements in motor technologies, such as advanced breaking systems, lane discipline technology and light detecting headlamps are expensive and all impact the cost of vehicle repairs. For example, since 2013, Trend Tracker reports vehicle repair costs increased by 48% as a result of new technology, such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

The fall in motor insurance claims during the pandemic has been widely reported, but less well understood is the bottleneck of personal injury claims which are taking insurers longer to process and impacting ‘claims experience’ within the motor trade sector.

It has been a challenge for injured parties to be examined and treated due to COVID-19 restrictions, and this has led to the processing times for claims taking longer than at any point over the previous four years. This delay in personal injury claim settlements meant that settlements in 2021 had a distinct bias to lower cost ‘vehicle damage only’ claims, temporarily preventing a sharper spike in claims inflation.

Furthermore, people are working longer and increasing their earning potential in order to fund retirement; damages awarded to injured parties are still rising faster than inflation. Medical advancements make survival following a serious accident more likely. While this is of course extremely positive, claim values are increasing significantly, covering future loss of earnings, medical and care provisions along with home adaptations.

Furthermore, insurers cannot ignore the huge impact of climate change, which is an additional concern. The UK has seen a considerable increase in the frequency and severity of flooding over the last 20 years. Forecasts indicate that similar weather patterns will continue in the short to medium term. According to the Met Office, record-breaking rainfall could be 10 times more likely by 2100.

On 18 July, Direct Line issued a profit warning, stating that the soaring prices of used cars, parts and longer repair times have pushed up the cost of claims. Following this, shares in the insurer plunged 13%, making Direct Line the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 to its lowest level since 2013, as the company said that overall claim costs are rising at about 10%.

Direct Line’s current predicament is not unique. The motor trade insurance market is no different. Higher used car prices, increased third party claims costs, longer repair times and inflation in the cost of car parts means insurance premium inflation has continued to fall short of the increases in claims inflation.

Steps you can take to control your insurance premium costs

Our businesses operate in a completely different world today, bringing new and challenging risk exposures, including Cyber threats and cultural employment risks, such as diversity & inclusion, all of which threaten our businesses, people, reputation and brand.

Motor dealers are greatly exposed to accidents and incidents, given the number of sites, vehicles and people within their control. Due to market capacity, insurance premiums weren’t fully reflective of these exposures previously, but after 19 years of insurance premium rate decline, motor dealers can no longer rely on ‘soft’ insurance premium rating.

Insurers are now taking a different approach from the normal ‘pound swapping’ insurance premium vs claims costs exercise that we’ve all become used to – this will no longer work!

An immediate change of focus is required. The only way to avoid increased premium costs is to implement a structured risk management programme in full collaboration with your broker and insurer.

With only seven recognised insurers underwriting motor dealer insurance in the open market, all with a history of incredibly narrow profit margins, motor trade underwriters’ primary focus is on the management of risk and whether it meets expectation. Insurers will be seeking firm evidence of a structured risk management plan, with full, board level buy-in and will also want to have direct input to ensure its effectiveness. Basically, underwriters’ want to see better risk management systems and controls so that the insurance you buy is the last line of defence – not the first!

Even insurer Long-Term Agreements (LTA’s) are now under scrutiny as there is pressure from reinsurers to make existing pricing work. Insurance companies are reviewing all long-term contracts with the view to exiting those considered unlikely to remain profitable.

There are further added benefits to improved risk management controls. Understandably, a motor dealer’s main focus will always be on the insurance premium cost, yet one exposure largely overlooked by motor dealers is their ‘retained risk’ costs. These are the costs of incidents that fall within a motor dealers’ policy excess and/or for damages deemed to be uninsured. In my experience, much of this cost goes unrecorded and lost in ‘miscellaneous’ expense but if properly accounted, can add up to a seriously large number.

Insurers consider pro-active risk management essential and motor dealers that embrace this culture now will receive valuable insurer support, avoid future increases in insurance premiums and reduce their retained risk costs.

Your approach to your insurance renewal can also make a difference. Start your renewal process much earlier than normal; insurers are becoming more selective about the risks they choose to write. Agree your renewal strategy with your broker, devise a plan to reflect your risk tolerance appetite and demonstrate your risk management controls.

Hamilton Leigh facilitates Risk Awareness Workshops for motor dealers, designed to help motor dealers identify and eradicate risk and hazards in the workplace, reducing exposure to accidents and incidents. The workshops are recognised by the specialist motor trade insurers and have a proven track record of creating a safer working environment, closer working relationships with underwriters and achieving significant cost saving benefits for motor dealers.

Renewed opportunity for hospitality and leisure businesses to launch another bid to claim Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance losses

March 24th, 2022 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Renewed opportunity for hospitality and leisure businesses to launch another bid to claim Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance losses”

The hospitality and leisure sectors were without a doubt the worst hit by Covid-19, with hotels, bars, restaurants and health clubs severely affected by the swathe of government restrictions and regulations imposed since March 2020.

Business owners were forced to navigate a plethora of changing Covid-19 rules and regulations, mandating when and where businesses were allowed to open, how services were to be provided and what measures were required to be put in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers, whilst also seeking to remain financially viable.

This turbulent period forced many businesses to close their doors for good and countless more just about managed to stay afloat. Due to the importance of Business Interruption Insurance, it is unsurprising that many hospitality and leisure businesses continue to press their insurers for claim pay-outs, even where, upon first reading, the outcome of the FCA Test Case on Business Interruption losses does not appear to indicate there was cover.

The FCA Test Case was intended to provide answers, en-masse, to insurance coverage questions affecting thousands of businesses. Whilst the High Court and Supreme Court judgments went a long way to resolve the coverage debates, quarrels with insurers continue in relation to areas not directly covered by the Test Case, or where the outcome left uncertainties. Notably, Corbin & King, the owner of 9 upscale London restaurants including The Wolseley and the Delauney, recently issued High Court proceedings against AXA for a declaratory judgment that cover is available in respect of each of its premises up to the £250,000 limit of indemnity (a total value of £4.4m).

The question posed to the court was whether a sum insured of £250,000 applied just once to the entirety of the Corbin & King empire or applied to each entity covered by the policy? The court decided in favour of Corbin & King that each restaurant is covered for £250,000.

On 25th February 2022, The Honourable Mrs Justice Cockerill DBE held that Corbin & King Ltd and its subsidiaries were successful in their claim against AXA for Business Interruption losses suffered as a result of Covid-19.

The case considered two important matters of principle:

the scope of the Non-Damage Denial of Access ‘NDDA’ cover, following the causation analysis of the Supreme Court in the FCA test case and quantum.

  • Insurers argued there could only be cover under this clause if policyholders could demonstrate that it was an emergency by reason of Covid-19 in the vicinity, of the insured premises, as opposed to the country as a whole, which led to the actions or advice of the government.  

The judge concluded that the Supreme Court’s approach to causation should be adopted and that Covid-19 is capable of being a danger within one mile of the insured premises which, coupled with other uninsured but not excluded dangers outside, led to the regulations which caused the closure of the businesses and caused the Business Interruption loss.

  • The judge also held that the ‘NDDA’ cover provided a separate limit of £250,000 for each individual premises in respect of each claim (rather than a single limit of £250,000 in relation to all of the premises for any one claim).

This judgment is a very important step for Policyholders in their efforts to recover the losses they have suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of Covid-19.  Policyholders with ‘NDDA’ wordings who have been previously been told by their insurers that there is no cover, should be aware, therefore, that the doors to claiming Business Interruption losses are not yet firmly shut.

Those in the hospitality and leisure sectors have been particularly hard hit, and this decision will be significant for many of them.

As far as Hamilton Leigh’s clients are concerned, only a small number of claims are potentially impacted and we are currently reviewing those claims on a case-by-case basis. It should also be noted that the judgement may yet be appealed. On 23rd March 2022, the high Court granted Axa leave to appeal the judgement, although it is unclear at this stage as to whether this will be pursued.

Regardless of the outcome, it should be noted that each policy and specific loss circumstances will be different, so each claim will be dealt with on its own merits.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

One principal matter that remains ongoing is insurers’ treatment of “Furlough” payments, in the adjustment of Covid-19 Business Interruption claims (where coverage is established). While insurers largely agreed that government grants are to be ignored for the purposes of a Business Interruption indemnity, they have generally maintained that any support received in the form of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments (Furlough), and Business Rates Relief, should either be accounted for as turnover or as a saving, thus reducing the value of the covered claim under the Policy.

Insurers are being challenged as a matter of common law, that such payments do not go to reduce the policyholders’ covered loss, and as a matter of public policy, government financial support provided to the hospitality and leisure industry and other hard-hit sectors was not introduced for the benefit of insurers.

The underlying question therefore remains: who should stand first in line to benefit from the government’s financial support measures – the hospitality and leisure industries which are still struggling to recover 2 years later, or insurers, who were largely cushioned from the effects of the pandemic?

The issue remains untested in the English courts, although a distinguished panel led by Lord Mance in the Hiscox Action Group Arbitration was reported in July 2021 to have found in favour of the policyholders on this issue.

We expect this subject to come under close scrutiny by the Commercial Court, when the issue falls for determination for the first time in the English courts in the forthcoming trial of Stonegate v MS Amlin in June 2022 and if successful, will be welcome news for many businesses that had ‘NDDA’ policy cover and who’s claim settlements were reduced by ‘furlough’ payments.

Hamilton Leigh will continue to monitor the outcome of these judgements and keep our clients abreast of all developments. Should you wish to discuss your potential Covid-19 Business Interruption claim in the meantime, please contact Jamie Foster (Head of Claims):


t: 020 8236 5368

The Importance of Two-factor Authentication

September 13th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “The Importance of Two-factor Authentication”

Cyber-security is an integral part of risk management for any organisation. Cyber-criminals are capable of executing devastating attacks that can result in financial losses, reputational damage and government fines. With those potential consequences in mind, employers should be mindful and take any precautions that might be able to protect them, such as using two-factor authentication.

Major Changes to Flood Risk in the UK

March 18th, 2021 Posted by Uncategorised 0 comments on “Major Changes to Flood Risk in the UK”

The insurance market is currently going through an extensive period of ‘hardening’. Insurers are driving higher premiums and tighter terms and conditions, with particular emphasis on flood risk. This process will affect all sectors of the economy and it is crucial that business owners understand how this is likely to impact their insurance coverage and cost.

A major contributor to the ‘hardening’ market is natural catastrophe losses, which continue to escalate around the world. The systemic effects of climate change are here. Stronger and more frequent natural disasters, for example, are destroying homes and businesses at record-breaking rates and putting entire flood systems at risk.

2020 was significant in many ways. After three relatively dry years, winter 2019/20 saw major storms causing widespread flooding across the UK. Between November 2019 and February 2020, thousands of homes and businesses were flooded in South Wales, Northern and Central England and the Scottish Borders. These storms, costing in excess of £360 million, were a timely reminder of the challenge’s insurers face from the growing threat of flooding due to climate change. Furthermore, the flooding in parts of south Yorkshire and the Midlands in November last year added an additional £110 million to insurers claims costs.

The impact of climate change will see more than 1.2 million properties in the UK ‘newly at risk’ of flooding and 1.9 million addresses ‘newly at risk’ of subsidence by 2050, leading to a potential insurance liability of £122 billion, based on data from UK Climate Predictions and a 2˚C global temperature rise.

Global warming is already having an impact on our daily lives, but the effects of it will become far more tangible and extreme in the years to come. The reality is that global temperatures are continuing to rise and flooding is becoming more common place. If expected trends continue, a large number of properties will be newly impacted, which is why insurers have completely reassessed their flood mapping data to better manage their flood exposure.

As well as flooding, climate change is also increasing the risk to buildings stemming from subsidence. The dry summer in 2018 saw massive increases in losses and insurers are bracing themselves for a repeat of those losses in 2021/22.

As climate change brings more intense storms and rising seas, Britain faces rapidly growing and shifting flood threats; something few of those at risk are yet to be aware of, potentially facing the prospect of huge insurance premium increases, restricted flood risk cover or being unable to buy flood cover at all.

Insurers are exposed as Britain fails to confront flood risk

This lack of awareness, combined with fast-increasing demand for new housing, limited available land and often disjointed policymaking and regulation mean efforts to keep people and property safe are becoming more and more strained.

About 5.2 million homes and other properties in England are at risk of flooding. Sea levels have risen about 16 cm (6 inches) in Britain since 1990, making coastal areas more vulnerable to storm surges.

Heavier rainfall is degenerating surface floods away from rivers and shorelines, in places where we never previously expected them, as rain cannot run off fast enough. The Met Office has reported that extended periods of extreme winter rainfall are now 7 times more likely than before.

Owners of flood-prone homes in Britain can buy affordable insurance through Flood Re, a government and insurance industry initiative that shares the cost of flood risk across all home insurance policies sold.

Businesses, however, do not have access to this facility and, hit by more frequent and severe flooding, are finding it harder to buy or afford flood insurance coverage, raising the prospect of them being fully exposed to flood losses themselves. It is a sad reality that several businesses have been forced to close in this last year due to them being unable to secure flood insurance cover; required to satisfy their bank/stock funders.

We have huge pressures for growth in this country and government ambition to build more homes, presents us with a real dilemma. According to the Town and Country Planning Association, which campaigns for reforms in Britain’s planning system, increasingly relaxed planning permission rules meant more properties were being built in high-risk zones.

There’s also the added dilemma for many property owners and communities not wanting to discuss climate change and flood risks, fearing it might hurt their ability to get insurance or drive away buyers and investment.

Impact to insurers from losses related to climate change

Where global average temperatures have risen in the past, incidences of climate-related weather events tended to become both more common and more severe. Insurers protect society against these risks, and these events will continue to become more expensive to cover.

The insurance industry is, of course, used to dealing with losses from physical risks. For example, recent research suggests that the frequency of climatic natural disasters has grown as much as threefold since 1980. Despite such an increase, the industry has managed to demonstrate resilience and innovation in diversifying the risk. However, there is now concern whether further deterioration of extreme climatic events might result in an increase in the protection gap.

The first quarter of 2021 has seen many homes and businesses not previously situated in traditional flood risk areas, now affected by insurers’ reassessed flood mapping. This has had a significant impact on their insurance premiums and policy coverage. Hamilton Leigh has designed a Business Flood Plan template, available to all of our clients, in addition to a Flood Toolkit to help our clients proactively manage their flood risk exposure.

Invest in flood risk management

Business owners need to be investing in proactive flood risk management to provide practical and manageable solutions for underwriters to insure them against flood. To position yourself to do this as best as possible, working with knowledgeable partners is a must. Aligning with Hamilton Leigh to provide a united stance on presenting your requirements to insurers in the best and most accurate light is paramount for securing flood risk cover, where many businesses will struggle.

An increased frequency and severity of major weather events means a higher number of more costly claims for insurers to deal with, globally as well as in the UK.

To reduce exposure and resultant interruption to your business, it’s imperative that business owners recognise the need to improve their flood resilience, before the storm clouds gather, not after. 

What Hamilton Leigh can do to help you

  • Design a comprehensive and robust Business Flood Plan
  • Ensure your Business Flood Plan strategy is communicated throughout the business
  • Communicate your Business Flood Plan with your insurers to demonstrate your proactivity
  • Help you sign up for advance flood warning alerts in your area
  • Create Flood Toolkit templates
  • Guidance for the preparation of your property for flooding
  • Agree a risk retention strategy that accurately reflects the business’s risk tolerance appetite
  • Reassess loss prevention practices

The Environment Agency estimates that with proper flood preparation, most businesses can save up to 90% on the cost of lost stock due to flooding, with a proper Business Flood Plan.

It is now more important than ever to work proactively with Hamilton Leigh to ensure your interests remain fully protected.

For further information and to receive a copy of our Business Flood Preparation Checklist and Flood Toolkit, please contact your Hamilton Leigh client service executive or email

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