News

5 Halloween Safety Tips

While spooky ghouls and creepy ghosts scare the kids, more serious health risks and crime rates worry adults at Halloween.

Whether you’re trick or treating with the kids, attending a bonfire or staying firmly indoors, your home, family and business are all exposed to some seriously scary risks during Halloween.

Some local police services report antisocial crime rates increasing by over 50% at this time of year, with criminal damage arrests doubling at Halloween.

While spooky ghouls and creepy ghosts scare youngsters, adults should watch out for these 5 dangers to stay safe this October…

Flammable costumes
Children’s fancy dress costumes are treated as toys under current safety standards. During testing, outfits are set alight in controlled conditions. The flame must not spread faster than 3cm per second.

Anything with a burning rate between 1cm and 3cm per second must carry a label saying: ‘Warning! Keep away from fire.’ Those that pass can carry a CE safety
marking, although there is growing concern that these can be easily faked.

Try to find costumes from reputable sources which have passed fire safety testing, or
make your own outfits from natural fibres. Always keep children away from naked
flames.

Watch out for kids
Bear in mind that children will be out and about at night, trick or treating. Drive slowly and carefully, especially in residential areas, and be aware that children are likely to dart into the road or act unpredictably.

If you are chaperoning a group around town, decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers, and have children carry torches or glowsticks for extra
visibility.

Fireworks at home
You may be celebrating with some sparklers or fireworks at home. Never keep fireworks in the house, instead store in a secure garage or garden. Do not light
fireworks inside the home, and never attach them to sheds or outbuildings. While fire is a standard home insurance risk, your policy wording will tell you
whether your garden and its contents would be covered if they were damaged by rogue fireworks.

Anti-social behaviour
Increasingly associated with the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, many communities increase a rise in vandalism, property damage and anti-social
behaviours.

Ensure your home or business premises are made secure, locking doors and windows and protecting. Stay vigilant to dangerous behaviour, reporting suspicious
activity to the police.

Opportunist thieves
Using the cover of darkness, the noise of fireworks and the high chance you’ll be out at a party to commit crime, burglaries can spike without adequate protection and forward planning.

Deter opportunist thieves from your business by closely following closedown procedures, storing combustible materials safely away from buildings and clearing
away outside rubbish.

At home, make sure it looks like someone is home even when you aren’t by leaving lights and a radio on. Security lights and audible alarms can also deter thieves.

If the worst should happen, you may need to call on your home or business insurance. Check your policy wording beforehand to make sure you’ve complied with
all the small print.

What is the best way to insure a Learner Driver?

When your offspring are ready to take to the roads, you have plenty of options to keep them covered. But which is best value?

Nothing quite makes you realise your little ones are fully grown like watching them get behind the wheel for the first time.

But drivers in Britain typically need 40 to 50 hours of lessons before passing their test, and the average learner requires 20 hours of additional practice outside of their driving lessons, according to the RAC.

With pricey lessons tending to tot up, any extra experience on the road can be invaluable. Letting them practice in your car can make all the difference, if you’re willing to chaperone. But how best to tackle the issue of provisional driver insurance? (more…)

How SME’s can be more environmentally friendly

Reduce your environmental impact with these top tips on going green in the workplace
With deadlines to meet and targets to hit, thinking about the environment is rarely a priority in the workplace.

But just a few surprisingly simple changes can have a significant positive impact on the environment – and also on your finances.

The Carbon Trust Standard estimates UK SMEs could collectively save nearly £400 million per year in energy costs, and over 2.5 million tonnes of CO2, by reducing their carbon footprints.
(more…)

7 Tips to Obtain GDPR Consent

On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, which expands the rights of individuals and their data while placing greater obligations on organisations that process personal data.

However, one of the most important GDPR changes involves strengthening consent standards. Failure to obtain proper consent to process data, which includes contacting individuals, could result in significant fines. The maximum fine tops out at €20 million, or 4 per cent of global turnover, whichever is higher. To help your organisation comply, here are seven practical tips on how to obtain consent: (more…)

IPT Hikes Home Insurance Premiums

The insurance premium tax (IPT), which rose to 12 per cent on 1 June, has caused the average annual premium to increase by 7 per cent, raising home insurance costs by £131. This is the sharpest rise within the past three years. As home insurance is vital, follow these tips to help you keep your costs as low as possible:

  • Increase your excess. By paying a higher excess, you may be eligible for a reduced premium on both your buildings and contents insurance. However, keep in mind that if you have to a file a claim, you will have to pay that increased excess.
  • Review your policy. The value insured for your buildings insurance needs to reflect what the cost would be to rebuild the property and not the market value, which is likely to be higher.
  • Combine your buildings and contents cover. Research whether you could save money if you combine your buildings and contents cover, or if it would be cheaper to keep them separate.
  • Determine whether paying upfront or by instalments would be cheaper. Compare the one-off sum and the various instalment options to see which is the most cost-effective.
  • Reduce your risks. The more protection your home has, the safer it will be and the more affordable your premium. This could involve the following:
    • Fireproofing
    • Adding window and door locks and installing a burglar alarm
    • Installing strong, well-sealed doors and windows
    • Purchasing a safe
    • Insulating water pipes

(more…)

‘Insta-bragging’ Could Invalidate Your Insurance

Wanting to share photographs from your holiday on social media is perfectly reasonable. However, posting those updates could leave you vulnerable to risks, such as burglary or, in the future, could invalidate your contents insurance policy.

Experts warn that soon ‘Insta-bragging’, which involves posting photographs while on holiday, could invalidate your insurance by violating your policy’s ‘reasonable care’ clause. This clause usually applies to your responsibility to lock windows and doors, thus ensuring you’re taking reasonable care to deter burglars. However, in the future, this could apply to social media posts you make while on holiday.

Even though you may not think that posting a simple snapshot is risky, it could alert burglars that your home is empty and vulnerable. In fact, according to alarm and security systems provider, ADT, 78 per cent of burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential vulnerable properties. (more…)