Welcome to the latest edition of Covered

Welcome to our latest edition of Covered. While the season is definitely turning to Autumn, I hope you all enjoyed the long hot summer and that it’s not too distant a memory!

Since our last newsletter we have been through the joys of GDPR, so if you have received this newsletter and do not wish to, I do apologise and ask you to please ‘opt out’ by emailing marketing@tldallas.com or via the unsubscribe link at the base of the email.

We are looking forward to a busy quarter here at TL Dallas – amongst other things we are starting preparations for our Centenary year next year. We set up a Charitable Trust a few years ago, with the aim of raising í100,000 by 2019, to support causes close to our employees’ hearts. We are well on our way, having enjoyed race nights, quizzes, bake sales, mountain walks and dress down/up days.

Next year we are intending a group sky dive and other similarly ambitious fund raising efforts to reach our final target. For more information or to donate please visit our website.

As always, this edition of ‘Covered’ includes comment and articles from across our network and specialisms. Please do not hesitate to contact any member of the team to find out more.

Polly Staveley

Managing Director



Travel tips

If you’re escaping for some Winter sun or planning a trip next year, here are five useful things to remember …


1. Always buy the right cover for you

Don’t just look at the price of travel insurance. Make sure you buy cover that has all the protection you’ll need – such as covering any activities you might be doing, or any medical conditions you have. If you don’t, and something goes wrong, you might end up having to shoulder the cost. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has some helpful advice about choosing the right cover here.


2. Don’t leave it too late

It is best to book your travel insurance policy at the same time as you book your holiday – so you’ve got a policy in place in case your circumstances change and you need to cancel your trip.


3. Don’t pay the price for drinking too much

Alcohol exclusions are a common feature of travel insurance. While you’re not expected to avoid alcohol completely, it is worth bearing in mind your claim may be turned down if it’s linked to excessive drinking. There are an increasing number of reports on this in the media and you can read more in the Financial Ombudsman Service newsletter.


4. Check it’s safe to travel

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office gives official advice about whether it’s safe to travel in different countries and regions. Also check what your travel insurance says about things like natural disasters and political unrest.


5. Keep your insurer in the loop

Make sure you always carry your insurer’s contact details with you. If something goes wrong, contact your insurer as soon as possible – they should be able to tell you what’s covered and advise you what to do next. If you go ahead without checking first, you might end up having to pay out yourself.


At TL Dallas many of the Household and Business policies we arrange include good quality Travel Insurance, or we can arrange stand alone cover. Please contact your local office for more information.


Source: Financial Ombudsman newsletter, 2018


Avoiding Trade Credit Fraud

It can be difficult to identify a potential fraud but there are some warning signs to look out for that can assist in avoiding and certainly reducing the negative impact this can have on a business.

Losses due to fraud are not generally covered by Credit Insurance policies meaning your Insurer is not liable for this loss. However, there are some exceptional cases where we know underwriters have accepted liability, so having a policy may have added benefits!

The TL Dallas Group of companies and the insurers we place cover with are seeing significant increases in the number of fraud overdues or claims being reported by clients. In particular, ‘assumed identity’ fraud cases – this is when a third party assumes the identity of well established creditworthy businesses.

CEO fraud is the impersonation of a company’s CEO or high-ranking officer to try and trick an employee into transferring money. Unfortunately, as it is subsequently discovered, these payments have gone to the fraudsters account.

Currently, the main sectors affected are Food & Drink, IT and Construction. However, all sectors are being targeted.

Some points to be wary of include:


  • Confirm the issued share capital stated in the Company’s accounts are consistent with the annual returns
  • Be wary of a Company that submits accounts shortly after its financial year end or a dormant company suddenly becoming active
  • Be wary of Companies filing above and beyond its filing requirements. Remember a ‘small company’ is required to submit abbreviated accounts to Companies House and ‘micro-entities’ are required to submit simpler accounts that meet minimum statutory requirements
  • Compare accounts to other Companies within the same industry and be wary of Companies that have filed accounts which appear ‘too good to be true’. lf the accounts are audited, check if they’re registered using http://auditregister.org.uk/Forms/Default.aspx
  • Conflicting trade sectors – eg. Companies House states ‘wholesale of food + beverages’, but their website/status report states manufacture of metal
  • Check the Directors do not have any association to failed companies or high volume of newly incorporated companies as this can be a warning sign
  • Frequent or sudden change/s in shareholders/directors or registered office can also be a warning sign


  • An unsolicited enquiry with a short/urgent delivery deadline – the potential new customer will be persistent and put you under pressure to open an account. There will be an unusually short period between first contact, order and delivery date.
  • No landline telephone number provided – only a mobile number. Calls are usually not answered but go to voicemail and then your call is returned. If a landline is provided, when you call it’s been disconnected or just rings out.
  • Mirror imaging of existing genuine email and website addresses. They are usually very similar to the company they are impersonating, however there will be subtle differences, i.e.:
    • Genuine company website address –www.tldallas.com
    • Fraudulent company – www.t-l-dallas.com
  • Professional looking website but with little functionality. The website will look OK, but basic and light on any details, landline telephone number etc.
  • Verify the website using Whois-Search – http://www.whois-search.com/
  • Be cautious with trade references and check them thoroughly – some recent cases we have seen have highlighted the trade references given were fraudulent and that associates, were also involved in the fraud.
  • The buyer is generally not interested in price with little or no negotiation – why would they be if they are not going to pay you!
  • Buyer requests to collect goods themselves from your premises/warehouse, often in a private car or unmarked vehicle
  • Being asked to deliver goods to a different company or an unknown third party
  • Buyer changing delivery address at short notice – use Google Maps or Royal Mail postcode and address finder to verify addresses
  • Potential customer is overly ready to supply information – trade references and accounts/managements accounts are available without being asked
  • Confirm that the supplied VAT and bank details are genuine


Be wary of last minute requests, from your existing customers, if they do not follow their usual established trading pattern – check the details out further and call your usual contact and confirm changes in writing.

Further useful information can be found here.


If you would like to discuss Credit Insurance, please call 01274 465 522 or 01324 717 466. Alternatively, email your details to credit@tldallas.com and a member of the team will be in touch.


Pensions – Get the date right and stay on target

Most over-45s are not making plans to match their hopes for the future, according to recent research *.

The vast majority (86%) of those aged 45 or over are already dreaming about escaping their working life for retirement, but only 8% of the same age group have recently checked the retirement date on their pension plans to make sure they are still in line with their plans.

Over half surveyed (56%) do not have a clear idea of when they want to retire and only 10% have worked out how much income they will need when they decide to stop working. The study reveals it doesn’t get much clearer as you go up the generations, less than a fifth (17%) of those aged between 55-64 have recently checked to see if the retirement date on their pension policy is still fitting with their plans.



If the date you plan to retire changes, or you simply want to take some of your pension without stopping work, it is important to tell your pension company. Otherwise you many not receive information and support about your pending retirement at the most helpful times, as they will be basing this on outof-date plans.


Some investment options will start to move your pension savings into lower risk investments as you get closer to retirement. If you don’t have the right retirement date on your plan, you could be moving into these investments at the wrong time. ie. move too early and you could potentially miss out on investment returns, but move too late and you could be exposing your life savings to unnecessary risk.


The size of pension pot you need to build up to maintain your lifestyle when you retire will depend on when you plan to do so.


If you’re planning to buy an annuity at retirement to guarantee an income for the rest of your life, the amount of income you get will depend on the size of your pot and annuity rates at that time. If you prefer to use your pension saving more flexibly, you can keep your money invested and take it as and when you need to. You’re then responsible for making sure your life savings last as long as you need them to.


Reviewing your retirement date regularly, particularly as you get older and closer to retiring, is to be recommended and most pension plans these days enable you to revise your retirement date whenever you choose.

For some these decisions can seem daunting. At TL Dallas we are committed to helping our clients make the most of their money. Whatever your financial needs and objectives, we can help you achieve your goals, while ensuring that you are comfortable with the risks involved.

If you would like to discuss your pension, or any other financial situation, please get in touch on 01274 465557 or email gary@tldallasifs.co.uk.

It will only take a few minutes, with no obligation on your part, but it could end up giving you real security and peace of mind.

*research carried out online for Standard Life by Opinium (November 2017)


The importance of due diligence

Due diligence is a term given to the process of assessing a company before you invest in it. Unless you count “spray and pray” as an investment strategy, due diligence is of critical importance to investors in driving portfolio returns. The difficult question is, how to conduct due diligence properly but at reasonable cost?

The Par Equity Model

Par Equity is a venture capital firm founded by people with a range of business backgrounds. Early on, we decided that involving business angels in our investment model would be a good thing. In our experience, business angels bring many desirable qualities – understanding of businesses, sector experience, contacts, willingness to become involved operationally and, of course, investment appetite. In short, it’s a force multiplier for the core investment team and it really helps with technical and commercial due diligence.

These experienced business people come into their own during the origination and evaluation stages of investment. Par Equity benefits from the breadth of experience and insights they offer – as do investors in our EIS fund. Of course, most venture capital firms have access to specialist expertise. The crucial difference is that our investor network puts its money where its mouth is.

The Nature of Diligence

We divide due diligence, into financial, legal, technical and commercial. On the plus side, early-stage companies tend to be uncomplicated from a financial perspective. Legal diligence, although usually fairly straightforward, is important. We generally do that towards the end of the investment process. Technical and commercial due diligence present greater challenges, because this is where specialist knowledge really counts.

The nature of technical due diligence varies from company to company, but typically involves understanding what the technology does, how developed it is, what technical challenges remain in bringing it to market or refining it for broader distribution, how robust it is and, perhaps most importantly, how protectable it is. The strategy around protecting intellectual property is a critical factor.

Commercial diligence involves understanding a company’s business model and value proposition, its target markets, how the management team are going to access those target markets, and the competitive landscape they will face in doing so. It’s also relevant to informing a view on where the most likely routes to exit lie. An exit, where investors sell their shares, is after all the ultimate objective.

The Costs of Diligence

Assuming that robust assessment of a potential investment is not optional, the problem is that due diligence tends to be a costly process.

Internalising the skills and experience by hiring the necessary talent into the investment team builds costs that must be recovered through investment management fees and can result in a narrow investment focus. Renting the necessary skills and experience from consultants when you need it reduces the investment manager’s overheads, but there are still fees that need to be paid by someone – generally the investee company. This is cash that would otherwise be used to build that company’s business.

Par Equity’s approach of using angel investors as part of its investment model is a creative solution to these problems and, because the angels are investing their own money, their interests are aligned with those of investors in Par Equity’s EIS fund.

Article supplied by Par Equity

For more information on Par Equity please contact pauline.cassie@parequity.com


TL Dallas offer due diligence services – providing insurance and risk due diligence services for investors, banks, lead advisors, NXDs and corporate clients relating to mergers, acquisitions, disposals and re-financing transactions.

For further information in this area please contact Bernard Dunn on 0141 204 0300 or email bernard.dunn@tldallas.com


What Keeps Directors Awake at Night?

Earlier this year, we partnered with Brodies LLP to discuss ‘What Keeps Directors Awake at Night?’ examining the roles, responsibilities and potential liabilities which face directors and senior staff in today’s ever-changing business environment.

Topics covered included:

  • Directors & Officers – responsibilities and liabilities
  • The Companies Act
  • Corporate Homicide & Manslaughter
  • Health & Safety prosecutions
  • Cyber threats


You can listen to the webinar here and for further details please contact:

Tim Mackenzie, TL Dallas on 0131 322 2632 or email tim.mackenzie@tldallas.com.

Laura McMillan, Brodies LLP on 0141 245 6748 or email laura.mcmillan@brodies.com


Edinburgh – The Tech Capital

Along with a number of cities across the UK, Edinburgh is fast becoming one of the largest centres for excellence in the IT sector. With the favourable economic spin offs from a highly skilled and well paid workforce the benefits to the local community are significant in this fast changing economic outlook. Whilst there aresome extremely large and successful businesses that have become very well known, such as Skyscanner and Fanduel, there are an increasingly large number of smaller businesses specialising in highly diverse areas from driverless car technology, photographic software to the global hospitality sector. They are at the cutting edge in an area of business with no geographical boundaries or restrictions to curb either growth or enthusiasm. With incubators such as Codebase now widening their own footprint in Scotland they are able to provide ideal solutions for small businesses to tap into each others knowledge and innovative thinking to make sure this upward trajectory continues.

At TL Dallas we have been involved in assisting the insurance requirements for start up and mature tech businesses for many years now and fully understand the needs of an effective insurance programme combined with the need to keep costs down, particularly at an early stage. A number of our larger clients had just 2 or 3 employees when we became involved and some now have significant revenues and staff numbers as they look to grow their businesses both in the UK and overseas.

TL Dallas can advise on the basic insurance requirements around Public & Employers Liability and protection of physical assets. However, more frequently we are involved in advice around Intellectual Property, Cyber and Crime risks alongside the more traditional Professional Indemnity and Management Liability exposures.

These relatively new insurance covers are becoming more widely available and at a more agreeable premium, but there are still a small number of insurers who can offer comprehensive policy wordings offering wide protection. Part of the underwriting exercise is to ensure that an insurer fully understands the business you are in and can modify and tailor their policies to match specific requirements. No two IT businesses are the same so why should insurers issue the same policy for all IT companies.

More often than not the need to purchase specialist covers is driven by clients who demand certain types and levels of cover in order to transact business with them. We can assist with a ‘sense check’ to ensure you can meet these requirements but also advise on industry good practice and standards around limits of indemnity and breadth of cover required. Increasingly as the market becomes more global we are able to assist with overseas placements and providing insurance advice for overseas contracts.

If you are a start up business looking for your first insurance package or a larger business looking for an alternative view on your insurance programme please get in touch with your local TL Dallas contact or call Tim Mackenzie on 0131 322 2632 or email tim.mackenzie@tldallas.com


Brexit and the Motor Insurance Industry

Though the Brexit referendum was over two years ago, we’re still waiting to see the shape of the motor insurance sector once we actually exit the EU. This is particularly pertinent in motor insurance where more than 2.5 million private and commercial vehicles travel from the UK to the EU every year.

Cross border travel

Currently, no separate documents are needed in the EU, and UK driving licences are valid, which helps maintain a high level of productivity and reduces bureaucracy for drivers. After Brexit, or the new proposed transition period, restrictions could be reintroduced potentially hampering both drivers and businesses. Taking your vehicle to the continent could present several new challenges, such as longer waiting times to clear customs and tighter checks on vehicle and driver documents at borders for those driving through Europe with UK registered vehicles.

An option for travel being considered is the reintroduction of green cards as proof of valid insurance. Obtaining a green card is the responsibility of the policyholder, but would lead to increased costs for insurers and brokers. Another solution is to maintain a free-circulation zone and maintain regulatory alignment with the EU Motor Insurance Directive, or by the UK becoming a ‘third-country’ under articles 7 and 8 of the Directive.

Also concerning is that UK drivers won’t hold EU licences post-Brexit. A solution being posed is to ratify the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, allowing drivers to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), valid for 12 months, enabling them to drive in nations signed up to the convention. As well as this, the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill may close the UK divergence from the Convention on trailer registration and aid a smooth transition for UK hauliers to continue operating in the EU post-Brexit.

Access to insurance

The UK motor insurance market is very diverse and includes capacity from more than 700 EU insurers that currently ‘passport-in’ to the UK under their country’s own regulatory regime. Consumers and businesses need access to a wide choice in insurance providers for a number of reasons, and for brokers it’s essential there remains barrier-free, tariff-free trade.

More expensive claims

Despite the agreement from the EU in principal that there will be a transition period, there is no firm agreement on trading agreements post-Brexit. So given the global supply chain, costs of repair could increase after Brexit as a result of tariffs and bureaucracy. For commercial vehicle risks, this could be even worse with delays in supply leading to higher financial losses as a result of vehicles being off the road for longer.

The UK government has said there won’t be a ‘regulation bonfire’, suggesting many of the current regulatory regimes might stay. The Motor Insurance Directive was transposed into UK legislation for example, and is likely to stay. Brexit is still a confusing process for insurance companies and brokers to navigate which will only become clear when matters get decided.


Source: BIBA’s Guide to The Future of Motor Insurance – Jon Dye, Head of Motor Insurance, Allianz


Three Peaks Challenge

Several members of the TL Dallas team recently took part in the Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for two of the UK’s largest charities: The British Heart Foundation and Mind. The Challenge involved climbing the UK’s three highest peaks in only 24 hours. A total climb of 3,407m or 11,178ft!

The TL Dallas team, represented by Jason Tyas, Violetta Wojcik, Susan Battersby and Lizzy Solway, joined volunteers from each of the 14 member brokers within the UNA Alliance to take on the challenge which started at Ben Nevis at 14:40 on Thursday 28th June and finished at the foot of Snowdon on Friday 29th at 14:40.

Every individual showed great courage taking on the challenge and have done a fantastic job in helping to raise funds for charity. Each of the peaks provided their own unique challenges for our volunteers. Ben Nevis, the highest of the three, was the first peak to be taken on. It was an unforgiving climb due to the volunteers being unable to see the top of the mountain while climbing. Just when they thought the top would be in sight, the teams who were ahead and already descending the mountain were saying, ‘you’re only half way there’!

The temperatures were extremely high throughout, with the heat rising over 25 degrees at various points during the challenge. Thankfully there was some respite in the form of snow on the top of Ben Nevis and the volunteers stuffed it into their hats and socks to cool them down! There was an allocation of around 5 hours for Ben Nevis. However, due to the weather conditions the going was tough and it took the teams around 5 1/2 hours to complete.

Scafell Pike was next. While it was the smallest of the three peaks, the trail was rocky and the climb had to be done at night with the use of head torches, making it an even tougher obstacle to conquer. Even with the added challenge of darkness, the teams managed to complete it 30 minutes quicker than the allotted four hour time slot, therefore making up for lost time on Ben Nevis.

By the time the teams arrived at Snowdon, they had already climbed 2,322m (7,618ft) and travelled 474 miles in 20 hours leaving only four hours to complete the challenge. Mental resilience became a key factor for the last peak as the volunteers battled both physical exhaustion from the intense exercise, including minor injuries, aches and pains, but also lack of sleep.

Despite these issues, eight of the volunteers managed to make it to the finish line within the 24 hour deadline. One team that didn’t finish in the allowed time continued on regardless and completed the full challenge just a few hours over time.

Whilst it was unfortunate that the weather conditions, amongst other factors, prevented many of the volunteers from completing the challenge we did have a volunteer from TL Dallas who managed to complete it in 23 hours and 45 minutes. Huge congratulations is much deserved for Susan Battersby from our Honley office. The challenge was particularly poignant for Susan who exactly three years to the day the challenge started was admitted to a mental health facility to begin her long journey to recovery. Clearly she has proved to herself that three years on she has the mental strength to conquer this demanding feat and that she has made huge progress in this time.

Everyone involved greatly enjoyed their experience and they all emphasised that the main thing is the funds raised are going to two fantastic charities: The British Heart Foundation and Mind.

If you wish to donate to either of these charities you still can at www.justgiving.com/teams/unahearts- and-minds.

Article supplied by Gareth James, TL Dallas Account Handler and UNA communications representative


Client Insight – Specialist Joinery Group, Maghera, N.Ireland

Specialist Joinery Group is a dynamic, family owned and operated business with 30 year’s experience in delivering bespoke joinery packages for the contract interior markets with a dazzling client portfolio spanning across many continents and sectors including prestige, luxury residential, office fit out, healthcare and education.

Ciaran O’Hagan, Managing Director, comments,

“Over the past 30 years in business the company has delivered an outstanding portfolio of major projects for leading law practices, pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals as well as working for some of the world’s most distinguished brands; Estée Lauder, Google, Rolls Royce, AECOM and Amazon.

Clients connect with us because they require high quality bespoke joinery, tailor made for their project. These schemes are usually challenging and require expert knowledge which we are proud to offer. SJG attracts a high volume of repeat business, not just because of what we deliver, but how we deliver it. Our philosophy is simple; we work harder to deliver better.

We aspire to be a world recognised brand, which in the mind of our people and our clients signifies excellence in interior finishing trades. It is our vision to enhance the fabric of life by working together to create amazing places in which people can live and work.”

As a dynamic and innovative company Specialist Joinery Group continually reinvests in its people, processes and production capabilities. In May 2018, on the anniversary of our 30th year in business, our latest factory extension was officially opened. This transformation increased Specialist HQ to over 3 acres of manufacturing excellence under one roof. The new development consisted of the latest ‘state of the art’ technology, as well as a 200 seater canteen, an employee gym and a dedicated staff wellness suite.

The motto is, “look after your staff and they will look after your customers”.


Learn more about our specialist business at specialistjoinerygroup.co.uk


Staff Spotlight – Jonathan Smith Strategic Director – Trade Credit & Surety

1. What does your role entail?

In essence, as a relatively new member of the team, my role is one which means review is required first. Going forward, I’ll be concentrating on how the Credit function is strengthened as this area of the business continues to grow. Finally, my focus will be expanding our presence geographically to ensure we continue building on the strong foundations set by others within the team.


2. What part of your role do you find most rewarding?

Problem solving and finding solutions! I really do get a buzz out of the fact, that in this industry no day is the same and we really do get involved in such a variety of businesses with their own unique needs. We also meet some very dedicated and passionate people, who in themselves are inspirational.


3. Most challenging part of your role?

Knowing when to stop, sometimes! Perhaps my new role as a grandparent will help with this one!


4. Outside of work, what motivates you, or what do you enjoy doing?

Outside of work my interests include the garden, league squash, golf and recently my wife and I have really enjoyed attending some six nations games at Twickers and the Principality. Travel plans are back on the agenda as the kids both got married in 2016 and flew the nest or should I say we thought they were, until they both with their respective other halves announced the family is expanding with new arrivals due soon.


5. Is there any one person that inspires you, and why?

No one specific comes to mind but those such as Winston Churchill have left an impression. He wasn’t always popular but he knew his own mind and followed through on his convictions.


Contact Jonathan Smith on 07983 325766 or email jonathan.smith@tldallas.com


Welcome to the latest edition of Covered

We were delighted to start the New Year with the announcement of the acquisition of a book of specialist demolition insurance business, which adds to our existing expertise in the construction sector – we welcome new clients and staff.

This book of specialist business fits very well with our strategy of offering our clients a fully bespoke service in terms of their insurance and risk management requirements – we are a ‘one stop shop’ for all the insurance needs, both Personal & Commercial of owner managed and family run SME businesses in particular, and unlike many of our competitors who will direct SMEs to their call centres, we recognise that just because you are an SME doesn’t mean you fit in a box in terms of the risks that face your businesses. With 10 offices throughout the UK we are able to offer a local & personal service to our clients and the fact that all our claims are managed in house further sets us apart from many of our competitors.

As usual this edition of ‘Covered’ includes comment and articles from across our network and specialisms – including both Personal & Commercial Insurance, Risk Management & Health & Safety – please do not hesitate to contact any member of the team to find out more.

Polly Staveley
Managing Director


TL Dallas acquire Buckingham House brokerage

The recent acquisition by TL Dallas of the specialist book of demolition insurance business of Buckingham House (London) Ltd, will trade from our City office as TL Dallas (City) Ltd t/a Buckingham House.

The founder of Buckingham House, John Norbury has  over 30 years experience as a qualified insurance broker and has specialised in insurance for the demolition contractors and allied industries since 1991. Buckingham House has also been an active Industry Service Provider member of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors since they were established.

We are pleased to extend our service offering through this acquisition and particularly pleased that Mark Clements who has worked with John Norbury for 25 years, has joined the team in City office with John continuing to act as a consultant.

TL Dallas’ Managing Director, Polly Staveley comments, ’We are delighted that John has agreed to sell his book of business to TL Dallas – it fits very well with the existing construction sector expertise that we have within the team in our City office and is further enhanced by the fact that Mark Clements, who has worked with the clients for over 20 years, has joined our team. We are looking forward to working with the clients and developing the business further.’

If you would like more information regarding demolition insurance please contact:

Mark Clements – mark.clements@tldallas.com or call 07881 934054/0207 426 5347
Mike Mitchell – mike.mitchell@tldallas.com or call 07496 888411/0207 426 5343

Alternatively, email enquiries@demolition-insurance.com


Driving forward with Connected Cars

The automotive sector is currently going through its most significant upheaval for a century. This ranges from the advent of autonomous driving, to Uber and its disruptive taxi services to ‘self-driving’ lorry convoys and includes the upcoming ban on combustion engines. 

All of these technologies rely on a level of connectivity the like of which we have not seen before with vehicles. Today’s car has the computing power of 20 personal computers, features about 100 million lines of programming code and processes up to 25 gigabytes of data an hour. In the past, the computing power was focused on the vehicle’s internal functions, however attention is now turning to developing the car’s ability to connect with the outside world and enhance the in-car experience. 

This is the connected car — a vehicle able to optimise its own operation and maintenance as well as the convenience and comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and Internet connectivity. 

This brings a new age of risk to the running of your personal car. This is reflected in new car buyers’ attitudes towards the issue of connectivity and cars. 

Whilst 13% of new car consumers would not consider the purchase of a car without internet connectivity, a recent study by McKinsey suggests more than a third of consumers are concerned about the safety and identity security of a fully connected car. 

Earlier this year, Alex Moiseev, Managing Director of the European arm of software security specialist Kaspersky Lab, pointed out the potential pitfalls for the every day use of connected cars we will soon be living in. 
‘It’s a sunny April morning in 2020 but, as you start your car for the morning commute, something is wrong. The 20” touchscreen is dead. Suddenly it flickers into life but, instead of the usual map, there is a message: 

“Your car’s computer has been locked. We control your data, brakes and steering. To unlock your computer you’re obliged to pay a fine of $200.”’ 

Moiseev continues, ‘It might sound like fantasy but this could happen.’

There is clearly a safety aspect as well, with cars relying increasingly on software to control key elements such as brakes. 

What is clear, is that the next 10 years will see more drastic development within the automotive sector than has occurred over the last 50 years. 

At times such as these it’s important to entrust your important decisions to experts. The Pike+Bambridge Private Client Concierge team specialise in helping professionals save time and hassle when it comes to the purchase of their new cars. 

For further information please contact:
John Brebner, Business Development Director at Pike+Bambridge

Article supplied by Pike + Bambridge


Up Helly Aa – a different kind of tradition

TL Dallas provides insurance solutions for a diverse range of clients all over the UK.  One of our more unusual risks is for Up Helly Aa; an annual event which takes place in Lerwick, Shetland and involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a Galley.

We spoke to Ivor Cluness, the 2014 Guizer Jarl, to learn more about this annual tradition, which takes place on the last Tuesday in January.

A tradition that originated in the 1880s, Up Helly Aa evolved from the burning of tar barrels that were part of festive celebrations from around the 1840s. 

A group of young Lerwick men devised a series of new ideas for the proceedings, including the name Up Helly Aa. The elaborate element of disguise – “guizing” – was brought to the new festival, along with the torchlight procession and a little later, towards the end of the 1880s, the burning of the ‘Galley’ – a Viking long ship – was introduced. 

Today, not much has changed since those early days. Celebrations consist of a ‘Guizer Jarl’, the Chief Guizer and his squad, plus another 46 squads taking part in the event.  There is also a junior squad who attend an earlier procession and even have their own Galley.

The Jarl Squad start their day early, around 6am, with a meeting followed by breakfast.  They then march along the streets stopping at the Bill.

The first ‘Bill’ was produced in 1899. Its main purpose was to indicate where and when the festival would take place. However, it was soon elaborated with the addition of local jokes and satire, usually at the expense of the Guizer Jarl.  The bill head, painted each year by a local artist chosen by the Jarl, usually depicts a scene from the Jarl’s saga. From here, the Jarl Squad head to the Bressay Ferry Terminal for photos, followed by a civic reception. Throughout the rest of the morning and early afternoon there are a series of visits to the Primary Schools, Hospitals and Retirement Homes, as well as a visit to The Shetland Museum.

Around 7.00pm, the Guizer Jarl Squad passes up the ranks of the Guizers before the world famous torchlit procession commences.  Consisting of nearly one thousand Guizers, the procession carry flaming torches through the town, following the Galley along the route towards its fiery end at Valhalla. The route is lined with spectators, often over five thousand strong. The town is in darkness, making the red glow at ‘light up’ a truly phenomenal sight. The procession will march along the route before finishing in the (enclosed) burning site* at the King George V playing field.

Following this, each of the squads, visit all the local halls to put on their entertainment, involving much hilarity, throughout the night.  Each squad has a theme which is generally reflected in both their costume and their chosen entertainment. There is a specific order of attendance at each hall which must be strictly adhered to.

Partying continues throughout the night with the following day marked as a public holiday. You can read more about this spectacular event at www.shetland.org/things/events/culture-heritage/up-helly-aa/ or visit the official website, www.uphellyaa.org.


TL Dallas is proud to have been working with Up Helly Aa for more than 20 years and we’d be delighted to discuss insurance solutions for your next event.  Contact your Account Executive or local TL Dallas office for more information.

*public access is not permitted. 

How effectively are you managing your contractors?

Accidents involving contractors (including fatalities) are not uncommon and subsequent investigations have identified the joint legal duties of the contractor and the business engaging them had not been fully understood by both parties.
Contractors are generally engaged to carry out activities which you are not able to, or chose not to, deliver yourselves. In doing so there is a common misconception that while the risks arising from that activity have been transferred to the contractor, sole responsibility for the activity have transferred also. This is simply not the case.

In 2015 an electrical contractor was fined £20,000 following an incident in which two employees suffered severe electrical burns after a component which they were replacing on a client site came into contact with a live conductor. In this case the court not only punished the contractor but also fined the client £24,000 for failing to effectively manage their contractor.
How then do you ensure that their legal duties to manage contractors are being effectively met?
Before any works start you must clearly define the activity to be delivered, identify the hazards and assess the risks arising from the activity and consider the measures required to control these risks. But do you actually understand the activity and the risks arising from it?
Selecting a competent contractor to undertake the activity is of vital importance.
Competency may be defined as having sufficient knowledge of, training in and experience of the planned activity. Again, if you do not fully understand or appreciate the risks involved in the activity how would you know if the contractor you have selected is competent? Are you sufficiently competent to make an informed decision on whether to use a particular contractor or not? 

If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, then specialist advice should be sought to assist in the decision making process. A subsequent review of the contractors submitted evidence to undertake the activity should also be considered.
This evidence of contractor competency could be checking:

  • Are they a member of an accredited scheme which has assessed how they manage health and safety?
  • Have they provided specific risk assessments and method statements relevant to the activity they have been asked to deliver? 
  • Are their staff sufficiently trained to safely carry out the activity?


When the contractor has been selected, the two parties must agree the ‘rules of engagement’ such as, the site rules or for example how accidents will be reported.
Once the activity commences you should monitor the performance and conduct of the contractor to ensure safety precautions as agreed are being observed.
On completion of the activity a review of how it was delivered will help in deciding whether the contractor would be used again, or to determine if all applied controls were adequate, or if further measures are required when undertaking similar future activities.
This may seem like a lot of work but given the potential for legal action should things go wrong when engaging contractors, can you afford not to apply a sufficient degree of due diligence? 

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail please contact the TL Dallas Risk Management team by emailing riskmanagement@tldallas.com


Branch Spotlight Belfast

The whole of the TL Dallas team continually strive to go above and beyond customers expectations to deliver the very best service they can.  They are also continually developing by achieving qualifications to improve knowledge and skills.

Gareth James from our Belfast team is no exception. Joining his father, Stephen James (who has had a long and distinguished career in the industry), Gareth has completed his Chartered Insurance Institute Certificate and Diploma within two years – quite an achievement when you consider he only joined the insurance industry at the start of 2016. He is now set on achieving Associateship.

TL Dallas opened the Belfast office in January 2016, introducing the TL Dallas values to the Northern Ireland market. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength and the Belfast team is well qualified to meet the modern day needs of clients in a customer focused manner. 

From their base on Malone Road, they provide insurance and risk management solutions across the Province to a broad range of Commercial and Personal clients. The team has access to specialist and bespoke products, in particular for Churches, Charities, Community Organisations and Jewellers.

For more information, contact the Belfast office on 02890 380980.


Helping you through Winter – hints and tips for buildings

In the Winter months, the maintenance and protection of buildings are put to the test. We offer some practical advice for a couple of the most common issues.

Keeping Pathways Clear

You have a duty of care to ensure that any visitors are safe; this is particularly relevant over the Winter period. 

Unfortunately, slips and trips can happen, particularly when there is ice and snow on the ground.

You should take actions that are ‘reasonable in the circumstances’.

This can include ensuring that entry and exit routes are kept free of anything which may cause a person to slip and taking preventative measures, such as clearing and gritting paths. It is not necessary to clear every available path immediately, as long as there is one safe route available to access the building. The longer the snow and ice remains on the ground, the greater the risk of an accident occurring. 

Protecting Water Pipes

  • Ensure your pipes are in good condition and your heating system works properly and efficiently 
  • Have the boiler and heating system serviced on a regular basis
  • Familiarise yourself with the location of the stopcock 

If you discover a frozen pipe DO NOT WAIT! Turn off the water supply and slowly allow the pipe to thaw. 

Should you discover a burst pipe, turn off the water supply and seek to catch any excess water in a suitable container and then call a plumber. Do not use electrics if you believe they have been affected, they should be checked over by an electrician. 

For more information about protecting your buildings during the Winter months, please speak to your local TL Dallas branch.


Client Insight babylon

Nothing is more important than our health.
babylon is the UK’s leading digital healthcare company, on a mission to place accessible and affordable healthcare into the hands of everyone on earth. They are disrupting the healthcare industry by delivering primary healthcare to everyone with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Launched in 2014, the service now covers over 1.2 million people globally, with local services operating in the UK, Europe and Africa.

Through the babylon app, users are able to:

  • Book face-to-face video consultations via smartphone or desktop
  • Check symptoms quickly and easily
  • Receive fast and safe health information wherever they are
  • Monitor overall health indicators (including pulse, stress, blood pressure)


In the UK, the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“The majority of digital healthcare companies simply connect people to doctors through a mobile phone, but developments in technology mean we can now achieve a great deal more, this is the area we are focusing on. Our next generation app will harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to not only prevent ill health, but also predict it and intervene when necessary.” Dr. Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of babylon.

babylon’s unique advantage lies in an AI platform developed by a team of doctors, engineers and scientists. Combined with data gathered on a population’s health, the AI platform is an integral part of babylon’s delivery of high-quality healthcare information to a global population, helping babylon to achieve their mission. When combined with broader advances in medicine and technology, babylon is uniquely positioned at the forefront of health innovation.
To further support their stated mission, babylon are joining forces with partners across the world to provide their employees, customers, clients and members easy access to virtual and physical medical services with an award-winning experience.
Enrich your employee benefits programme by putting trusted doctors, expert advice and health monitoring tools at the fingertips of your entire workforce. GP appointments are available 24/7, whether they are at the office, working from home or on a business trip.
Speak to babylon’s Employee Health & Wellbeing expert, Zoe Puckering, to see how they can keep your workforce happy and healthy. Enquire with the promotional code TL DALLAS, to receive an exclusive offer for your business.


E: zoe.puckering@babylonhealth.com
P: +44 (0)7557789633  

Article supplied by babylon


Free ALPS Road Rescue App

Did you know… 

As a TL Dallas private insurance client you can receive a free ALPS road rescue app if you have purchased car breakdown insurance.

The free ALPS road rescue app, which is available for both iPhone and android smartphones, provides a fully integrated approach combining road rescue assistance with the ability to capture service and maintenance requirements throughout the life of the vehicle.

Features include:

My Car
By entering the car registration and mileage the driver has a suite of vehicle information at their fingertips such as the vehicle’s MOT and tax due date, MOT advisory information and service schedule details.  The user can even purchase their road tax straight from the app.

My Journey & Driving 
For each completed journey, the driver is given a score based on speeding, acceleration, breaking and cornering results.  This information is used to build a driving profile which can contribute to improved safety.  The data is used as a driver reward system.  The latest live traffic updates are also available.

Roadside Assistance – SOS Button 
The app provides a simple and convenient way to access help by using GPS tracking.  By simply pressing a button the app automatically connects you to the Road Rescue assistance centre and with the vehicle locator map, you can easily explain your exact location.


For existing breakdown assistance policyholders, the link to the free app will be included with your renewal documentation but if you would like details now please email personalinsurance@tldallas.com or call one of the team on 01274 465500.  If you do not have roadside assistance cover and would like to find out more please email or call as above.