Spring, Spring, Spring!

Posted on: April 16th, 2014


Well, with Easter being upon us, with its message of triumph and optimism for the future, we could be forgiven for thinking that the weather currently reflects all that. It’s so uplifting, both physically and in the change of mood from the days of cold and grey skies.

Many of you will now be turning your attention to business growth, as the economy now seems to be on an upswing in the UK and here at Connoisseur Underwriting we are delighted to assist our Brokers to do that in our chosen field.
Antique Dealers and Auctioneers are present in most towns in Britain and in the main part are probably ill served by commercial packages, which, by and large, do not grant the full breadth of cover for their Insurance Demands and Needs.
Connoisseur Underwriting’s policies are specifically designed for the Antiques Trades and what’s more are priced to be attractive to customers.
So why not search yell.com for Dealers and Auctioneers, give them a call and we can help you with the rest!
Have a very happy and bless Easter.


Posted on: February 14th, 2014


Long June days – the gentle buzzing of bees visiting a colour crowded garden – purple and gold sunsets in the warmth lingering after the heat of the day – relax and enjoy!
I thought I would write this blog during this particularly appalling weather, to cheer you and me up.

Grampa Simpson

Posted on: February 3rd, 2014

case-picOne of the real perils of advancing years is a tendency to look back on a golden age that never was.
I have reached that point and consequently, the urge is overmastering.
Shouting at the radio and the TV (particularly with the BBC) is well embedded within my makeup now, but am I alone in frustration with the way business is done nowadays?
Yes, technology has moved on and we welcome that, but only for its benign aspects.
Why does Big Data worry me? If its predictive ability of buying habits is true, is it moral to use it? If not, it’s just expensive Emperor’s new clothes.
I have a (now) dim memory of reading Vance Packard’s book, The Hidden Persuaders at school in the 60’s. As far as I remember, it was an exposé of advertising practice, which both fascinated and repelled me by showing how we are all manipulated.
I used the word ‘moral’ above.
It’s a word that seems to have deserted business in general in the perpetual and self defeating pursuit of maximum profit.
Instead, we have to be regulated, because we can’t be trusted. The trouble with this is that regulation, self evidently, can only pick up a problem after the event.
We have seen this, in pellucid and coruscating light, with PPI misselling.
On the one hand, you have a band of lenders, filled with greed for easy money, adding PPI on to loans, with premiums seemingly low enough not to worry, but with commissions large enough to lead away from the path of virtue and on the other, unsophisticated customers who didn’t understand what they were buying and who didn’t realise that a cheap Insurance is only possibly worth the paper it is printed on.
Suddenly, it all goes pear shaped and turns into a compensation fest.
And now, where are the morals on either side of the divide?
I look back to a world where clients, brokers and insurers used to do things because they were right.
One of the most heartwarming examples was that of a broker in Lloyd’s who was broking a fire risk. Unbeknown to him, the risk was alight whilst he was in The Room. The slip placing was not completed by the close of play. The next morning the broker had a deluge of calls from Syndicates who normally wrote his business, offering their usual line, even though the risk was a total loss.
What are the chances of that kind of behavior being repeated today?
If we had more good behavior and led by example, we wouldn’t need to be regulated.

Happy New Year

Posted on: January 7th, 2014

Connoisseur Underwriting wishes all its producers a very happy New Year and although it has got off to a very damp start, at least we are spared (at the time of writing), the horrifying conditions in North America.
Many of us are having to devote much of our time to the welfare of our suffering clients, which is how it should be.
All Insurers do is to offer a promise and it’s how Insurers perform on that promise that makes the difference.
For years, the concept that all Insurers are the same and it’s only price that counts has been instilled in the public’s mind. Quality and the willingness to pay claims has been ignored.
How many times have you been told by a client to whom you have offered a fair quote – “Oh, I’ve had a much cheaper price than that”.
Now, those same people may well be realising why a decision based on price was a false economy.
Bearing in mind that it may well be their business that’s about to go down the drain, just to save a few quid, this quality of Insurer issue has to be one that brokers emphasise in future.

21st Century Noah’s Flood?

Posted on: December 30th, 2013

Is it about time to build an Ark?

Well, looking at the forecast for the next week, you could be forgiven for thinking so and our hearts go out to all those who have suffered inundation over Christmas. Early indications are that insurers, adjusters and brokers have risen to the challenge magnificently.

I’m not going to give advice on what to do if your clients are affected (or affected again), as there are plenty of organisations doing that, but I do ask brokers and thereby clients, to pay pretty immediate attention to making sure that sums insured are brought up to date. I’ve lost count of the times that buildings and contents are undervalued, mainly, I suspect, because they have been guessed at.

Not all policies carry an average clause, but no Insurer can pay more than the Limit of Indemnity and although our main purpose has to be to provide help, comfort and assistance when our clients’ lives are turned upside down, this cannot be financially open ended.

So, please talk to each of your clients and get them to spend a little time and money in making sure that sums insured are adequate, so that we can respond fully to any claims.

All the best for 2014.

John Wakefield


Posted on: December 18th, 2013

Well, here it comes again. As the years advance, the Christmas festival’s arrival seems faster and faster. Just a few days ago, it seems, it was Guy Fawkes Night, then that awful Americanised Hallowe’en and now we have got to the stage of defensive Christmas card writing and sending, panic over who has been forgotten and purchasing of enough food to provision an army.
Looking back to childhood, was it any different?
As a child, it was. There was all the excitement – was Father Christmas going to come? Did he get the letter that went up the chimney? Would the reindeer enjoy the Cadbury’s fingers we left on a plate by the fireside for them?
And then it was bedtime. I’m convinced that one year I heard the sleigh bells afar off.
Christmas day was different. The coloured paper, opening the presents under the tree, off to St. Andrew’s Church, Cheam to realise whose birthday we were celebrating, show, along with all the other children, our best present to the Minister, a gargantuan lunch and a comatose, digestive afternoon for the grown ups.
For our parents, I’m sure the pressure and the joy was much like what we have inherited.
Was it all worth it?
Of course it was!
A very Happy Christmas to all of you from all at Connoisseur Underwriting

Posted on: November 19th, 2013

Well, according to the Met Office a cold snap is on its way and there will be the usual advice doled out about not going anywhere, unless it’s absolutely necessary, etc., etc. If all the State Nannies had their way, we would never do anything unless life were absolutely normal and risk free.
However, what sort of life is that?
I remember telling my doctor off on this subject and I said to him ‘I want to live, not exist!’ The first person who asks me whether that was before I had my stroke will smart for that kind of remark.
Insurance, however, does present some potential pitfalls for your clients, particularly those with holiday or secondary homes and now would be as good a time as any to remind those policyholders that their policy may contain a heating warranty or conditions for properties left unoccupied. Alternatively your clients may have the option of draining the whole system down and turning water off at the mains.
If not complied with, a subsequent burst pipe claim may be denied and these claims may run into several thousand pounds of uninsured loss. My knowledge of some clients leads me to suppose that they will look for someone to blame. If you, the broker, have pointed it out, blaming you is likely to be a blind alley.
By the way, there’s nothing new about a blame society – an Edwardian Poet wrote;
‘Go gently, child
Tread your primrose way
The other chap
Has always got to pay.’