Broker Q&A

Posted on: October 28th, 2020

Insurance Business

What products do you provide?

Connoisseur Underwriting underwrites the following classes of business:

Antique Dealers, Fine Art Dealers, Silver Dealers, Auctioneers, High Net Worth Collectors, Specie, Transit Insurance, Art Exhibitions and Corporate Art.


Would you say you are competitive?

More often than not, particularly on commercial business.


Would you consider professional sports people and celebrities?

Yes, provided they fitted the other criteria.


Do you require a safe being installed when covering Jewellery and Watches?

Yes and it must have an adequate cash rating.


What is your commission structure?

We pay 15% commission on most business, provided the premium is greater than £1,000.


Why do you need completed proposal forms instead of doing mid net worth clients online?

Clients have a legal duty to make a fair presentation and only a proposal form elicits what we need to know. Mid net worth clients are not really our target market – we are looking for clients with a substantial collection of Art and Antiques &/or Jewellery and Watches.


What do you give guidance on?

We have a wealth of underwriting knowledge and expertise of risks. We can help you get your clients’ insured on risks that are otherwise difficult to acquire by other insurers. We can guide you on the best policies to suit your clients’ needs which concentrate on the main classes of business we underwrite and guide you on several technical issues, which may otherwise affect your clients’ exposure. We are unable to give formal advice.


Can you give advice on Grade Listed Buildings?

No, but we can put you or your clients in touch with people who can.


Would you consider a Single Article Limit of £10k regarding specified items?

Single limits, per se, are not an issue with us. However, we do require declaration of items valued at £5k or more. They can then be insured on a market value basis, or, if your client has an up to date valuation, agreed value.


For more information please contact:

John Wakefield: or Andy Cole:

Insuring Antiques Centres

Posted on: October 16th, 2020

Images of antiques

Connoisseur Underwriting is one of the most innovative Insurers in the field of Antiques, Fine Art and collectables, with a willingness to do business with all the trades.

Up until now, we have not been able to find any evidence of Insurance especially designed for Antiques Centres, so we have decided to rectify that.

Yes, there are ordinary commercial policies offered to you, but they don’t really cut the mustard, when it comes to your particular needs.

There are two areas of extra special risk that you face:-

1. Your legal liability for dealer’ stock in your centre (Bailees’ Liability) and

2. Your legal liability for the sale of your dealers’ stock (Products Liability)

I am not going to bore you with all the ‘ins and outs’ of Bailees’ Liability and just advise you that, as you provide space for dealers’ stock, you are normally legally liable, if it can be shown that you are negligent. If you do want to look into this further, I suggest visiting Wikipedia and entering Bailment. Do be aware that most Insurance Policies will exclude your liability for dealers goods.

Our new policy offers you the option of various levels of protection for this risk.

The second risk seems less well understood. Selling goods, if you, as an Antiques Centre, issue a receipt on your own paper and the goods then go on to cause someone to suffer a physical injury, you could well be legally liable. In many cases, it would be pointless trying to shift the blame on to the dealer, as they are unlikely to have Insurance.

Our solution is to grant Public and Products Liability to all dealers operating at your Centre – a simple solution, but one that cuts through the whole risk.

We are aware that many of you regard Insurance as an expensive and boring distraction from selling Antiques and Collectables. Our job is to make it as painless and cost effective an experience as possible!

John Wakefield

AXA Coronavirus update – 30th March 2020

Posted on: March 30th, 2020

AXA Coronavirus Update

The spread of the COVID-19 virus and its effects on the insurance sector has made it clear that there is a growing need for increased communication between insurers and brokers.

AXA XL have written a report addressing issues that have already been raised by brokers; here are some of their basic points:


Unoccupied premises, due to COVID-19 restrictions

The standard AXA policies would define a building as unoccupied if empty, or not being fully utilised for business purposes, for a period in excess of 30 days (please check policy wording for full details).

In response to the current situation we’ve extended this period to a minimum of 60 days for premises that have become unoccupied due to COVID-19 restrictions. This means a client will not have to inform us that the premises are unoccupied or be subject to any of the policy requirements in respect of unoccupied buildings.

At the end of that period the client must inform us if the premises are empty and we’ll work with them to manage the unoccupancy in the most suitable way.

These guidelines override any existing policy condition and apply to any premises that are temporarily closed or mothballed due to restrictions on business or working practices resulting from COVID-19 and will be in force until 30th June 2020.

Business Resilience

Non-Essential Retail Premises

All activities must only be taken in line with the current guidance issued by HM Government.

During the current crisis all non-essential retail premises are required to close for some weeks.

Hospitality Guidance

All activities must only be taken in line with the current guidance issued by HM Government.

It is likely that all Hotels/Hospitality/Restaurants/Leisure sites, if not already closed, will be shutting down due to changing restrictions. Please see the full document for guidance to follow in the event of a complete shutdown being implemented.

Construction Sites/Contracts Guidance

All activities must only be taken in line with the current guidance issued by HM Government.

It is likely that all Construction sites, if not already closed, will be shutting down due to changing restrictions on travel. Please see the full document for guidance to follow to make construction sites safe in the event of a complete shutdown being implemented.

Lone Working

All activities must only be taken in line with the current guidance issued by HM Government.

Lone working and checking of vacant premises must not currently be undertaken in accordance with current Government Policy and Emergency Guidance which prohibits travel to places of work for all but essential workers.

Premises still operating

If the premises are considered critical, and are still operational but with reduced employees with social distancing, it is important to consider the following points:

  • Unattended Processes
  • Hot Work
  • Maintenance
  • Adjustments to maintenance or servicing
  • Tenants

Warranties and Policy Conditions – Inability of clients to comply
due to COVID-19

Risk Management and Business Resilience Advice

AXA has an unrivalled team of 50 Business Resilience experts with a range of backgrounds including specialists in Sprinkler Installations, Health and Safety, Building Security and Motor Risk Management. This team continue to be available to AXA underwriters, brokers and customers to offer advice, support and potential solutions to many of the issues that are likely to arise as we all adapt our business models to cope with this highly unusual situation.


Service & supplier update

We have set up employees to work from home, with full claims system and telephone access and increased flexible working.

Supplier Management

We’re continuing to work working closely with all our suppliers, including Loss Adjusters to understand any impact on service.

Business Support

Legal guidance from rradar

As you will appreciate, the guidance from Government is constantly being updated. It’s therefore imperative that for COVID-19 business support we provide you with the latest information available. Working with rradar we have created a portal which is constantly refreshed by the rradar legal team.

Simply log in to register your details to access the latest information that is updated in real time by rradar’s expert legal teams as guidance and advice changes

Employment and HR guidance during the Coronavirus outbreak

On Thursday, rradar and AXA hosted a webinar for 500 brokers to discuss many of the legal and HR elements of keeping your business and your people safe.

This is essential viewing for business owners and directors who need to deal with a huge amount of uncertainty around newly encountered office and staff questions.

To view the webinar visit link.

AXA Insurance – Premium Payments & Credit Facilities – COVID-19

We understand that for our brokers and policyholders the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 will be generating questions on premium payments and credit facilities. The guidance on our position will help you provide the clarity you require to your team and your clients and outlines the support that AXA is providing. Please see the full document for more details.


Maintaining stability

We’ve responded to Government advice by introducing changes to protect our employees and maintain customer service across key UK locations. We’ve a resilient platform and operational structure that has been tested to capacity and allows us to receive and process broker requests and submissions as normal.

If you would like more information or to be sent the full document, please contact John Wakefield: or Andy Cole:

Charitable Giving

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020

Civing - a charitable space for sharingIn response to the desperate need to support Charities and their beneficiaries during the coming months, we are grateful to our insurers for providing us with some sums to donate to four of them.

These include the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which we as a Company have supported since their formation in 1986.

This contribution will help in a small way to make up for other forms of fund raising that are currently not possible.

We have set up a Facebook Group called ‘Civing‘ which is hosted on the Anthony Wakefield & Company Facebook page. This a space where people can share their charitable stories, events and actions during this worrying time. ‘Civing’ is a take on the word ‘giving’ and ‘COVID-19’.

In future posts we will highlight how other insurers and organisations are responding to the crisis.

#staysafe #stayathome #charity

If you would like to donate to The Rainbow Trust, you can do it here.


No sun – no moon!

Posted on: November 6th, 2019

Dark, cold winterNo sun – no moon! 

No morn – no noon – 

No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day. 

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, 

No comfortable feel in any member – 

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! – 


Thomas Hood

Yep, this about sums it up.

As a child, I used to enjoy winter (at least looking back on it now) and probably one of my more enduring November memories was of going to stay with my cousin, Annie, who lived by the water meadows in Chertsey. They would often be flooded and then it would freeze, giving us the biggest skating rink ever. What fun it was.

Nowadays, I’m a bit more sanguine as the magic of childhood has flown forgotten, like a dream dies at the opening day. 

So, what can cheer us up, through this dreary month?

Well, there’s the fact that we are still here with an appetite that is undimmed for good quality High Net Worth, Antiques Dealers and Auctioneers business.

We have very few hard and fast rules over what we accept and we are as politically incorrect (within the bounds of kindness and good taste) as ever.

And ….. the sun is shining at the moment!

John Wakefield


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 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.