About Sirelark Risk Services
Where is Sirelark based?
Sirelark Risk Services ("Sirelark") is based in the county of Norfolk, United Kingdom. Click here for our contact details.
What is different about Sirelark?
Sirelark was created as an appointed representative. We decided to do this specifically so that Sirelark could focus its attention on delivering the very best client service and use common sense, hard work and modern technology to support that goal.
Try us out and we promise you'll find out it's true and that we really do focus on you, the client.
Can I set up a meeting to introduce myself and discuss my requirements?
Yes, of course. Just get in touch using one of the methods on the Contact Details page or the Facebook Messenger app in the bottom right hand corner of each page.
Does Sirelark work with introducers?
We can work with introducers. However in choosing our partners we ensure that we do so for the right reasons and for both parties.
Furthermore, there are very strict rules regarding whether and how we can work with introducers so it would be best if you call us to discuss.
Insurance and Quoting
What is the difference between using a broker and using an online quote and buy platform to buy insurance?
Quite simply, if you use an online quote and buy system you are on your own. For many generic types of insurance policies, such as standard household insurance, this may be fine. However, if you are not an insurance expert how do you know if your virtual insurance broker has sold you a policy that is fit for purpose?
Furthermore if there is a claim and the insurer challenges its liability or the quantum of the compensation, once again you're on your own. Not a pleasant position to be in.
However, if you use a broker, there will be someone at the end of a telephone line to step in to fight your corner.
And it doesn't necessarily have to be more expensive. Online systems tend to suck you in with cheap initial quotes, but by the time you've finished adding all the cover that you think you need the final cost is typically not that far away from that a full service broker might have provided.
If you are still in any doubt, the BIBA website has a good page on the subject; it is well worth a read before making a decision.
I'm not aware of all the types of insurance I should be considering. How do I ensure that I'm not leaving anything out?
Helping you understand what is out there and what your industry peers are doing is part of what we do; we are here to help you through the process.
The most important thing to do is understand the nature of your exposure to risk, what your appetite for risk is and the insurance you currently purchase. This way we can identify new policy types to consider, and potentially identify nuances within existing policies that you may wish to consider dealing with.
How much information is required for a policy quote?
This depends on the type of policy and the complexity of the risk. Please call us to discuss your particular needs and requirements.
How long does it take to turn around a quote?
Again, this depends on the type of policy, how it is traded, the complexity of the risk (your business) and the volume of information.
For example a simple household policy quote could be turned in 20 minutes by our specialist personal lines team, however a complex professional indemnity quote could take days to secure binding quotes.
Please call us to discuss your circumstances and requirements so that we can provide a more accurate indication.
How soon before the policy expires can I get a renewal quote?
Most insurers issue insurance policy quotations that expire after 1 month. Typically if nothing has changed, this quote can be refreshed and reissued at the same price, however it is not guaranteed. Therefore technically there is no practical time limit to securing a quotation for a future renewal, but you have to be mindful of the fact that insurers will typically only honour that quote for 30 days.
What sum insured limits do I need to buy?
This depends on a number of factors including the cost to reinstate your property, the type of policy, contractual requirements, the nature of your business and your risk appetite.
Rarely does one size fit all so please call us to discuss your particular needs and requirements.
What is the 'Average Clause'?
The Average Clause is designed to protect insurers from insureds declaring a lower sum insured than the correct value (i.e. intentionally or accidentally under-insuring).
An insured may declare a lower value in order to save money, however it is a false economy because what the average clause does is allow the insurer to only payout proportionately in the event of a claim once under-insurance is discovered.
And it should be emphasised that loss adjusters always check the full reinstatement cost of damaged property (buildings or contents) when adjusting a claim, so there are protocols in place to ensure the insurer finds out.
What is under-insurance and what's the impact on me?
Under-insurance is linked to the Average Clause discussed above and a very serious problem in the United Kingdom.
It is probably caused by a combination of over-reliance on insurers applying an inflation index uplift at each successive renewal and a misplaced desire to save money on insurance premiums.
As discussed in the section above, the risk to you as an insured is that in the event of a significant property damage loss the insurer may instruct a loss adjuster to visit the site to make an assessment of the claims damage.
One of the first things they will do is check whether the declared sum insured is correct. If it is found to be significantly lower than the true sum insured, then the insurer may choose to impose the average condition which means that the payout will be reduced in proportion to the amount by which you underinsured your property.
For example, if you insured a building for declared value of £1,000,000 and it burns down, the loss adjuster may establish that the declared value should in fact have been £2,000,000. As a consequence the insurer may decide to only pay out £1,000,000 (50% of the loss reflecting the fact that you paid 50% less premium than you should have done to insure the full value of the building).
This clearly leaves you out of pocket to to the tune of £1,00,000 if you need to rebuild. If the under-insurance was an honest error, you may be lucky and be asked to pay an additional premium before the full claim is paid out, however it is very unlikely unless there are mitigating economic circumstances that make it compelling for the insurer to do so.
What is the difference between declared value and sum insured?
In a "day one reinstatement" property policy (which is most common in the property sector), the declared value is the cost to rebuild a property to the state it was in prior to a total loss. In other words, how much it costs to completely rebuild an existing building if it is totally destroyed. It is this value that the insurer bases its premium calculation on.
The sum insured is the total amount that the insurer will pay out in the event of a loss. Typically the sum insured is a predetermined percentage amount higher than the declared value to account for excessive building cost inflation throughout the policy period. It is the insurance industry's solution to mitigate the risk of the average clause being triggered unintentionally during periods of high inflation.
To be on the safe side, declare both figures to your broker as they should understand how to use them properly. If your broker doesn't understand the difference, treat it as a red flag warning.
What if I haven't had my property revalued for insurance purposes in a while?
If you haven't had your commercial property revalued in the last three years you should address this urgently by having a reinstatement cost assessment conducted by a qualified RICS property surveyor. If you would like us to point you in the direction of a competent surveyor, please contact us.
Do I need terrorism cover?
Most insurers exclude terrorism cover from property damage policies and many public liability policies.
Because you are unlikely to be completely free of the risk of a catastrophic terrorism event (even a small settlement can be hit by terrorism), we always recommend that terrorism is considered by either purchasing it back from Pool Re through your property insurer (Great Britain only) or buying standalone terrorism cover (either Lloyds of London or company markets).
What is engineering combined insurance and why do I need it?
Engineering combined is a package insurance product made up of a plant inspection contract and an engineering insurance policy. You need the inspection contract if the building you are responsible for (as owner or tenant) contains lifting or pressure equipment, among other types of plant and machinery. Some property policies provide machinery breakdown as an extension of cover, however we would typically recommend using a specialist engineering policy as the cover is usually wider.
Motor insurance - how do I insure young drivers without breaking the bank?
There are insurers that specialise in insuring young, high risk drivers. However, it is not as simple a process as insuring a normal risk driver, and it is usually much more expensive. Get in touch with us and we'll discuss your needs and the information we need.
Why is it important to have the correct Insured Title on my policy?
Quite simply this is because if the insured title is incorrect, you may not have an interest in the policy and therefore the insurer could refuse or severely delay any payout, thus rendering the policy inefficient or worthless. So why take the risk? Get the insured title correct in the first place.
What is an MGA?
An MGA is the acronym for 'Managing General Agent'. Occasionally, you'll be provided with a quote by an insurer the name of which you will not have heard of. In many cases it is probably because it is an MGA, however this is far from a concern.
What MGAs typically do is specialise in underwriting certain niches that the big company insurers don't want to expose themselves to for any length of time. And importantly often the money (and claims paying power) sitting behind the MGA is a large multinational insurer with a high financial stability rating.
If we offer you an insurance quote from an MGA we will always tell you who the insurer is that has provided the capital and will ultimately pay your claims.
Why is it important to consider bank and third party contracts when considering your insurance?
Most people become party to many legal contracts in their lifetime, many of which contain important conditions relating to insurance.
It is important to be aware of these requirements to ensure that you comply with the contracts. If you are unaware of how to establish these requirements or are bamboozled by the legal language, please contact us to discuss.
Your contracts and circumstances will guide us and enable us to give you some advice as to what to be aware of. Please note that quick due diligence reviews would be included as part of our normal service to clients, but if we need to spend a while on a project we will have to charge a fee.
Why are convictions and bankruptcies important?
These types of life events are very important to insurers because they represent moral hazards and provide important information about the risk they may be about to take on.
They know from past experience that there is a correlation between this group of people and an unprofitable underwriting outcome for them. It might be because this group make more claims or because it might be more likely to be associated with illegal activity, such as money laundering.
This doesn't mean to say you can't buy insurance. A number of specialist insurers and MGAs have emerged to provide a market for these higher risk individuals but they do have a rigorous underwriting approach before offering cover and it is typically more expensive than if you had a clean record.
What is the best way to get risk information to Sirelark?
We try to be flexible and practical. If the data needs to be gathered from lots of different sources within your organisation, communicating the information in writing is likely to be more convenient for you and us.
However if the risk and policy is simple, and you have the information to hand or in your head, we can usually gather the information we need over the phone.
Do I need to buy a separate policy if I am working from home?
You will need to check your household policy first. If it does not specifically mention that incidental working from home is permitted, contact us as it may be prudent to purchase a separate home working policy.
What cover do I need if I am going abroad on business?
You'll need to make sure that all your luggage, possessions and portable gadgets are covered as required, and that you have adequate personal accident and business travel cover to pay for travel disruption and medical cover (among other costs).
If you are driving abroad you will need to check that your motor policy covers this. If you insure through Sirelark, please ask us if you are not sure.
You should also check your public liability and employers liability policies for the applicable territorial limits. If you have placed your policy with us it is best to have a chat with us before you go to ensure that you are adequately covered.
What is the impact of the Insurance Act 2015 on me?
The Insurance Act 2015 was designed to redress the balance between insurers and insureds. It is a complex subject and we will be producing an advice note on the subject in due course, but in the meantime if you have any questions about what it means to you, please contact us.
How and when do I get my policy documents?
Depending on the nature of the way in which the policy was placed you could get your policy documents a few minutes after you place you policy, or a few weeks after for more complex risks where the policy may need to be specially amended and manually issued by an underwriter.
It will be sent to you electronically, however if you need a bound hard copy please let us know and we can arrange, although there will be an additional cost.
What are policy conditions?
Insurance policy conditions are quite simply the rules of the policy. They lay out the rights of insurer and the the rights of the insured. They also detail the obligations each party under an insurance contract.
For example if you have a security alarm condition on your commercial combined policy, you will need to make sure that the alarm is functioning properly, serviced correctly and actually switched on as defined in the policy condition. If you don't comply and you suffer a break in and theft incident (which the condition is directly linked to), your insurer would be within their rights to decline the theft part of a claim, although the policy might pay out for other losses relating to the incident (such as damaged doors and locks).
What are conditions precedent?
A condition precedent is a policy term which, if breached, may entitle an insurer to repudiate a claim or it may mean that cover never attaches. Compliance with the condition must precede provision of cover...
It is extremely important to understand whether your policy contains any conditions precedent and also that you are comfortable that you can comply with them throughout the whole insurance period.
What are policy warranties?
A warranty is a policy condition that must be complied with literally. The underwriter could repudiate any claim under the policy if the warranty has been breached, irrespective of the connection between the warranty and incident.
For example if a property policy warrants that you should clear waste daily from the bins at the back of you premises, and you don't, and then there is an escape of water event, totally unconnected to the waste, the insurer could repudiate decline the claim on that basis.
The Insurance Act 2015 modified the application of Warranties in favour of the insured, such that it is now not legal to void an entire policy because one Warranty was not complied with. Here is a useful article by Mills & Reeve which explains the impact of the act.
What are policy exclusions?
Policy exclusions are perils or causes or loss that are not covered by the policy. For example losses caused by War is almost always excluded from property policies.
What do I do if I can't find my policy documents?
If you've lost your policy documents please get in touch with us. We'll have them on file and should be able to email copies of them to you fairly quickly.
How do I pay the premium due?
There are a number of ways to pay your premium, including
How long do I have to settle up?
Terms of trade are 7 days so to ensure continuation of cover it is best to pay as soon as you receive your invoice.
How can I help to reduce the cost of my premium?
It depends on the type of policy but there are some risk control methods and also some tweaks in the level of cover that you may consider.
However each client is unique so this needs to be carefully researched and considered. Please contact us to discuss.
How can I spread the cost of my premium?
We can provide premium finance through Close Brothers Premium Finance. Please see this page for more information.
How is the premium calculated?
This is almost impossible to answer in an FAQ because there are so many ways that premium is calculated. However if you remember that insurers are in business to make money and that the largest cost to an insurer is paying out claims, you wouldn't be far wrong in drawing the conclusion that claims is the main driver in all premium pricing models. Price variance around this is driven by all sorts of other things including the cost of borrowing money, return on investments, cost of reinsurance, efficiency of insurer overheads and administrative systems, cost of senior management and last but not least, government taxes and commission paid to brokers.
How is the total premium amount due made up?
When you buy an insurance policy through us, the total amount payable will typically made up of the following elements:
What do I do in the event of a claim?
We have produced a generic claims notification guidance document to help you understand the process and importantly what you should do and what you shouldn't do in order to give you the best chance of the policy responding as you expected it to when you bought it.
Notwithstanding this your policy will contain a section on claims conditions which is important to understand, with which we recommend you familiarise yourself.
What is the difference between claims made and claims occurring?
This is peculiar variation in liability policies that establish during which time period a claim incident or notification event can fall thereby triggering a policy to respond.
In a claims made wording the policy will respond to a claim notified to the insurer during the policy period, irrespective of when the incident that caused the loss actually took place (subject to a retroactive date). It is common in professional indemnity policies.
A claims occurrence wording will respond to claims caused by an incident that took place during the policy period.
The importance of understanding this concept is that if you move insurer and switch from a claims made to a claims occurrence basis policy, you will probably have cover continuation issues. Do contact us if you have any concerns or wish to discuss further.
What is the difference between any one claim and all claims in the aggregate?
If a policy pays out 'any one claim' then it means that while there is a limit to the amount you can claim for any one incident, you can in theory claim an unlimited number of times during the period and benefit from an unlimited limit of indemnity during the period.
However if the policy limit is also 'in the annual aggregate' it means that the insured can claim for no more than the aggregate limit stated in the policy in any one insurance period, irrespective of the number of claims.
What is the difference between an excess, a deductible, retention and a franchise?
Excess - An excess is technically the first amount that an insured pays; the sum insured that the insurer is liable for sits on top of that. The amount or proportion of some or all losses arising under an insurance or reinsurance contract that is the insured or reassured must bear. Typically the insurer imposes a mandatory excess and the insured has the option of accepting a voluntary additional excess in order to reduce the premium due.
Deductible - A deductible is an amount taken from the claim payout that the insurer is liable to pay.
The outcome is the same as an excess for insured and insurer as the insured must pay a proportion of the relevant loss. If the loss is less than the deductible then the insured or reassured must bear all of the loss. An increase in deductible typically results in a premium reduction.
In most circumstances there is no practical difference between the two and only really matters with large losses that breach the limit of indemnity.
Retention - The retention is the loss amount (or series of loss amounts during an insurance period) that would otherwise be payable by an insurance policy. The insured must finance these losses itself before the insurer becomes contractually liable for any payment. A retention is often insured separately with another insurer but if not is called a self-insured retention.
Franchise - With a franchise, the insurer is not responsible for any of the loss until it exceeds an agreed value (the franchise), but once that value is hit, the insurer is responsible for the entire amount of the loss up to the policy sum insured. It is a rare to see a franchise in a general insurance policy.