Terms of Business

Introduction

This document sets out details about Mercury Insurance Brokers Limited, the terms upon which we agree to act for our clients, the services we provide and our regulatory status. It also sets out some of your responsibilities. Please read this document carefully, if you would like us to clarify anything in it please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and our status

Mercury Insurance Brokers Limited, Peregrine House, Falconry Court, Bakers Lane, Epping, Essex, CM16 5DQ is an independent insurance intermediary, authorised and regulated by the FCA to transact general insurance business. Our FCA Registration number is 571906. You can check this information on the FCA Register by visiting the FCA website at www.fca.org.uk/register or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.

Mercury Insurance Brokers Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital Underwriting Agencies Group Limited.

The service we will provide you with

We will advise and make a recommendation for you after we have assessed your needs. This includes arranging your insurance cover with insurers to meet your requirements, providing assistance in the event of a claim and helping you with any ongoing changes to your general insurance cover you may wish to make.

Your duty to disclose

It is your ongoing duty to disclose all material facts. A material fact is information that might influence the insurer in deciding whether or not to accept the risk, the terms of the policy and the premium to charge. Your duty of disclosure exists both before the contract commences and throughout the duration of the contract. Failure to disclose all material facts may render the insurance void from inception (the start of the contract) and entitle the insurer to repudiate liability (not pay your claims).  If you are unsure if a fact is material you must disclose it. We are happy to provide you with further guidance if you contact us.

It is very important that information given in proposal forms, claim forms and declarations to insurers is correct. If a form or declaration is completed on your behalf, it is your responsibility to check that the answers given to all questions are true and complete. We recommend you keep copies of any correspondence you send either to us or direct to your insurers.

Products we offer

We have access to a large number of insurers. For some contracts of insurance we will contact a range of insurers and provide you with quotations in order for you to select the best policy to suit your needs. However, in some situations we may only deal with a limited number of insurers or a single insurer.  Where we do this it is not because we are contractually obliged to do so but because this allows us to provide you with an efficient, cost effective service, and competitive pricing.

Handling insurance premiums

We hold all insurance premiums as an agent of the insurer. This means that when you pay us, your insurer is deemed to have been paid at the same time, protecting both you and your insurance cover.

Methods of communication

We will normally communicate with you by email, telephone or post, in addition to any meetings we may have with you. Please let us know if you would prefer to receive communications by any particular medium.

Payment Methods

We are able to accept payment by automatic bank transfer, debit card, most major credit cards, cheque and cash.  If you would like to make payment by automatic bank transfer, please contact us for the required bank details.

Alternatively, you may choose to pay by monthly instalments. Please note that this facility is subject to an interest charge, full details of which will be provided. If you do wish to pay your premium by instalments your details will be passed to a finance company. You will receive a welcome pack detailing their terms and conditions. If you have any questions about your instalments please contact the relevant provider. On renewal of your policy we will continue to pass your details to the relevant provider unless you instruct us otherwise.

Defaulting Borrowers

We will, during the course of the policy, be notified of any: payment not made credit agreement not entered, or cancelled credit agreement by the appointed finance company. If no alternative arrangements are made to pay any outstanding insurance premiums, you acknowledge that we may at any time, after being informed, instruct on your behalf the relevant insurer to cancel the insurance. Should a refund be issued by the insurer, you agree we will use this refund to offset any outstanding balance with the finance company. You will be responsible for paying any Time on Risk charge and putting in place any alternative insurance and or payment arrangements you need.

Settlement terms

You are responsible for the prompt settlement of insurance premiums so that we can make the necessary payments to your insurers. We have no obligation to fund any premiums on your behalf and cannot be held responsible for any loss which you may suffer as a result of a policy being cancelled or otherwise prejudiced due to the late payment of a premium.

Charges and Fees

In addition to the premiums charged by insurers, unless otherwise indicated on our documentation we may make the following charges to cover administration of your policy:

  • Replacement documents £20.00
  • Represented payment/cheques £20.00
  • Credit card payments 2%
  • Cheque payments £2.00
  • Cash payments 2% of premium
  • Recorded/Special Delivery Letters £20.00
  • Default on premium instalments £20.00 per premium instalment default (should we need to write to you)

Personal lines policies – for consumers only

  • Arranging the new policy up to £40.00
  • Mid-term adjustments up to £40.00
  • Renewals up to £40.00
  • Mid-term cancellations up to £50.00

Commercial policies – for commercial customers only

  • Arranging the new policy a minimum of £40.00, or up to 20% of the premium
  • Mid-term adjustments a minimum of £40.00, or up to 20% of the premium
  • Renewals a minimum of £40.00, or up to 20% of the premium
  • Mid-term cancellations up to £50.00

The amount of the fee will be advised prior to the conclusion of the contract. In the event the policy is cancelled mid-term any charges or fees will not be refunded.

Quotations

Unless stated otherwise in our documentation all quotations provided for new insurances are:

  • valid only for a period of 30 days from the date of issue and
  • subject to satisfactory completion of the insurer’s Proposal Form or a signed and dated Statement of Fact.

You should be aware that quotations may change or be withdrawn if the information given to us or your insurers in proposal forms or declarations differs from that provided at the time the quotation was issued.

Changes to your cover

We will normally deal with any requests to increase or amend cover on the day your instructions are received, or the next working day if a weekend or public holiday. Sometimes changes cannot be processed without obtaining additional information. If additional information is required we will contact you as quickly as possible.

We will confirm changes to your policy, once agreed, in writing. We will also advise you of any extra premiums you must pay or premiums we must return to you.

Receipt of instructions

We do not consider instructions to arrange or change cover which are sent to us by post, electronic mail or facsimile, or left on answering equipment, to have been received until they reach the relevant personnel in our offices.

We do not accept responsibility for instructions which do not reach us at all due to failures in the postal, electronic or telecommunications systems.  Receipt of payment without your clear instructions does not mean that cover is in place.

Documentation

Our aim is to produce documentation and issue correspondence in a clear and understandable format. In the event of any uncertainty we would ask you to let us know immediately. Our staff are always happy to clarify the cover provided.

You should check all policy documentation to ensure the details are correct and the cover provided meets with your requirements. All policies contain conditions and exclusions and some contain warranties and excesses. It is your responsibility to examine the document to familiarise yourself with these. A breach of a policy condition may result in non-payment of a claim and breach of a warranty may invalidate the cover if it not complied with precisely.

Transferred business

If we take over the servicing of insurance policies which were originally arranged through another insurance broker or intermediary or directly with an insurer we do not accept liability for any claim arising out of the advice given by that broker, intermediary or insurer, nor for any errors, omissions or gaps in your current insurance protection.

Cancellation

If you wish to cancel your policy you may be entitled to a refund of part of your premium as long as no claims have occurred during the time you have been on cover. The refund due may not necessarily be proportionate to the remaining period of cover. Additionally you should note the following:

  • Insurers do not normally allow refunds in cases where a minimum and deposit premium has been charged.
  • Cancellation may not be possible until you return your certificate of insurance to us or your insurers.
  • Cancellation of a direct debit does not necessarily cancel a policy and any balance of premium owing may be requested by the insurers.

When your policy ends or is cancelled, we will send you any documentation and information to which you are entitled on request.

In the event of a policy being cancelled mid-term, and not replaced by another policy, we reserve the right to retain the commission earned on the original transaction.

Cooling off period – for consumers only

You have a legal right to cancel your policy for any reason, subject to no claims having occurred, within 14 days of receiving the full terms and conditions. You will always be advised where this right applies. A charge will apply for the period of cover provided and, in addition, we make an administration charge as detailed above. If you wish to cancel a policy you must advise us in writing, prior to expiry of the 14 day cancellation period, to our usual office address.

Claims

We understand the potential distress and worry involved when a claim needs to be made on an insurance policy and we will offer every assistance possible.

Please ensure that you report all incidents that could give rise to a claim as soon as you become aware of them, by telephoning our office. You will be advised if you need to complete a claim form or produce documentation to support your claim. In certain circumstances late notification of the incident may result in your claim being rejected or involve additional charges or penalties.

If the claim involves damage to your property, please do not:

  • Dispose of damaged items and/or
  • Authorise repair work (except in an emergency or to prevent further damage) until your insurers or we advise that you can.

If your claim involves damage to third party property or injury to persons please pass copies of all correspondence, including solicitors’ letters, to us immediately and unanswered.  Any attempt to negotiate or respond to the incident without prior reference to us or your insurers might prejudice your claim.

If we act on behalf of an insurer in negotiating and settling claims we will inform you that we will be acting on behalf of the insurer, at the point of the claim. You should be aware that a claim arising after renewal of the policy has been invited might affect the assessment and acceptance of renewal by your insurers.

Our remuneration – for commercial customers only

Prior to the conclusion of each insurance contract, or upon renewal we will remind you of your right to be advised the level of commission we receive from insurers. You are entitled, at any time, to request information regarding any commission which we may have received as a result of placing your insurance business.

Complaints

Our aim is always to provide our customers with a high standard of service; however we are aware that, occasionally, it is possible that we may fail to meet your expectations. If you have a complaint please notify us immediately. If you are insured directly with us you should contact us providing your client reference, name and contact details and full details of the complaint, either in writing to:

Compliance Officer
Mercury Insurance Brokers Limited
Peregrine House, Falconry Court
Bakers Lane
Epping, CM16 5DQ

Telephone: 01992 566984
Email: complaints@mercury-insurance.co.uk

We will, where possible, endeavour to resolve the matter by close of business the next working day. If this is not possible we will acknowledge your complaint promptly in writing within five working days to reassure you that we will be dealing with the issue as a priority, giving you the details of who will be handling the matter in our office. In the case of a verbal complaint, this will include a statement of our understanding of the nature of the complaint and a request for you to confirm this in writing. We will aim to make a final response to you as soon as is practicable, and keep you reasonably informed as to progress. We anticipate that we will be able to provide a substantive response to most complaints within eight weeks.

By the end of eight weeks from receipt of your complaint, we will issue you with our final response in writing. If you are dissatisfied with our response, you will have a period of six months in which you can refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), whose details are shown below. When we provide our final response, we will ensure that we have taken into consideration any financial losses or material inconvenience you may have suffered. If we do not feel that your complaint is justified, we will advise you of the reasons for our decision and we will also advise how you may pursue the complaint if you remain dissatisfied.

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides consumers with a free, independent service for resolving disputes with financial firms and we will cooperate fully with them in respect of any complaints referred to them. They can be contacted by telephone on: 0800 023 4567 and their correspondence address is:

Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
London
E14 9SR

Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Insurer security

Whilst we monitor the financial strength of the insurers with whom we place business it should be noted that the claims-paying ability of even the strongest insurers could be affected by adverse business conditions. We cannot, therefore, guarantee the solvency of any insurer or underwriter. A liability for the premium, whether in full or pro-rata, may arise under policies where a participating insurer becomes insolvent.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”). Depending on the nature of your business and the circumstances of the claim, you might be entitled to compensation from FCSC if we cannot meet our obligations. Full details are available from the FSCS at 7th Floor, Lloyd’s Chambers, Portsoken Street, London, E1 8BN

Data Protection

All of your information is confidential and will be treated with sensitivity and will only be disclosed in the normal course of arranging and administering your insurance. This may include passing your information to Insurers, Loss Adjusters, Regulators and Solicitors. With a few exceptions, for example information requested by a court, a regulatory body or information which is already in the public domain, we will not release any information to any other party without your consent.

We are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. Under the Data Protection Act you have the right to see any information we hold in our records concerning you. Please note that a fee of £10 will be charged to cover the administrative cost of compiling your information. To ensure you get the best offer from insurers, they may use publicly available data, including a credit reference agency. Their search will appear on your credit report whether or not you proceed with the quotation. We may use your information to advise you about other products and services that we feel may be of interest to you. If you would prefer that we do not do this, please contact the Data Protection Officer.

Law and jurisdiction

These Terms of Business shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English Law. In relation to any legal action or proceedings arising out of or in connection with these Terms of Business we both irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.