If you are a consumer, you are responsible for answering any questions in relation to any application for insurance cover honestly and to the best of your knowledge, providing complete and accurate information which insurers will require. This also applies to your responses in relation to any assumptions you may agree to in the process of applying for insurance cover. This is particularly important before taking out a policy but also at renewal or if you make a mid-term amendment to your policy.
If you fail to disclose information, or misrepresent any fact which may influence the insurer’s decision to accept the risk or the terms offered, this could invalidate the policy and mean that claims may not be paid.
If you are a commercial customer you have a duty to give a fair presentation of risk to the insurer.
This means that you should disclose every material circumstance relevant to the risk being insured following a reasonable search within your business to identify and verify such information. This should include information which you and where applicable your senior management, persons responsible for arranging your insurance or other relevant third parties know or ought to know and should include all information that would influence the judgement of the insurer or that would put the insurer on notice that it needs to make further enquiries.
Examples of material circumstances are:
- Special or unusual circumstances relating to the risk;
- Any particular concerns which led you to seek insurance cover for the risk; and
- Anything which those concerned with the class of insurance and field of activity in question would generally understand as being something that would be dealt with in a fair presentation of risks for this type of insurance.
The information must be presented in a way which would be reasonably clear and accessible to a prudent insurer. If you are unsure whether to disclose any information you should speak to us. You need to take into account the size & complexity of your business, and allow yourself sufficient time before your renewal date to consider and / or assess your insurance requirements.
Failure to provide a ‘fair representation’ may result in a number of remedies by the insurer. If the breach was deliberate or reckless the insurer can void the contract and keep the premium. If the breach was not deliberate or reckless the insurer can void the contract, proportionately reduce a claim settlement or amend the insurance policy terms and conditions then review the merits of a claim on this basis.
You should therefore always provide complete and accurate information to us when we ask you about the insurance risks your business faces before taking out a policy, at renewal and throughout the life of the policy. This also applies to your responses in relation to any assumptions you may agree to in the process of applying for insurance cover.
It is important that you read all insurance documents issued to you and ensure that you are aware of the cover, limits and other terms that apply. Particular attention must be paid to any warranties and conditions as failure to comply with them could invalidate your policy or mean that claims may not be paid.
You must inform us immediately of any changes in circumstances which may affect the services provided by us or the cover provided by your policy. If you are unsure about any matter, please contact us for guidance.