Introducing one of our newest team members Philippa Elvy
 
“I have lived in and been involved in the countryside all my life and have links to the farming community. I have a strong equestrian background and have 3 horses of my own and am regularly out competing across the country.
 
I’ve been in the insurance industry for several years, specialising in farm and rural insurance. I am fully aware of the challenges faced by the rural community and really enjoy working alongside rural clients to make sure everything that is important to them is covered correctly.”
 
You can contact Phillipa at PSP Bridgwater on 01278 427127

Having heard that there had been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in the local area, the team at PSP Risk and Motor wanted to put some information together to help keep your vehicle safe and secure.

Claims for theft of catalytic converters from cars has increased by over 40% and the vehicles most likely to be targeted are older low mileage petrol hybrid vehicles.

Why is theft of catalytic converters so attractive?

It’s because they contain a honeycomb coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium which help to reduce and filter harmful gases from the vehicles’ exhaust systems. These precious metals can be sold to make money.

Unfortunately, the act of stealing a catalytic converter is relatively easy, but there are steps you can take to make it harder for the prospective thieve.

In order to steal the parts, thieves, need to gain access to underneath your vehicle to use cutting tools to detach the box and pipes. By parking half on the pavement and half on the road you are helping thieves to gain access, therefore ensure you vehicle is parked fully on the road and if possible, park close to walls or fence with your exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb.

Arrange for your catalytic converter to be tagged with a unique serial number, this will make it easy to identify if it is stolen. You may also get a sticker you can put in the window warning would be thieves that you have tagged your catalytic converter.

For a fleet of vehicles arrange the parking with the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles, therefore restricting access to the underneath.

If your vehicle is a target and you suspect the catalytic converter has been stolen, contact your insurer and arrange for the vehicle to be inspected for additional damage.

* Catalytic converter theft represented 19.8% of thefts from private vehicles October – December 2019 and 29.7% from January to March 2021, according to Ageas’  claims data.

 

Did you know that you can set up a “pop up” campsite, without requiring planning permission?

Whether you are a farmer, pub landlord or estate owner, you can look to utilise some spare land as a pop-up campsite for up to 56 days this summer.

Your site must be for tents only but can include glamping units, such as bell tents so long as you are not carrying out any construction or physicallychanging the land.

You will also be permitted to bring in some temporary buildings that can be used for washing facilities and a reception, bear in mind that each day these structures are on site counts as one of your 56. A separate licence may be required if you operate the site for more than 42 consecutive dates

It would also be advisable to contact your local planning department to check there are no reasons why your land could be exempt.

Other things to consider –

  • waste disposal
  • fresh water supply
  • accessibility

If you think you have great parcel of land that would be suitable for such a venture, then contact the team at PSP Rural or PSP Group to ensure that your insurance covers this additional activity.

 

The team at Ageas Insurance, shared these “weirdest traffic jams ever” hope you don’t get stuck.

  • Joyriding Sheepdog – dog accidentally leant on the controls of a tractor sending it across the M74 hitting the central reservation. – No animals or humans were harmed.
  • Road Traffic Gin-cident – A damaged transport tanker spilled 32,000 litres of concentrated gin across the tarmac of the M6, bringing it to a standstill.
  • As stubborn as a swan – Traffic saw huge delays on the M6 after a swan decided the outside lane would be a good place to stop and take a rest. The swan refused to move for over an hour.
  • Sleigh what? – A giant inflatable Santa broke free its moorings in Wisbech, rolling onto the nearby B198. It blocked the road for the best part of the afternoon, causing hold ups in both direction.
  • Krispy Kreme Chaos – Edinburgh experienced three days of traffic chaos when Scotland’s first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop opened. Lured by a free giveaway of doughnuts drivers queued for up to an hour to get into the Hermiston Gait retail park, causing gridlock on surrounding roads.
  • The traffic jam that never was – Perhaps the strangest cause of a jam is one that involved no cars at all. An artist in Berlin set out to demonstrate he could influence the data used by map services like Google Maps. Walking a cart of 99 smartphones through the streets of the city, Simon Weckert gave the impression of slow-moving traffic on near empty road. The result – the streets turned from green to red on Google Maps, causing real-life traffic to be redirected along alternative routes to avoid the phantom jam.

The Motor Trade team have become aware of a significant increase in the use of fraudulent credit cards to acquire motor vehicles.

 In the last two weeks alone we have been contacted by 3 clients reporting 4 vehicles paid for by stolen / cloned credit cards.

 In two of these cases they were contacted by an alleged ‘motor dealer’ from Bristol.

The credit card company will contact you after the transaction has taken place and simply recover the money from your account but obviously by this time the vehicle has gone!

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that most Motor Trade Insurance Policies exclude losses caused by “Theft by Deception” and those Motor Trade policies that do provide cover often have significant excesses for this type of loss.

If you have any concerns regarding your policy cover or would like more clarification please call your usual Account Executive.

We would  suggest that you exercise extreme caution when processing debit / credit cards and take extra steps to satisfy yourself that the card holder is legitimate.

 

Alternatively, the safe option is not to take credit cards at all.

 

Despite the Covid-19 crisis and the several lock-downs we have had over the last year, criminals are still targeting the Countryside and are become more brazen about it. Farmers are having to go to extra lengths to ramp up security and protect their livelihoods.

PSP Group are always looking to help our rural community in any way we can so we have put together some top tips for keeping your farmyards safe and your business running smoothly.

 

Datatag Machinery

Police often find farm machinery that they think has been stolen but has usually been stripped of its identifying marks. Years ago nearly all agricultural machinery stolen would be found in the same county, but these days it is often destined for abroad. Around £1m worth of farm machinery is stolen from farms every week and is heading straight out of the country making it impossible to recover.

Tractors are being shipped out of the UK not only to Europe but as far afield as Australia and Africa.

Datatag and Cesar use unique layered security markings, which include microdot scattered around the vehicle, this makes it much easier to identify within a very short space of time and reunite it with the owner.

If you are unfortunate enough to have any of your farm machinery stolen you need to report it to the police as quickly as possible and provide as much information as you can including makes and models, colour, registration plate serial number, chassis and engine number and Cesar number.

Farmers that use security marking within Datatag and Cesar schemes, are enabling the true identity of stolen kit to be established and this will go a long way to having it recovered and returned to them.

 

Fertiliser

Failure to report either missing or stolen batches of ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser from your farm could mean prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws. This could lead to up to 3 months in jail or a hefty fine.

To avoid having to deal with a missing or stolen fertiliser you should always store it inside a locked building whenever possible. Make sure it is stored away from and out of view of the public highway and don’t leave it in fields or anywhere there is public access overnight.

Make sure you have a record of any manufacturer code numbers from the bags and a keep note of the resistance test certificate numbers if they are available. Always report any stock discrepancies to the police immediately.

Farmers and Landowners need to be responsible for making sure fertiliser doesn’t get into the wrong hands and they must report anyone who is suspiciously asking to buy fertiliser from them.

Firearms

Farmers have a responsibility for safe gun ownership. There are 1.9m lawfully held firearms in the UK. Farmers whose guns are stolen or lost could face prosecution and have their firearms certificates revoked, if reasonable measure to secure them haven’t been followed. The most common places for firearms to be stolen are from vehicles, while burglary is second.

The Firearms Rules 1998 require all firearm and shotgun certificates to be produced with the statutory condition that firearms and ammunition “must at all times be stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access by an unauthorised person”.

If you one of your guns is lost, stolen or missing you must report it to the policy immediately, with details of make, model, serial number, bore and the details around how it has gone missing.

Livestock

Keeping Livestock safe is becoming increasingly challenging whether it be from thieves or the general public walking their dogs across farmland, especially if they graze far from your main yard and buildings.

To help protect your livestock from thieves you should regularly check fields with livestock and keep all hedges, fences and gates in good repair. If able then the gates should always be closed and locked, as well as making sure the shed and stockyard gates are also closed and locked.

Always make sure livestock are tagged, identification is essential for proof of ownership and it can help to deter thieves. Things like ear tags, earmarking, tattooing, Freeze branding or microchips can put criminals off staling livestock. Taking photos or videos of valuable animals with the brand or tags clearly visible can also help. Keep recent and accurate records of all your livestock, this will help keep tabs on what is going in and out if the farm.

Dog walkers are becoming an ever-increasing issue with livestock owners. Making sure you have visible signage around your livestock requesting dogs to be kept on leads can make it clear to walkers that it is dangerous for their dogs to be off the lead. Checking livestock regularly that are situated on land that has public footpath access is also a must to keep on top of what is going on.

If you have an incident these should be reported to the police immediately.

 

Farm Yard and Farm House.

As a farmer your work is your life and often you live on your farm. Having a stranger come on to your property and steal and damage your belongings can affect you psychologically as well as physically. Not only have your belongings been stolen or damage you now don’t feel safe in your own home or at your workplace.

There are some steps you can take to keep your house and farm secure and to deter criminals.

Make sure you invest in some good locks for your doors and widows in your house and around the farm. Make sure gates are always locked when you’re not around. Often placing concrete blocks or rollers in gateways that are not being used regularly deters trespassers.

Be aware of unfamiliar people come and going, driving into or around the farm, stopping and asking unusual questions or trying to sell you machinery. Always report any suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible.

Keep logs of tools around the farm and valuables around the house, this can be descriptions or photographs. This makes it easier if an incident has occurred, to recover items.

Security lights around entrances to building and your property can be a great deterrent for criminals and can often alert you to something going on. CCTV is also a great way to put criminals off entering your property. Technology has evolved and some of the CCTV systems available aren’t too costly and they can alert you via your mobile phone if activity is detected.

 

Cases of Avian Flu have been detected in Swans in Cornwall and Devon over the last few months and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra) introduced measures in December to control the spread.

All keepers of birds should register your poultry to be informed if there is an outbreak and to be kept updated.

There is currently an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in force throughout England, this requires all bird keepers to take biosecurity precautions, including keeping birds indoors except in very specific circumstances.

Avian Flu can transfer to humans and the symptoms are similar to other types of flu, there are precautions you take to avoid the spread.

When working with poultry ensure you wear the correct PPE and be vigilant for signs of the disease within the flock. This can include increase mortality, falling egg production and respiratory distress. If you suspect the disease, ask your vet for advice an inform Animal Health.

Ongoing studies and surveillance is carried out among wild bird populations to monitor the spread of Avian Flu. Do not touch or pick up dead or visibly sick birds that you find in the wild. You should report any dead wild waterfowl, or sightings of sick or dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey to Defra. If you have any concerns about the health of any wild birds please contact the Defra helpline.

The Avian Flu has no connection to the Covid-19 pandemic with is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is not carried in poultry.

 

 

Fixed Electrical Inspection

The testing and inspection of Electrical systems is required under the Electricity at Work Regulations and will therefore apply to business premises.

Most establishments require a full test and inspection every 5 years. This work must be carried out by competent and accredited contractor.

They also require an Annual Routine check, this check may be completed by a competent person who is a user of the system. The person doing the routine check will need to look for breakages, deterioration, signs of overheating and ensure that adequate labelling is in place.

 

The following is a general summary of of the requirements for certain establishments-

          • Industrial       Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 3 years
          • Commercial   Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 3/5 years
          • Offices             Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 5 years
          • Shops              Annual Routine Check        Fixed Test 5 years
          • Pubs                Annual Routine Check         Fixed Test 5 year
          • Restaurant     Annual Routine Check         Fixed Test 5 years
          • Hotels              Annual Routine Check        Fixed Test 5 years
          • Petrol Station  Annual Routine Check       Fixed Test 1 year
          • Construction Site   3 Month Check            3 Month Test

It is a legal requirement to comply with this legislation and in the event of large fire loss at a premises a copy of the electrical report and certificate will be required.

 

 

Travelling to the EU/EEA from 1 January 2021

If you have plans to travel to the EU/EEA, including the Republic of Ireland anytime from 1 January 2021 you will need to ensure that you have the correct and up to date documentation.

Following the confirmation of the trade deal the following will apply –

Taking a car

In addition to taking a copy of your valid certificate of motor insurance, you will need to carry a Green Card. This will need to be obtained in plenty of time before you travel and cover the period of your journey . Once received you will need to carry the physical document, although it may not always be green, an electronic version (PDF) will not be accepted.

If you are taking a caravan or trailer, you will require an additional separate Green Card.

You may also be required to obtain an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU. This document which must be shown in conjunction with your UK drivers license is issued by the Government via local Post Offices. Depending on where in the EU you are travelling, will determine which International Driving Permit you require.

Healthcare

If you currently hold a European Health Insurance Card, this will continue to be valid until it’s expiry date.  A new arrangement has been agreed going forward and you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card.

It is also advisable to ensure that you have suitable travel insurance that will cover your health care needs whilst in the EU. You will need to pay particular attention to the cover provided if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

For the most up to date travel information visit the Government visiting Europe website

Contact your Personal Lines account handler or usual PSP Branch to discuss your individual requirements.

Sewing for frontline medical staff

Tracey Porter, Account Handler at PSP Chippenham has been using her spare time during lockdown to help out local NHS staff by putting her sewing skills to good use.

Shoe bags for Hawthorn Medical Centre in Swindon, so that staff can protect their shoes from contaminating their homes when they return from shift.

Washbags for a community based project – NHS Staff Uniform Washing Bags Swindon, the project which has so far distributed nearly 2000 bags to hospital staff, district nurses and care homes in Swindon, so that they can safely bring their uniforms home to be washed.

Face Mask Extenders – These have been provided to her daughter and colleagues who work in a pharmaceutical company and need to wear face masks for such long hours and the elastic puts pressure on their ears, the extenders fit around the back of the head relieving the pressure.

Hearts – provided to the Brighter Futures Great Western Hospital Swindon, for ICU patients with Covid-19, one heart is retained by the patient and one is posted out to bereaved relatives

,