Terms of Business
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd is authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland as an Insurance Intermediary under the European Union (Insurance Distribution) Regulations, 2018. A copy of our authorization is available on request. Our authorization can be verified by contacting the Central Bank of Ireland on 1890 77 77 77 or by reference to the Central Bank’s register of Insurance Intermediaries available on its website. Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd is also regulated by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as a Credit Intermediary. We are subject to the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012, the Minimum Competency Code, and the Fitness & Probity Standards, which offer protection to consumers – these codes may be found on the Central Bank’s website www.centralbank.ie. We do not have a holding, direct or indirect, representing 10 per cent or more of the voting rights or of the capital in any insurance undertaking and likewise no insurer has a such a holding in Phelan Caswell Insurances. We represent our customers when dealing with insurers.
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd provides advice on a fair and personal analysis basis, which means we review a wide range of products available in the market, and place business, in relation to all classes of insurance (life and non-life) product producers with which we hold an agency. Life insurance policies includes term assurance, mortgage protection, income protection, critical illness cover, pensions (including PRSA’s), savings and investments. A list of these product producers is available on request. We have developed a number of schemes which are particular industry or voluntary sectors – in these cases we select a particular insurer and recommend that insurer until the scheme is reviewed on an annual basis.
PERIODIC ASSESSMENT OF INVESTMENT PRODUCTS
We do not conduct a periodic assessment of the suitability of insurance-based investment products or non-life financial instruments on an ongoing basis unless instigated at your request. However, it is in your best interests that you review, on a regular basis, the products which we have arranged for you. As your circumstances change, your needs will change. You must advise us of those changes and request a review of the relevant policy or investment so that we can ensure that you are provided with up to date advice and products best suited to your needs. Failure to contact us in relation to changes in your circumstances or failure to request a review, may result in you having insufficient insurance cover and/or inappropriate investments.
This firm is a member of the investor compensation scheme established under the Investor Compensation Act 1998. This legislation provides for the establishment of a compensation scheme and to the payment, in certain circumstances, of compensation to clients of firms covered by the Act. However, you should be aware that a right to compensation will only arise where money or investment instruments held by this firm on your behalf cannot be returned either for the time being or for the foreseeable future and where the client falls within the definition of eligible investor as contained in that Act. In the event that a right to compensation is established, the amount payable is the lesser of 90 per cent of your loss which is recognizable as being eligible for compensation or €20,000.
In addition to the compensation available under the “Investor Compensation Act 1998” all clients of Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd are protected under the terms of the Brokers Ireland Compensation Fund, and the indemnity provided under the Insurance Distribution Regulations whereby premiums paid to Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd. for renewals invited by insurers or accepted proposals, are deemed to be paid to the relevant insurer.
Phelan Caswell Insurances will only recommend insurance companies authorised to transact business in Ireland.
All insurance companies authorised to transact business in the European Union must comply with solvency requirements in accordance with the provisions of the EU Directives. However, we cannot guarantee the solvency of any insurer or other firm with which we hold an agency.
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd is remunerated by a combination of commission and fees. We are generally remunerated by insurance undertakings and product producers on a commission basis (although many cases placed have no commission payable to us), the level of which is determined by the class of business being undertaken. Details of commissions receivable are available on our website www.pcinsurances.ie. We may receive additional commissions based on the volume of business placed or linked to a partnership arrangement with a product producer. We receive renewal commissions from product producers. If we arrange premium finance for you, we may receive commission of up to 1% of the finance arranged. All commissions received contribute to the overall cost of providing ongoing services to our clients and are not offset against fees which we may charge you.
In addition, Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd, in respect of personal lines general insurance business (e.g. household, private motor, health, personal accident, travel, etc) may charge a service fee per policy (at inception, renewal, and for mid-term alterations) of up to 30% of the annual premium for your policy. Service fees in respect of commercial lines general insurance business vary and depend on the complexity; time expended, specialist skills required and urgency – the fee chargeable will be based on these variables and will be shown on your invoice.
With regard to life, pensions, and investments, summary details of commissions will be included, where appropriate, in a product information document, in relation to insurance products.
Some Product producers do not pay commission and in such cases, we charge fees which will be notified to you in advance of providing a service.
Where advice is provided without the placement of a contract, fees are charged per hour at €350 for Directors and €125 for Consultants. In determining the rate and any additional charges, factors such as specialist skill, complexity, value, risk and urgency are taken into account.
All fees are shown clearly on all invoices or correspondence issued to you and are non- refundable in the event of policy cancellation.
CREDIT CARD TRANSACTIONS
There is no charge for credit/direct debit card transactions.
HANDLING CLIENTS MONEY
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd will accept payments in cash and by cheque in respect of all classes of insurance in circumstances permitted under the Insurance Distribution Regulations. We are not authorized to accept cash or negotiable instruments in any other circumstances.
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd shall issue a receipt for each non-negotiable or negotiable instrument or payment received, pursuant to Consumer Protection Code. These are issued with your protection in mind and should be stored safely.
DE MINIMIS AMOUNTS
Where, following the completion of a transaction on your behalf, a balance exists on your account which does not exceed €10, we may write this amount off in our accounts as an additional administration fee.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
It is the policy of Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd to avoid any conflict of interest when providing business services to its clients. However, where an unavoidable conflict may arise, we will advise you of this in writing before proceeding to provide any business service. If you have not been advised of any such conflict you are entitled to assume that none arises.
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd will, if necessary, exercise its legal rights to receive any payment due to it from clients for business services provided by it, and to be reimbursed for any value obtained by the firm on behalf of clients who subsequently default in any payment due to the firm.
Insurers or lender may withdraw benefits, cover, loan facilities, or impose penalties in the event of default of any payments due under any products arranged for your benefit. Details of these provisions will be included in your product terms and conditions. If you cancel a policy which has been charged on a ‘Minimum and Deposit’ basis, you will not receive a pro-rata rebate of premium.
NON-DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
It is important to note that a failure to disclose material, correct, or complete information on a Proposal Form or Statement of Fact may result in an insurer rejecting a claim. Therefore, it is your responsibility to read and check that the information recorded on a Proposal Form or Statement of Fact is correct and if there are any errors you must notify us immediately. Otherwise, it will be taken that the information shown has been recorded correctly.
Phelan Caswell Insurances Ltd as part of our service to clients operates a clearly defined Complaints Procedure. Our Complaints Procedure is in line with the requirements of the Consumer Protection Code. Any complaints regarding the service you have received from any member of the staff should be addressed to me, Mark Phelan, in the first instance, and if satisfaction is not reached thereafter regarding the matter, contact can be made with the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman – contact details will be provided on request. Alternatively, you can contact our professional body, Brokers Ireland.
We operate to the highest standards of client confidentiality and meet statutory requirements under the Data Protection Acts 1998 to 2018, and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation effective from 25th May 2018.
Our staff and support service providers will use your personal information to offer advice on suitable products, service your business on an ongoing basis, monitor services for quality control purposes, or as otherwise required by law. For these purposes we may share your contact details and other relevant information with product providers and our support service providers, for the purposes of providing you with appropriate advice.
We would also like to offer you products and services which we think may be of interest to you. In order to do so, we would like your consent so that we may contact you by letter, email, SMS text, or telephone (mobile and landline). You have the right to ask us not to send marketing information to you at any time.
Full details of our Data Privacy Notice – Customer Summary is available on request or on our website www.pcinsurances.ie
Phelan Caswell Insurances records all telephone calls for monitoring, verification, and quality purposes.
CONSUMER INSURANCE CONTRACTS ACT 2019
The Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 is aimed at enhancing consumer protection. The following sets out key provisions of the Act:
Subject to certain conditions, a consumer may cancel a contract of insurance, by giving notice in writing to the insurer, within 14 days after the date the consumer was informed that the contract is concluded. In the case of general insurance, the insurer cannot impose any financial costs on the consumer other than the cost of the premium for the period of cover.
The consumer is under a duty to pay their premium within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.
A court of competent jurisdiction can reduce the pay-out to the consumer where they are in breach of their duties under the Act, in proportion to the breach involved.
Post-Contract Stage and Claims
If, in respect of the insurance contract the insurer is not obliged to pay the full claim settlement amount until any repair, replacement or reinstatement work has been completed and specified documents for the work have been furnished to the insurer, the claim settlement deferment amount cannot exceed
- 5% of the claim settlement amount where the claim settlement amount is less than €40,000, or
- 10% of the claim settlement amount where the claim settlement amount is more than €40,000.
An insurer may refuse a claim made by a consumer under a contract of insurance where there is a change in the risk insured, including as described in an “alteration of risk” clause, and the circumstances have so changed that it has effectively changed the risk to one which the insurer has not agreed to cover.
Any clause in a contract of insurance that refers to a “material change” will be interpreted as being a change that takes the risk outside what was in the reasonable contemplation of the contracting parties when the contract was concluded.
The consumer must cooperate with the insurer in an investigation of insured events including responding to reasonable requests for information in an honest and reasonably careful manner and must notify the insurer of the occurrence of an insured event in a reasonable time.
The consumer must notify the insurer of a claim within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance.
If the consumer becomes aware after a claim is made of information that would either support or prejudice the claim, they are under a duty to disclose it. (The insurer is under the same duty).
If, when making a claim, a consumer provides information that is false or misleading in any material respect (and knows it to be false or misleading or consciously disregards whether it is) the insurer is entitled to refuse to pay and to terminate the contract.
Where an insurer becomes aware that a consumer has made a fraudulent claim, they must notify the consumer on paper or on another durable means advising that they are avoiding the contract of insurance. It will be treated as being terminated from the date of the submission of the fraudulent claim. The insurer may refuse all liability in respect of any claim made after the date of the fraudulent act, and the insurer is under no obligation to return any of the premiums paid under the contract.
You will be asked specific questions prior to taking out a policy, at renewal, and when you may require alteration to your policy. You are required to answer all questions asked by us, or the insurer, honestly and with reasonable care. Where you do not provide additional information after being requested to do so, it will be presumed by the insurer that any information previously provided remains unchanged.
An insurer may repudiate liability or limit the claim payment if it establishes that there has been non-disclosure of material information by a consumer, and that the insurer would not have issued a policy or issued a policy on the terms on which it did, if that information had been known to the insurer. Likewise, where there has been misrepresentation by a consumer, an insurer may, depending on the type of misrepresentation, reduce the amount of a claim or refuse to pay a claim.
A copy of an application form or proposal form or Statement of Fact, where such is relevant to the particular contract, will be provided to you showing the insurers specific questions and information required for underwriting purposes. You must review the document(s) provided and check that the answers you provided to insurers, or to us when assisting you to complete the application form or proposal form or Statement of Fact, are accurate.
If any information or answer provided is incorrect you must notify us immediately.’
Commercial Customers who are not considered to be Consumers under the Act must continue to bring to our attention all material information which may be relevant to the risk. Any failure to do so may invalidate any claim and render your policy void.
SUSTAINABLE FINANCE DISCLOSURE REGULATION (‘SFDR’)
Investment Funds Advice
This EU Regulation became effective on 10 March 2021. As the area of the SFDR is new and evolving without sufficient information being currently available, we do not currently assess in detail the adverse impact of investment decisions on suitability when providing investment or insurance advice. We may ask you to complete a questionnaire to determine your risk preferences in relation to investing in sustainable investment funds e.g. environmental, social and governance focussed investments. The key product providers with which we engage have developed responsible investment as part of their investment philosophies and sustainability policies. However, detailed sustainability information is not currently available for many funds so we may need to discuss this with you, agree alternative investment strategies, and provide recommendations on this basis. As further information on the approach being taken by product providers, and their internal/external fund managers, becomes available we anticipate reviewing these areas in our assessments.
Sustainability Remuneration Policies
We are remunerated by commission and other remuneration from product providers. The key product providers with which we engage, and receive remuneration from, have developed responsible investment as part of their investment philosophies and sustainability risk policies.
These Terms of Business are effective 12th August 2022