Summer Newsletter 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to our Summer 2017 issue of The Great British Broker. Well, here in Sevenoaks it has certainly been a gloriously hot and sunny start to the summer so far. In fact we’ve all been lucky enough to appreciate the beautiful summer dawn chorus in the mornings as none of us are getting any sleep during the hot sticky nights! I must admit there is certainly something to be said for air conditioning and I never thought I’d say that at the start of an English summer!

Well, if you are lucky enough to be sitting in a deckchair at the beach, in the garden or listening to the soft sound of leather on willow as your village cricket team take to the crease, then why not take a moment to have a peruse of our latest newsletter.

This quarter you can learn more about our Accounts Manager in the Employee Spotlight, read about the myths and misconceptions people have about insurance and also find out which classic car shows Invicta are proudly sponsoring this summer

We hope you enjoy this issue and we would like to wish all of our customers and friends a very enjoyable, safe and pleasant summer.

When we think of myths we are taken back to the times of the Jason and the Argonauts, Medussa or the Loch Ness monster. However, in the world of insurance there are many myths and misconceptions that a lot of people believe to be fact! Unfortunately, unlike believing in the Loch Ness Monster, making insurance decisions based upon a myth can have a far more detrimental effect on you, your property or business. Read on as Leon Price our Commercial Manager dispels 10 insurance myths for you…

At Invicta you always receive a pleasant, helpful and friendly service, but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to one of the Invicta staff members who, on a daily basis, help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service. In this issue we say hello to Amy Kemsley, our Accounts Manager.

I am very proud to say that Invicta Insurance Services have now been serving our community in Sevenoaks for seven years.

During this time the number of customers to whom we provide a personal service has grown and the number of staff that we employ to serve them has grown alongside them, but we have never lost sight of the important question: – How can we better serve others?

As a Kent based broker with the name Invicta it would be amiss of us not to continue our seasonal guide of the best places to visit in The Garden of England.

Kent is a haven of breathtaking English landscapes and places to visit. From mysterious marshlands to the dramatic white cliffs of Dover, sleepy villages and bustling seaside resorts, historic castles and towering cathedral. There’s no shortage of things to do in Kent.

One of the highlights for us every summer is being involved with the classic car shows that happen throughout the summer in Kent. Every year we like to support a couple of shows by way of sponsoring the event and assisting with the marketing and promotion. This year we will be once again be headline sponsors of the Biddenden Tractorfest & Country Fair and Wrotham Steam and Transport Rally. We also decided this year to organise our own show with our charity partners, Kent Charity of the Year 2017 the Kenward Trust.

Insurance myths dispelled

When we think of myths we are taken back to the times of the Jason and the Argonauts, Medusa or the Loch Ness monster. However, in the world of insurance there are many myths and misconceptions that a lot of people believe to be fact! Unfortunately, unlike believing in the Loch Ness Monster, making insurance decisions based upon a myth can have a far more detrimental effect on you, your property or business. Read on as Leon Price our Commercial Manager dispels 10 insurance myths for you…

“1. It’s fine to insure your car in a parent’s name”

As some of you may very well know, young drivers are hit with sky-high insurance premiums for the first few years they are on the road.

Consequently, it is tempting for a lot of young drivers to cut the cost of their insurance by insuring their cars in a parent’s name and adding themselves as a named driver – a practice known as ‘fronting’.

However, whilst tempting as it may be, ‘fronting’ is actually illegal and will invalidate the policy. As a result, any claims made could easily be rejected.

2. “Policy excesses only count if you are ‘at fault’”

The excess on your home, business, travel or motor insurance policy is agreed at the inception of the policy and is the amount that you will pay towards every claim made against that policy. Irrespective as to who was at fault.

In some motor insurance circumstances a recovery of the excess can be made from the guilty party. If they’re a) insured and b) providing you have uninsured loss recovery attached to your policy.

3. “You can always claim for items stolen from your car or van”

I bet most of you here carry a number of high-value gadgets, such as MP3 players, mobile phones and SatNavs, tools or equipment in your vehicle.

But did you know that most policies restrict cover for these items to £100 – £150 and would insist on them being locked away in a boot or glove box to be covered.

Some home insurance policies will extend to cover them in full, albeit with the same precaution requirements.

The only way to ensure that they are fully covered is to take out a specific Tools in Transit policy or take them with you! For more information, please feel free to call us.

4. “If I take out comprehensive cover, I will automatically get ‘driving other cars’ cover, meaning that I am covered fully comprehensively on any car I drive with the owner’s permission”

Most policies will only provide this benefit in certain circumstances (dependent on age, occupation, direct insurers, vans).

Even where such cover does exist, it only applies third party cover. As such, if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle you could be liable for your own damage, which could prove very costly.

5. “You can claim for any item worth up to the overall policy limit”

Buildings insurance covers you for the rebuild cost of your property. If an incident occurs and you turn out to be underinsured, your insurer will apply a calculation to the claim called ‘average’.

Simplified, this means that the amount claimed will be proportionally reduced by the amount underinsured regardless of whether you’ve reached the policy limit.

Example:            £100,000 cover, actual rebuild is £200,000
EVERY CLAIM REDUCED BY 50%

In addition, there are often internal and external single items limits and if the item claimed for exceeds these limits, it will either not be insured or only insured to the limit.

6. “You don’t need travel insurance if you have an EHIC card”

The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles the holder to medical treatment in state run hospitals in any EU country (plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) at the same cost as a local hospital – which often means it is free.

Every traveller to Europe should therefore get one and keep it on them – especially as some insurers will reject medical claims made by those without one.

However, the card should never been seen as a substitute for travel insurance. Travel insurance covers costs incurred if EHIC treatment isn’t free and private hospital treatment, as well as cancellation, repatriation, baggage loss or theft and more.

7. “Buy to Let Insurance will automatically cover me if the tenant damages the property”

Wrong – Imagine the nightmare scenario, your tenants have disappeared and you return to your let property to find the kitchen has been destroyed incurring damages far in excess of the rental deposit. Not all let property insurance policies extend to cover malicious damage by tenants and cover could also vary depending on the tenants occupations. When purchasing a buy-to-let policy, compare the landlord insurance cover carefully to make sure you have exactly what you need or speak to a specialist advisor.

8. “Insurers reward loyalty”

It would be nice to think that insurers would offer their best deals to loyal customers. But that is not always the case. Instead, they reserve their most competitive deals for new customers and rely on their existing customers being too lazy to shop around once their policies come up for renewal.

Which is why you need a broker on your side to review the market for you and negotiate the best price and terms accordingly!

9. “All insurance policies are the same”

Far from it – there can be vast differences in cover between insurance companies, particularly on comparison sites where it is vital for the provider to come out near the top of the quotation list.

How do they do it? They simply strip out covers, often expected to be included as standard (courtesy car, windscreen cover for example) to compete.

10. “Cheapest is best”

While price is an important factor when buying insurance, it’s not the only consideration. It’s also vital to ensure you have the right level of cover.

When shopping around you must ensure it is like-for-like and that you are comparing apples with apples.

It is important that the provider you are using is independent and has authorisation to offer impartial advice so that they can get to know your requirements and find the right policy for you.

Get a professional in to do it for you!!

Employee spotlight – Amy Kemsley

At Invicta you always receive a pleasant, helpful and friendly service, but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to one of the Invicta staff members who, on a daily basis, help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service. In this issue we say hello to Amy Kemsley, our Accounts Manager.

Amy is a positive and highly motivated member of the Invicta team and joined the company in March 2011.

Amy has 9 years experience in the insurance industry and has been working for brokers since she left school after completing her A-Levels.

Her first job was as a Trainee Accounts Technician at Woodstock Insurance Brokers in Maidstone, where she worked closely with the Operations Manager Steve Gamage. It was through this relationship and eagerness to grow and develop her skills that she swiftly followed Steve to Invicta Insurance Services. The company was young but she shared Steve’s vision to grow the company into the successful insurance brokers it is today. Amy was promoted to the role of Accounts Manager in July 2014 and in this time she has taken on staff responsibilities, budget preparation, profit and loss and key performance reporting in addition to the company’s HR duties.

Amy was born and still lives in the Medway area and recently purchased her own house in Strood with her fiancé, Simon. In the little spare time she has Amy spends it with her family.

Amy has a passion for escape room attractions. This pastime requires her and a team to find clues by solving complex puzzles and challenges in different themed rooms. The goal is to solve the clues in a strict one hour time limit so she and her team can escape! We always knew Amy was good at working under pressure but we didn’t realise she enjoyed it so much that she made it a hobby!

Amy enjoys music and the cinema and admits that her tastes are quite eclectic! Her playlist will jump from the soulful vocals of Phil Collins to the deafening screams of Slipknot.

Her bookshelves are full of her beloved Disney videos (yes videos!) and DVDs whilst sitting alongside these are her favourite horror films which includes Saw and Childs Play. Amy is an avid collector of Disney figurines/memorabilia in addition to having an extensive horror film memorabilia collection. Her favourite item? The Chucky doll from the Childs Play films!

Amy’s Favourites:

Favourite film: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Favourite album: AFI – Sing The Sorrow

Favourite TV Shows: Luther

Favourite Holiday Destination: Hamelin, Germany

Favourite Book: Wise Children by Angela Carter

Favourite Drink: Raspberry Sambuca and Lemonade

“Thank you for featuring me in the summer Employee Spotlight. I am happy and proud to be a part of a great team that has grown over the years and I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved and contributing to the Company’s success over the 6 years that I have been here. I would like to thank Steve for giving me the opportunity to grow and develop my role, skills and knowledge both at Invicta and my previous employer.”

7 years in Sevenoaks

I am very proud to say that Invicta Insurance Services have now been serving our community in Sevenoaks for seven years.

During this time the number of customers to whom we provide a personal service has grown and the number of staff that we employ to serve them has grown alongside them, but we have never lost sight of the important question: – How can we better serve others?

We provide cost-effective and comprehensive insurance solutions to local people and businesses. We take the stress and confusion out of arranging the right insurance cover for your needs. We understand that our customers are our business and we exist to serve them to the very best of our ability. We have grown our business by helping others to protect what matters to them the most: their families, their homes, their businesses, their possessions, their investments.

As a successful business, we have been delighted to support people and groups in Sevenoaks and the wider local community by sponsoring events, sports teams, charities and community groups, not just financially but also by donating our time in service of our community.

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

We feel privileged to have been able to help people in and around Sevenoaks with all of their insurance requirements over the last seven years and we look forward to doing so for many more years to come.

We are looking forward to celebrating our seven years in Sevenoaks this year by offering promotions, arranging various events and by supporting even more local groups, so if you are involved with a local community group and you would like our assistance please get in touch.

If we can help you at all please do not hesitate to call us on 01732 471950 or email us on info@invictainsuranceservices.co.uk and we will be delighted to serve you.

Summer days out in the garden of england

As a Kent based broker with the name Invicta it would be amiss of us not to continue our seasonal guide of the best places to visit in The Garden of England.

Kent is a haven of breathtaking English landscapes and places to visit. From mysterious marshlands to the dramatic white cliffs of Dover, sleepy villages and bustling seaside resorts, historic castles and towering cathedral. There’s no shortage of things to do in Kent.

Visitors regularly take short breaks in Kent to wander through the historic streets of famous towns like Canterbury and Rochester and to explore the green rolling hills, wooded valleys and far-reaching landscapes. The glorious sunny seaside towns of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs regularly boast the most blue flag beaches in the UK.

With so many options for a wonderful day out during the summer we have selected our Top Ten:

1. Port Lympne Animal Reserve, Ashford.

Port Lympne Reserve, one of Kent’s most popular and award winning visitor attractions, is celebrating its 41st birthday throughout 2017. The Reserve, near Ashford is home to over 700 rare and endangered species and is now Europe’s first animal focused holiday destination, offering visitors a variety of short break accommodations.

Set over 600 acres, Port Lympne is home to the UK’s most authentic safari experience, The African Experience – 100 acres alive with African animals.

Visitors to Port Lympne throughout the year are promised a super, natural and epic day out as they explore wooded pathways to discover where the wild things are and see the UK’s largest herd of black rhino, big cats, small cats, primates, western lowland gorillas and more.

Other activities include bespoke safaris, guided tours, team building activities, keeper experiences and many more. Restaurants and kiosks are located around the park providing a variety of hot and cold snacks.

The Reserve, is the only visitor attraction in the UK offering a variety of short break accommodations, including fun and family friendly camping at Pinewood pods to luxury glamping at multi award winning Livingstone Lodge.

For further information: www.aspinallfoundation.org/portlympne

2. Hever Castle & Gardens, Edenbridge

The Childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Be inspired to come and visit this thirteenth century romantic castle which was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Set in magnificent gardens from the majestic formal Italian Garden and topiary, to the informal meanderings of the lakeside and Sunday Walk. The Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island and the Yew Maze challenges both adults and children alike!

The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Hever Castle and Gardens will give you a day to remember. Summer events being held all season!

For further information: www.hevercastle.co.uk

3. Dreamland Theme Park, Margate

Enter Dreamland Margate and you step into an old fashioned yet oh-so fashionable world of fun, food, thrills and good times.

Visitors to Dreamland amusement park can now enter free of charge and either choose to pay per ride or ride unlimited with a choice of wristbands. This is great for both the thrill seekers in the family and for those of you just looking to take in the atmosphere, check out the vintage ride collection, laugh at the on-park entertainments team or enjoy the performances on the bandstand.

Fun and retro nostalgia to keep all the family entertained!

For further information: www.dreamland.co.uk

4. Leeds Castle, Maidstone

12th Century Leeds Castle is one of the best preserved historic castles in South East England, as well as one of the most iconic.

The castle is set in over 500 acres of lush green parkland and is ideal for long relaxing strolls and picnics.

You’ll find medieval gatehouses and Norman foundations, Tudor towers as well as 19th century additions. All of this was lovingly restored during the mid 20th Century by Lady Baillie, the last private owner of Leeds Castle.

There are also plenty of attractions to keep the kids and everyone else entertained for an entire day. There are castle-themed playgrounds, falconry displays, a maze and underground grotto, and a whole host of different events and activities throughout the year.

There is also a scenic pay-and-play golf course nearby, as well as Segway Tours and a Go Ape high wire adventure course across this lovely stretch of Kent countryside.

5. Spa Valley Railway, Royal Tunbridge Wells

“A Destination at Every Station”: The Spa Valley Railway is a fun packed day out with steam, heritage diesel, exploration, excitement & enjoyment!

You can ride the trains and explore Eridge, Groombridge, High Rocks or Royal Tunbridge Wells throughout your visit and make a day of it, with plenty of local attractions easily accessible by train you will find something for all the family!

We also have many experiences for you to enjoy on the railway itself, from Driver Experience, Afternoon Tea, Fish & Chip Suppers, High Weald Belle Dining for the adults to Days out with Thomas the Tank Engine and friend! There is something for everyone at the Spa Valley Railway.

For further information: www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk

6. Betteshanger Park, Deal

Betteshanger Park, near Deal in East Kent is an outstanding 250-acre Park and ideal for lovers of nature the outdoors.

Located on the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery, the Park offers miles of traffic free cycling, muddy mountain bike trails, a sensational events programme, awesome play area, woodland, grassland, marshland and wide-ranging, hands-on activities including archery, fossil hunting and den building.

A new £30 million investment scheme will include a new state-of-the-art Visitor Centre with conference facilities, café/restaurant, Green Energy Centre, Cycle Centre, outdoor play equipment and Kent Mining Museum.

For further information: www.betteshanger-park.co.uk

7. Chislehurst Caves, Chislehurst

Grab a lantern and get ready for an amazing adventure at the Chislehurst Caves. Miles of dark mysterious passageways hewn by hand from chalk, forming a maze covering more than 6 hectares, 30 metres below the woodlands and houses of Chislehurst.

Your whole family can travel back in time, as a guide takes you on a 45-minute lamp-lit tour and tells stories of Druids, Romans and Saxons, You’ll see tunnels that were famous as a shelter during WWII, the Caves Church, Druid Altar, Haunted Pool and much more.

The caves should hold the imagination of even the most easily bored child and if nothing else, there are 20 miles of tunnels to wear them out!

The caves are run as a family business where the atmosphere is relaxed and the staff are helpful and friendly.

For further information: www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk

8. Turner Contemporary, Margate

Turner Contemporary is a visual arts organisation, based in Margate that celebrates JMW Turner’s association with the town and promotes the understanding and enjoyment of historical and contemporary art. The vibrant, world-class gallery showcases contemporary and historical art in new and dynamic ways throughout the year.

Britain’s best known painter, JMW Turner (1775-1851), was a regular visitor to Margate throughout his life. He was drawn to Margate by the unique quality of the light, leading him to remark that “..the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe.”

For further information: www.turnercontemporary.org

9. Walking & Sightseeing at the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover

As a magnificent coastal site overlooking the English Channel, there can be no doubt that the White Cliffs of Dover are one of this country’s most spectacular natural features. They are an official Icon of Britain and have been a sign of hope and freedom for centuries.

You can appreciate their beauty and enjoy their special appeal throughout the summer by taking one of the dramatic cliff-top walks offering unrivalled views of the busy English Channel and the French coast.

While you’re here, learn more about the fascinating military and penal history of the White Cliffs and savour the rare flora and fauna that can only be found across this chalk grassland.

For further information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-white-cliffs-of-dover

10. Hush Heath Winery, Tonbridge

Hidden away near Staplehurst, in the beautiful Kent countryside, the estate produces one of England’s most iconic and exclusive sparkling wines using traditional Champagne methods.

Hush Heath Estate and the winery shop are open every day from 11am to 5pm. Tastings and self-guided tours are free and available without booking 7 days a week from 11am -5pm. They also offer guided tours and tastings led by winery experts. A lovely, relaxing way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

Just 10 minutes drive from the winery The Hush Heath pub, restaurant and boutique hotel serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.

For further information: www.hushheath.com

It’s classic car show season

One of the highlights for us every summer is being involved with the classic car shows that happen throughout the summer in Kent. Every year we like to support a couple of shows by way of sponsoring the event and assisting with the marketing and promotion. This year we will be once again be headline sponsors of the Biddenden Tractorfest & Country Fair and Wrotham Steam and Transport Rally. We also decided this year to organise our own show with our charity partners, Kent Charity of the Year 2017 the Kenward Trust.

The warm balmy days of summer just wouldn’t be the same for us here at Invicta if we weren’t also enjoying the sights, sounds and smell of classic vehicle shows!

This year we are proud to once again be sponsoring the Wrotham Steam and Transport Rally which will be held on Sunday 2nd July. The Rally has been going for over 30 years and is known as one of the most fun and family friendly classic vehicle shows in Kent. There will be 800 classic vehicles on display including vintage motorcars, motor cycles, commercial vehicles and steam traction engines of all sizes. It is an excellent charitable event and one not to miss!

We will also be the headline sponsor of this year’s Biddenden Tractorfest and Country Fair. This show is an incredible event located in the heart of the Kentish countryside and last year drew more than 10,000 visitors! Fun, sun, tractors, cider, classic cars, thousands of smiling visitors and so much more! As we did last year, Invicta Insurance Services will again be hosting the Classic Car Attraction with the help of our good friends at the Swale Vehicle Enthusiasts Club (SVEC) who did a sterling job assisting with the marshalling. Due to the unprecedented success of last year’s Classic Car Attraction we have been allocated our own field with its own arena this year so be prepared for an incredible show! Once again we will have a marquee at the event with freebies, competitions and exhibits. So, update your calendars for a weekend of summer fun at Tractorfest on the weekend of 19th and 20th August.

Finally in September we are delighted to announce our first ever Classics at Kenward. This is a classic vehicle event that we are organising in partnership with the Kenward Trust. The Kenward Trust have recently won the Kent Charity of the Year 2017 award and do incredible work providing primary stage residential rehabilitation and recovery services for men and women at locations across Kent and East Sussex. They help people who want to get their lives back on track and here at Invicta we believe everyone deserves a second chance. Classics at Kenward will be held in the stunning grounds of Kenward House, a beautiful Georgian manor house and estate nestled in the Kentish countryside. The event is being held as both a fundraiser and an opportunity for people to learn more about the superb work the Trust does in the community. This one day classic vehicle show will feature a large array of vintage and classic vehicles from across the decades of the 20th Century. There will also be arts and crafts, artisan food and drink vendors, children’s entertainment and lots more to entertain the whole family. We hope that you will join us at Classic at Kenward which will be held on Sunday 17th September.

We will also be attending many other shows throughout the region this summer so please keep a look out for ‘Victor’ our liveried Austin A35 van and make sure you come over and say hello.

In the meantime, if you would like to find out more information about visiting or exhibiting at these shows then please follow these links:

Wrotham Team and Transport Rally: http://www.wrotham.org/

Biddenden Tractorfest and Country Fair: http://www.tractorfest.co.uk/

Classics at Kenward: https://www.kenwardtrust.org.uk/content/news-and-events?tid=3

Spring Newsletter 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to our Spring 2017 issue of The Great British Broker. As I write, the sun is streaming through my office window and I’m looking at daffodils in the garden, so I feel confident in wishing you all a very happy spring. Well, we certainly have a very informative issue of our newsletter this time around which we hope will educate and advise, in addition to being an enjoyable read.

March has been quite a tumultuous month in the world of insurance and we have an interesting article about recent changes to ‘The Ogden Rate’. What does this mean to you? Please read on to find out. You can also learn about our latest charitable partnership, how landlords can obtain the emergency protection they need and find out which of the beautiful gardens in Kent to visit this spring! In our regular Employee feature we will be turning the Spotlight on Leon Price, our Commercial and Private Clients Manager.

We are also looking forward to another busy summer of classic vehicle shows and have already taken ‘Victor’ our little Austin A35 out for a drive around Sevenoaks! We will also be undertaking our very own classic vehicle show this year at the beautiful Kenward House, but more on that later! In the meantime, that just leaves us to wish you all a very happy Easter and a jolly warm and sunny spring!

As your insurance broker it is our job to ensure that you have the peace of mind knowing that your personal and business assets are well protected. One aspect of this is monitoring the latest insurance industry news and being aware of any changes that may affect you as a customer. As of 20th March it was announced that the Ogden discount rate has been reduced from 2.5% to -0.75%. What does this mean and will it have an impact on you as a customer? Click here to learn more.

At Invicta you always receive a pleasant, helpful and friendly service, but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to one of the Invicta staff members who, on a daily basis, help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service. In this issue we say hello to Leon Price, our Commercial and Private Clients Manager.

Invicta staff have always felt passionately about supporting the local community and working with various charitable organisations in the area. It is with this sentiment that we are delighted to announce our decision to partner with Kent Charity of the Year Award 2017 winners Kenward Trust. For nearly 50 years the Kenward Trust have been providing primary stage residential rehabilitation and recovery services for men and women at various locations across Kent and East Sussex. Invicta have already begun helping the Trust by implementing donation initiatives and planning fundraising events. If you’d like to learn more, please read on.

Here at Invicta we are always looking for ways in which we can provide additional protection and peace of mind for our clients. We believe it is important to provide clients with the option of being able to enhance their cover. In this article we are delighted to unveil the details of a new, cost effective Home Emergency and Legal Assistance cover for Landlords.

There is no better time to visit the Garden of England than in spring when everything is bursting to life with vibrant colours. To make sure you don‘t miss out on some of the most beautiful gardens in Kent when they are blooming in all their glory, we have compiled a list of some of the finest examples for you with the help of Visit Kent. What could be more relaxing than strolling in the spring sunshine through Kent’s English country gardens?

Spring News Letter

Hello everyone and welcome to our Spring 2017 issue of The Great British Broker. As I write, the sun is streaming through my office window and I’m looking at daffodils in the garden, so I feel confident in wishing you all a very happy spring. Well, we certainly have a very informative issue of our newsletter this time around which we hope will educate and advise, in addition to being an enjoyable read.

March has been quite a tumultuous month in the world of insurance and we have an interesting article about recent changes to ‘The Ogden Rate’. What does this mean to you? Please read on to find out. You can also learn about our latest charitable partnership, how landlords can obtain the emergency protection they need and find out which of the beautiful gardens in Kent to visit this spring! In our regular Employee feature we will be turning the Spotlight on Leon Price, our Commercial and Private Clients Manager.

We are also looking forward to another busy summer of classic vehicle shows and have already taken ‘Victor’ our little Austin A35 out for a drive around Sevenoaks! We will also be undertaking our very own classic vehicle show this year at the beautiful Kenward House, but more on that later! In the meantime, that just leaves us to wish you all a very happy Easter and a jolly warm and sunny spring!

Why has my insurance gone up?

As your insurance broker it is our job to ensure that you have the peace of mind knowing that your personal and business assets are well protected. One aspect of this is monitoring the latest insurance industry news and being aware of any changes that may affect you as a customer. As of 20th March it was announced that the Ogden discount rate has been reduced from 2.5% to -0.75%. What does this mean and will it have an impact on you as a customer?

What is the Ogden rate? Well, the Ogden rate or the ‘personal injury rate’ is a system that is designed to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident cases. When courts are assessing compensation awards and how much interest the money will earn when invested, they take into account this discount rate. The higher it is, the lower the initial lump sum. As you can see with a reduction from 2.5% to -0.75% initial lump sums to be paid out by insurers is going to increase significantly.

For example, the insurer Allianz has demonstrated that if a 30 year old man earning £25,000 a year was seriously injured and required nursing care for the rest of his life, the compensation awarded before the rate reduction would be £2,791,000. Following the reduction in the Ogden rate the compensation would now be calculated as £6,325,000!

As you can imagine this is going to have a major impact on insurance company profits. For example, Admiral are anticipating a hit of £185 million this coming year and Aviva are preparing for £385 million!

You are probably wondering how all of this will affect you? Well, the insurance companies are planning to pass on the additional expense to their customers. In other words: you.

Any insurance policy type that is affected by personal injury claims will see premiums increase. Therefore we can expect to see premium increases for motor, public liability, employers’ liability and motor-trade.

Industry analysts have warned that the average annual comprehensive motor premium will rise by up to £75 and young drivers could see increases up to £1,000.

Now is the time that people really need an independent insurance broker to help protect their interests. If you are reading this then you have already made that wise decision. When you receive your renewal documentation and note that there is an increase in your premium, this is most likely due to the reduction in the Ogden rate. However, we work with over 130 different agencies and you can be assured that we have worked diligently to review the markets of your behalf and have obtained the best possible premiums for and cover to meet your demands and needs.

Remember we are only a telephone call away, so if you have any additional questions or require further information about how these industry changes may impact your insurance then please feel free to give us a call on 01732 471950.

Employee of the month Leon

At Invicta you always receive a pleasant, helpful and friendly service, but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to one of the Invicta staff members who, on a daily basis, help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service. In this issue we say hello to Leon Price, our Commercial and Private Clients Manager.

With 23 years experience in the industry, Leon has a wealth of insurance knowledge. He started his insurance career back in 1994 as an office junior / trainee personal lines broker in Gillingham, Kent. He was quickly bitten by the insurance bug and soon realised it would be the profession for him. Progressing through various roles, including Personal Lines Manager at Blackmore Heath in Sittingbourne, he soon found a passion for solving complicated insurance requirements and so decided to focus his attention on commercial and private clients. In 2008 he moved to Woodstock Insurance Brokers in Maidstone where his line manager was Steve Gamage (the now MD of Invicta). Steve and Leon soon forged a great friendship together and quickly realised they shared the same visions and goals in wanting to offer insurance with integrity to the people of Kent and beyond. Leon is Cert CII qualified and is currently studying for his diploma. Leon loves mentoring employees to help them pass their insurance exams.

Leon’s ethos is to provide expert advice in plain English and to go the extra mile for his clients by offering exceptional customer service. Leon is always seen sporting his now infamous cheeky smile and has built his hard working team from his own positive mould and is immensely proud of their achievements. The commercial and private client team’s role is to provide exemplary service to our customers ensuring their businesses and beautiful homes are protected against every eventuality.

Leon considers himself as being a good old fashioned family man. He is married to the lovely Donna, who Leon calls his rock, and they have been together for almost 20 years. They have three amazing children Jade (17), Kailey (12) and Riley (6) and cherish time spent together.

Leon is a very sociable animal and can often be found spending time in his local village hostelry enjoying a cold pint of Guinness with his large circle of friends. Whilst Leon is a petrol head and loves all forms of motor sport, his real passion lies with his beloved football team Arsenal. He is a fourth generation supporter and can usually be spotted in the North Bank of the Emirates stadium cheering for the red army! Having had the privilege to meet several Arsenal players over the years including Charlie George, Perry Groves and Laurent Koscielny, he still holds out hope of meeting his ultimate playing hero Thierry Henry.

Leon’s Favourites:

Favourite film: Leon the Professional

Favourite album: Kings of Leon – Only by the Night

Favourite TV Shows: Leon – animated French cartoon

Favourite Holiday Destination: Lyon

Favourite Book: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

Favourite Drink: black liquidation with the froth on the top!

“Thank you for featuring me in spring’s Employee Spotlight! I am very proud of what we have achieved here at Invicta Insurance Services in such a relatively short time. We genuinely care about our customers and get immense pleasure when we are able to resolve a problem for them. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my clients for their loyalty over the years and Steve for his vision and leadership and cannot wait for our next step.’

Supporting the Kenward Trust

Invicta staff have always felt passionately about supporting the local community and working with various charitable organisations in the area. It is with this sentiment that we are delighted to announce our decision to partner with Kent Charity of the Year Award 2017 winners Kenward Trust. For nearly 50 years the Kenward Trust have been providing primary stage residential rehabilitation and recovery services for men and women at various locations across Kent and East Sussex. Invicta have already begun helping the Trust by implementing donation initiatives and planning fundraising events.

Kenward Trust is a charity that has been helping people to transform their lives for nearly 50 years by addressing substance misuse and homelessness issues, bringing hope, help and support to both men and women.

Located at the beautiful Kenward House in the heart of the Kentish countryside, the Trust offers people the opportunity to change their lives and reach their full potential. They have grown and expanded across Kent and East Sussex and now have a national reputation for excellence in the field of drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation.

In addition to this work, Kenward Trust also run projects that offer practical support and resettlement assistance for ex-offenders and currently have a programme in development to provide support to military personnel suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Just a week ago we were excited to learn that Kenward Trust had won two awards at the Kent Charity Awards 2017, including the top prize of Kent Charity of the Year.

We believe that Kenward Trust and their staff, who work tirelessly in often very challenging situations day in and day out, deserve our support. The service that the Trust provides to the local community and the difference they make to so many people’s lives is incredible, which is why we are proud to be their partner.

We have already set up an insurance initiative that will see donations made to the Trust by Invicta every time a policy is taken up by a Trust employee, volunteer, family, friend or supporter.

On Monday 17th April (Easter Monday), between 10.30am and 3.30pm Kenward Trust are holding a free event which will include a farmers market, craft fair stalls and various countryside attractions. So please come along and enjoy a family friendly woodland walk or just relax with a coffee and slice of cake in the Sage & Time Café. Invicta will be there too, so please stop by and say hello!

For September we are organising a fundraising classic car event in the grounds of the stunning Kenward House which we hope will raise funds and increase awareness of the excellent work undertaken by the charity. So, please put also Classics at Kenward in your diaries for Sunday 17th September 2017.

If you would like to learn more about Kenward Trust and the work they do, please visit their website: www.kenwardtrust.org

 

Protecting landlords

Here at Invicta we are always looking for ways in which we can provide additional protection and peace of mind for our clients. We believe it is important to provide clients with the option of being able to enhance their cover. In this article we are delighted to unveil the details of a new, cost effective Home Emergency and Legal Assistance cover for Landlords.

Our Commercial team not only sell commercial insurance but they also listen to our clients. They want to learn more about their client’s business, their needs and requirements and how they may be of more assistance. Having spoken with many landlords it was quickly apparent that there was a need for a competitively priced Home Emergency policy that would give landlords broad cover in the event of an emergency at one of their properties.

We took up this challenge and have been working hard with our underwriting partners to produce a policy that would meet these needs.

We are delighted to inform all landlords that we can now offer the Landlords Home Emergency policy in addition to Landlords Legal Assistance Insurance.

Landlords Home Emergency Insurance

As a landlord, the one thing you dread is receiving a phone call in the early hours of the morning from a tenant saying there is water pouring through the ceiling or the electrics don’t work. Wouldn’t it be so much less stressful to know that there is a number that your tenant can call which will ensure that someone else deals with the emergency for you? This is the benefit of this policy.

In the event of an emergency, this policy will provide the insured (including tenants) with advice on how to immediately protect themselves and the property.

They will then arrange for an approved repairer to assess the situation and carry out emergency repairs up to a maximum limit of £500 per call out.

Emergency Situations covered include:

Plumbing and Drainage

  1. Plumbing and Drainage
  2. Complete Failure of the Domestic Electricity Supply
  3. Main Heating System
  4. Water Supply
  5. Emergency Gas Supply Pipe Cover
  6. Inoperable Toilet
  7. Security
  8. Roofing
  9. Alternative Accommodation
  10. Pest Control
  11. Cooker / Oven

How much would this kind of peace of mind cost you? Just £65.00 per year.

Landlords Legal Expenses Insurance Policy

The expense, work and inconvenience of having to deal with the legal implications of squatters, property vandalism or chasing rent owed is something no landlord wants to deal with. This Landlords Legal expenses insurance policy has been designed for Residential Landlords who wish to cover themselves for the cost of the legal fees in the event of a breach of tenancy agreement.

Cover includes:

1. Pursuit

Solicitors will negotiate your legal rights with a policy limit of up to £50,000:

  • After an incident of physical damage to your property
  • In trying to get possession of your property that you have let under a Tenancy Agreement.
  • To evict anyone (including squatters) in your property who has not got your permission to be there
  • To recover any rent your tenant owes for your property

2. Defence

Solicitors will defend your legal rights if an incident arises from the letting of your property leads to you being prosecuted in a criminal court. Policy limit up to £50,000

3. Hotel Expenses

The policy will pay up to £50 per day up to the limit of cover for hotel expenses whilst you try to get a possession order for your property so that you can live in it. Policy limit up to £1500.

How much would this kind of peace of mind cost you? Just £40 per year.

If you would like to learn more about these policies and how you can enjoy their benefits then please call a member of our commercial team on 01732 471965.

Spring in Kent

There is no better time to visit the Garden of England than in spring when everything is bursting to life with vibrant colours. To make sure you don‘t miss out on some of the most beautiful gardens in Kent when they are blooming in all their glory, we have compiled a list of some of the finest examples for you with the help of Visit Kent. What could be more relaxing than strolling in the spring sunshine through Kent’s English country gardens?

1. Hole Park Gardens

Often described as one of the best places to see bluebells in the country, Hole Park Gardens in Rolvenden, Kent, is also renowned for its 16 acres of private gardens still owned by descendants of the man who planted it in the 1920’s.

Visitors to Hole Park Gardens will enjoy the effect of a huge bulb planting programme which took place in 2015. 15,000 bulbs of various kinds have been planted to add to the large number already present. These include the very dark purple tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ which will make a striking new addition to the rose garden and long borders in May. Many narcissuses have also been added around aged trees on the lawns along with several choice Crocus’s, including ‘Pickwick’.

Owner, Edward Barham, has regularly introduced more varieties into the wild flower meadow. “We are expecting a very impressive display this year”, said Edward.

Group visitors to the gardens in late April and early May will be captivated by this spectacular display of bluebells, which can be seen in the gardens and woodland. Key to the enjoyment of the famous Bluebell woods is The Bluebell Barometer on Hole Park Garden’s website, which indicates the best time to see this exceptional natural display.

Formalised gardens combine with natural woodland (16 acres of gardens and 10 acres of woodland). The recently renovated sundial garden with its pretty mosaic path has been planted for a long flowering season and alliums are a striking new feature of the camellia walk.

Light lunches and delicious homemade teas are available in the coach house and a plant stall will also be open throughout spring.

Hole Park Gardens, Rolvenden TN17 4JB

2. Goodnestone Park Gardens

Goodnestone Park Gardens is a peaceful and romantic garden with connections to Jane Austen.

It has been described by various writers as ‘the very heart of rural England’, ‘one of the loveliest gardens in Kent’ and ‘a haven of beautiful tranquillity hidden away in South East Kent’.

Goodnestone, Nr Wingham, Canterbury, CT3 1PL

3. Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, near Sevenoaks, Kent is an historic listed hillside garden that the whole family will enjoy.

The gardens are renowned for carpets of bluebells in the woodland in early spring, and a spectacular array of rhododendrons and azaleas in late spring, as well as magnificent views to the Weald of Kent and rare and ancient trees.

The gardens capture children’s sense of adventure and exploration, with den building in the woods, the adventure playground and finding their way through the hedge maze, and of course there’s the Riverhill Yeti who can sometimes be spotted hiding in our woods much to the delight of the whole family!

After you’ve worked up an appetite exploring the gardens, there is the Riverhill Cafe & Shop, where you can enjoy a light meal or afternoon tea.

Riverhill, Sevenoaks TN15 0RR

4. Leeds Castle

The Loveliest Castle in the World.

Rising majestically from the still waters of its moat, surrounded by 500 acres of parkland and gardens, Leeds Castle is without a doubt one of the most beautiful venues in Kent. Coined ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World’, it is the perfect place for a great day out with the family.

Leeds Castle has always been a palace to entertain and impress, with every generation leaving its mark. Today’s interiors are the result of the massive refurbishment by top European designers throughout the 1920s and 30s for its last private owner, Lady Baillie.

Whether you’re passionate about porcelain or want to walk the beautiful grounds, each year brings a new daily programme of activities and events.

Maidstone, ME17 1PL

5. Hever Castle & Gardens

The Childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Be inspired to come and visit this thirteenth century romantic castle – once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.

Set in magnificent gardens from the majestic formal Italian Garden and topiary, to the informal meanderings of the lakeside and Sunday Walk. The Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island and the Yew Maze challenges both adults and children alike!

The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Hever Castle and Gardens will give you a day to remember.

Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG

6. Penshurst Place & Gardens

Described as ‘the grandest and most perfectly preserved example of a fortified manor house in all England’, the Sidney family home of Penshurst Place has been the place for poetic inspiration and lavish Royal hospitality for over 650 years.

The house at Penshurst showcases a marvellous mix of paintings, tapestries and furniture from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, with a unique medieval Baron’s Hall and decadent staterooms on show.

The jewel in the crown is the 11 acres of Elizabethan walled gardens; stunning displays divided by a mile of yew hedges into ‘rooms’; each garden is planted to give a succession of colour as the seasons change.

There is fun for all the family with events, activities and workshops throughout the season, including a toy museum, adventure playground and woodland trails.

Penshurst, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 8DG

7. Brogdale Collections

The National Fruit Collection is the World’s largest collection of fruit trees and plants.

This Kent tourist attraction offers a unique family day out in Kent and also an opportunity for education, exercising both the mind and the taste buds!

For the ideal day out in Kent explore Brogdale’s Fruit Orchards full of fruit trees including apples, pears, plums, cherries, cobnuts, strawberries and quinces.

Experience demonstrations, tastings and fruit displays during the Fruit Festivals.

Tour Guides will entertain you with the historical background to the fruit varieties in season and offer tastings while you explore.

Brogdale Farm, Faversham ME13 8XZ

8. Godinton House & Gardens

Godinton House is a delightful Jacobean house. Wonderful carving, furniture, porcelain and contrasting decoration reflect a fascinating history. Set in 12 acres of beautiful gardens and surrounded by tranquil parkland. Homemade teas and plant sales available all season.

Please note: there is only partial access for disabled visitors to the gardens and house.

Godinton Lane, Ashford TN23 3BP

9. Great Comp Garden

Great Comp Garden is the delightfully quirky creation of the late Roderick and Joy Cameron who moved to the 17th Century Manor in 1957 with the idea of developing the garden into a plant man’s delight.

Roderick and Joy rolled up their sleeves and created an eccentric hideaway in Platt, complete with an Italian Garden, ruins to explore and a garden which now boasts one of the best displays of Magnolias, Azaleas, Salvias, Crocosmias, Dahlias and other exotic plants in the region.

The year begins with Snowflakes & Hellebores, followed by Magnolias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons. Summer brings a wealth of colourful, rare and exotic shrubs and perennials, especially Salvias; these unusual and long flowering plants are particularly well represented at Great Comp with their display extending between May & October.

The Old Dairy Tearooms are open on site every day and provide mouth-watering home-made cakes in a charming setting.

Comp Lane, Platt, Sevenoaks TN15 8QS

10. The Secret Gardens of Sandwich

The Secret Gardens of Sandwich, which is encircled by the old stone city walls, is an oasis of serenity waiting to be explored.

At the heart of this stunning Kent attraction stands the Grade I-listed manor house, The Salutation, which was designed by famous English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lutyens also devised the three-and-a-half acres of ornamental gardens with the help of Gertrude Jekyll. After lying neglected for 25 years.

The Secret Gardens has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last four years thanks to the dedication of the owners and their determined team. Now restored to its original beauty, The Secret Gardens really is one of the finest gardens in Kent today.

Knightrider Street, Sandwich CT13 9EW

Invicta Insurance Services announces latest Kent acquisition

PRESS RELEASE

On 1st April 2017, Invicta Insurance Services will acquire the entire general insurance portfolio of Priory Insurance Brokers, a nearby independent insurance broker based in Gillingham, Kent.

“This acquisition comprises high quality property and commercial insurance risks with much of the business being local. The type and location of these policies closely reflects our target markets.” said Steve Gamage, Managing Director of Invicta Insurance Services. “This will be the first of several acquisitions we intend to make this year in support of our aggressive growth plans.”

Ken Wilson, Director of Priory Insurance Brokers, said “We chose Invicta because they represented the best home for our loyal customers. I am impressed with their standards of service and I’m confident that they will go the extra mile for my customers.”

Steve Gamage, Managing Director of Invicta Insurance Services, added “We remain keen to acquire further quality portfolios from other brokers or IFAs interested in selling some or all of their business discreetly, swiftly and at a fair price.”

Winter Newsletter 2016

Hello everyone and welcome to our Winter 2016 issue of The Great British Broker.

It is hard to believe that winter is upon us once more but listening to my neighbour scrapping the ice off his car windscreen has certainly brought it home! However, with the ice and cold comes the season to be jolly!

Here at Invicta we have enormous respect for the people who own or work in care homes throughout the UK. Ensuring that senior members of society enjoy a full, rich and dignified life is so important, especially today as we see an ever increasing older population. The Care Sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, so why are so many insurance companies pulling out of this market? We don’t think that’s fair so have decided to step in and help.

At Invicta you always receive pleasant, helpful and friendly service but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to members of the Invicta staff who help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service on a daily basis. As this is the festive issue of our newsletter we have decided to feature our three talented apprentice Customer Service Advisors Jess, Jaide and Jessica!

Christmas is a time of celebration and relaxation for most, but it can bring extra challenges for owners of small businesses. From supplier closures to staff holidays, the festive season can put extra pressure on SMEs, resulting in many having to forgo their celebrations. With decision -makers facing a number of extra challenges, we’ve put together some top tips for our business customers, which could help to ease pressure and allow them some respite during the festive season.

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun, so we have put together a list of 10 festive celebrations taking place in Kent this year!

Visitors to the Garden of England will be spoiled for choice when it comes to fun-filled days out, irresistible shopping opportunities, places to party and stunning winter scenery. Residents will be amazed at just how much there is to see and do right on their doorstep – from Christmas markets and sparkling castles, to ice skating and a festive train journeys!

Being British we do like to talk about the weather and we certainly seem to be getting all the extremes lately! In the winters of the past, snow was always a major concern when driving but today rain and flooding seem to be the biggest worry. As we saw from Storm Angus a few weeks ago, things can certainly get wet pretty quickly at this time of year and it may not be too long before you find yourself sitting in your car pondering the question: ‘Can I drive my car through that enormous puddle?’

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Winter Newsletter 2016 Intro

Hello everyone and welcome to our Winter 2016 issue of The Great British Broker.

It is hard to believe that winter is upon us once more but listening to my neighbour scrapping the ice off his car windscreen has certainly brought it home! However, with the ice and cold comes the season to be jolly!

Yes, it is once more the holiday season when we are treated to rosy faced carollers, mince pies, mulled wine, sparkling lights, cheerful Father Christmas and long days battling around the shops!

Here at Invicta this is one of our favourite times of the year. Each year we have a fun and festive holiday dinner, buy each other ridiculous Secret Santa gifts and wear silly Christmas jumpers to raise money for charity!

Between our festive celebrations and excellent customer service, we have still managed to put together what we think is a very interesting and entertaining newsletter for you. This quarter you will find out more about the three wonderful Personal Lines Apprentices and what they like most about Christmas. You can also find out where to go in Kent for a fun holiday experience and how Invicta have stepped up to provide quality insurance for the Care Industry. We have also included advice on surviving the holiday season as a small business owner and more tips to help you be safe on the winter roads.

That just leaves me to say thank you on behalf of everyone here at Invicta for your support and business in 2016 and we look forward to providing you with our trademark, quality broking services in 2017.

In the meantime, please let us wish you a very safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Caring for the carers

Here at Invicta we have enormous respect for the people who own or work in care homes throughout the UK. Ensuring that senior members of society enjoy a full, rich and dignified life is so important, especially today as we see an ever increasing older population. The Care Sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, so why are so many insurance companies pulling out of this market? We don’t think that’s fair so have decided to step in and help.

It has been well publicised recently that a lot of insurance companies have been pulling out of the care home market, which is difficult to understand as statistics show the Care industry to be one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the UK:

  • 1.5 million people employed in the care Sector in 2013 – expected to grow to 2.5 million by 2025
  • 11 million people aged over 65 in the UK – the first time in history
  • 23.2 million people aged over 50 in the UK – over a third of the population
  • Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life
  • 1 in 3 people in the UK will die from dementia
  • £23.3billion approximate cost of dementia to the UK per year
  • 25% of all hospital beds are occupied with older patients with dementia

At Invicta we think Care Home owners need and deserve to have the best possible insurance cover in place; cover that can be provided by a knowledgeable, professional and friendly team.

So for the past few months we have worked closely with top insurance underwriters to make this happen. We attended the National Care Awards in London which afforded us the opportunity to network with senior figures in the care industry and have also conducted our own care home market research to learn more of what care home owners expect and want from an insurance policy.

Jess Jaide and Jessica

At Invicta you always receive pleasant, helpful and friendly service but what do you know of the terrific people who make up the Invicta team? In this spot of our newsletter we will introduce you to members of the Invicta staff who help to provide our customers with quality and courteous service on a daily basis. As this is the festive issue of our newsletter we have decided to feature our three talented apprentice Customer Service Advisors Jess, Jaide and Jessica!

Here at Invicta, we believe that apprenticeships are a valuable way of developing new and exciting talent. Apprenticeships in insurance are work-based training programmes that are an excellent and cost-effective way of developing new staff.

We are extremely lucky to have three superb apprentices who are looking to obtain the necessary qualifications and experience to be insurance professionals and launch their careers with us here at Invicta.

As it is that festive time of the year we have decided to add a little seasonal spirit to our Employee Spotlight and find out what our apprentices enjoy most about Christmas!

JESS MILES:

Having gone to school at the local Knole Academy, Jess Miles started out in Business Administration but soon realised that she wanted a more specialist focus to her career. In May 2016, she joined the Personal Lines customer services team at Invicta to gain the experience and qualifications in her new chosen vocation of insurance. Since joining Invicta she has become a key member of the team and always enjoys a friendly chat with our customers.

Jess’ Seasonal Favourites:

Favourite part of Christmas: The Dinner!

Favourite Christmas Film: The Grinch

Favourite Christmas Song: Wonderful Christmas Time

What’s the most essential ingredient of Christmas dinner? Yorkshire Puddings

What do you want to find in your Christmas stocking? A Million Pounds please

Favourite Panto: Cinderella

Best Christmas Cracker Joke: Who is Santa’s Favourite Singer? Elf-is Presley!

Favourite Festive Drink: Baileys

JAIDE DOCHERTY:

Living in Orpington means that Jaide, of all our apprentices has the longest journey to work every day! However, she knows that to be a great insurance broker you need to gain the best experience and for that you have to join the best firm! Jaide attended The Priory School in Orpington and having spent time as an Accounts and Administration Assistant soon decided that insurance would be her chosen career path. In September this year Jaide joined Invicta and has quickly become a valuable asset to the Personal Lines team.

Jaide’s Seasonal Favourites:

Favourite part of Christmas: Food!

Favourite Christmas Film: Elf

Favourite Christmas Song: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

What’s the most essential ingredient of Christmas dinner? Pigs in Blankets & Gravy

What do you want to find in your Christmas stocking? Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Favourite Panto: Peter Pan

Best Christmas Cracker Joke: What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite!

Favourite Festive Drink: Baileys

JESSICA ROPER:

Jessica turned her back on a career in retail as a senior sales assistant at a large branch of GAP to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Taking advantage of our apprenticeship scheme, Jessica was welcomed into the Invicta Personal Lines department in September this year. Bright and bubbly, Jessica has already become an important member of the Invicta team! In addition to offering a friendly service to Invicta customers her enthusiastic team spirit has seen us all dressed up in pink and eating homemade pink cupcakes in aid of Breast Cancer Research!

Jessica’s Seasonal Favourites:

Favourite part of Christmas: Opening Christmas presents

Favourite Christmas Film: Elf

Favourite Christmas Song: Driving Home for Christmas

What’s the most essential ingredient of Christmas dinner? Pigs in Blankets

What do you want to find in your Christmas stocking? A new car!

Favourite Panto: Peter Pan

Best Christmas Cracker Joke: Where does Santa go when he’s sick? To the elf centre!

Favourite Drink: Champagne!

SME Christmas tips

Christmas is a time of celebration and relaxation for most, but it can bring extra challenges for owners of small businesses. From supplier closures to staff holidays, the festive season can put extra pressure on SMEs, resulting in many having to forgo their celebrations. With decision -makers facing a number of extra challenges, we’ve put together some top tips for our business customers, which could help to ease pressure and allow them some respite during the festive season.

According to Zurich Insurance’s latest SME Risk Index, almost half (49%) of decision-makers say they have worked on Christmas Day, with a staggering one in five (18%) having actually gone into work. One in ten (9%) have missed their children’s nativity play due to work pressures, and 14% have not taken any annual leave at all this year.

So here are our top tips for our SME customers:

Managing staff

There are three public holidays over Christmas and New Year, and many staff will want to take additional leave around these. Staff sick days and winter weather can also contribute to absence due to an inability to make it into work.

Reduced staff may account for much of the extra pressure business owners feel during the festive period, making it especially important to manage staff numbers, workloads and tasks.

Most businesses will have annual leave policies that ensure enough people remain in work to keep the business functioning. It is also advisable to make an extra effort to ensure any important work is completed, especially if the office is closing for any period of time.

Cash flow issues

Christmas bonuses, overtime pay, and extra outgoings can all increase spending over the holiday season. With banks and other businesses also under-staffed or closing over the Christmas period, this can make it difficult to chase up payments from debtors, affecting cash flow and putting strain on a business’s balance sheet.

To reduce any risk of insolvency, SMEs may consider issuing invoices earlier in December than they typically would, altering standard payment terms temporarily, or even looking at short-term financing to smooth out any potential cash-flow issues.

Supplier delays and customer communication

For some SMEs, especially those in retail, Christmas may be the busiest time of year. However, while some businesses may be looking to capitalise on an upturn in demand, their suppliers could be winding down.

To make sure trading can continue at the intended pace, it is important to be aware of any supplier plans and stock up in advance.

Delivery companies will be especially busy, but it is crucial to ensure customer expectations are met for those sending products via post. Liaise with delivery companies and inform customers of the latest date that orders must be made in order to receive goods in time for Christmas.

Businesses should also make sure that advance warning is given of any office closures or reduced openings. As they say, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it and managing customer expectations is vital to avoid potential issues.

Making information prominent on a business website and sending a customer email are both recommended.

Protecting business premises

Winter weather can bring added risks for properties, including escape of water from frozen pipes and damage to roofs from weight of snow. If there is a limited staff presence over Christmas and New Year, problems can go undetected and cause additional damage.

Businesses should take appropriate action, such as draining outside taps and keeping central heating at an ambient temperature, to avoid incidents. If any staff are working at the business premises over the festive period, owners should make sure they are aware of what to do if a leak occurs, such as the location of the property’s stop cock to shut off the water.

Businesses should also be aware of the heightened risk of theft. Thieves will know that many businesses close over Christmas, giving them ample opportunity to break in. Security systems should be tested and it may be beneficial to put some lights on timers to simulate the presence of workers.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all business owners a very happy, safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Christmas attractions in Kent

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun, so we have put together a list of 10 festive celebrations taking place in Kent this year!

Visitors to the Garden of England will be spoiled for choice when it comes to fun-filled days out, irresistible shopping opportunities, places to party and stunning winter scenery. Residents will be amazed at just how much there is to see and do right on their doorstep – from Christmas markets and sparkling castles, to ice skating and a festive train journeys!

1. The Christmas Market at Leeds Castle

Dates: 10th/11th – 17th/18th – 22nd/23rd December.

Leeds Castle hosts the annual Christmas Market on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the Castle. Discover an array of seasonal gift ideas, toys, decorations, food and drink. Visit the Leeds Castle reindeer and birds of prey in the animal area.

Enjoy the nostalgic fairground attractions, children’s rides and a daily programme of live musical entertainment at the band stand. The organ from the beautiful traditional horse carousel will add to the festive atmosphere and is a favourite with families. Leisurely trips will also be available on the big wheel, giving spectacular birds eye views of the Castle and Christmas market.

The Christmas Market is open 10am to 5pm and is included with the price of admission.

2. Canterbury Cathedral Service of Carols for Christmas

23rd and 24th December.

Two identical Public Carol Services held at the stunning and atmospheric Canterbury Cathedral to celebrate Christmas. Entry to the services is on a first come, first seated basis.

Service on the 23rd December starts at 19.30 with Doors opening at 18.00

Service on the 24th December starts at 15.00 with Doors opening at 13.30

3. Hever Castle – Once Upon A Castle

12th to 24th December (DAILY).

Children and adults all enjoy a great panto…oh yes they do! This Christmas Hever Castle celebrates the history of pantomime in Once Upon A Castle.

Walk through the rooms of the Castle, adorned with beautiful decorations and welcoming log fires and learn about the evolution of pantomime, from its origins through to the well-loved stories and characters that we know today.

Follow the snowy Christmas trail and discover the story of Jack and the Beanstalk as you wander through the illuminated gardens as dusk falls.

Pre-booked Father Christmas tickets still available but call now!

4. Dreamland Margate -The Frosted Fairground

10th December 2016 to Monday 2nd January 2017.

Dreamland transforms into a magical winter experience with The Frosted Fairground!

As well as the vintage rides there’s also lots of yuletide treats to behold across the amusement park each day it’s open.

Join Teddy and Betty on the Garden Stage for their Christmas show, enjoy the Pop-Up Panto or even enter the magical festive den and enjoy a Christmas tale told in the cosy comfort of The Secret Story Tent.

You might even be lucky (unlucky) to be serenaded by the flash carollers.

All this and more at The Frosted Fairground this Christmas. Yule be a fool to miss it!

5. Christmas Ice Skating in Tunbridge Wells

18th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017.

Set in the beautiful splendour of Calverley Grounds’ amphitheatre and bathed in twinkling festive lights, the Royal Tunbridge Wells ice rink is back, bigger and better than ever.

The ice rink welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities and is perfect for a family day out, a romantic first date and a festive office party – or just a great fun night out with friends. Larger groups are also warmly welcomed.

Easily accessible by bus and National Rail, the rink is in the heart of Tunbridge Wells surrounded by an extensive offering of shops, bars and restaurants. For those wishing to watch friends and family enjoying themselves, the spectator’s area is back, adjacent to the rink and offers a range of drinks and food.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person at Assembly Hall Theatre Box Office or online at www.tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com and by calling 01892 554645.

6. Owletts – A Christmas Carol Parlour Play

Shows take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 3rd to 18th December.

Lasting approximately one hour, Owletts tenant Bella Baker performs her one-woman show based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Bella’s re-telling of the classic story will draw you into the world of Scrooge with audience members invited to assume characters (no acting experience or expertise required)… Will you be Scrooge, or perhaps Marley with his chains? How about the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present or Yet to Come?

It’s more than a story… During Victorian England, families and friends would join together and play parlour games, attempt jokes and impressions and sing songs. This parlour play is no exception so be prepared to enjoy a traditional time of traditional fun, for all ages.

£12 a ticket, including a seasonal drink and a homemade mince pie.

Please note that each performance is limited to 13 people.

7. Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway – Santa Specials

Trips are available throughout December.

For hundreds of families who return year on year, no Christmas would be complete without joining us for one of our famous Santa Specials. Included is a steam train ride to see Santa in his grotto, a visit to the Model Railway exhibition, festive nibbles and treats for all, plus the snow machine!

8. Ightham Mote – Christmas Magic at the Mote

Daily from 26th November 2016 to 1st January 2017 (closed 24th & 25th December), 11am to 3pm.

Wander through Yuletides of yesteryear in our 700-year-old moated manor decorated for Christmases past. Experience the true magic of Christmas with carols by candlelight then work off the festivities on our annual Boxing Day Ramble.

9. Bluewater – Ice Skating & The Grotto

Ice Skating

17th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017.

Our beautiful outdoor ice rink promises great skating for all. The ice rink is covered with a clear roof and twinkling lights so you can take to the ice no matter the weather.

This year our ice rink will be located in a brand new setting beside the lake outside the West Village with hot drinks and refreshments available from one of our alpine cabins and a dazzling, giant Christmas tree at the centre.

Look out for our photographer who will be taking to the ice to capture photos of your best moves!

Photos will be available for you to purchase from a log cabin beside the rink.

Perfect for beginners or experienced skaters and skating lessons will be available.

The Grotto

24th November until Christmas Eve.

Visit Father Christmas in his traditional toy workshop at Bluewater, located outside the West Village in a brand new log cabin grotto.

You’ll be greeted at the entrance by Bubbles the Elf who has told Santa all about your visit and can’t wait to take you to meet him. Bubbles will guide you through the workshop but along the way you need to help him look out for the missing keys to Santa’s door. You will have to go on a magical journey through the Toy Workshop to find Santa’s keys and our special guest, Paddington Bear!

Photo opportunities will be available with Santa and Paddington and can be purchased as you leave the Grotto. At the end of your visit each child will receive a luxury plush toy.

10. Sevenoaks – Sleeping Beauty Pantomime

December to 8th January 2017.

We can’t leave without mentioning that our local Stag Theatre here in Sevenoaks will be hosting a star-studded performance of Sleeping Beauty over the holiday season!

This year stars EastEnders’ Ricky Norwood alongside 90’s pop sister act Cleopatra, who will be reforming to play Sleeping Beauty’s pantomime fairies. Sevenoaks Panto regulars Jasette Amos, Peter Brad Leigh and Richard Tate also star in this fun, entertaining and positively hilarious pantomime adaptation of Sleeping Beauty!

Invicta House, Amherst Hill, Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2EL
Tel: 01732 471950 Email: info@invictainsuranceservices.co.uk
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