Terms of business - General

The Travel Vault Membership Scheme: Terms of Business for Financial Protection and other Insurances

Status and authorisation

The Travel Vault Limited (“Travel Vault” or “we”) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) to act as an insurance intermediary. Travel Vault is included on the Financial Services Register under no. 610894. You can check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website www.fca.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.

Travel Vault is an English registered company, company no. 08483758, with its registered office and principal place of business at Albert House, 256-260 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DD.

Terms and Conditions

Please read this document carefully as it sets out the terms and conditions on which we agree to act as agent for our clients (“you”) when arranging insurance on your behalf. It contains details of our responsibilities, as well as your responsibilities both to us and to insurers. Please contact us immediately if there is anything in this document that you do not understand or with which you disagree. By requesting us to arrange your insurance on your behalf you are deemed to have consented to these terms and conditions.

The contract of insurance that we arrange on your behalf will be subject to the separate terms and conditions of the relevant insurer. These will be provided to you for your consideration together with the insurance quotation.

1. Scope of our insurance services

It is a condition of joining The Travel Vault Membership Scheme that we arrange financial protection for customer payments on your behalf. We arrange financial protection insurance for members as a means of providing such financial protection. In addition, Travel Vault may offer to arrange various optional additional insurance policies from time to time relating to the operation of your travel business, including, without limitation: travel bond insurance; scheduled airline/supplier failure insurance; employers’ liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

As an authorised insurance intermediary, our permitted activities include advising on non-investment insurance contracts, arranging deals in non-investment insurance contracts, assisting in the administration and performance of those contracts and dealing in those contracts as agent.

We can only offer products from a limited number of insurers. Please ask us for a list of insurers we offer insurance from.

We will provide you with information about the type of cover you require together with the costs involved. We will keep you informed of the progress of our negotiations and upon receipt of your instructions we will place, amend or renew insurance cover with insurers. We shall assume, unless you confirm to the contrary in writing, that you have authorised us to agree the terms of your insurance policy with insurers consistent with your instructions. We will advise you of any inability to place your insurance.

You are not to rely on any insurance policy you have instructed us to place on cover until we have confirmed in writing to you that the insurer has agreed to such insurance cover being in place. Please note that you must comply with the terms and conditions of the insurance policy you purchase including any matters where the insurer makes cover subject to your compliance with conditions or with express or implied warranties. Failure to comply will entitle the insurer to cancel your insurance contract and risk a loss you suffer not being paid in part or in full.

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

2. Conflict of interest

As an intermediary and your agent we owe various duties to you. However, in certain circumstances we may act for and owe duties of care to other parties such as insurers who may authorise us to underwrite and settle claims on their behalf within a delegated authority. We will advise you if these circumstances occur so you will be aware of any possible conflict of interest and obtain your advice as to how you would wish us to proceed. A conflict of interest is something that we do or fail to do that is in our or someone else’s interest and which may work to the material detriment of a customer.

3. Client’s duty of disclosure

It is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information to insurers and to us prior to and when you purchase an insurance policy, throughout the life of the policy and when you renew that policy. Failure on your part to immediately disclose information relevant to your insurance or any inaccuracies in the information given could result in your insurance cover being invalid or not fully operative.

All statements and material facts disclosed on proposal forms, statements of fact, claims forms and other documents should be full true and accurate. Material facts are those that would influence an insurer in deciding whether or not to accept a risk and the terms and conditions that would apply. Where forms are completely or partially completed on your behalf, you must check them for accuracy before signing. If you are in any doubt as to whether a fact is relevant. You should disclose it and then ask for guidance. Please note that this duty of disclosure applies to you and all persons who may benefit from the policy cover.

4. Quotations

Quotations are valid until the date cover commences up to a maximum of 21 days, unless otherwise stated. Specimen policy wordings are available on request.

5. Insurance documentation

It is your responsibility to read all documentation upon receipt and raise any query regarding it otherwise you may risk any loss you suffer not being covered in part or in full. Documentation including your Policy and Certificate, as applicable, will be issued to you following receipt from insurers. Our documentation will confirm to you the basis of cover, provide details of the insurers, set out your demands and needs, confirm whether the contract has been personally recommended by us and if so, the reasons for making that recommendation.

You must check all documentation issued to you to ensure that the details are correct and the insurance cover provided meets your requirements. We will arrange insurance cover according to your instructions but only you can identify if it does not meet your requirements. If you are uncertain as to any meaning or have any concerns in respect of the insurance cover or if errors are discovered in the documentation, you must notify us immediately.

6. Notification of changes and alterations

Amendments to policies after acceptance may be arranged upon receipt of full details and on return of the Certificate of Insurance (if already provided). Cover is subject to acceptance by insurers and payment of any additional premium required.

7. Data protection – our collection and use of personal data

When you complete the application form to become a member of the Scheme, we will ask you to submit the name, address and date of birth of your company directors and key staff members (who will be the principal contacts for your membership of the Scheme), as well as the names of shareholders (which might include individual shareholders). In addition, the form requires disclosure of convictions and other legal proceedings against such individuals.

These details are required by insurance companies to whom we make insurance applications as agent on your behalf as part of the Scheme. Accordingly, processing of this personal data is necessary in order to take steps at your request in order to become a member of the Scheme. In addition, the application form contains an explicit consent which needs to be signed by any directors and key staff members who provide their personal data as described above so that we are able to process their data for the purpose described above. If you do not obtain these consents we will not be able to proceed with your application.

All personal data will be retained, transferred and processed by us in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the applicable data protection laws including, the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (with effect from 25 May 2018), the Data Protection Act 1998 (or its successor) legislation and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (and any successor regulations). A copy of our Privacy Policy can be found online at www.the travelvault.co.uk or a paper copy can be requested. We will also provide you with a copy of the insurer’s policy on request.

8. Remuneration

We are usually remunerated by commission from the insurer in respect of insurance business placed with them, which we deduct from the premium paid by you. You are entitled at any time to request information regarding any commission that we may have received as a result of placing your insurance business.

We may also make individual charges to cover the administration of your insurances e.g. arranging a new policy, mid-term adjustments, short period or mid-term cancellations, renewals, replacement or duplicate documents, document fee and such other amounts that are confirmed in writing to you at the time of inception or renewal of your insurance. Please ask us for details of our charges.

We shall be entitled to retain all commission and agreed fees in respect of the full policy period including where you appoint another intermediary in our place during the currency of the policy or where a policy is cancelled after inception or renewal.

9. Payment of premiums and client account

Premiums payable by you in respect of an insurance contract must be paid to us acting as agent for the insurer. Your first premium payment must be made by bank transfer and we will require you to sign a Direct Debit form to allow us to collect your further premium payments on a monthly basis.

We are authorised to hold and control client money in respect of non-investment insurance contracts that we arrange and all money received from you or received from the insurer on your behalf, will be paid into in a statutory trust client account with an approved bank in accordance with the FCA Client Money rules. A copy of these rules is available at the FCA website at www.fca.gov.uk.

Unless we receive your written instructions to the contrary, we shall treat receipt of payment from you and of any claim payment and or refund of premium which fall due to you, as being your informed consent to the payment of those monies into a statutory trust bank account. Interest earned on client money is retained by us.

We have no obligation to fund any premium, taxes or fees (if applicable) on your behalf, nor do we have any responsibility for any loss you may suffer as a result of cancellation of insurance cover or any other steps taken as a result of late payment by you. If we decide to retain certain documents whilst awaiting full payment of premium, fees or administration charges, we shall provide full details of your insurance cover and any information or documents required by law. Please be aware that full or partial non-payment of a premium may result in a cancellation or lapsing of your policy.

10. Claims

We will assist you with advice when you make a claim under any insurance policies that you have placed through us, but it remains your responsibility to have read, understood, queried all documentation upon receipt. All incidents that could possibly give rise to a claim must be notified to us or your insurer, without delay and a claim form completed where required. Delay on your part in notifying a claim and or completing required forms may risk your claim not being met in part or in full.

You must not admit liability for a loss or agree to any course of action, other than emergency measures carried out to minimise loss, as you will risk your claim not being met in part or in full. All correspondence, claims, writs, summonses etc should be forwarded immediately, unanswered, either to us or your insurer. You must keep losses and costs arising from an incident to a minimum and must comply with all policy terms and conditions, otherwise cover may be invalidated.

We will remit claims payments received on your behalf to you as soon as practicable after confirmation of receipt of cleared funds. If the insurer becomes insolvent or delays making settlement, we do not accept liability for any unpaid amounts. Where we have a delegated authority from an insurer to settle your claim on their behalf we shall make you aware of this on notification of the claim and obtain your informed consent to proceed. We reserve the right to charge for our claims service if you request this to extend beyond our appointment to your Policy and this will be confirmed in writing before you incur any charge.

11. Cancellation

Your rights to cancel any insurance contract that we have arranged for you will depend on the insurer’s terms and conditions of contract. Details of applicable cancellation terms and charges will be found in your policy documents. Note that travel bond insurance is usually only cancellable in extraordinary circumstances with no refund of premium usually payable.

Our commissions are fully earned from the date insurance cover commences and may not be refundable in the event of cancellation, avoidance or early termination of a policy.

It is a condition of membership of The Travel Vault Membership Scheme that your customer booking payments are protected in the event of your insolvency and therefore we may terminate your membership of the Scheme in the event that you cancel your financial protection insurance and do not put in place any alternative financial protection arrangements approved by us.

12. Termination of our authority to act

You or we may terminate our authority to act on your behalf as your insurance intermediary by providing at least 14 days’ notice (or such other period we agree). Termination is without prejudice to any transactions already initiated by you and which will be completed according to these Terms of Business unless we otherwise agree in writing.

You will remain liable to pay for any transactions or adjustments effective prior to termination and we shall be entitled to retain any and all commission and or fees payable in relation to insurance cover placed by us prior to the date of the written termination of our authority to act on your behalf.

Notwithstanding the above, it is a condition of membership of the Travel Vault Membership Scheme that we arrange financial protection insurance on your behalf. Accordingly any termination of our authority to act will be automatically deemed to be a termination of your membership by you. See The Travel Vault Membership Scheme terms and conditions.

13. Our liability to you

Unless we have otherwise agreed with you in writing, we shall treat your instructions to us to place or renew your insurance cover as acceptance of the limitation of our liability to you and to any other person with an interest in your insurance cover, as follows:

Except in respect of any claim resulting from our fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation or in relation to any liability for death or personal injury resulting from our negligence or any other liability which cannot be lawfully excluded or limited, our liability to you (whether in contract, tort (including without limitation, negligence) or otherwise) shall be limited to £1 million in the aggregate in respect of any and all insurance mediation activities undertaken by us on your behalf during any annual period of insurance cover.

This Agreement contains all obligations owed by us to you.

14. Complaints

If you have a complaint, please provide us with full details of your complaint and send it:

by post to: Martin Alcock, Albert House, 256-260 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DD.
by email to: info@thetravelvault.co.uk
by phone: 020 8050 7185
We need you to help us by summarising the problem, the policies affected and the resolution you expect. Please ensure whenever possible that you quote the customer reference number.

Our complaint investigation will follow the FCA rules and guidance. The minimum standard you should expect from us is as follows:

If we unable to resolve your complaint by close of business on the next working day after receipt of your complaint, we will send you an acknowledgement of receipt of your complaint and keep you informed about the measures that are being taken to progress the resolution of your complaint.
If matters still remain unresolved and you have not accepted our response in writing, no later than 8 weeks after receiving your complaint we will provide you with either:
our final written response which either (i) accepts the complaint and offers appropriate redress or remedial action; or (ii) offers redress or remedial action without accepting the complaint; or (iii) or rejects the complaint and gives our reasons for doing so; and which will provide details of your rights to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Services’s; or
a written response which explains why we are not in a position to make a final response and indicates when we expect to be able to provide one; informs you that you may now refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service; and encloses a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Service standard explanatory leaflet.
Nothing contained in this complaints procedure prejudices any rights you have to take legal proceedings.

15. Compensation

We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and you may be entitled to compensation from the FSCS if we do not meet our obligations. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. Full details and further information on the scheme are available from the FCSC at www.fscs.org.uk.

16. Severability

If any provision of these Terms of Business are found to be invalid or unenforceable in whole or in part, the validity of the other provisions of these Terms of Business and the remainder of the provision in question will not be affected.

17. Rights of Third Parties

Unless otherwise agreed in writing between us, no provision of these Terms of Business is enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 by any person other than you and us.

18. Applicable law and jurisdiction

These Terms of Business which form our agreement with you are governed by and shall be construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. You and we each irrevocably agree that the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with this agreement or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims).

If you are resident in a country other than the UK, the law or regulations in your country of residence may take precedence over any UK legislation. Therefore references in this document to the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme and any rights or benefits provided by those bodies may not apply. If you wish to clarify your position in this respect then we will discuss this with you on request.