General conditions of trade
Who is Howden Belgium?
Howden Belgium NV is a public limited company incorporated under Belgian law, having its registered seat at Plasstraat 3, 1860 Meise, Belgium registered with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) under the enterprise number 0745.664.635, and registered with the FSMA under the same number.
Howden Belgium's activity consists of advising, mediating and assisting in the management or execution of your insurance contracts, and other insurance distribution services, if necessary via a website or other digital media. In addition, Howden Belgium provides other advisory services on an occasional basis.
Howden Belgium is a subsidiary of Howden Broking Group Limited (UK), which in turn is part of the Hyperion Insurance Group Limited (UK). Howden Belgium is under the supervision of the Belgian independent regulator FSMA.
By registering Howden Belgium as an insurance broker with the FSMA, Howden Belgium is authorized to mediate all types of insurance products, in Belgium and in all member states of the European Economic Area.
These general terms and conditions form part of the agreement between you, the client, and Howden Belgium, for every time you appoint us as your independent insurance broker. If applicable, these general conditions are also applicable to any affiliated companies (in the sense of article 1:20 of the Companies and Associations Code) for whom you have appointed Howden Belgium as your insurance broker.
These general terms and conditions of Howden Belgium shall always prevail over your general or special terms and conditions unless your terms and conditions have been expressly accepted in advance by Howden Belgium.
These general terms and conditions can also be invoked by natural and legal persons who are directly or indirectly associated with Howden Belgium and/or who are involved in any way in the services provided by or on behalf of Howden Belgium.
These general terms and conditions apply to all your assignments that you entrust to Howden Belgium, including at least but not limited to:
- Advising on insurance contracts;
- Proposing and/or concluding insurance contracts, including the performance of all preparatory work and useful advice; and
- Assisting in the management and execution of your insurance contracts, and in particular in the management of a claim during the term of our mission.
We are not qualified to provide any accounting, legal or tax advice. If you would like advice on such aspects, we advise you to consult an expert in the matter.
Correct treatment of your insurance file is key for us. We therefore strive to:
- Fulfil our mission with the necessary knowledge, care and integrity;
- Provide you with correct, clear and non-misleading information at all times;
- Act in a fair, impartial and professional manner, always in the interest of our client;
- Respect your trust;
- Be fully transparent about our compensation; and
- Handle every complaint in a correct and independent manner;
In order to best represent your interests, you authorize us to make all necessary contacts with insurers and the insurance market and to make available and transmit to insurers all information we deem necessary (including your current insurance policy and/or another insurer's quotation).
Confidentiality and protection of personal data
The information you provide to us will be kept confidential and will only be used in the context of the provision of our services (including information which may be communicated to insurers, their agents and other service providers in accordance with normal brokerage practice to enable us to fulfil our obligations to you).
When processing personal data, Howden Belgium adheres to the relevant legal provisions regarding the protection of privacy. Howden Belgium processes your data, including insurance policy data, your name and address and other (personal) data that are necessary for concluding the insurance policy or performing other services by Howden Belgium. This information is stored in one or more databases.
In view of the global structure of the group to which Howden Belgium belongs, personal data provided by the client can be sent to, or used, stored or processed in another country than the country in which the information is provided. In such cases, the group ensures an adequate level of protection.
Timely and full payment of the premium is an important obligation for every client.
Non-payment or late payment of your premium can lead to a denial of coverage, suspension of coverage and/or cancellation of the insurance policy.
Remuneration of Howden Belgium
Howden Belgium's remuneration consists of a fee, or a commission calculated on the basis of the premium of the insurance contract. Other elements of compensation may include: claims settlement brokerage, recovery fees, interest income, and additional remuneration from insurers for services rendered to their benefit.
Furthermore, Howden Belgium charges policy and administration costs to its clients, which depend on the amount of the premium and/or commission.
Howden Belgium checks the financial capacity of insurers during the placement and renewal of the insurance policies, but is not liable if an insurer subsequently becomes insolvent.
Howden Belgium is an independent insurance broker, which means that we are not bound by any contractual obligation to place a certain minimum quantity of the insurances to be concluded with a certain insurer.
For our services Howden Belgium depends on the information you provide us.
Therefore, it is important that the client provides us with correct and complete information and documents that are reasonably necessary for our services and for the mediation of your insurance policy or policies, both at the start and during the term of our services. Howden Belgium is not liable for any consequences if the client has provided incomplete or incorrect information. Within the framework of our services, you will receive various documents which you should always review carefully. If these documents are not in accordance with your wishes and needs, these irregularities must be reported immediately.
Within the framework of your cooperation with Howden Belgium and the insurers it is always important that you act with due care. This also means that you fill out any application forms as completely and truthfully as possible.
You must strictly comply with every validity condition in your insurance document(s). If you fail to comply with a validity condition, your insurance cover can have no effect and/or the insurer may have the right to terminate the insurance policy.
All advice, documents, insurance policies, etc. originating from Howden Belgium (including our know-how) are protected by applicable intellectual property law and may not be used or reproduced without our prior written consent.
If you wish, we can offer you the use of various web or IT applications and online services as part of the services relating to your insurance contracts. In case of use of such applications or online services, you expressly agree that you have approved all the conditions applicable to these applications or online services.
The liability provisions mentioned in this article 12 apply to: (1) Howden Belgium including companies affiliated with Howden Belgium and all their staff, including directors, agents and employees, and (2) claims brought against Howden Belgium by you, including by your affiliated companies, all their staff, including directors, agents and employees.
The liability of Howden Belgium is strictly limited to damage that has been calculated and as far as it has been proven that this damage is the direct result of an established fault committed by us in the execution of our services.
To the fullest extent permitted by law, and with the exception of damage that exclusively and directly results from wilful misconduct or gross negligence, Howden Belgium's cumulative liability (including the liability of our affiliated companies and employees, including directors, agents and employees) towards you for all damage, costs and expenses (including, but not limited to attorney's costs) with regard to, or related to the services provided by Howden Belgium, is limited to EUR 3,000,000 per claim and per calendar year.
Howden Belgium is in no way liable for consequential or indirect damage (including loss of profit and / or loss of revenue), nor for damages imposed as a fine.
Howden Belgium is not obliged to guarantee a certain result and cannot be held liable in this respect.
All claims against Howden Belgium or its affiliated companies and their aforementioned staff, concerning or related to the services provided by Howden Belgium, must be made no later than 1 year after the date on which you became aware of the grounds of the claim, or could or should have been aware of the grounds for this claim.
Howden Belgium is not responsible for errors made by third parties.
Howden Belgium is not liable for losses you suffered due to an incorrect calculation or estimate of the premium and statutory levies that apply to the insurance.
IDD rules of conduct
Howden Belgium is obliged to comply with the “IDD-rules of conduct”, as stipulated in the law of 6 December 2018 implementing the European Directive (EU) 2016/97 of January20, 2016 on insurance distribution (“IDD Directive”), replacing as of December 28, 2018 in the Insurance Act of April 2, 2014 the chapters regarding (1) sales through insurance intermediaries and (2) the rules of conduct of the Royal Decree of February 21, 2014.
If you wish to register a complaint, you can contact your regular contact person at Howden Belgium or write or contact us at the address stated in Article 1.
A complaint can also be registered with the Insurance Ombudsman, details of which can be found at the following web address: http://www.ombudsman.as/.
If you have a problem with products or services that you have purchased online, you can request alternative dispute resolution via the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/odr/.
Conflict of interest
We follow strict procedures and rules to avoid any direct or indirect conflict of interest in our services to our clients.
If, exceptionally, a conflict of interest should nevertheless arise during the performance of our services, we apply strict rules to preventively identify any conflict of interest and all measures will be taken to prevent or avoid a conflict of interest. We will communicate with the client in an appropriate manner and keep an updated register of potential conflicts of interest.
You can communicate with us in Dutch, French and English, either by e-mail, regular letter or telephone.
For the signing of insurance policies or for other documents, you can communicate with us by regular letter or email.
If you have provided us with your e-mail address, you have expressly accepted that we can send you all letters, information and documents by electronic communication and that we can provide you with information by e-mail or via our website (provided that we have made it clear beforehand how and where this information is available and what information it is).
If any provision of these general terms and conditions should be unenforceable or conflict with a provision of mandatory law, such unenforceability or invalidity will not affect the validity and enforceability of any other provision of these general terms and conditions, or of that part of the provision in question that is not contrary to mandatory law. In that case, you will negotiate in good faith with Howden Belgium in order to replace the invalid provision with an enforceable provision that comes closest to the initial objective.
Governing law and jurisdiction
The legal relationship between Howden Belgium and the client is governed by Belgian law. Without prejudice to the your right to appeal, where appropriate, to the mediation of the insurance Ombudsman in Belgium, the courts of Brussels have exclusive jurisdiction in the event of disputes, provided that Howden Belgium has the right to bring the dispute before the courts of the lieu of your registered office.
Howden Belgium reserves the right to change these general terms and conditions unilaterally and at any time. In that case, we will inform you clearly and in advance and we will also indicate from which date an amendment will apply.