Our client, let’s call them Pear Orchard, is a small care home that looks after elderly clients, people with dementia and physical disabilities. They’ve been trading around 10 years. In general, Pear Orchard is a very well run operation. But the week before Christmas the MD was shocked to learn that Companies House de-registered them.
Spending so much time working hard on the care side of things, the MD had entrusted his long-serving Accountant with some key administrative responsibilities.
He came to regret it.
The Accountant failed to comply with a basic, routine obligation to update Pear Orchard’s annual record at Companies House. This had been going on for several years, with many reminders landing on the Accountant’s doormat, only to be ignored.
The week before Christmas, the MD found out. Being struck off Companies House left them unable to trade, freezing the company bank accounts and invalidating their insurance.
Without insurance, they failed to comply with CQC regulations, which became their main problem, the biggest blocker to trading. This meant a desperate scramble to rehome many vulnerable people, on one of the most challenging weeks of the year.
The MD had met Howden a couple of years ago at a conference. He asked us to speak to the insurers to see if there was anything we could do.
We were quick to tell him that there was no problem with his care home, only his legal entity.
So the proposed fix was to change the policy over, to cover the MD instead of his company. This is not generally something you would be able to do. Especially when much of the insurance industry had already knocked off for the year.
The underwriter was reticent. They took a great deal of convincing that the risk hadn’t changed, the client hadn’t changed.
But we persevered until we got the result Pear Orchard needed.
Eventually, the insurer agreed to change the name of the policyholder to “MD trading as Pear Orchard.” This re-validated the insurance policy. And after a bit of negotiation with CQC, they were compliant again.
It was a nervy few hours for the MD, but in the end, Pear Orchard didn’t have re-house anyone – and Pear Orchard didn’t to pay a penny more in premium.
Not all brokers would have been able to achieve this. But because of our reputation and footprint in the care insurance markets, we were able to call in a favour. In the end, the MD didn’t even have to get new paperwork.