Make sure you’re ready for the cold snap with these handy tips.

December is upon us once more: the streets are decked with strings of lights; chocolate selection boxes line supermarket shelves and everything has a little bit more sparkle. As you’re enjoying the festivities though, be mindful that the temperature is dropping, and the roads are becoming more treacherous.

Motor claims specialists Total Claims Solutions have these tips to help keep you and your family safe on the road this December, and leave you free to enjoy all of the delights the festive period brings.


“It sounds obvious, but a lot of people top up their anti-freeze once and then forget about it,” says Mick Conway, Director at Total Claims Solutions.

“Your car radiator should be a mix of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water, but this often becomes diluted over time. Make sure that the level is between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ indicators before setting off on any long journey to avoid freezing up this Winter.”


With sub-zero temperatures on the horizon, the time of the dreaded defrosting of the windscreen first thing in the morning is almost upon us. It can be a tempting to start driving before your windscreen and side windows are fully defrosted, but this can be incredibly risky.

“You should always de-ice your car fully and in a safe manner before setting off,” Mick says.

“It is also worth noting that if you leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition, it can be an easy target for thieves, and your insurance may not pay out,” he adds. “It’s not worth leaving the car during defrosting, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”


As keen as you may be to get to see loved ones this festive period, with roads potentially icy it’s important to keep an eye on your speed.

“It takes a lot longer to stop your car on an icy surface,” Mick explains. “It’s recommended that you leave about three times the stopping distance than you would in perfect conditions.”

“In addition, ease up on the breaks and the accelerator whilst driving, decreasing and increasing your speed at a slower rate than you would normally,” he advises. “This minimises the risk of skidding out – one of the biggest causes of Winter accidents.”


“Pay particular attention to any snow forecasted and ice and visibility warnings, and be sure to factor in changing conditions if you are travelling a considerable distance,” says Mick.

If you can avoid driving in these conditions, do. It’s not worth the risk of an accident for journeys that aren’t absolutely essential.


The festive period can be packed full of exciting social occasions, many of which may revolve around the pub. Drinking and driving must never be an option though, even if you feel sober.

“Even just one drink can create illegally high levels of alcohol in the blood. As soon as you’ve had a drink, your reactions slow down and you risk putting yourself and other road users in danger.”

“More police are watching the roads at this time of year as well, so your chances of getting stopped are even higher,” Mick adds.

“Work out alternative ways to get home from your night out before you buy a drink. It’s never worth the risk!”



Total Claims Solutions announces expansion of services as industry expert Nigel Allen joins the Board of Directors.

With the impending reforms set to bring the Scottish claims market under the same regulation as England and Wales for the first time, motor claims management company Total Claims Solutions are gearing up to continue their growth North of the border.

Total Claims Solutions plan to utilise the impressive industry clout of their existing Directors Rob Davidson and Mick Conway, who have over 30 years of experience each operating in the sector, to ensure that the Scottish consumer is guaranteed a fairer experience when making a claim. Their experience operating under the current, more stringent regulation which is enforced in England and Wales will, they hope, be beneficial when entering the Scottish market following the reforms on 1st April.

In anticipation of this, Total Claims Solutions have also welcomed Nigel Allen onto the Board of Directors. The former-CEO of Slater Gordon Solutions Motor, Nigel brings with him over 20 years of experience in the claims management industry, as well as being a highly networked individual with the connections to drive the business forward.

Of his appointment, Nigel said: “I am thrilled to have joined the board at Total Claims Solutions. This is such a pivotal moment for claimants in Scotland, and should result in the customer being put back in charge. I can’t wait to help Total Claims Solutions achieve this.”

In addition, Total Claims Solutions have undergone a brand refresh and launched an updated website ahead of their foray into the Scottish market. The website, launched on Friday (25th January), emphasises the company’s values of streamlining the claims management process.

Director Rob Davidson added: “It’s been a great year for Total Claims Solutions, and there are so many exciting things still to come.

“With Nigel onboard and the brand and new website looking state-of-the-art, we look forward to expanding our services still further, and optimising the claims experience for the customer.”



The new regulations could mean big changes to the way your CMC operates, particularly if you have previously operated in an unregulated market.

From 1st April, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will take over regulation of the claims management industry, and bring regulation to the Scottish market for the first time. All CMCs need to ensure that they are compliant with the new regulations, which can seem daunting, particularly if you’ve always operated previously unregulated in Scotland.

With extensive experience operating under stringent regulations in England and Wales, Total Claims Solutions can offer help and support as your business prepares for the switch over.

Cost Implications

One of the implications most concerning for CMCs is the rising cost of operating. As well as a huge 400% increase in application fees for companies with turnovers of over £1 million, the FCA reforms also mean higher annual fees on company turnover. Under the new regulations, companies will be charged 1.3% of every £1000 of turnover in excess of £100,000. The maximum annual fee is currently 0.9%.

On top of the cost implications of installing the necessary software and technology required to become FCA compliant, operating as an independent CMC is about to get a lot more expensive.

Data Management

Another important reform businesses must be aware of in order to become compliant is the rising standards of client data protection and management. To ensure compliance with the new GDPR laws, CMCs must now be able to demonstrate a full auditable trail to show that customer data has been obtained legitimately, and with explicit consent.

As well as this, data storage and retention measures must be compliant and secure. Typically, this means an influx of new technology and IT software, including business continuity and disaster recovery systems which may be alien to your business.

Again, the purchase and installation of this technology can be a costly process for any CMC. On top of this, you may need to hire staff members with the technical expertise to manage the running of these systems, ensuring that your business remains prepared for an FCA audit.

At Total Claims Solutions, we already have the technology in place, as well as the expert knowledge to help you and your business tackle the new strict data management regulations with ease.

Call Recording

After April, all CMCs must record all customer calls, keeping the records for a minimum of one year after the final communication with the customer. This means that CMCs must have call recording software in place, as well as the facility to retain the recordings long-term.

As well as this, staff need to be trained to be extremely cautious not to induce or mislead on sales calls, as scripts from the calls will be subject to audit, and can be used as evidence in the event of a complaint.

Total Claims Solutions records all calls as standard, so working in tandem with us can help reduce the financial implications of this, and ensure that your business is fully compliant.

Referral Fees

In Scotland, commission payments can currently still be made for the referral of Personal Injury work. However, following the introduction of FCA regulation referral fees will become prohibited, which could impact on the way your CMC brings work in.

If your business is struggling to get to grips with the impending reforms, we at Total Claims Solutions can help. With over 30 years of combined experience in the sector, including adapting and evolving practices to suit ever-changing regulation in England and Wales, our team can work with you to reduce the stress and financial implications of the FCA regulations.

With the clock ticking before the registration deadline, contact us today to see how Total Claims Solutions can help you.



With regulation of the claims management sector being brought under FCA control from 1st April, Director Nigel Allen explains the potential cost implications for businesses operating under the new system.

For those in the claims management sector, the introduction of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory reforms is big news. As well as shaking up the system in England and Wales, the reforms also mark the first time the claims industry has ever been regulated in Scotland, where businesses are used to working in the current, unregulated environment.

One of the biggest changes likely to hit businesses is the cost implications of the FCA reforms, as Nigel Allen, an industry expert with over 25 years of experience in the motor claims sector, explains.

Application Fees

Under the current regulation, all Claims Management Companies (CMCs) have to pay a one-off application fee, which is currently fixed at £2,000, but this is about to change.

“If your company turnover is over £1 million, the application fee will be £10,000 under the new FCA regulations,” Nigel explains.

“That’s a huge increase of 400%, and the fact that this is an upfront cost means that your business’ cash flow is likely to feel the hit.”

Of course, your authorisation to operate as a CMC expires every year, so the change effectively means that, if you turnover £1 million or more, you will need to budget for a £10,000 outlay every new tax year.

Annual Fees

“As well as an increase in application fees, the way annual fees for CMCs are calculated is changing under the new regulatory system,” says Nigel.

In England and Wales, CMCs currently regulated by the Ministry of Justice Claims Management Regulator (CMR) pay a 0.9% annual fee on any turnover up to £1 million, 0.8% on turnover between £1 million and £5 million, and 0.75% on any turnover above this.

“Under the new system, CMCs will need to pay a minimum of £1000 on turnover up to £100,000, and then an additional 1.3% on every £1,000 of turnover above that,” Nigel continues.

“This can mean that annual costs mount up very quickly, particularly if your business is used to operating in the Scottish market, where no fees have previously been imposed.”

Cost of Becoming (and Remaining) FCA Compliant

It’s not just an increase in fees that could cause your business to take a financial hit following the FCA takeover.

“Complying to many of the new FCA regulations requires technology and expertise that business’ may have to spend extra to acquire,” explains Nigel.

“For example, the new regulations are much stricter on data storage and retention measures, with extra security required as standard to protect customers. Systems must be in place for disaster recovery and business continuity in order for a business to be compliant. If this is alien to your business, installing this technology is a further outlay to consider.”

In addition, all customer calls must now be recorded, and these recordings stored for at least a year. This means your business needs to have the software to record and store calls long-term.

“Don’t forget to factor in any additional technical expertise your team may require to get to grips with the new software,” advises Nigel. “It’s important your staff fully understand what it means to be compliant, as any stipulations can be subject to an FCA audit at any time.”

While some welcome the introduction of tougher regulation of the claims management sector, for business-owners, particularly those operating in a currently unregulated Scotland, the cost implications of becoming compliant are significant.

“Many smaller businesses are partnering up with more established companies because they can’t justify the operating costs associated with remaining independent.” Nigel says.

Whether that is your solution or not, ensuring that your business has a financial plan that covers all aspects of the FCA regulatory reforms following 1st April is essential.



The Financial Conduct Authority take over regulation of the claims management industry from 1st April 2019. With tougher controls on data acquisition and management on the horizon, Nigel Allen, Director of Total Claims Solutions, explains what your business needs to do to ensure you are compliant.

The introduction of FCA regulation to the claims management sector is set to impact on many areas of the way businesses operate. Requirements around the way customer data is obtained, stored and ultimately destroyed are about to get tougher, with those operating in the currently unregulated Scottish market are likely to be hit the hardest.

An expert with over 25 years of experience in the sector, Director of Total Claims Solutions Nigel Allen explains the steps businesses must take to ensure they comply to the FCA’s stricter regulations on customer data.

Where has your data come from?

“The introduction of GDPR has had huge implications for businesses across sectors, and the claims management industry is no exception. The new FCA regulations reflect these changes, ” Nigel explains.

“If the way you source clients is external, through a marketing company or call centre for example, you must be able to prove that customers have explicitly ‘opted in’ to their details being passed to third parties such as yourselves,” he continues.

If your business is used to relying on these methods, the introduction of tougher scrutiny on data capture, particularly in Scotland where there are currently no GDPR controls, could have a significant impact on the way your business operates.

“The key point to remember is that you must be able to demonstrate a full auditable trail that demonstrates where your data comes from, and that it has been obtained legitimately,” advises Nigel.

“The FCA have a right to request this trail at any time, so it is important to be prepared.”

Software Implications

How exactly can you ensure that your business can prove the legitimacy of your data?

“The IT software and technical expertise required to ensure you are complying to these tougher data management standards may have a financial impact on businesses, particularly for smaller firms,” Nigel says.
It’s not just how to prove the origin of your data which might require some new technology either.

“Cyber-crime is a huge global concern at the moment, and stricter security requirements are being imposed by the FCA to reflect this. Your data storage systems must be airtight, with encrypted access and secure migration systems to move data from point to point.

“Again, this can all be subject to an FCA audit at any time.”

It is imperative that your business has the IT provisions in place to comply with the new FCA regulations on data management, as failure to demonstrate the sufficient software will lead to your operating license being revoked.

Technical Expertise

“Of course, as well as installing this software, it is important to have someone on your team with the technical expertise to understand it…and who knows what to do if things go wrong,” adds Nigel.

“Business continuity and disaster recovery software systems are a requirement for compliance under the new FCA regulations, so it’s important to have a plan in place for if the worst happens, and the technical experience to carry out that plan.”

With the way businesses obtain and store personal data under intense scrutiny across all sectors, ensuring that your business is fully prepared for the implications the upcoming FCA regulatory reforms have on data management is essential to continue legally operating after 1st April.