Driving Abroad if we leave with “No Deal”

In the event of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. It will be a legal requirement to carry a physical document known as a Green Card when driving in Europe.

What this means for me when Driving Abroad

In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, if you need to drive your vehicles outside the UK you must carry a Green Card if you are driving in an EU or specified EEA country.

The legal requirements of the Green Card system mean anyone driving abroad under a UK insurance policy must carry a physical Green Card. If you intend to tow a trailer or caravan, you must also have a separate Green Card for that.

Green Cards can be requested through our Green Card Request Form. They can be:

  • Emailed directly to you to print locally. However, it must be printed double-sided on green paper,
  • Posted directly to you or a nominated receipient, but please allow up to 30 days for it to arrive.

For your Northern Ireland clients – this is particularly important for clients based in Northern Ireland, as Green Cards will be required to drive into the Republic of Ireland.

For clients wanting to take a trailer or caravan – A separate Green Card is required for any towed vehicle.

Green Cards requested through this website are for clients that have a live insurance policy through Graham Sykes Limited.


Thomas Cook – Advice For Customers


Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect (announced approximately 2am 23/09/2019). All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled. There are currently more than 150,000 Thomas Cook customers abroad. This is almost twice the number that were repatriated following the failure of Monarch.

• Thomas Cook has ceased trading so all Thomas Cook flights are now cancelled

• Customers in the UK yet to travel must not go to the airport if their flight was due to be fulfilled by Thomas Cook

• UK Civil Aviation Authority to launch biggest ever peacetime repatriation

• Customers currently overseas should check for advice. Only go to the airport once they have an alternative flight confirmed.

• 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330 330 from overseas


Q How do I know whether my flights / holiday have ATOL Protection?

A If you have ATOL Protection your documentation would have included an ATOL Certificate.

Q What is the ATOL protection certificate?

A When selling package holidays travel agents and tour operators must now give you a certificate explaining how your holidays are protected.

Q I am due to fly tomorrow/in the future with Thomas Cook, am I covered?

A The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) have advised any flight due to be operated by Thomas Cook will no
longer be flying. If you hold ATOL protection as part of your booking, then you will be covered by them for your unused trip.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group. If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline it may still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers might be affected

FAQ’s – If Abroad

Q I am abroad at the moment and scheduled to return to the UK with Thomas Cook, what should I do?

A If you are on a package holiday and due to return on or before 6th October 2019 then the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) will arrange your repatriation back to the UK. Further details can be found on the following link –
PLEASE NOTE: Some of Thomas Cook’s package holiday bookings include flights with airlines unrelated to the Thomas Cook Group. If your return flight is not with Thomas Cook’s airline it may still be valid. However other elements of the package, such as accommodation and transfers might be affected.

Q Will the customer return home on the same flight?

A For those customers who are ATOL protected historically the CAA has arranged new flights at no extra cost to the customer. Details of new flights should be published at least 48 hours in advance of the original departure time, so they should monitor the CAA website.

Q Will the customer still be able to stay in their accommodation?A Previously when tour operators have gone into liquidation, if the customer has ATOL Protection, the CAA have contacted accommodation providers to make arrangements for the customer to stay in their accommodation, on the same board basis for the duration of their holiday, at no extra cost to the customer.
If you are currently abroad on an ATOL protected package holiday with Thomas Cook or any company part of the Thomas Cook Group, the Civil Aviation Authority will seek to guarantee your stay directly with your hotel. If you are experiencing difficulties with your ATOL-protected hotel, or your hotel is requesting payment from you, please call our call centre on +44 1753 330 330. Please note that it may take the CAA a few days to secure these arrangements.
While arrangements are being made, please do not make a payment to your hotel unless instructed otherwise by the CAA team. If our guarantee is not accepted by the accommodation provider, we may need to relocate you to another hotel for the duration of your stay. In these circumstances, the CAA will inform other suppliers, such as transfers, of the change to your accommodation and flight details


Buying Insurance, Who’d Have It

Buying Insurance, who’d have it? Love it or hate it we all need to protect ourselves against risks that we cannot afford to pay for ourselves. Whether you sell handmade jewellery or put on a stage show, if it involves people you will need to deal with the risk of bodily injury or damage.

I could write a book on the number of different views and experiences people have told me over the years. Some have lucky escapes and some are not so lucky! Let’s face it, obtaining insurance is probably one of the only things you buy up front. You do this before you have earned any money and you really hope that it is a complete waste of time.
So what’s in it for me? Well that depends on how much money you have already. Self insurance, where you pay for everything that goes wrong is certainly an option. However this depends on if you are allowed to in any contract you agree to. Most of us however, could not afford to pay for the fees and ongoing care that a person needs if they get injured. And remember that does not include the legal costs!

The best and worst stories of all are the ones that begin with the statement “my mate says I need”. Or even “I have spoken to an insurance guy and he just tried to sell me”. Both statements strike fear into my heart because, bottom line you carry the can!

Buying insurance is all about two things. Firstly, having someone else decide if it was actually your fault. And secondly not having to give up your livelihood should the worst happen. These might sound harsh but when you think your actions may have had some nasty consequences. I would feel bad trying to make decisions about what is best for another person. The other thing of course is, it might not have been your fault.

Insurance policies are set up as “good faith contracts. This means you must tell the insurer or broker everything they need to know about the cover you want. It is important to answer any questions as fully as possible. Whilst you might have a cheaper premium by leaving out important information, if someone tries to make a claim against you then you may have to pay the whole claim yourself, including those legal costs.

If you have any queries we will be only too pleased to help, call us on 01395 255 100.

You can also make contact by sending an email to


I have it all under control

So how to get hold of a quote on my own.

For those of you who are seasoned event organisers or stallholders it could not be simpler, just hop online. Many companies, including mine, give you online access to a full quote and buy system.

A few things worth checking beforehand though:

Getting the correct level of public liability cover can be difficult enough. Therefore, buying insurance for £millions can seem very strange but consider why you are buying it. For example public and employers liability covers bodily injury. This money may be used to provide care which could be needed for years.

Remember insurance contacts are “good faith” contracts so you need to set them up truthfully. You may need to answer some qualifying questions before you buy your policy. It is very important that you answer them correctly. If you are unsure then call your chosen provider before you buy .

Looking after your helpers is a legal requirement, this even includes volunteers. They all need to be covered under employers’ liability.

In some cases event organisers or site owners may say that they want a specific level of public liability. Some, councils for example, may ask you for £5m. It is worth checking before you buy because amending policies afterwards may incur a charge.

If you are selling something you will also need to consider product liability. In some cases this is set to the same value as your public liability. So please check the policy wording or call your broker or insurer.

There are other covers that may be available to cover stock and property. You may also want protection against cancellation. Many additional covers are available on the online quote and buy options. But if you have thought of one that isn’t there just give us a call.

Online purchase means you should get all your documents almost instantly. However, before you put them in your bag ready for your event, please take time to check they are correct. It is far better to change mistakes before the event.

Once you have chosen your provider. Selected the level of cover you need. Answered all the questions and paid the premium. The only thing left to do is focus on making the most of your event or stall.

Now I have it all under control!

Good luck!


DVLA Withdraws Counterpart Driving Licence

You may have read in the press that the DVLA have withdrawn the counterpart driving licence (Paper Endorsement Section) with effect from 8th June 2015. You will no longer be required to keep the counterpart, and any new driving licence applications will be issued without the counterpart.

Insurance companies will still need to validate information that has been supplied to them regarding your policy, and the following procedure will need to be followed.

  • Go to
  • You will need to enter your Driving Licence Number, National Insurance Number and Postcode (Please make sure that you use the postcode that is shown on your photocard driving licence).
  • Once you consent to the DVLA checking your information, you will be presented with your driving licence details. Click on the “Share your licence information” tab
  • Click on the “Create a Code” button, you will be presented with a random code, this code will last for 3 weeks, and can only be used once. Therefore please click on the “view, print or save your licence information” link. This will give you the option to save the file as a PDF.
  • Email the saved PDF file to us to the following email address : quoting your name and address and you client reference number.

Please Note: Each driver on your policy will need to obtain their licence information and follow the above steps.
It’s a criminal offence to obtain someone else’s personal information without their permission.

Download the visual how to here

What to do with your paper counterpart

The paper counterpart to a driving licence has had no legal status since 8 June 2015. You should destroy yours if you have one, but keep your photocard driving licence.


Virtual Jet Centre – Flight Simulator

Report by Mike Champion on a “taster” visit to the

Flight Simulator – Now at The Flybe Training Academy

Sometime ago the Virtual Jet Centre invited Graham Sykes, Chief Executive of Graham Sykes Insurance for a brief “demo” session in their flight simulator. Graham asked if I would visit on his behalf and evaluate the session to see what relevance it might have to his business. I have a passion for aviation I was an RAF pilot for twenty years and then worked in a family business.

I was initially met by the VJC Boss Captain Andy Wilkins a former airline captain and his team of instructors. They all demonstrated a very high level of enthusiasm for the project.

An ordinary looking small industrial unit was to unveil a very non-ordinary scene. A flight simulator (BOEING 737-800) a cabin (containing around 20 seats) and a suite of computers flying simulators (about 10)

After a tour of these very impressive facilities I had a go myself at take-off circuit and a simulated landing at Munich airport. Having flown many hours in flight simulators I was amazed how realistic this was The flight simulator was built by Captain Andy himself, it was superb. When, as you come into land you get an adrenalin rush you know it’s good!

The three main areas of interest are :

  • Pilot training, professional/student pre and post graduate qualifications etc.
  • A fun day for the boss or valued employee or customer, which I consider very good value at around £150 per day. As a former business owner I would seriously consider this particularly if clients are interested in aviation, even better if more than one.
  • The third major area of interest and perhaps the most important is that of “a team building experience!”

Many aircraft accident and incidents over the years have been caused by a breakdown in communication between Captain, first officer, cabin staff, engineers and air traffic controllers even my single seat Jet flying experience there were incidents of this nature. In the mid 80’s the airline industry very rapidly realised that ‘Human Factors’ now called ‘Crew Resource Management’ was a very important aspect of training.

The relevance in a small business may not immediately be apparent and I can assure you with both my flying and business hat on, it is! My small business was a classic family business where many employees had been in the business for many years, complacency had set in and team spirit was very poor therefore the business was inefficient.

So back to the Virtual Jet Centre here they run day long courses for typically 6 – 8 people or fewer and introduce many team building experiences. For example a team of two could fly the simulator and could be assessed individually or as a team, one person could be the pilot and the other 2nd pilot responsible for undercarriage, flaps, navigation etc. Another experience might involve the cabin where emergencies could be simulated and ‘before flight’ briefings could be given in teams. There are too many team situations to be covered here. Refer to where you  can get more information.

In all these activities I feel a very close and efficient team of employees would gain as much as a group of employees who are far from a team from this experience. I would not hesitate to have sent my employees on this adventure as I am sure productivity would have improved or I would offer this as a day out for a valued Client. And it’s a bit more exciting than a day at the races or a day’s cricket!

Many thanks, once again, to Captain Andy Wilkins for a quick look at a very professional and thought provoking experience.