The Financial Conduct Authority has been asked to investigate two groups of companies providing insurance in the United Kingdom to the general public.
A complaint has been made against Aston Lark Group, which operates under a convoluted corporate structure that terminates in Jersey, the Channel Islands, and effectively managed by a solicitor at Mourant Governance Services (Jersey) Limited. Using imaginative additions to its company names like Topco, Midco, Bidco, etc., this group of companies has at least 11 companies in its control group (see structure) in a dizzying fabric of corporate avoidance that eventually ends with a solicitor, in an office in Jersey, who has refused to say on whose behalf he acts.
Hastings Insurance Services operations, similarly, weaves in and out of the United Kingdom in a cross-ownership pattern of corporate tag that causes only the very persistent to stop looking. This group is a public company, which is then effectively controlled (see structure) offshore by companies in both Jersey and Gibraltar.
Many policyholders in the United Kingdon may be surprised to know that the underwriter of insurance policies in the UK, a company called Advantage Insurance Company, which is based in Jersey, is actually part of the Hastings Group, which means that Hastings is underwriting its own insurance policies. Hastings employees, however, refer to decisions by "their underwriter" as though this is some unrelated guarantor or overseer, which it is not.