Crest’s Meacham will withdraw from sector in next year as brokers label situation ‘inappropriate’

A Worcester-based broker with a previous conviction for making child pornography continues to manage an insurance intermediary operating in the child care and education sector.

Graham Meacham, part-owner of Crest Insurance, which arranges insurance for residential care for children, private schools, colleges and people with mental health and learning disabilities, was convicted of making child pornography in September 2004.

An FSA spokesman refused to comment on the individual case, but said there were no “specific checks” on such cases. The spokesman added that all candidates are asked to fill out an approval form, and any ‘cause for concern’ would be investigated further. However, one broker lamented the FSA’s position for not stepping in and putting a stop to Crest trading in the child care sector, labelling the whole saga as “inappropriate”, “unprofessional” and “worrying”.

Crest Insurance has around £1.5m gross written premium and employs five staff, with around 20% of its turnover coming from the care sector space.

When Insurance Times contacted Meacham on Tuesday, he acknowledged the conviction but maintained his innocence, claiming somebody else had used his computer – which was later seized by the police – as well as fraudulently using his credit card. However, he said he eventually pleaded guilty to protect his family and business. He said that he does not have direct contact with children and the care industry, adding: “I distanced myself from dealing with any of that, and I concentrate on the pubs and couriers. So I have done my very best to make sure that I do not have involvement with this at all.”

Meacham stated that he had been working in the child care sector since 1994, and following the conviction removed himself from direct contact with the industry. His only involvement at present was to negotiate with the insurers.

He said that he would be withdrawing from the child care sector over the next 12 months.

When asked why he didn’t remove Crest Insurance from care services immediately after the conviction, he said: “We lost a million pounds gross written premium virtually overnight because the insurance went out of the window – we’ve got staff wages to pay and everything else.”

Worcestershire County Council said it did not use Crest Insurance and added it would be “inappropriate” to comment. Meacham was part of the Cobra Network until last month. Cobra said Crest was FSA approved, but was now no longer with the network due to lack of business.