BIC - management liability insurance (1)

Importance of Management Liability Insurance in Australia

In today’s modern business landscape, it is important for businesses to have the right management liability insurance coverage. 

With the ever-changing legal and financial regulations, having a comprehensive management liability policy can protect your business from potential risks and liabilities. This blog post will discuss the importance of management liability insurance in Australia and why your business should not go without it. 

What is Management Liability Insurance? 

Management liability insurance is an important form of protection for businesses operating in Australia. This type of insurance covers a range of risks that could potentially cause financial losses for public and private companies, or resources if they were to occur. 

What Does Management Liability Insurance Cover? 

Management liability insurance covers a range of exposures that could be faced by businesses in Australia, including wrongful acts, wrongful dismissal, employment practice liability, corporate criminal liability, fiduciary liability, and statutory liability, tax audits and penalties. 

This type of insurance is designed to protect directors and officers liability from personal financial losses in the event of a claim being made against them or their companies for wrongful acts committed while managing the business. 

By having management liability insurance cover, business directors and officers can protect themselves from costly lawsuits or other legal action taken against them by their employees or customers. The policy covers the legal costs associated with defending these claims, regardless of whether or not they are successful. 

Why do Businesses Need Management Liability Insurance? 

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that the company is operating in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. However, even with proper procedures in place there is still risk involved when running a business – especially if there are multiple people involved in decision-making processes.

This means that having management liability insurance is essential for any business operating in Australia as it provides financial protection from potential risks and liabilities. As businesses are exposed to a wide range of potential liabilities each day, having this type of coverage will provide peace of mind that your business is protected should any claims arise. 

Without adequate protection, your personal assets may be exposed if someone takes legal action against you or your company for any kind of wrongdoing. With management liability insurance in place, you can rest assured knowing that your assets will be protected from any claims made against you or your company.

Additionally, most insurers and insurance brokers offer additional benefits such as access to risk management services and professional advice to help you stay ahead of any potential threats to your business. 

How Can I Get Management Liability Insurance? 

In conclusion, having suitable management liability insurance in Australia is essential for any business operating within the country’s borders. With the ever-evolving legal and financial climate, having this type of coverage can provide peace of mind knowing that your company has adequate protection from potential risks and liabilities should they arise. 

So, if you’re looking for management liability insurance for your business in Australia, it’s important to work with an experienced provider who can tailor a policy that meets your specific needs. 

At Business Insurance Consulting we specialise in helping businesses find the right coverage for their circumstances. We have years of experience helping businesses secure the right policy so they can focus on what matters most – running their business operations successfully and confidently! 

To ensure your business is protected, contact us today to get started!

Credits

Business Insurance Consulting – https://businessinsuranceconsulting.com.au/management-liability-insurance/

Commercial ship

Three Major Types Of Insurance Involved In Marine Insurance

Do you work in the marine sector? Are you responsible for the transportation of goods via sea?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, we have a follow-up question: Do you have a comprehensive marine insurance policy?

Let’s take a look at why it is so important that you get a new, or review of your current policy.

Australia relies on marine transport for 99% of its exports. This means that it is extremely important that your cargo makes it to its destination. 

Many things can go wrong at sea, including injuries, cargo loss, and ship damage. When things go wrong you and your business must be protected by marine transit insurance.

What is Marine Insurance?

Marine insurance refers to the range of insurance policies that help protect your business from financial losses from damage to vessels or cargo. Some policies also cover the delivery of goods right to the door and their storage along the way. 

Marine Insurance is essential for businesses that are involved in:

  • Shipping or receiving of goods
  • Commercial watercraft operations
  • Vessel repairs
  • Running a marina
  • Any other marine-related business 

It provides valuable cover for all of your operations both on land and out at sea. 

There are 3 main types of marine insurance cover that you can choose from, depending on your business’s operations and needs.  

Marine Liability Insurance

Worker watching marine port with tablet.

The first kind of cover is marine liability insurance. This covers the legal liability of vessel owners for any injuries or damages that occur as a result of marine-related activities. 

Unfortunately, accidents happen more often than we may think aboard ships. The Australian Marine Safety Authority recorded 319 injuries in 2019 alone, with 54.5% of these occurring on bulk carriers or container vessels. 

While insurance won’t stop these accidents from occurring, it will ensure you won’t face hefty bills after the fact. 

For commercial operators, liability insurance can also cover deviation expenses, legal assistance, and defence costs. 

Ship or Hull Insurance

Ship or hull insurance provides cover for commercial vessels which are engaged in harbour, inland, and coastal operations. This can also be extended to include damage to machinery, third-party liability, and loss of earnings. 

Marine vessels are subject to harsh weather conditions including lightning strikes and tsunamis, as well as collision risks. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you are covered for the costs associated with these damages. 

You can also adapt your cover to include an accidental damage clause, to ensure that your ship is insured against all kinds of damage. 

Cargo Protection

cargo ship out at see with another ship in the distance.

Marine cargo insurance covers the transportation of goods while being transferred, acquired, or held on the ship or dock. Some cargo insurance policies will also cover the cargo to its final destination.

If any accidents occur that result in physical loss or damage of cargo, then your insurance company will cover you. 

These policies are highly customisable, so you can be sure your goods are substantially protected during their entire journey. You can opt to include specific clauses to cover frozen or chilled goods, theft, fires, collisions and so much more. 

So, you will have peace of mind that any losses or damages will be covered by your insurance provider rather than out of your back pocket. 

Insure Your Marine Business

Is your marine business covered by all of these insurance plans? If it is, then you can have peace of mind that you’re protected. If not, then we can help. 

We can help review your insurance options and help ensure your business operations and cargo are fully insured. Visit our website or contact us to request a quote.  

Credits

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development – https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure-transport-vehicles/maritime

NTI Limited – 

https://www.nti.com.au/marine-protect/marine-liability-insurance

https://www.nti.com.au/marine-protect/hull-insurance

https://www.nti.com.au/marine-protect/cargo-insurance

Home for rent

Is Landlord Insurance Valid In The Event Of Malicious Damage?

If you have an investment property, then you probably already know about landlord insurance. But do you know exactly what it covers?

We know that not all tenants are as respectful of your property as you would hope and expect. When damage occurs to your property, whether it’s accidental or malicious, you will often be the one left with the legal liability and bill. 
To ensure that your losses are minimal, you must protect yourself with comprehensive insurance.

What Is Landlord Insurance?

Landlord insurance covers your rental property and its contents against a range of risks, including weather events, fires, and tenant-caused damage. 

Damage to your property can lead to months worth of repairs or refits that leave your property empty. We understand that for landlords, this loss of rent, paired with the cost of the work, can have a major impact on your financial status. 

Having Steadfast Direct landlord insurance will ensure you will not be left with endless bills and no profits due to property damage.

Is Malicious Damage Covered?

Property with significant damage.

In the case that you’ve walked into your property for an inspection or following the end of a lease, you hope to find it in a similar condition to when you first leased it. 

But what happens when it’s not?

What happens when you walk in to see holes in the walls, or shattered windows? 

If you don’t have insurance then the first thing is likely to stress out and frantically try to call builders and rearrange your budget. Whereas, if you do have landlord insurance then you can skip all the stress and calmly contact your insurance provider. 

Unless the tenant is still living in your property, and likely even if they are, it’s going to be difficult to know for sure whether the damage was caused with malicious intent. 

That is unless you take them to the RTA or court. However, this can also be a lengthy process that can leave you without a rental income while the case is being processed. 

Each policy is unique, some will only cover accidental damage, while others will cover all damage. For example, our Steadfast Direct landlord insurance will cover the damages caused by your tenants and their guests – malicious or not – and the associated financial losses. 

However, like all good things, there are a few exclusions. Most policies will not cover damage caused by general wear and tear, or neglect. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to find out exactly what kinds of damage your policy covers.

Malicious Damage Process

Living room all messed up with a broken TV.

If you or your property manager notice signs of malicious damage during an inspection there are a few steps you can take. 

The first and most important step is to take photographic evidence. You will then be able to use this if legal action is required. 

The second step is to issue your tenant with a breach notice, and give them a chance to repair the damage within a set period of time. If the tenant fails to make the repairs then you can lodge a police report.

In Australia, malicious damage charges can carry large fines or even involve imprisonment if the damages are excessive. Thus, you should never face these damages lightly.

To avoid facing more damages in the future you can screen your tenants to find renters that are more likely to respect and care for the property. You can also carry out more regular inspections, to keep better track of the state of your property.

The final thing you can do is to ensure your insurance policy is comprehensive and will cover you in the case of any future tenant damages.

Protect Your Investment

If you are a landlord and do not have landlord insurance, we can help. Our team of insurance experts can provide any guidance and set you up with a comprehensive policy.


You can visit our website or contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help protect your investment property.

Credits

RentWest – https://www.rentwest.com.au/advice-for-property-owners/dealing-with-malicious-damage/

Top 5 Benefits Of Event Insurance in Australia

Top 5 Benefits Of Event Insurance in Australia

Are you planning a small work function or a large-scale public event? 

Regardless of how often you plan events or the size of them, it’s important to protect yourself with event insurance. Here are 5 of the top benefits that event insurance provides. 

 1. Protected Against Weather Related Cancellation

Bad weather ahead sign.

There are so many factors beyond your control when planning any kind of function or event. If anything goes wrong, it’s you that’s left out of pocket or indebted. 

The best way to protect yourself in these situations is to ensure you have a comprehensive insurance policy.

We know that especially in Australia it can go from being sunny to rainy in a matter of minutes. This is why bad weather is at the top of the list of uncontrollable events that can lead to having to cancel your event.

Your event insurance policy can cover you for any losses that you endure as a result of having to cancel your event due to dangerous weather conditions. 

 2. Covered For Performer Related Losses

Stage with instruments but no performers.

Another common unexpected factor that can impact your event is if your star performer doesn’t turn up. We understand that it can be hard to keep track of everyone performing at big functions like music festivals. And sometimes, smaller functions also.

But if you don’t, and a performer doesn’t turn up or falls ill this can lead to a wave of refund applications or event cancellation, depending on the size of the function. 

With event insurance cover, you will be protected against any financial losses that occur as a result of abandonment or non-appearance of a performer.

 3. Covers Personal Accidents

Leg in cast with crutches.

When planning an event of any size you are likely to have a host of voluntary workers helping make sure your event runs as smoothly as possible. 

Accidents happen, so you must protect yourself in the case of any accidental injuries or death. 

While it is a grim thing to think about when planning a fun celebration, you should be aware of the reality of the risks and statistics. Safe Works Australia states that ‘from 2003 to 2016, there have been 29 fatalities related to an event’.

So, with this in mind, it is beneficial that event insurance covers the out-of-pocket expenses related to any accidental injuries that may occur. 

 4. No Losses From Damage

Broken Apple laptop on table.

Accidental injuries occur and so can property damage. In the excitement of an event, the venue or equipment such as sound systems or instruments can sustain damage.

Depending on the venue or equipment it can be expensive to repair or replace it. This can leave you potentially thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. With venue and equipment insurance you will be covered for these costs. 

5. Public Liability Protection

Desk with keyboard, money, pen, and clipboard saying 'Liability Isurance'.

When hiring a public venue, it is common for the venue to request that you obtain your own public liability insurance or public event insurance. This is to ensure the venue owners know that they will be protected in the event of any injuries or damages.

Regardless of whether they require it though, it is a good idea to protect yourself with liability cover so that you are also not left out-of-pocket. 

This type of insurance will also cover any costs associated with claims from third parties. So, if any attendees get injured at your event or the venue owners have any complaints, you will be protected. 

Cover Your Next Event

If you don’t have event cover and have a function of any size coming up, we can help ensure you’re protected. 

Visit our website or contact us to request a quote, and we can help review your insurance options and get you set up with any business insurance that you require. 

Credits:

Safe work Australia – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2017-014_-_whs_in_major_events_transcript.docx 

McKenzie Ross & Co Pty Ltd – https://mckenzieross.com.au/commercial-insurance-solutions/entertainment-events-insurance/

Everything You Need to Know About Farm Insurance

Everything You Need to Know About Farm Insurance

Everything You Need to Know About Farm Insurance

Did you know that there are approximately 85,681 farm businesses in Australia, most of which are owned and operated by families? 

This number is astounding yet understandable, due to the amount of vast open farming plains that Australia has to offer and the amount of mouths that there are to feed. 

With this statistic it is obvious that it’s about time we discussed Farm Insurance. If you’re a farmer then it is important that you protect yourself and your business. To help we’ve compiled a list of the top things you need to know about Farm Insurance in Australia.

What is Farm Insurance?

Farm Insurance can help protect your farm and your family during any large or small scale incidents that occur on the farm. Many issues can cost you dearly in time and money if you’re not protected, and it can be difficult to bounce back. 

Therefore, if you’re a large-scale crop grower, livestock producer or if you have a family or hobby farm of any size you should invest in this insurance.

What Does it Cover?

Your policy can be tailored to suit your needs. It can help cover the costs associated with many incidents that your farm or family may be subject to, including during bushfires, machinery breakdowns, personal and guest illness or injuries that happen while on the farm property.

Home Property

This insurance will cover your domestic property and belongings from all defined events and accidental damage. 

This can cover everything from buildings, contents, personal effects, legal liability and domestic workers compensation cover.

Farm Property

Much like home property, this insurance can protect you from damages caused to your farm property. This can include all physical loss and damage that is caused to your farm buildings or equipment by your defined events or as a result of accidental damage.

Public & Products Liability

In farming, you are likely to have a range of third parties who you are liable for, as well as this if you’re shipping out produce then your risk is heightened in this area as you are liable for all products that you sell.

Having liability insurance included in your plan will ensure you are protected from any claims by third parties for personal injury, property damage, and legal costs that are connected to your farming business.

Accident & Sickness Cover

Everyone gets sick every now and then, and injuries are bound to occur in your line of work. But if you don’t have anyone to cover for you while you’re recovering it can make it hard to stay afloat. 

Save yourself the extra stress by investing in Farm Insurance. It will ensure that you receive regular payments so you can keep your business running smoothly while you take the necessary time to recover. 

Livestock

If your livestock are the heart of your business then losing them, especially unexpectedly, can be stressful not just emotionally but also financially. To help make any losses slightly less painful you can ensure your cover includes livestock insurance covering the death or loss of your livestock due to specified events.

Machinery Breakdown

Similar to motor vehicle insurance, your Farm Insurance cover can be tailored to protect you from any financial losses incurred by machinery breakdowns.

We know farmers rely heavily on their machinery to get things done efficiently and properly around the farm and when things go wrong it can cause a lot of stress. 

That’s why it’s important to invest in insurance that will ensure you’re protected from farm machinery damages including damage to electrical and mechanical machinery, boilers and pressure vessels, and any damage caused by these breakdowns. 

To start the process of better protecting your farm business you can visit our website or contact us to request a quote. 

Credit:

Australian Farmers – https://farmers.org.au/farm-facts/#:~:text=There%20are%20approximately%2085%2C681%20farm,of%20food%20consumed%20in%20Australia

How Beneficial is it to Have Motor Insurance

How Beneficial is it to Have Motor Insurance

Are you an Australian who drives a motor vehicle? 

With 20.1 million registered motor vehicles in Australia as of the beginning of 2021 it is highly likely that your answer is “yes”. If you own a car then you likely already have at least a minimal understanding of the necessity of car insurance. 

But do you really know how beneficial motor insurance is and how it can protect your wallet if you need to repair or replace your car due to damage or theft? We’ve compiled the following guide to help you understand these benefits.

What is Motor Insurance

Firstly, let’s start with the most simple facts: and take a broad look at what it is.

Motor insurance covers your vehicle against cases of accidental damage or theft. It also protects you from costs associated with repairing or replacing another person’s vehicle if you are involved in an accident where you are at fault. 

Accidental Damage

Accidents can happen at any time and are usually completely unexpected, yet can leave us heartbroken and in debt. To prevent a little of this pain you can ensure your vehicle is insured and your wallet is protected.

With comprehensive insurance you can ensure any damages are repaired by repairers of your choosing or one from our books, either way you will receive a repair guarantee on all materials and workmanship during the authorised repairs. 

With this cover you can also opt to include an excess free windscreen claim every year. So, you don’t have to deal with looking through old chips or scratches. 

If your car is written off within three years and has less than 60,000 kilometres during an accident or natural disaster then your insurance company will help cover the replacement of the same make and model of your vehicle.

With this cover you only have to worry about paying your agreed upon excess amount, which in most situations is much less than the cost of all the required repairs. 

If You’re at Fault

We know you’re probably a great driver so you may think you don’t have to worry about protecting yourself against the unlikely situation of you causing an accident. But, all it takes is one tiny distraction and you could end up in debt, trying to pay for someone else’s car as well as your own.

To avoid this situation, no matter how unlikely you may think it is, it’s important to protect yourself with third party insurance. Having third party property damage (TPPD) insurance will ensure that in the case that you are at fault for the damage or write off someone else’s car, the costs will be covered. 

This however does not cover any damages incurred to your car during the accident. So, you would only rely on this cover alone if you have a low-value vehicle, and are mainly concerned about any costs incurred for the damage your car could do to someone else’s more valuable vehicle or other property.

To ensure you are completely protected and not left with a mountain of debt after an accident, it is beneficial to have comprehensive cover. A comprehensive insurance policy will also help you pay for any damage that your car sustains during an accident even if you are at fault.

Theft

Now onto a risk that has nothing to do with you and your driving abilities. 

Hopefully, you will never have to experience this heartbreak of your car being stolen. However, with over 15,805 thefts in 2021 it’s an unfortunate risk that you need to protect yourself against.

With comprehensive motor insurance your insurance company will pay you an agreed price or the equivalent of your car’s market value so you can afford to replace your stolen vehicle. 

If you opt for this cover you can also be granted a rental car for up to 14 days so that you are not left stranded while you are searching for a new car. 

In the case that your keys are stolen but not the car or the car is recovered in working condition, your insurance policy covers the cost of rekeying and re-coding your car to ensure it is secure. 

Final Notes

One tip we want to mention is that you can only reap the benefits of auto insurance if you follow the rules. While each policy is different and can be tailored to your needs, there are a few things that you need to remember.

There are a few reasons that you may not be covered after being involved in an accident, including if you or the person driving your car is unlicensed, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and if your car is being used in a sport or time trial. 

If you and everyone you let drive your car is responsible then you will be covered and have peace of mind that you will not be left out of pocket if your car is damaged or stolen. 

To learn more about our motor insurance policies and how we can help you, you can visit our website or contact us to schedule a quote. 

Credits:

Motor Vehicle Census, Australia – https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/industry/tourism-and-transport/motor-vehicle-census-australia/latest-release

Understand Insurance – https://understandinsurance.com.au/types-of-insurance/car-insurance#:~:text=It%20protects%20any%20person%20that,property%2C%20or%20your%20own%20vehicle 

Insurance Business Australia – https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/breaking-news/australian-states-and-cities-with-the-most-motor-vehicle-thefts-413862.aspx#:~:text=21%20Jul%202022-,Australian%20states%20and%20cities%20with%20the%20most%20motor%20vehicle%20thefts,leading%20car%20insurers%20in%20Australia

Why Management Liability Insurance Is Important

Why Management Liability Insurance Is Important

As a business owner you are personally liable for most things that go wrong in your business whether you are actually at fault or not, the liability will always be on your shoulders as the owner. 

And it’s not just larger businesses that are at risk, small and medium sized businesses can be affected as well, so it is important that you protect yourself and your business. 

Investing in management liability insurance can save you from unexpected liability expenses and legal costs from any claims that arise. 

To give you an idea of what this insurance can do for you exactly, here are a few of the protections that management liability cover offers.

Employment Practice Liability

When running a business you will have your own inhouse systems for managing employee disputes and ensuring everyone is being treated fairly. However, if any of your employees claim that a wrongful act such as wrongful dismissal, workplace bullying, or discrimination has occured it can be costly to you and your business. 

Having management liability insurance cover can protect you by financing the payouts for employment breach claims. 

Directors and Officers Liability

As a business owner you are responsible for protecting everyone that works for you including directors, officers and employees.

Having business insurance can help protect your company’s past, present and future directors, officers and managers against claims of wrongful acts, such as misrepresentation or breach of duty. 

Crime

There are a range of crimes that can occur in the workplace, so it is important to be prepared. While management liability cover won’t protect against all forms of criminal activity, this cover will protect your business from claims of employee or third party fraud. 

There are additional policies you can look into for cover for various workplace crimes, depending on the severity of the crime. 

Statutory Liability

Statutory liability covers costs associated with defending and settling claims from outside parties who are alleging wrongful conduct, as well as investigation into the affairs of the company.

This ensures your business can afford to get a high level of legal defence and protection without facing large financial losses which could bankrupt your business. 

Defence Costs

If your business ends up in court for any reason it can be expensive to seek legal advice and great defence lawyers. Without insurance, going to court can destroy a small business if they cannot come up with sufficient funds. 

Having management liability insurance can protect your business, no matter the size, by covering all the costs associated with going to court. 

If you are a business owner and do not yet have liability insurance or are looking to upgrade your policy we can help. 
Business Insurance Consulting specialises in a wide variety of business insurance policies including management liability. To learn more about our services and how we can help protect your business, you can visit our website or contact us to request a quote.

Benefits Of Cyber Protection Insurance

Benefits Of Cyber Protection Insurance

It is no secret that the majority of our lives and business is completed online, this also means however, that the risk of cyber attacks is now higher than ever. So, it is essential to protect yourself and your business from cyber attacks. 

You can do this by investing in cyber protection insurance. This is a relatively new form of cover as cyber risks have recently begun to become more prevalent. 

Some of the biggest benefits of cyber protection insurance include covering financial and reputational losses incurred by cyber attacks, as well as providing liability protection.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that cyber protection insurance can help your business. 

Business Interruption Losses

Having cyber insurance will ensure any and all financial and work related losses that you may suffer as a result of a cyber incident or attack are covered, so your business is not significantly impacted. 

Cyber Extortion

Depending on the nature of the cyber attack, the hackers may try to blackmail your business by requesting a payment in exchange for your data or systems. 

Without insurance this can be costly, and if you cannot afford the ransom amount you risk losing all your data. With cyber insurance, all the costs of hiring professional negotiators, covering the demands, and preventing future threats will be covered. 

Electronic Data Replacement

Repairing, recovering and replacing your business’s data can be a time consuming and expensive process following a cyber attack. 

If you have insurance, through this process won’t hurt as much, as all costs will be reimbursed. This ensures you can get back to normal business operation as soon as possible, with minimal financial losses. 

Security and Privacy Liability

Cyber breaches can result in damage to your reputation if any third party data held in your system ends up in the wrong hands. 

Having cyber liability insurance your insurance company will help minimise the damage to your business. They will cover the included costs of immediate responses, ensuring payments are made on a no fault basis without admission of liability. This will ensure your business’s reputation is protected. 

Legal Costs

If you need to seek any legal defence or have to face court for any reason related to a cyber breach or attack, your insurance will cover all relevant legal costs. 

As well as covering defence costs, your insurance company will also cover all legal expenses and costs that arise from government regulator investigations.

Electronic Media Liability

Cyber attacks can result in a massive data breach, which can have detrimental effects on your business, financially and reputationally. 

Cyber insurance will ensure your reputation remains intact and cover all costs associated with data breaches, including copyright infringement, defamation claims, and the misuse of certain types of intellectual property online.

Crisis Management Expenses

If you have to call in crisis management experts to help manage the effects a cyber attack has had on your business or team, your insurance provider will cover for the costs. 

Notification and Monitoring Expenses

Notifying all of your customers of a security breach and monitoring all of their data against future attacks can be expensive and time consuming. However, with insurance it doesn’t have to be, your insurer will cover all of these expenses for you. 

If your business has a website or any electronic data online, it is important that you protect it. If your business is in need of cyber protection insurance we can help. 
You can visit our website to learn more about our insurance services or contact us to request a quote to start protecting your electronic data.

Suncorp Building

Suncorp sells bank with intentions to focus on insurance sector

Suncorp has recently announced the $4.9 billion sale of its banking operations, with the hopes that this will simplify the business, and allow it to focus its attention on insurance in Australia and New Zealand. 

ANZ will purchase the regional bank in a cash deal expected to close in the second half of 2023, subject to regulatory clearances. 

Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston says the transaction won’t change the insurance strategy, but it will strengthen the company’s focus as it continues to drive the performance of its brand portfolio. 

“Strategically we feel it is an opportunity for us to really focus exclusively on our insurance business and drive the sort of performance we think we can deliver in that business,” Mr Johnston said. 

Suncorp estimates net proceeds of $4.1 billion from the deal, and say that “consistent with the approach taken in previous divestments”, the current intention is to return the majority of that to shareholders.

Chairman Christine McLoughlin says both businesses will benefit from a singular focus on their growth strategies and investment requirements. 

The company’s brands include AAMI, GIO, Suncorp, Shannons, Apia and Vero. In New Zealand, it also has the AA insurance joint venture and Asteron Life.

“Our purpose of building futures and protecting what matters – the focus of our company for over 100 years – will remain at our core and enable our people to deliver on our vision to create the leading Trans-Tasman insurance company,” she said. 

Mr Johnston says Suncorp has momentum in its motor portfolio and he expects the home portfolio to ultimately recover some lost market share after the company shifts pricing to reflect increasing costs. 

“I go into this transaction with a very comfortable disposition around the performance of our insurance business,” he said. 

Both Suncorp and ANZ have made commitments to the state of Queensland as part of the transaction. 

Suncorp’s commitment includes establishing a Disaster Response Centre of Excellence, which will incorporate modern technology to monitor, prepare for and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters. 

This centre will also include an employment hub for the firm’s flexible event workforce. 

Mr Johnston says the company has recruited more than 1000 new employees over the past six weeks to manage the east coast flooding, with a large majority of the new staff in Queensland.

Home insurance and ‘side hustles’: how worried should we be?

There’s momentum building on an insurance issue that could theoretically invalidate thousands of home and contents policies, and has consumer groups throwing around accusations of “junk” cover.

When customers take out home and contents policies they are invariably asked if any business activity takes place at the home. If the answer is no, and that’s not accurate, or it later becomes inaccurate, there’s a serious risk of claims being denied.

At first glance it doesn’t seem that different to any other non-disclosure issue, and if consumers are dishonest, or careless with the truth, or fail to tell their insurer about changed circumstances, then the consequences are on them.

There are also very good reasons why business activity increases risk – even extra visitors to the home adds to liability concerns – and if insurers don’t want to take that on, well, that’s up to them.

But is it quite that simple?

There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of Australians carrying out some form of business activity from home, especially since covid. And business activity can be quite difficult to define.

Recent examples highlighted by ABC News where claims have reportedly been denied or cover withdrawn include eggs being sold from an honesty box, bike repairs taking place in a garage, and a food truck parked at – but not trading from – a home address.

One broker told insuranceNEWS.com.au that a pensioner client of his was informed that continuing to sell $5 worth of eggs to his carer every month would force the cancellation of their home and contents policy.

While we may not have all sides of every story, and insurers are entitled to decide which risks they want to pass on, these articles don’t pass the all-important “pub test”. And the more stories that are told, the more this threatens the industry’s reputation.

Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody told the ABC that if a consumer has a policy that was never going to provide coverage, it’s “effectively junk” and insurers need to “look at the fairness of what they’re doing and come up with a better solution for their customers”.

Politicians are getting in on the act too, with ACT Independent Senator David Pocock writing to the Insurance Council of Australia, Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones and others.

“There is a real issue here,” one industry source told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Lots of people will be doing little business activities for modest amounts of income. I wouldn’t be surprised if ASIC turned around and wrote a letter saying ‘review your home book and let us know the extent of this issue’.

“It’s something that the industry needs to think through just to satisfy ourselves that there isn’t some great big latent systemic issue out there.”

Bringing us back down to earth is that fact that we haven’t heard about many claims being denied on this basis.

Insurers are paying out hundreds of thousands of home claims in the wake of a spate of natural catastrophes – and if flood claims were being denied en masse on the basis of undisclosed garage sales or fresh produce honesty boxes, we would surely have heard about it.

Insurers don’t appear to be actively investigating such activity, and in most cases, how would they even know about it?

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) says complaints about the issue are not common, pointing to only one relevant determination in recent years.

That case related to a fire caused by undisclosed jewellery manufacturing taking place in a garage.

The complainants thought it was more a hobby than a business, but AFCA pointed out that income was generated, there was a business bank account and an ABN.

Some have flagged the fact that the duty of disclosure changed on October 5 last year to a duty to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation.

This swings the balance slightly in favour of consumers, and means the insurer needs to ask questions clearly and specifically, and communicate to the insured the importance of answering correctly, and the possible consequences of failing to do so.

However, it may not have much impact on this issue. Answering a question about business activity inaccurately is probably going to fall foul of either duty. And the same applies to not updating a previous answer on renewal, so long as the insurer has issued the renewal notice correctly.

Contrary to popular belief, the claim would not have to be directly related to the business activity for the insurer to deny it.

But under the new duty the insurer would need to prove that a misrepresentation had occurred, that reasonable care was not taken, and that, had it known about the undisclosed matter, it would not have offered cover in the first place.

“It comes down to the basis of the insurer’s denial,” AFCA’s Senior Ombudsman General Insurance Chris Liamos tells insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“If it’s a non-disclosure or a failure to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation, they don’t necessarily have to prove a link between the claim and the non-disclosure.

“What we are looking at, because it’s a precontractual issue, is what would the insurer have done differently, and what’s the prejudice that they’ve suffered.

“The insurer will still need to step through how it would have affected them. If they still would have issued the policy on the same terms then they can’t deny a claim on that basis.

“If they would have charged an additional premium they can deduct that from the claim, or if they would have applied an exclusion that wasn’t applicable to the claim then there is no prejudice.”

As to how business activity is defined, AFCA would first look for definitions within the policy. If there were none, it would move to the ordinary meaning of those words.

Mr Liamos admits “it’s a difficult one” and there are some “grey areas”.

“If your kid is selling lemonade at the front door, that would be a big stretch to say that’s somehow a business.

“On the flip side, if you’ve got a situation where someone has got an ABN and a fairly large turnover they are generating from their home, that might be less controversial.

“We would be looking at what would be the ordinary consumer’s understanding of that term in the context of the policy wording. Then we would look at the specific activities of the insured that the insurer is saying falls foul of the language.”

Does simply working from home as a paid employee cause a problem? You’d think not, but can anyone afford to make assumptions?

One industry source suggests that policies may need to introduce greater clarity – and refer to specific income thresholds or activities.

And however daft some might think it is, insurers have every right to decline to cover home and contents customers due to low-level business activities, if that’s what they want to do.

“They have a commercial discretion as to what they’ll insure and under what circumstances,” Mr Liamos says.

“If they want to be strict about certain types of business they don’t want to insure then generally they are entitled to do that.”

The advice to consumers is, as ever, read the Product Disclosure Statement. If a customer is unsure about anything, they should give the insurer a call.

Don’t assume something relatively minor doesn’t matter – it might. And if something changes, they should tell their insurer immediately, and pay attention at renewal time, making sure to check that the answers previously given are still accurate.

A little extra cash can go a long way in easing the pressure as the cost-of-living rises. But it’s not worth invalidating insurance on your biggest asset.

And as far as the industry goes, prepare for more scrutiny on this issue – especially if more people decide to tell their story to the ABC.

blurred heads looking at palm trees

Affordability

Why is insurance affordability so important? 

Insurance plays an essential role in the economy, and affordable insurance is central to resilient communities.

Our members recognise that access to appropriate levels of insurance cover is a crucial to supporting our communities and national economic recovery and growth.

Committed to addressing affordability

Insurers share a commitment to addressing insurance affordability and availability over the short and long-term and the ICA works closely with all levels of government and consumers to help communities understand risk and work towards practical and meaningful solutions.

Why have some premiums been rising?

Insurance prices reflect the level of risk within a given market. Different types of insurance will therefore be priced differently. 

Generally speaking, premiums tend to be lower and stable where there is competition, freely available reinsurance and known risk factors. As insurance works by pooling risk, insurers cannot have a concentrated exposure to any one source of risk and the level of premiums is one way they can manage their exposure.

In recent years, our changing natural environment has impacted the cost of insurance in parts of Australia. Catastrophic natural events have damaged or destroyed property worth tens of billions of dollars. This has been most recently visible in the Australian bushfires of 2019-20 and floods of 2021 and the increasing frequency of these events poses long-term questions for the insurance industry and the Australian community.

Reviews into insurance affordability

Two prominent reviews have taken place into insurance affordability in the last two years:

  • ACCC Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry  
  • Role of the Private Insurance Market –Independent Strategic Review: Commercial Insurance

ACCC Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry

Concentrated impact in northern Australia

Catastrophic natural events impact different parts of Australia in different ways. In northern Australia, the increasing scale and frequency of claims due to cyclones and flood has raised costs and rendered the insurance market unprofitable over a long period of time.  This focus was the subject of recent reports, including:

  • ACCC Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry(released in December 2020)

Findings of ACCC Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry 

Over three years, the ACCC conducted a wide-ranging inquiry into the supply of residential building, contents and strata insurance in northern Australia.

The final report, released in December 2020, concluded that “the higher risk of natural disasters in northern Australia is driving higher premiums” and suggested that “reforms to land use planning and building standards may offer the best hope for achieving sustainable and equitable improvements to insurance affordability in northern Australia in the future.”

Role of the Private Insurance Market – Independent Strategic Review: Commercial Insurance

An independent report was commissioned by the Insurance Council of Australia and led by industry expert John Trowbridge in collaboration with economist Michael Blythe. A draft was released in May 2021 and the final report, including 13 recommendations, was released on 20 September 2021.

The final report concluded that in the context of a hardening insurance market there is no one-size-fits-all solution to issues of affordability and availability for small business sectors, and that solutions require collaboration and goodwill between the insurance sector, the SME sector, and governments.

The Review’s recommendations broadly fall into three categories: improved engagement between insurers and the SME sector; better understanding of insurance by SME policyholders; and advocacy to government and transparency. The ICA supports all recommendations of the Review.

Submissions to the ICA

Access submissions to the ICA for the ‘Role of the Private Insurance Market –Independent Strategic Review: Commercial Insurance’

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Floods predicted for Australia this spring and summer

The Bureau of Meteorology warns that above-average rainfall and flash flooding could occur in Australia this spring and summer. 

Atmospheric and oceanic observations have yet to consistently reach La Nina levels, but there’s still a 70% chance of a La Nina system developing. 

“Regardless of whether La Nina thresholds are met, a La Nina-like pattern in the Pacific may still increase the chances of above-average rainfall for northern and eastern Australia at times during spring and summer,” the bureau said in its latest update. 

Various other weather systems are combining to point to wetter than average conditions across much of Australia. 

The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has weakened, but cloud patterns in the eastern Indian Ocean suggest the atmosphere is still responding to warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the region.

A negative IOD increases the chances of above-average spring rainfall for much of southern and eastern Australia.

Meanwhile, a Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is forecast by some climate models to strengthen and move eastwards into the western Pacific over the coming fortnight. If the MJO strengthens this would increase the chances of heavy rain across northeast Australia, the bureau says.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has been positive for the past three weeks and is forecast to remain at positive levels to the end of the year.

A positive SAM during summer typically brings wetter weather to eastern parts of Australia, but drier than average conditions for western Tasmania.

It’s more important than ever for Australians to prepare for the oncoming storm season. 

The QLD Get Ready campaign, supported by Suncorp and featuring representatives from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Lifeline urges Queenslanders to prepare for the risk of flooding, torrential rain and other severe weather events. 

Get Ready recommends three steps: prepare an emergency plan, pack an emergency kit and make sure insurance is up to date. 

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston says the insurer is committed to helping encourage Queensland households and businesses to be weather-ready as “waiting until a storm is bearing down is just too late”.

“Each summer, we see homes and communities destroyed by natural disasters, with much of this damage avoidable,” he said. “Even small-scale events can have a big impact, financially, emotionally and even physically, so it is critical Queenslanders undertake home preparation and maintenance now.”

Queensland has been hit by almost 90 significant natural disasters and weather events in the past decade, leaving a recovery and reconstruction bill of more than $16.8 billion. Last season, it was hit by 11 natural disaster events across 50 local government areas including hailstorms, bushfires, floods and cyclones.

Credit: 

https://www.insurancenews.com.au/regulatory-government/queensland-launches-suncorp-backed-get-ready-storm-campaign
https://www.insurancenews.com.au/daily/la-nina-holds-off-for-now-but-floods-still-feared
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IAG and Suncorp raise peril costs expectations after storms

Storms in South Australia and Victoria have been declared a catastrophe by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). These extreme weather events have elevated claims within the insurance industry, and Suncorp and Insurance Australia Group (IAG) have raised their outlooks for financial-year natural peril costs. 

IAG increased its full-year natural perils forecast by 36.6% to $1.045 billion and lowered its reported insurance margin guidance range to 10-12% from 13.5-15.5% previously.

IAG says its net cost for the storm’s catastrophe is anticipated to be $169 million, the maximum retention for the first loss under its catastrophe program.

The full-year figure includes $535 million for the first four months. In addition to the recent storms, that comprises $204 million for the September quarter, $142 million for other weather events across eastern Australia in October and $20 million for attritional events last month.

Suncorp expects natural hazard costs of $1.105-$1.130 billion for the fiscal year. That’s $125-150 million above the previously announced $980 million allowances, divided equally between the first and second halves. 

There have been six declared weather events in October. Suncorp says costs for the half have also been inflated by the 2021 Victorian earthquake and other storms in both Australia and New Zealand. 

Suncorp expects the total cost from the recent storm events could reach $225-250 million, which led to a revised year-to-date estimate for natural hazard costs of $597-702 million. 

Earlier in the year Suncorp had begun issuing grants for remote, rural and regional Australia in the hopes to rebuild resiliently in preparation for any future disasters.  

Credit

https://www.insurancenews.com.au/corporate/iag-suncorp-raise-peril-costs-expectations-after-storms
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Over Four Decades Natural Disasters Are Projected To Cost Australia $1.2 Trillion

Natural disasters costs are set to almost double over the next forty year period. $1.2 trillion is the projected cost to the Australian economy according to the Deloitte Access Economics estimate. They have estimated that natural disasters will drain the Australian economy of at least $73 billion per year by 2060.

The three main cost drivers are climate change, rising property values and population growth. Two thirds of these costs will be incurred in Queensland and New South Wales due to the rising temperature of oceans. Creating tropical cyclones and floods further south. 

This figure projection was presented in Deloitte’s “Update to the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia” report, which was commissioned by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities. 

As the population grows major flooding from extreme weather events are forecast, increasing costs and social impact further. According to the report “coastal population centres in South East Queensland and North East NSW will experience some of the highest increases in costs as they become more exposed to tropical cyclones and floods.”

It also warned that a high emissions scenario introduces an additional $125 billion in costs over the same timeframe. It expressed that a low emissions future is imperative to offset climate change impact on natural disaster risks. 

“Delaying action will ultimately mean paying more later as the costs from natural disasters increase.” the special report update mentioned. 

The roundtable has released five independent research reports that include the financial and social costs of disasters. Each report recommends investment in disaster resilience and mitigation activities in response to natural hazards. 

IAG MD and CEO Nick Hawkins says the action to limit climate change must be used in conjunction with interventions and creating resilient communities. Mr Hawkins said “the Roundtable members are seeing firsthand the impacts of more extreme, more frequent weather events on Australians, and this latest report provides further evidence that we must all continue to invest in increasing resilience to protect communities and ultimately, save lives.”

The report takes into consideration the smaller natural disaster events that aren’t always recorded by insured-loss data. These are utilised to consider how costs vary under various future temperatures scenarios. 

BI

Buy Now, Pay Later Option For Insurance Introduced By Coverpay

From next month “buy now, pay later” company Coverpay will offer a general insurance product. This will be aimed at consumers and SME’s after raising $2.5 million in launch funding to establish the platform. 

Managing Director Steve Gilbert shared that the company has taken inspiration from “buy now, pay later” in the retail sector when developing this product. A product that is aimed at insurance that will offer customers another policy payment option.

The platform is embedded into a merchants existing transaction process and can be used at the checkout for online policy sales. It can also be used in conjunction with payment portals, on invoices or utilising embedded links. The bill can be split over 12 fortnightly payments for the customer and Coverpay pays the merchant in full. 

A management fee of $7 is applied to each instalment. Customers are also given three days to make up a missed payment. After this time a default fee of $40 is added to any outstanding payment. 

The fees that they charge are fixed, which according to Mr Gilbert, “aligns with our guiding principles of fairness and transparency.”

“Underinsurance continues to be a significant issue in Australia and we know that affordability is a key aspect of coverage choice,” he said. “We believe Coverpay can play a part in addressing underinsurance by directing more funds into a customer’s insurance budget.”

Coverpay will initially provide payment plans for up to $2500. Mr Gilbert has over 20 years in the insurance and finance industries. Rosalie Lau, Lisa Woodley, Vibul Imatarnasan and Kiersten Lethbridge also make up the core team at Coverpay.

awards

Insurance Awards Finalists Named By ANZIIF

The finalists for the Australian Industry Awards have been announced by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). 

ANZIIF will reveal the winners on October 26 via a free “online movie” production due to the current COVID-19 situation. The event was originally intended to be held at the Star Event Centre in Sydney. 

The CEO Prue Willsford said, “whilst it would have been lovely to frock up and celebrate it is just not possible, so this year a professionally produced online movie will celebrate the incredible achievements from individuals and companies, and their contribution to raising the standard of professionalism for the insurance and financial services industry”. 

The ANZIIF awards celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and companies within the insurance industry. The annual affair to highlight the accomplishments of those in the general insurance industry was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

The following are the insurance provider finalists:

Small General Insurance – Adica Insurance, Guild Insurance, Lawcover Insurance, RACT Insurance

Large General Insurance Company – Allianz, CGU, Hollard Insurance, QBE Australia Pacific, Zurich General Insurance (Australia & New Zealand)

Excellence in workplace diversity and inclusion – Allianz Australia, CHU Underwriting Agencies, Hollard Insurance, Marsh, MetLife Australia, QBE Insurance Australia Pacific

Both the Insurance Leader and ANZIIF Lifetime Achievement Award winners will be announced on October 26.

Credit 

Free Image – Canva.com

ANZIIF Names Insurance Awards Finalists – insurancenews.com.au

prof

Profitability Improves For Global Industry As Rates Increase

According to a report on the results of global firms, insurer and reinsurer combined operating ratios improved in the first half, as rate increases outweighed claims. Double-digit rate increases were reported by six of the 18 tracked. QBE led with a 26% increase due to rising commodity prices in its North American crop business. 

Pricing in commercial lines increased premiums, whilst rate growth for reinsurance also supported the momentum. Favourable pricing is expected to continue this year according to Willis Re. Some management teams have mentioned that further rate increases are likely to be less significant and portfolios have started to ease. 

The increased profitability was supported by lower than expected personal lines loss frequency and some reserve releases were achieved despite higher natural catastrophe losses. The average combined ratio for the half was 93.7% with every company below 100%. Experiencing higher profit performance compared to the same period the previous year, which included substantial COVID losses. 

Willis Re discussed the long term outlook of rating the environment and the current cyclical upswing as well as if profit margins are set to continually increase. Inflation impacts many areas in the short term as well as longer-term. Potentially including loss ratio deterioration, due to lags in pricing response, loss development increases above-booked levels and reductions in the market shares according to the report. 

The report states that “In the current pricing cycle, companies appear to be proactively taking pricing action, but it remains to be seen whether it is sufficient”. 

There are a number of companies included in the report such as QBE, Chubb, AIG, Aviva, Liberty Mutual, MS&AD, Allianz, Axa, Zurich, Travelers, Mapfre, Hannover Re, Swiss Re, Munich Re, Generali, Sompo. Tokio Marine and Scor. 

Credit

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/international

building

Suncorp Offering Grants To Rebuild After Natural Disasters

Suncorp pledged 1 million in grants to assist with the rebuilding in remote, rural and regional areas within Australia. In the hopes to rebuild resiliently in preparation for any future disasters. The first round of grants is now open and currently available to communities within NSW and South East Queensland impacted by severe flooding in March.

NSW experienced record rainfall within a 7 day period since data began being collected in 1900. The rainfall in the area of the state that drains into the Tasman Sea averaged 252.9 millimetres in the seven days leading up to March 24, breaking previous records. 

Suncorp has partnered with Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) to conduct the Suncorp Rebuilding Futures program. Individual grants of up to $15,000 are being offered to local community groups and not-for-profit organisations to support the long term recovery and resilience building of vulnerable communities. The first round is open until September 15 with successful applicants being named in November.

10,000 insurance claims were received by Suncorp following the flooding in rural and regional communities. More than 60% of the total claims have now been finalised, assisting the community to recover from natural disasters. 

CEO Steve Johnston said “I’ve seen firsthand the devastation and emotional toll of natural disasters, which is why we are supporting communities to not just build back but to make themselves more resilient than before. We are working closely with our building partners to progress repairs as fast as possible”. 

Suncorp’s Rebuilding Futures grants aim to empower locals to collaborate and design local solutions. They understand that recovery is a marathon but communities are best placed to steer their own future. 

The CEO of FRRR, Natalie Egleton mentioned that “This program, with a focus on the medium to long-term needs and building back better, will mean that when there are significant disasters support will be available to local groups’”. 

The first round of funding consists of $200,000 in grants and applications are open until September 15 to help support the long term recovery of flood-impacted communities. 

Credit

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/daily/suncorp-offers-1-million-in-grants-to-rebuild-after-floods

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/local/suncorp-flood-rebuilding-grants-open-until-mid-september

covid

Insurance Companies Join COVID Vaccination Push

Some of Australia’s largest insurance companies are urging eligible staff members to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. With the possibility of offering an employer-assisted vaccine roll-out. The government is currently assessing a policy that could allow vaccinated employees to return to work. 

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston stated the insurer is “strongly advocating” for vaccines as “our ticket to a more ‘normal’ existence”. Mr Johnston has himself been fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of AstraZeneca. He encouraged “doing everything possible to support and encourage our employees to play their part and get vaccinated”. 

They are currently working with chief medical officers to answer any queries employees may have and to continue the vaccination program. Members of staff have access to paid leave to attend vaccination appointments during work hours and Suncorp is actively considering playing a role in employer-assisted vaccine roll-out. 

Allianz mentioned that it is “actively encouraging” all of its employees to receive the vaccine and is offering flexible work options to attend their appointment during work hours. A spokesman said that they have “also registered their interest with Australian Vaccine Services to participate in a corporate vaccination program”.

Allianz has recently introduced a pandemic leave policy giving their employees access to paid leave if they have exhausted all of their normal leave and are unable to work due to COVID related restrictions. 

IAG introduced measures, in June, to support their employees, including leave to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments. A spokesman mentioned that “employees can take a half day paid leave for each of their vaccination appointments”. 

Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon including Broker Marsh who says it is encouraging all eligible staff to get vaccinated, while Willis Towers Watson believes vaccination protects “family, friends and colleagues”. 

The Head of Australasia and Head of Corporate Risk and Broking Simon Weaver says “WTW is strongly encouraging all colleagues to get vaccinated once eligible”. Recognising the importance of slowing COVID-19 cases. Understanding the difficulty to secure appointments they are offering flexibility for employees to attend appointments. 

Credit

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/daily/get-jabbed-insurers-join-covid-vaccination-push

ED Insu

Estimated ASIC Funding Levy Tops $24.7 Million

The estimated levy recovered by The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) totals $24.7 million. These funds will be recovered from the general and life insurance industries to cover the cost of regulating the sectors in the last financial year. $16.1 million is projected to come from the cost recoveries levy whilst the remaining $8.5 will be obtained from statutory levies.

It is projected that overall funding levies of $359.6 million will be collected from the financial services sector to support ASIC’s 2020/21 regulatory costs. ASIC released these estimates last week as part of their draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement, seeking feedback on how these funds will be recovered as industry levies under the industry funding model. 

The corporate regulator expects to publish the final levies in December and invoices to be issued in January. ASIC has created a draft cost recovery statement annually since the government introduced the industry funding model for the corporate regulator in 2016.

The insurance focus areas for the 2020/21 financial year include claim handling, mis-selling, hardship assistance, small business insurance cover, Hayne royal commission reforms and unfair contract terms review. 

In the draft statement, which can be found here, the ASIC says “we continue to consult and develop information for industry on our expectations of fair and transparent behaviour. We will review specific market sectors and products, we will take regulatory action…where necessary”.

August 13th is the closing date for submissions.

Credit: 

ASIC Australian Securities & Investments Commission – https://asic.gov.au/

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/

Training

Increased Training On Premium Funding Suggested By Broker Code Committee

The Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee, which assists insurance brokers to deliver high quality service standards to consumers, has recently suggested training should be increased for premium funding. Including ways to assist clients in financial difficulties as a result of the events experienced within the past year. 

Regular training provides brokers with up to date information regarding premium funding arrangements, according to an Own Motion Inquiry. Allowing clients to spread out instalments and consolidate their premiums, from numerous policies, into one payment. 

More in depth training can also lead to early identification of financial difficulty triggers. Policies and procedures can then be put in place to ensure appropriate response and aqedate assistance. 

The inquiry report mentioned “we have seen businesses of all sizes suffer financially due to the pandemic and, in some cases, extreme weather events such as bushfires and flooding”. 

With that said it is projected that financial difficulty will be an ongoing issue for Australian businesses and the insurance industry needs to respond. Brokers should establish that clients are entering a third-party arrangement with a premium funder. As well as ensuring the client understands the risks associated if insurance premiums are missed. 

The inquiry report states “ensure the client understands their mutual obligations to the premium funder and should financial difficulties arise work together to find solutions so that all parties are appropriately informed”. 

The Insurance Broker Code Committee continues to monitor compliance and provides guidance to stakeholders to enhance professionalism and high standards of practice within the insurance broking industry. 

Credit:

Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee – https://insurancebrokerscode.com.au/

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/

calculator-calculation-insurance-finance-53621

$600 Million Dollar Mitigation Program Announced In Budget

The Federal Government Budget included a $600 million mitigation program that will support resilience projects. Prime Minister Scott Morrison identified that the Preparing Australia Program will provide assistance for locally identified risk as well as assist with risks outside community control. 

“The introduction of this new program will allow the Commonwealth to fund projects that reduce risk and minimise the impact of natural disasters including; bushfires, floods and cyclones” Mr Morrison mentioned to the Townsville Chamber of Commerce recently. 

The program will be separated into two parts including Preparing Australian Communities and Preparing Australian Homes. The Home Program will be conducted by the Government working closely with the insurance sector to identify projects of paramount importance. This will support beneficial reductions in insurance premiums. 

An Australian Climate Service will also be established to collate information from Government bodies including the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience and the Bureau of Statistics.

Led by Shane Stone, The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will work closely with Emergency Management Australia and the climate service. Supporting emergency response in regards to decision making after a crisis. This will also help to target where the relief funds are spent under the Preparing Australia Program. 

This program is on top of the five year $130 million Disaster Risk Reduction Funding Package and the $50 million in additional funding from the Emergency Response Fund. Funding that is specifically for long term risk reduction, preparedness and resilience.

Derived from the Former National Drought, Flood Response and Bushfire Recovery Agency, the new agency will also support communities affected by recent floods in NSW and Queensland as well as cyclones in WA. 

The insurance industry has been calling for a large scale investment in this area for quite some time according to the Insurance Council of Australia CEO Andrew Hall. “It is pleasing to see that the Morrison Government has heard these calls with this action,” Mr Hall said. 

The Government also announced their support for local governments to provide disaster recovery scenario training to assist regional communities to prepare for unforeseen events. These announcements are a step in the right direction to ensure a national response to disaster management. 

Steve Johnston, Suncorp CEO, mentioned that the new agency is a vital part of delivering the recommended reforms from last year’s Natural Disaster Royal Commission. He welcomes a national approach to ensure Australia is adequately prepared in the case of disasters. 

Australia has a high risk of extreme weather events and levels of financial and physical resilience and therefore requires extended funding for natural disaster mitigation projects. 

Credit:

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/

Climate Change

Climate Change Guidance Draft Released

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is also known as the APRA has recently released a draft of their climate change guidance. 

This guidance is directed towards the banking, insurance and superannuation industries for managing the risks of climate change. This release came in response to industry requests for clarification on expectations. 

The guide includes APRA’s best practices in areas such as governance, risk management, scenario analysis and disclosure. It does not however implement additional requirements or obligations. 

APRA has developed their draft CPG 229 in response to industry requests including clarity of regulatory expectations and their view of sound practice. 

Since Australia became a party to the Paris Agreement, Chairman Wayne Byres has been consistently raising awareness around the topic of climate-related risks to the financial sector. 

Whilst the guide draft from the Prudential Regulation Authority, APRA, doesn’t create any new requirements in regards to financial risks CPG 229.

According to Byres “The guide is aimed at ensuring decisions are well-informed and appropriately consider both the risks and opportunities that the transition to a low carbon economy creates.”

Recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, TCDF, influenced the CPG 229. With both domestic and international peer regulators assisting with the process. 

The APRA is actively seeking feedback for the CPG 229, Climate Change Financial Risks, draft and plans to release their final version prior to the end of the year.

The intended outcome of the CPG 229 is providing greater clarity of regulatory industry practice in regards to climate change financial risks. 

This clarity has the potential to lead to an increased size customer base and business strategy enhancements for relevant industries such as insurance, banking and superannuation.

Credit

APRA – https://www.apra.gov.au/news-and-publications/apra-releases-guidance-on-managing-financial-risks-of-climate-change

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/regulatory-government/apra-releases-draft-climate-change-guidance

Flood Damage

Flood Damage Extends To $438 Million With Clean Up Well Underway

The insurance costs from the Queensland and New South Wales flooding have extended to an estimated $438 million, as the focus shifts to the clean up and future impact of this natural disaster. Tens of thousands of people have already made claims to insurance companies customer support teams.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, an estimated 29,213 claims had been made, in regards to the floods, as of the end of March. More damage locations are being assessed as the conditions continue to ease and people return to their homes.

With the Bureau of Meteorology stating that no further flooding is projected, assessors have been visiting affected regions as soon as it is safe to do so. Although there has been cause for concern, in regards to flood insurance transparency in the terms and conditions and whether it has in fact been selected by those who are affected by the flooding. Including the sum insured for and the ability to cover the cost of damage and any business interruption.

The Federal Emergency Management Minister, David Littleproud has asked insurers to “show a little bit of humanity and have a social conscience to [the people affected by the floods]” when appearing on Sky News Sunday Agenda last week. 

Also making a point to mention that “people entered into these contracts in good faith, and we would expect insurance companies to act in good faith”. Littleproud also sees this as a great opportunity for the insurance industry to improve their reputation amongst consumers. 

Support teams have been deployed in flood affected areas and are assisting with the arrangement of emergency repairs as well as organising temporary accommodation for customers, according to Suncorp CEO Steve Johnson. Mr Johnson also commended the Federal Government’s swift response in urging state governments to insurance workers and tradespeople as essential workers. 

Giving insurance workers as well as tradespeople the confidence to cross borders with the intention to support flood affected communities. They have also committed to getting customers back on their feet as soon as possible. Therefore it is incredibly important that assessors and repairers have access to these areas. 

There has been additional support from NSW Land Registry Services who are making title searches, replacement Certificates of Title and plan images free for property owners affected by the flooding. These documents not only provide peace of mind to owners but also help landholders with insurance claims and development applications to council.

Disasters such as flooding are a good reminder to check your insurance cover in order to protect your business or home against adverse events. Craig at Business Insurance Consulting may be able to assist in finding the optimum cover when it comes to business or home and contents insurance cover.

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Insurance Business Magazine
Image – NSW SES through 7 NEWS

Insurance

Positive Opportunity For Insurers To Embrace Change

EY Global released their 2021 Global Insurance Outlook report where they suggested there is an opportunity for general insurers to change their business models as we approach a post-COVID world. 

The pandemic encouraged numerous changes that were slowly being implemented prior to the outbreak we experienced last year. We saw a substantial investment in digital methods including IT innovation, to stay in touch with consumers. There is a clear preference to communicate through mobile devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. 

“The global insurance industry is facing a truly unique moment in its long history,” the report stated.

The disruption faced over the past year has provided a positive opportunity for insurers to embrace digital transformation. The industry has the potential to improve itself to align with modern times and market needs.

Although it is the responsibility of individual insurance companies to reposition or even reinvent themselves, EY believes the insurance industry has notable advantages and the ability to achieve growth and opportunity. 

EY Sector Leader Grant Peters wants Australian insurers to connect more with their customer base and explore digital opportunities available to them.

The digital trend is becoming increasingly popular amongst consumers and is likely to continue. Mr Peters mentioned that “some of these trends existed pre-COVID but have been accelerated.”

A trend that is already prevalent and will continue is more flexibility in product terms and offerings that insurers have for consumers. Tailoring products for different consumers need to improve the overall customer experience. It is projected that we will see more innovation and competition in the area of insurance. 

The EY report also mentions there will be a greater need for individual and commercial insurance solutions with the current economic recovery. 

With the introduction of stricter regulations and reporting requirements, insurers will need to review the way in which they manage performance and share their strategies with capital markets. 

Insurers have demonstrated their ability to adapt efficiently to a digitalised world. They now have a unique opportunity to embrace change and enhance their reputations in a customer-centric approach. 

Credit:

Insurance News – https://insurancenews.com.au/local/pandemic-gifts-industry-opportunity-to-remake-for-future

2021 Global Insurance Outlook Report – https://assets.ey.com/content/dam/ey-sites/ey-com/en_gl/topics/insurance/insurance-pdfs/ey-2021-global-insurance-outlook.pdf

Construction industry insurance

How The Construction Industry Will Be Impacted By The Capacity Crunch?

The Australian construction sector is facing increasing pricing, higher excess levels and restricted insurance cover due to natural disasters and project failures. There is a looming potential for insurers to shift away from long term construction risks, instead replacing them with annually renewable risk exposures. 

At the beginning of the year treaty renewals experienced an increase in reinsurance costs. This lowered profitability and led to multiple insurers completely withdrawing their cover from the construction industry, decreasing the supply chain.

The construction market recap report from the past few years outlined “the construction industry is not immune to major events”.

This has created implications for long term contract periods, with capital reducing long term risk and alternatively opting for short term risk exposures. 

A sequence of high profile construction project failures globally, in combination with an array of natural disasters as well as COVID-19 has impacted the construction industry greatly. So much so that insurers are considering insurance coverage restrictions for the construction industry. 

A number of insurance companies have placed their construction books into run-off and in the last 12 months or so, 15 global leading markets withdrew from underwriting construction risks. This resulted in a $1.27 Billion loss in market capacity. 

These losses have led multiple insurers to review their long term participation in the construction industry. Insurance premiums increased by 30-35% last year, with construction liability insurance and excesses also rising significantly. 

The report suggests that insurers will become more selective with the terms and conditions that they offer for construction risk. Other areas of insurance including property and casualty are also on the increase, as major markets avoid risks that don’t adhere to strict underwriting guidelines. 

Head offices are adopting an underwriting approach that focuses on practicality and profitability. Many underwriters are waiting for lead terms to be finalised before considering their participation in the industry, as they are restricted to the original approved terms. 

An example of a key area for concern is water damage. Insurance companies have experienced high volumes of claims for residential and building projects relating to water damage. This has led to increased premiums and cover being limited or excluded completely.

Businesses within the construction industry weighing up their insurance cover options may achieve a more positive outcome by investing in an insurance broker. Demonstrating lower risk and associated capital spend will optimally position businesses to obtain the best cover available. 

Despite the challenging entrance into 2021, insurers have the ability to position themselves to improve outcomes and navigate the market optimally in order to limit cost increases. 

Craig from Business Insurance Consulting is a highly experienced insurance broker that can assist with finding optimal cover for businesses, within the construction industry, that have been impacted by the capacity crunch. Get in touch with Craig for more information in regards to adequate cover for your business.

Credit:

Insurance News – https://www.insurancenews.com.au/local/capacity-crunch-hits-construction-sector