bushfire insurance

Prepare For More Devastating Bushfires

Australians are being warned to prepare for another devastating bushfire season this year, particularly in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.

A new report by the Climate Council warned the length and severity of the bushfire season is increasing year on year.

“Record-breaking heat and hotter weather over the long term in NSW has worsened fire weather and contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of bushfires,” the report said.

The report linked the intensity and length of the bushfire season in Australia to the impact of climate change, stating extreme fire weather has increased over the last 30 years and will only get worse in the future.

NSW was declared a state of emergency in October 2013, with areas in the Blue Mountains and Central Coast up in flames and more than 100 fires burning across the state. Early estimates suggest the cost of damages from the bushfires would be more than $180 million with 768,000 hectares of land affected, destroying 279 homes, with two people losing their lives.

This year will be no exception, with NSW firefighters battling 90 blazes in August this year and 55 local councils declaring the start of bushfire season well before the start of summer.

Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Fire Service has warned that a number of inner-city areas are considered bushfire risk hotspots this summer.

The economic cost of bushfires in Australia is also devastating, with an estimated cost of $337 million per year, with that cost expected to reach $800 million annually by mid-century, the report said.

The legal profession are encouraging homeowners and businesses to check their insurance policies to make sure they are adequately covered if disaster strikes.

Checking your insurance policy now and better understanding your legal rights, could save heartache and financial stress down the track.

“Our lawyers have found that if people had checked their policies each year before the extreme summer weather kicked in, they could have avoided some of the problems they faced when making a claim.” said Legal Aid Queensland CEO, Anthony Reilly.

People who are insured should check their policies and ask themselves:

  • Am I up to date with my payments?
  • Does the sum insured on my building cover the total rebuild cost?
  • Do you understand the BAL rating (Building Attack Level) and how it affects your property?
  • Do I know where my policy is?
  • Does my policy really cover what I think it covers?
  • What can’t I claim for under the policy?
  • Are there maximum amounts or limits I can claim?

If you can’t answer these questions then you need to speak to your insurance broker.

Disclaimer

Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.

The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.

cyber insurance

Insurance issues for 2015: Cyber, Terrorism & Climate Change.

A survey has found that cyber attacks and terrorism represent the two biggest emerging risks to the reinsurance industry in 2015.

The survey, by Guy Carpenter & Company in the United States, found that 40% of those polled ranked cyber attacks as the most threatening emerging risk of 2015, while 31% labelled terrorism as the biggest risk for the coming year.

Third place went to climate change; with 29% of the reinsurance professionals surveyed noted the changing environment as the biggest emerging risk.

Andrew Marcell, Managing Director of Guy Carpenter, said of the survey: “Cyber attacks are one of the most serious economic and national security challenges facing not only the insurance industry, but governments and businesses around the world.”

Jaydon Burke-Douglas, Specialty Risks Practice Leader at leading Cyber insurer, DUAL Australia commended:

“Cyber risks are definitely real. The majority of claims that we’re seeing aren’t actually coming from some computer hacker sitting at their computer stealing your data. The majority of the claims that we are seeing are coming from really quite straight forward human errors like someone leaving their laptop on the train or accidentally sending client lists to everyone in their address books.”

Mr Burke-Douglas added, “One trend that we are seeing is the increase in attacks against SMEs. For example, 61% of targeted spear-phishing attacks were aimed at SMEs in 2013.”

In another study undertaken in Australia by Ernst & Young, fifty-one per cent of Australian companies lack the agility, budget and skill to mitigate known vulnerabilities and successfully address cyber security. The survey outlines that 80% of companies believe they face an increased cyber threat. For the first time in 17 years, the survey reveals that the biggest threat is posed by external forces such as ‘hacktavists’ and criminal syndicates.

Interestingly, despite the widespread media attention, only 19% of survey respondents saw the threat of natural disasters as the leading threat to growth thanks to a relatively calm year for disasters around the world.

Disclaimer

Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.

The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.

santa business insurance

Is Santa covered this Christmas?

Far, far away in the North Pole, Santa was worried. With the busy Christmas period coming up and an ageing workforce of elves and reindeers, would this be the year something went wrong?

Santa had the same insurance for years now after a recommendation from his good friend, the Easter Bunny. But it has been year since he had sat down with his broker and gone over his insurance and his business risks.

For a busy and successful small business, Santa is typical of most business owners: “We are all busy — sometimes too busy — especially around the holidays, and I don’t have time to look at my insurance, it should be okay.” Is what I hear a lot.

If Santa was worried, he really should be looking at his insurance policy more regularly. As an insurance specialist, I’d be recommending Santa check the insurance for his North Pole operations:

  • Products & Public Liability – Santa builds and distributes toys to children all around the world. No other business has the same reach as Santa, yet he probably hasn’t updated his public and product liability cover. If one of his overworked elves makes a defective toy, Santa could be sued for compensation as a result of an injury to that child.
  • The elves’ tools — Santa should have employees’ tools coverage under his property insurance for the extra small equipment his workers bring to the workshop. While the North Pole doesn’t get many visitors, he should check his limit provided for theft under the property form.
  • Reindeer insurance — These are expensive livestock that Santa should insure against mortality, loss of use and major medical. If Rudolph breaks a leg Santa needs sufficient cover to make alternative arrangements.
  • The sleigh — This should be covered by an inland marine policy (like a cargo truck). As Santa used the sleigh to send his toys and goods to multiple locations, Santa needs to cover these valuables all over the world.
  • Business interruption — Santa works year-round to get ready for Christmas. Losing the workshop for just one day could make a difference between December 25 and December 26. Business interruption insurance would ensure that Santa has enough cash on hand to make sure he meets his obligations, continues to employ the elves and could set up a temporary facility at the South Pole.

Just like Santa, every business has specific risks that need to be reviewed regularly by an insurance expert. Like Santa, next time you think you’re too busy to properly review your insurance, remember that your family, staff and customers rely on you whatever may affect your business!

Disclaimer

Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.

The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.