Ways to Reduce Your Business Insurance Costs this Year

The Australian insurance market is starting to enter the ‘hardening’ phase.  This means many business owners can expect more expensive premiums, higher excesses and more narrow coverage. While there’s not much you can do to stop the hardening market, there are certain steps you can take to ensure the market hardening has less of an impact on your business’ bottom line.

What Is a Hard Insurance Market?

The insurance market is driven by the availability of insurance.  If the market has significant capital coming in, it’s easier for businesses to get cover.  This is known as a ‘Soft Market’.  In a soft market, the consumer has more power as insurers will chase business.

A hard market is the opposite.  With decreased availability of capital, insurers have to be more stringent.  This means higher premiums, lower policy limits, bigger excesses, wider exclusions, narrower policy coverage and less competition between insurers.

Certain parts of the Australian insurance market are already showing signs of hardening.  High-risk property, for example, property with building issues is becoming harder to place.  Businesses with a history of losses are also finding it harder to get coverage they want.

How to Ensure Your Business is Prepared

There are certain things you can do to prepare your business before the market hardens:

  • Secure higher policy limits or broader cover in advance, if you think you may need it later. For example, if you currently have cover for $5 million and you know you will need to increase it to $10 million, it may be easier and cheaper to get it now.
  • Factor in the increased costs. With the cyclical nature of the insurance market, you can save for the inevitable, while you enjoy reduced premiums.
  • Work with your insurance advisor. No matter what stage of the cycle the market is at, your insurance advisor will understand both the market and your business. They also have long-term relationships with insurers, which helps them secure the best cover for your business and its circumstances in any market condition. as well as being able to advise on likely future changes to insurance costs.

If you’re concerned about the costs of your insurance premiums going forward, speak to your insurance advisor.  They will be invaluable in assisting your business in a hard market and will act as your advocate if a claim is rejected.

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.

The Evolving Threat of Cyber Crime: Is Your Business Next?

In the past year, the number of reported Cyber attacks have damaged more networks and exposed more consumer data than ever before.

While there are certainly more attacks occurring year on year, more stringent laws have been put in to place that mean greater transparency is necessary when a breach does occur. This has meant that there have been may more organisations having to disclose a lot more breaches than ever before. With Cyber risk at the top of mind of many Australian business owners, it’s important to ensure you are prepared.

Evaluating the Risks of Cyber Threats

The risks of cyber threats will exist as long as you rely on computers and online programs in your work.  Cyber criminals look for information and data on your business, employees and customers. They develop a number of ways to exploit weaknesses in your business such as:

  • theft or unauthorised access of hardware, computers and mobile devices
  • infect computers with viruses and malware
  • attack your technology or website
  • attack third party systems
  • spam you with emails containing viruses
  • gain access to information through your employees.

It’s important to be aware that human error is most often the avenue through which an attack will occur.

The following can help minimise the risk of cyber crime as a result of human error:

  • Develop clear policies and procedures for your business and employees. Outline the security measures you have put in place on how to protect your systems and information assets.
  • Ensure employees are trained.  Consider using video in training, showing an attack or attempted attack as a case study to share with employees.
  • Try to educate corporate clients about the risks of business email compromises.
  • Educate your C-Suite and Board of Directors with regular cyber threat updates to ensure they don’t let their guards down.
  • Create a disaster recovery plan. If you base this on an existing model, the work has already been done for you.
  • Conduct a fake attack on employees by sending an unsolicited email.  If the employee clicks the link within the email, it will expose vulnerabilities in the business and highlight where additional training may be necessary.

Other cyber risk management strategies include:

  • Keep computers, website and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems up-to-date with all software release updates or patches.
  • Ensure all important data and information is backed up regularly to minimise the damage in the event that a breach occurs to your systems.

Some of the challenges in protecting businesses from cyber risks include budget restrictions, out-dated legacy systems, staff mobility, and lack of time to implement solutions.  There are certain things that you can do to implement a risk management plan to protect your business from cyber crime.

The threats posed by cybercrime will continue to evolve as technology does.  So it is important that your organisation continues to adapt and update strategies. their strategies. Cyber Insurance can also help to protect your business. Speak to your insurance advisor to see if this would be a suitable option for you.

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.

Managing Your Business Risk In 2019

The recently released Allianz Risk Barometer report identified ‘Changes in Legislation and Regulation’ to be the top risk for Australian businesses in 2019.  According to the report, this year companies are most concerned about increasing legislation and more onerous compliance process.

The statistics released in the report were as follows:

  • Respondents rated ‘Changes in Legislation and Regulation’ as the number one risk (at 36%), up from the third spot last year (with 28%)
  • ‘Business Interruption’ remains in second place with 32%
  • ‘Cyber Incidents’ has moved down from the number one spot in 2018, to position 3 (at 30%)
  • The impact of ‘new technologies’ ranks as the fifth highest business risk in Australia for 2019

While the risk of cyber incidents may have moved down in the rankings for 2019, it is still a major concern for Australian businesses. 61% of Australian respondents identified cyber incidents as the cause of business interruption that they fear the most.

Technology is becoming an increasingly complex issue for Australian business owners.  When asked which new technologies are the most useful for a company, 80% of respondents answered artificial intelligence.  However, 66% of Australian respondents also identified Artificial Intelligence as the technology that posed the greatest risk to a business.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Pacific’s CEO Willem Van Wyk said that the rapid pace of change is influencing business risk concerns. He stated:

“The increased pace of change, both in terms of legislation, regulation, market disruption and new technologies, is heavily influencing business risk concerns within the Australian market.

In light of the most recent report, Van Wyk advised Australian organisations to plan ahead and prepare for a number of disruptions to their business.  These disruptions can come from with in the business and its operations, or from suppliers or new competitors.

Van Wyk warned “Regardless of the cause of disruption, the financial loss for companies following an event can be enormous.”

He said that new risk management solutions, analytical tools and partnerships can help business owners better understand and minimise the number of risks faced by businesses so that they can prevent losses before they occur.

If you’re concerned about the risks facing your business in 2019, or need some advice on risk management strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your insurance advisor.

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.

Business Fire Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Businesses this Bush Fire Season

Extreme weather events dominated Australia last year, with 2016 recorded as the fourth-warmest year on record, and it’s showing no signs of cooling down in the start of 2017. With this warm dry weather comes another threatening bush fire season. It’s important that any business based close to dense forest, bush, grassland or the coast is prepared for bushfires.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to be aware of the threat of bushfire in your area and ensure you keep your business and employees safe at all times. The key to surviving a bushfire season is to be prepared. Ansvar Insurance published a helpful guide, which detailed bushfire plans for the fire season. They warned that fire preparedness is a shared responsibility, and issued the following safety tips for businesses.

  • Clear rubbish, long grass and other materials that may be prone to catching fire from your premises. This ‘circle of safety’ should extend at least a 20 metre radius around your buildings and properties.
  • Ensure all gutters are cleaned regularly and install metal gutter guards.
  • Make sure any flammable fuels and chemicals are stored away from the main premises, for example in an enclosed, fire-proof shed a few metres away from the building.
  • Install sarking behind weatherboards and beneath existing roofing for extra protection. Sarking helps regulate your building temperature, whilst providing protection from hot or cold weather.
  • Ensure your premises are bush fire ready by using toughened or laminated safety glass and installing metal flyscreens to doors and windows.

It’s also important to check your insurance policy to make sure you are adequately covered if disaster strikes. By checking your insurance policy now and better understanding your legal rights, you could save a lot of heartache and financial stress down the track.

Insured businesses 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 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 are unsure about any of these questions, you should contact your insurance broker who can help to ensure you are adequately protected.

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.