Property Maintenance

How to Prevent a Claim through Proper Inspection and Maintenance

General wear and tear on a property is inevitable.  For business owners, it’s particularly important to maintain and care for property in order to keep the long-term costs of owning these assets down.

Why Property Maintenance Is so Important

A minimum investment in the maintenance and care of your business assets can help avoid larger bills for extensive repairs in the future.  More importantly to note, many insurers do not cover property for damage that is caused as a result of an ongoing problem.  Even if your property is covered by insurance, you will have to make a claim to repair or replace it, which will involve a certain excess, and can be a lengthy process.

The best way to avoid having to make a claim is to ensure all business property is adequately maintained.

How to Adequately Maintain Your Property

There are three main types of property maintenance:

  • Regular Maintenance: Jobs that are assigned to be taken care of at regular intervals, either daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Identifying problems before they become emergencies.
  • Corrective Maintenance: When something breaks, you have to fix it. This type of maintenance can be the biggest drain on your business, and can often be the cause of an insurance claim. It can most often be avoided by employing routine and preventative maintenance.

Any business owner knows that being prepared is key to the longevity of your company.  In order to avoid having the financial expense and time consuming task of Corrective Maintenance, a property maintenance plan can come in handy.

What is a Maintenance Plan?

A Maintenance Plan keeps track of what needs to be done to keep your business property and equipment correctly maintained and protected. In applying an effective Maintenance Plan, you can prevent larger issues to your business from arising.   For example, faulty equipment or a building in disrepair may put your employees safety at risk.  Or if your business building needs to be repaired, you may not be able to operate during the repair period.

A well-managed and properly implemented Maintenance Plan can help to prevent the build up of issues, which is a cost-effective way of ensuring the value of an asset is retained long term.

Calibre insurance has put together a Maintenance Plan that is relevant for SMEs. Click the following link to access a copy of the plan: Link

Each business is unique, so we suggest that you prepare your own plan for your business, but this provides an excellent starting framework.  Ensuring your business property is adequately maintained is a vital step in the entire risk management strategy for your organisation.

For more information on this, or other risk management strategies for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

 

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.

Intellectual Property rights

Protecting your Business’ IP

Innovation is the key to growing a successful business, as it enables companies to adapt and grow in an ever-changing marketplace.  It is vital for today’s SMEs to innovate in order to stay relevant.  It’s even more important that they do it safe in the knowledge that their idea is protected.

According to IP Australia figures, Australian SMEs are leading the way for innovation in the country, as they are submitting 70 per cent of intellectual property protecting filings each year.

What is IP?

Intellectual Property (IP) is the property of your mind, or proprietary knowledge. The IP Australia website (https://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/) states that this can be an invention, trade mark, design, brand or even the way in which an idea is applied.

By registering your IP with IP Australia (and its overseas equivalents), it becomes easier to enforce your IP rights.  Furthermore, IP is a form of property that can later be sold.

The Process Of Registering Your IP

Intellectual Property (IP) rights are designed to encourage small business owners and others to innovate. Applying for an IP right will not only protect your idea, but it will also help you build your business and establish a presence in your chosen market.

IP Australia suggests that the first step for SMEs that are considering applying for an intellectual property right, is to conduct a comprehensive search to make sure your idea hasn’t already been registered.

If you’re considering a patent or a design right, it’s important to keep the idea to yourself until you’ve got the paperwork ready to go. Otherwise, you could jeopardise your ability to claim a patent or design right before you even apply.

It’s also important to be aware that there are some rights that IP Australia doesn’t administer. Copyright and circuit layout rights are administered by the Department of Communications and the Arts, while business names, company names and domain names are not types of IP (ASIC looks after business and company names).

A lawyer who specialise in IP and trademark law could be of assistance throughout this process.

Be Prepared for an IP Infringement

While registering your IP with IP Australia is the best way to protect it, it’s important to be aware that enforcing your rights can be a costly process. As such, IP Australia advises taking out an IP insurance policy.  This type of insurance policy can provide protection for legal costs to enforce claims against infringers, as well as any legal costs incurred for defending infringement claims made against you.

Your insurance policy must be current at the time of the claim, and the amount you are insured for needs to be adequate to meet your possible legal costs.

Speak to us for more information on IP Insurance, and the best way to protect your IP and 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.

Partnership Protection Insurance

Partnership Protection Insurance: Is Your Business Covered?

Most business owners won’t operate without some sort of insurance in place.  However all too often, business owners purchase the most common policies, without considering the less discussed risks.  There are insurance policies today to cover most things, some will be more relevant to your business than others.  The key to ensuring you are adequately protected, is to be aware of the most prevalent risks to your business and seek out the insurance policies that will be most effective in covering these risks.

Partnership Protection Insurance is a lesser-known policy in the insurance market, however it can be one of the best policies to protect SME businesses.

What is Partnership Protection Insurance?

If your business relies on one or more partners to operate, Partnership Protection Insurance can ensure that it continues to run, should the worst happen.

Partnership Protection Insurance provides financial protection in the event that one of the business partners suffers a serious illness, becomes permanently disabled or dies.

The cover provides the financial means for other partner(s) to buy the share of the business from either the person who has inherited it, in the case of death, or from the original partner if they suffer a serious illness or become disabled.

Why is Partnership Protection Insurance So Important?

No one likes to think of the possibility of illness, disablement or death affecting themselves, or one of their partners.  However, no one knows what is round the corner, and it’s vital to have a plan in place.   With Partnership Protection Insurance, you can ensure your business will continue to run should the worst happen, so that you can keep generating income that will assist the families of all partners.

Partnership Protection Insurance may or may not be relevant for your business, but it may be a consideration.  Ask yourself the following questions, to see if it is something that you should look in to further:

  • Would your business survive if one of the partners in your business became disabled, ill or passed away?
  • Who would inherit each business partner’s shares, if they were to pass away?  Would all other partners be comfortable working with this person?
  • Would you be able to afford to pay out a partner’s share if something were to happen to them?

Before purchasing any insurance policy, it’s important to consider the role it will play in reducing your business risk.  If you have key partners in your business, Partnership Protection Insurance may be relevant for you.

We can assist you to obtain advice on this product, speak to us for more information

 

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.

Contingency Insurance

Why Your Business Should Consider Contingency Insurance

There are several types of Contingency Insurance available to cover a range of unpredictable circumstances that may affect your planned business activities.  These are:

  • Cancellation & Abandonment
  • Pluvius
  • Prize Indemnity

The following describes a bit more about the types of Contingency Insurance that may be necessary for your business.

Cancelation and Abandonment

Event organisers, promoters and sponsors incur expenses prior to an event for deposits and upfront costs.  They cannot afford for an unpredictable event beyond their control to cause the event to be postponed, cancelled or relocated. However, there are a number of situations that can result in this happening, from adverse weather, to physical damage to the venue or issues with access to the venue, non-appearance of artists or speakers, failure of electrical supply, strikes and late arrival of essential items.

Cancelation and Abandonment Insurance may cover organisers, promoters, sponsors and venue owners for costs & expenses as well as loss of profit, as a result of an unpredictable event.  Events that can be covered include:

  • Indoor and Outdoor Sporting Events
  • Conferences, Exhibitions and Trade Fairs
  • Concerts and Festivals
  • Charity Gala Evenings, Dinners and Balls
  • Theatre, Opera or Ballet Productions
  • Public Speaking Events
  • Open Days and Fetes
  • Publicity Launches
  • Corporate Events
  • Film and Commercial Production

Pluvius Insurance Cover

Pluvius Insurance Cover (names after the Roman god of Rain) is a specific type of cover, where the insured is paid an agreed amount should a specified amount of rainfall at their event. More rain means less spectators and lower ticket sales.

For Pluvius Insurance cover to kick in, the event doesn’t necessarily need to be cancelled, however rainfall must exceed tolerance.

Prize Indemnity

Prize Indemnity Insurance cover is when the insured is indemnified for the value of a prize in their promotion or competition.  Competitions that may be covered include prize Draws and Skill Contests.

  • Prize draws: Competitions drawn at random, such as envelope picks and wheel spins.
  • Skill contests: Competitions that involve a level of skill in order to win, such as a golf hole-in-one or a shot at goal in soccer.

It’s important to be aware that specific State Legislation may require licenses according to the value of the prize.  Furthermore, for compliance purposes it may be necessary for a 3rd party to supervise the competition.

If your business has an important event coming up, Contingency Insurance may be a worthwhile consideration.  Speak to us about your options.

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 Interruption Insurance

Business Interruption Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide

Most business owners understand the importance of business insurance when it comes to repairing damage or replacing equipment.  However, natural disasters and vandalism can not only harm your business, but can make it almost impossible to get back to normal operations – often for an extended period of time.

The owners, shareholders, and other financiers of your business expect an ongoing income in order to cover financing costs, business operation costs, and an acceptable level of profit. As such, profit and ongoing expenses including payroll, management and financing costs should be insured. The type of insurance that covers these kind of events is called Business Interruption Insurance.

Without Business Interruption Insurance, your company may not survive in the event of a loss, however:

Three out of every four businesses don’t have business interruption insurance.

Having protection in place to keep your operation financially stable in the event that it is unable to resume business as usual is vital.  A recent report published by CGU further highlighted the importance of Business Interruption Insurance in a recent campaign with the following statistics:

  • 1 in 4 small businesses would not survive if they had to close their doors for 3 months
  • 38% of small businesses would shut down if they experienced a business interruption during a busy period in the year
  • 1 in 7 businesses experienced a shortfall in income because of a business interruption in the last 12 months

The campaign aimed to educate CGU staff and brokers about Business Interruption Insurance with a series of informational webinars.  The webinar series focused on why business owners need Business Interruption Insurance and the most common Business Interruption Incidents.

Why Business Owners Need Business Interruption Insurance?

Business Interruption insurance is designed to protect the money or income you may lose when your business operations are interrupted and you are unable to operate as normal. This can be as a result of a natural disaster, or even something simple like a power outage.

The following Infographic from CGU explains in a bit more detail the benefits of securing a comprehensive Business Interruption Insurance policy.

Business Interruption Insurance

The Most Common Business Interruption Incidents

Certain incidents are more likely to result in a Business Interruption claim. CGU outlines the following as the most common incidents to result in a Business Interruption claim.

Business Interruption Claim

Some of these are out of the business owner’s control, however there are certain events that you can, and should, take steps to prevent.  While you can’t control the weather or malicious damage caused by others, there are a number of risk management strategies that your business can employ to reduce the risk of theft, fire, burst pipes and accidental damage.

If you have any queries about the above, or would like more information on Business Interruption Insurance feel free to contact us.

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 Interruption Insurance

Australian Businesses Suffering in the Wake of Cyclone Debbie

Hitting Australia’s Eastern Coast at the end of March, Cyclone Debbie ripped roofs from houses, destroyed power lines, knocked trees onto major roads and flooded houses, gardens and roads across Queensland and New South Wales.  While emergency workers were quick to respond, the cyclone caused severe damage, and was declared a “catastrophe” on the 28th of March by the Insurance Council of Australia.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be seen, and thousands of claims are still expected to be lodged with insurance companies in the coming weeks.  Less than a week after the catastrophe, the Insurance Council of Australia reported that 19,600 claims had already been lodged, amounting to $224 million.

Spokesman for the Insurance Council, Campbell Fuller stated “Claims are flowing in from many, many places – all the way from Bowen and the Proserpine region through to the Gold Coast.”  He continued that most of the damage was caused by ‘wind-driven rain’, and that many properties that look relatively untouched from the outside have suffered significant damage to the interior.

The clean up operation continues, with many home and business owners left to rebuild, repair or replace their property.  Property damage claims, such as replacing broken tiles, smashed windows and ruined carpets, are the most common claims incurred as a result of wild weather.  Protecting your business property against the destructive effects caused by the forces of nature is essential.  A Property Insurance policy can protect your assets and minimise the financial impact on your business in these circumstances.  Property Insurance can cover many property types, as well as valuable business assets such.

While Property Insurance may help with costs incurred as a result of severe weather conditions, it’s important to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.  As part of the PSC Connect Network, clients have access to Johns Lyng Emergency Response, an organisation that offers urgent property repairs and services to mitigate further damage.  The services that they can offer include Emergency Plumbing & Electrical Works, Temporary Fencing, Glass Shuttering and Replacement, Protective Tarping, Demolition and Removal of Debris, Tree Removal, Carpet Restoration, Heater Extraction and Drying, and Emergency Fire Clean.

We can recommend the most appropriate cover to fully protect your business and assets. Speak to us for more information on Property Insurance, or our Johns Lyng Emergency Response offering.

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.

Cyber Insurance

Why Cyber Insurance Is Vital for Protecting Your Business in 2017

Specialised cyber risk management firm Stroz Friedberg has announced the top cyber threats facing businesses in 2017. Their most recent report “2017 Cybersecurity Predictions,” claims cyber espionage, data integrity attacks, and attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices, will be prevalent in 2017.

They warn business owners that cyber attacks are likely to intensify in the coming year as cyber criminals become more advanced and more cunning in exploitive techniques.

The report listed the following as the top cyber risk predictions for 2017:

  • Exploitation of Internet of Things: Cybercriminals will use IoT devices to attack infrastructure. As more people connect more devices to the internet (such as heating/cooling systems and household appliances) cybercriminals have more opportunity to hack these systems. Once they have infiltrated the system, criminals can infect the devices with malicious software, without the knowledge of the owner, and use them as launch points for distributing malware, spam and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Data Integrity Attacks Will Increase: Data sabotage is likely to become a reality in 2017, where criminals try to create confusion and doubt over the accuracy and reliability of information and data, in order to impair decision-making.
  • More Sophisticated Methods of Spear-Phishing: Spear-phishing is a fraudulent act, where criminals send mass emails from a known or trusted sender in order to encourage targeted individuals to reveal confidential information. In 2017, the way criminals spear-phish will become more advanced and more targeted. The report warned that criminals are likely to increase their focus on using human error as an entry point, and will exploit employee weaknesses to enter the business system, known as ‘social engineering’.

The report emphasised the importance of including cyber risk management as a key part of any business’ risk management strategy this year, describing this as “a critical part of doing business” in 2017.

Cyber attacks are likely to intensify significantly in the coming year, and it’s important that your business is protected. Speak to your insurance advisor about how Cyber Insurance may be of benefit to 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.

Business Insurance

Don’t Wait Till Disaster Strikes! Make Sure You Have Adequate Insurance Now

A state-wide blackout that crippled South Australia in September last year cost industry in the area over $367 million. According to a study recently released by Business SA, many of the affected businesses in the area did not have Business Interruption Insurance. Of those that did, more than half were not adequately covered for all of the losses incurred as a result of the unexpected outage. The report estimated that the blackout cost each business affected around $5,000.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. In many cases, price-focused small business owners have to keep their costs down and as a result may not buy insurance at all or may only have cover in place for certain losses such as fire, theft, flood or vandalism. However, it’s important to bear in mind that these disasters will not only harm your business’ physical assets, but may also make it difficult to continue operations for an extended period of time. In fact, in the event of serious property damage, it’s not uncommon for the Business Interruption component of a claim to be greater than the cost of repairing the physical property damage.

Business Interruption Insurance covers lost income when a company cannot operate, after an insured event has affected them. While your Business Insurance may cover the costs of repairing or replacing important business assets, the process of doing so can take some time. In the period of time between the disaster striking and getting your business back on its feet, you may find your operations are restricted or completely unable to function, which in turn, is likely to cause a loss of profit. Depending on how badly your property has been damaged, you may lose cash flow and fall behind on bills, or you may have to pay staff extra wages as they work overtime to get the business back on track.

Business Interruption cover makes is possible to stay afloat while your business returns to full operating ability by covering costs such as paying your staff, taking care of debts and covering other costs associated with getting your business back on track.

A successful business depends on more than just a physical location and tangible assets. It’s important to ensure you are fully protected for these additional costs, so that you’re not left out of pocket if disaster strikes. Speak to your insurance adviser for more information on fully protecting 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.

life insurance

The Downside of Including Life Insurance in your SMSF

For many Self Managed Superannuation Funds, Life Insurance cover can be included for members of the fund.  It is common for an SMSF to include the option for Life insurance cover, certain types of Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover, and Standard Income Protection insurance.

It is important to note however, that there are downsides to sourcing Life Insurance through your SMSF.  First and foremost, SMSF Life Insurance plans can come with limited levels of coverage and very narrow definitions of what is covered.  This means that members can find themselves underinsured.

Here are some other issues to consider regarding the drawbacks of including Life Insurance in your SMSF.

  1. Tax Considerations– Tax is payable on some Life insurance and TPD benefits. If your children are over the age of 18 and intended beneficiaries of an insurance policy, it may be better to hold the policy in your personal name, rather than super to ensure they receive the full payment that they are entitled to.
  2. Access to Your Payout– A disability income insurance policy that is held in a SMSF may be entitled to a claim, however it can be difficult to get access to the money, and income payments can be stuck in the super account until you are a lot older or very unwell. Consider keeping disability income insurance policies in your name; the premiums are also tax-deductible to you.
  3. Your Type of Work – Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance provides coverage if you were to become unable to work again due to a serious accident or illness. Depending on your occupation, it can be difficult to be successful in a claim. Many SMSF life insurance options offer “any occupation” coverage for TPD. The drawback here is that with “any occupation” coverage, if you can be employed to do a role, including something other than your specified occupation, you will likely not be successful in a claim.
  1. Super Contributions – If you hold insurance in super, it’s important to remember that unless you are topping up your super to offset the premiums being paid for the insurances, you are cutting yourself out of investment returns and reducing your long-term super balance.

Life insurance is an extremely important product that ensures yourself and your family can maintain your standard of living long into the future.  However navigating the complex insurance market to find the right policy for you can be difficult and confusing.  We have relationships with experience life insurance professionals who can help you source the policy that is right for your situation and your needs.

PSC Connect has a separate Life Insurance division: Connect Life, which is run by Jason Garde.

Connect Life Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Certus Life Pty Ltd (AFSL 467443) ABN 99 169 526 363

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.