Above-average cyclone season looms

As reported by

Insurers should brace for an above-average cyclone season due to weakening La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean and warmer than average sea temperatures to the north and east, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The cyclone season begins next month and ends in April.

The bureau says Australia has a 67% chance of an above-average season, while the west has a 59% chance, the northwest 63%, the north 56% and the east 58%.

In neutral years the first tropical cyclone to make landfall typically occurs in late December, while in La Nina years it usually hits in the first week of December, the bureau says.

Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller says even an average cyclone season – consisting of 11 events, four of which make landfall – can be devastating.

“An above-average year could bring many more than that, and each one has the potential to cause catastrophic damage if it crosses the coast in a heavily populated area,” he said.

“Only one cyclone made landfall last season, and that was in a sparsely populated part of WA’s Pilbara. There’s no guarantee Australia will be so fortunate this summer.”

Tropical Cyclone Marcia cost insurers $544 million from more than 37,000 claims when it struck Rockhampton in February last year. In 2011 Cyclone Yasi cost insurers $1.4 billion.

Beware the escape clause in Motor policies

Cheap motor insurance can have some tough exclusions
The Policy Comparison team at LMI have highlighted some new exclusions have been introduced by some of the “Cheapy” direct insurers.
Previously Motor Insurance wordings did not have an exclusion for “reckless acts” but this has now changed. 
Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver misjudges common driving procedures, often causing accidents and other damages. The legal dictionary defines reckless driving as operation of an automobile in a dangerous manner under the circumstances, including speeding (or going too fast forthe conditions, even though within the posted speed limit), driving after drinking (but not drunk), having too many passengers inthe car, cutting in and out of traffic, failing to yield to other vehicles, and other negligent acts.

Summer catastrophe bill over $500 million

Insured losses for the four catastrophes declared over summer have gone above $550 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. 

There was a bit of a “sharp rise in value” of losses with the Great Ocean road bushfires that hit Victoria over Christmas. Insured losses from the Victorian bushfires now stand at $110 million from 527 claims, compared with $88 million one month ago.

Rob Whelan, CEO of the ICA, said that the clean-up operation in the state is well underway with at least 15 sites cleaned up so far by contractors. Insurers can only commence rebuilding once each site has been cleared of debris, including asbestos. 

Also the extremely steep terrain is presenting significant challenges, but insurers are determined to rebuild homes in the shortest time possible once the design and planning approval process is completed.


Hot summer leads to more claims

Insurance claims have so far exceeded $515 million this summer. Unfortunately they are likely to increase further as the country continues to deal with bushfires and severe storms.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said the figure is made up from four catastrophes. These include three major bushfires in Pinery in South Australia, Victoria's Great Ocean Road and in Yarloop in Western Australia. Then there was also the Sydney storms and tornado in December. 
Insurers were expecting this to be a highly dangerous summer. The predictions were for a heightened bushfire risk in exactly the areas that have suffered bushfires. It is still only the middle of  summer. The world has also experienced the hottest year on record since 1880. With more evaporation of land and oceans, combined with more mositure in the atmosphere creating more storm activity and then a greater volume being dumped somewhere else on the planet, it is unlikely these events will reduce into the future.

Kidnap & Ransom - do not take the risk

"Hello, my name is Warren Rodwell. I have the dubious distinction of being the longest held Australian captive out of war, after being shot through the right hand when kidnapped in the southern Philippines on December 5, 2011 by the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). It was necessary to eventually have a finger amputated.

The ASG threatened to behead me if the original ransom demand for $US2 million was not paid. Both the Philippine and Australian governments had strict policies of refusing to pay ransoms. After the payment of $AUD94,000 for "board and lodging" expenses by my siblings, I was released 472 days later on March 23, 2013, and subsequently returned to Australia to rehabilitate, after losing about 30 kilograms in weight due to starvation. 

Now when I travel, I always make sure I have the right cover. A policy with adequate Kidnap and Ransom cover, along with good medical and repatriation coverage. I did not think this could ever happen to me, but it did. I certainly wish I had the right cover that would have assisted me. So speak to your Insurance Broker and make sure you get the right advice and have the right cover for any future trips you make overseas"

Parcel Delivery alert emails are a Scam

Watch out for fake parcel delivery scams arriving in your inbox this Christmas. More than $80,000 was reported stolen to the ACCC this year from over 1,360 complaints. There has already been over 100 reports of this scam already this December – more than last December, with only half the month gone. The ACCC is also seeing a significant increase in both personal and commercial information loss being reported to this scam, with over 350 reports this year compared to 250 in 2014.
Scammers take advantage of the busy Christmas season to send you emails about a ‘missed parcel delivery’, purportedly from trusted services such as Australia Post or FedEx. The emails may be personalised with your name and address and look to be from a legitimate company complete with fraudulent logos, they have warned.
The email may mention a fee will be charged while they hold your undelivered item. Scammers ask you to open an attachment or download a file to retrieve your parcel. If you follow these instructions, an executable file (.exe) will load on to your computer and install ransomware as soon as it is opened.


Pools in Queensland must meet safety standards from 1 December 2015.

Pool laws were passed in 2010, but a five-year grace period was established to give pool owners time to comply.

Councils have the power to issue on-the-spot fines.

If a household does not meet the key safety requirements, residents could be slapped with on-the-spot fines of up to $796.95, and further penalties up to $18,785.25 can be imposed on pool owners.

Pools also must be registered on a pool safety register, and failure to register could result in a fine of up to $2,356.

Let councils know about non-compliant pools...

This summer’s cyclone forecast

This summer we are expecting less tropical cyclones thanks to what is known as the El Niño weather cycle which is currently occurring in Australia. This effect causes the number of cyclones to reduce compared with the historical average.

The Australian region has only a 9% chance of having more tropical cyclones than average, meaning a 91% chance of having fewer tropical cyclones than average.

It is possible Queensland may not get any cyclones this summer. Historical averages show 11 cyclones occurring over the full season, with 4 tropical cyclones crossing the Australian coastline, but the El Niño cycle does not mean cyclones will disappear entirely but much less are expected.

The cyclone season is considered to be November to April. The strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean is expected to continue into 2016, and typically delays the date of the first cyclone to cross the Australian coast.

But there has never been a cyclone season without at least one tropical cyclone crossing the Australia coast.

With lower than average numbers expected, the outlook does warn those living in cyclone-affected regions to still prepare for cyclone season as the disastrous effects of under preparation are well-known.

Even small cyclones have had a devastating effect on our communities. 

So still be prepared for Cyclones but hopefully the risks will be lower while we remain in El Nino. 

For the BOM report read here

The Risk to our cities

Lloyd’s has launched a ground-breaking new study that for the first time quantifies the potential economic impact of various manmade, natural and emerging threats on the world’s leading cities.

Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2015-2025 looks at the projected GDP of 301 cities over a ten-year period and calculates how much of it is at risk from 18 specific threats. That figure totals $4.56 trillion, which represents a significant drag on future economic development.

The Index is intended to stimulate discussion – and, where appropriate, prompt innovation – between insurers, governments and businesses to help to improve resilience, mitigate risk and protect infrastructure.

To explore Lloyd’s City Risk Index 2015-2025, go to Lloyds City Index

Cockies or Cockles?

Own a Restaurant or Cafe? Check out this Caloundra venue where they were fined more than $18,000 for breaches of the local Food Safety laws. By not spending a little bit more time and money to make sure your kitchens are nice and clean, you can instead pay whopping big fines to the Council and damage the name of your brand so disgusted people will spread the word and never come to your Restaurant and Cafe again. And if you do manage to avoid the council inspection and instead poison your customers with Salmonella or other bacteria, you may have your Products Liability cover to protect you. Or will you!

Check the Conditions of cover for clauses such as "reasonable precautions" or "abiding by local statutory regulations" as requirements to have a claim accepted or you could be paying out of your own pocket..


by Cecilia Harris, NIBA Broker Buzz

New research has revealed that dealing with an insurer after a catastrophe can be more stressful for policyholders than the event that caused losses in the first place.

Kelly Dixon, from QUT’s School of Psychology and Counselling, studied the mental health impacts caused by the flood disasters in Brisbane in 2011 and Mackay in 2008, producing some interesting incentives for policyholders to utilise the help of a professional broker when dealing with insurers.

The study shows that, while the flooding event was stressful on the day, the most trying part of the experience for many people was the aftermath, including dealing with insurance companies and the re-building process.

“The findings showed that aftermath stress contributed to poor mental health outcomes over and above the flood itself, prior mental health issues and demographic factors,” Dixon says.

“Aftermath stress was the strongest predictor of post-traumatic stress symptoms with 75 per cent of people saying the most difficult aspect was the aftermath and dealing with insurance companies.”

Expert advice vital in strata cover purchase

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) has cautioned strata unit owners and body corporate committees in North Queensland that buying insurance cover direct from an insurer without seeking expert advice may end up being false economy.

NIBA was responding to an announcement by one insurer that it would offer strata insurance direct to owners and body corporates of small unit complexes at a promised saving in premium.

NIBA CEO, Dallas Booth, said strata insurance is traditionally sold through brokers for a very good reason - the importance of expert advice.

"There are three key reasons for this. Firstly every strata building is different, and will have different risks and challenges which need to be taken into account when thinking about insurance; secondly, strata insurance policies all vary, and care needs to be taken to ensure the policy matches the needs of the strata block; and thirdly and most importantly, the amount of cover (the sum insured) needs to be adequate, or the strata owners will be exposed if a major loss occurs.

"As a general rule, insurance companies do not give advice to clients on what product is appropriate -- only licensed insurance brokers do this. And it is even more important to get advice when the market is difficult, which it has been for the past three years and continues to be in many areas of Australia," Mr Booth said.

Premium earnings up but profit down

The Australian general insurance industry earned net profit after tax of $4.1 billion last year, down 12.8% on the 2013 figure.

However, net earned premium was up 3.2% to $31.7 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Of this sum, primary insurers wrote $30.1 billion and reinsurers $1.6 billion.

Gross incurred claims increased 3.6% to $29.8 billion, while net incurred claims were up 11.8% to $20.8 billion. Gross incurred claims for domestic motor grew 6.1% to $5.7 billion due to higher claims from catastrophes, including last November’s Brisbane hailstorm.

Increased claims led to reduced underwriting profit of $2.7 billion, down from $4.1 billion in 2013.

Short-tail classes such as householder and domestic motor powered the overall premium rise, while investment income for the industry grew 24% to $4.2 billion.

The net loss ratio was 66%, up from 61%, and the underwriting expense ratio was unchanged at 26%.

Total industry underwriting expenses increased 2.1% to $8.1 billion.

At December 31 there were 103 insurers and 12 reinsurers licensed to conduct general insurance business in Australia.

Thankyou to for this article

Top Risks for 2015

Insurance Business online reports that the following are considered the biggest risks for 2015 according to a survey.

Top Australian Risks 2015

  1. Business interruption and supply chain – 47%
  2. Loss of reputation or brand value – 35%
  3. Intensified competition – 35%
  4. Talent shortages/aging workforce – 24%
  5. Natural catastrophes – 24%
  6. Market stagnation or decline – 18%
  7. Market fluctuations – 18%
  8. Commodity price increases – 18%
  9. Changes in legislation/regulation – 12%
  10. Credit availability – 12%

Top global risks 2015

Cyber Attacks - the new global war

If you click here on this link, you will see a map showing real time Cyber Attacks occurring around the world. Where they come from and where they are going to.

Australia is one of the biggest targets of them all.

We have Insurance solutions to protect you from such financial losses that could occur to your business by someone unlikely to be local.

Just recently, Ello, the anti-facebook start up site, has been hit denying their service for 45 minutes. The Grocery stores Supervalu had a second attack on its payment systems.

Have a happy and safe new year

CPR Insurance Services has had a fantastic 2014, thanks to all our clients and supporters. We thrive on the success of our clients and our commisserations go to those businesses that did not survive what has been a tough year for many.

This year CPR Insurance handled a record amount of claims with all but one being successfully resolved or on its way to being settled. The one we have not had settled yet, we keep fighting for our client and always will when it is a legitimate claim. 

The majority of our claims this year were storm related. They involved water damage caused by entering buildings, hail damage and lightening damage. Crash Repairers appera to be booked up until May and there is no glass for the glaziers at the moment. Widespread catastrophes are difficult, but we appreciate your patience. The two storms on the 19th November and 27th November 2014 caused more than one billion dollars of damage.

More storms are expected this summer, so plan your protection strategy. See our article here or follow the attached tips below.

In the meantime, have a safe Christmas and a successful new year from everyone at CPR Insurance Services.

Yes we had a couple of cold days but…still Record temperatures!

Did you know that overall last year was Australia’s warmest on record? Are we about to pay the price for it?

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) has published its outlook for the coming fire season. It shows “above normal” danger for large parts of our country.

Much of the east coast, from mid-Queensland to Victoria, is marked in red.

This is a consequence of last year’s very high and prolonged temperatures, which have continued into this year in many areas.

There also has not been as much rainfall in the east and southwest Australia over the past two years.

What this means is more moisture is sucked up from the environment causing more dryness in the forests and grasslands.

Combine the predicted El Nino conditions in the Pacific, and an early and severe fire season is the likely outcome for many parts of the country.

It does take a great deal of rain for the underlying dry conditions to change as any surface moisture will be quickly dispersed.

There has been a prolonged rainfall deficit in forested regions on the west and east coasts. This will lead to a much higher likelihood of bad fires in the forested regions.

Warning ATO is after Professional Services firms

The ATO has released a set of guidelines to assess tax compliance risks and allocation of profits, specifically targeting the professional services industry. A new set of risk assessment factors for remuneration of an ‘individual professional practitioner’ (IPP), with compliance activity around these criteria havec ome into effect from this year.

If an organisation cannot satisfy any of the guidelines, the individual professional practitioner’s arrangement will be considered higher risk. 

This all demonstrates a continued effort by the ATO to target organisations who have failed to adhere to their compliance requirements.

CPR Insurance Services cannot provide advice on this matter, but as your trusted adviser, we feel it is important to bring this to your attention to enable you to mitigate the potential loss and for your tax advisor to undertake assessment of your tax compliance.

Further protection can be provided by obtaining a Tax Audit cover that will cover the cost of additional fees required by your Accountant to assist in an audit or investigation actually made against your business. Save yourself from these risks.

AILA Conference promises lots

The Australian Insurance Law Association 2014 National Conference will be held at Hamilton Island, Whitsunday’s, Queensland from Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th September 2014.

This is a must attend event for any Insurance Law experts and Insurance technical experts. 

Mix with the cream of the best specialist Insurance Lawyers and experts in the country.

Speakers include: The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, (who helped create the Insurance Contracts Act), The Hon. Justice Martin Daubney, Supreme Court of Queensland, Robert Kelly, Managing Director and CEO, Steadfast, Britt Pickering, Claims Director, The Shipowners' Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Matthew Hockaday, Partner, Thynne & Macartney, Chris Bertuch, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, Insurance Australia Group, Christopher Johnstone, Barrister-at-Law, Dr Des Derrington, Barrister-at-Law, Robert Bain QC, Tony McGrath, Chairman, McGrathNico, Ron Ashton, Barrister-at-Law, and Damian Scattini, Principal, Maurice Blackburn plus many more.

Click here for more information

Robert Cooper named again as a Top 30 Elite Broker

With more than 5,000 Insurance Brokers around Australia, to be named as one of the Top 30 by Insurance Business Magazine is quite an honour. Even better if named two years running.

Not simply based on revenue, but also on retention of clients, new business growth, qualifications, contribution back to the industry, integrity, ethical standards, skill, knowledge and ability to influence change for the better in the industry. All attributes that go towards receiving such an award.

CPR Insurance Services continues to grow, thanks to our fantastic clients, many of who have supported us from the very beginning. This award is shared with those that choose to place their insurance risks in our care.

Thank you to all of you.

Climate change now part of catastrophe models according to Lloyd’s

Catastrophe Modelling & Climate Changeproduced by Lloyd’s Exposure Management & Reinsurance team, says policymakers and planners need to make use of climate model projections, but also take account of the uncertainty in them.

“There are good physical reasons to expect events to become more extreme,” Head of Exposure Management & Reinsurance Trevor Maynard says in the report.

“For example, as the temperature rises the humidity rises, giving the potential for larger floods.”

The report says the frequency of heatwaves has increased in Europe, Asia and Australia, but drought is expected to decrease in northwestern Australia and central North America.

Lloyd’s says the climate is changing and it is imperative that any trends are considered and incorporated into catastrophe models. The report includes short articles by the major risk modelling companies.

“Rising sea levels around the world could have significant implications for insurers in the context of storm surge,” another modeller, RMS, says. It points out that Superstorm Sandy, which struck along the US east coast in 2012, broke 16 historical tide records.

RMS Senior Director Paul Wilson says climate change-induced sea level rises caused Superstorm Sandy's surge losses in New York to be 30% higher than they might otherwise have been.

Thanks to for this report

Ita losses hit $8.4 million

Insured losses from Cyclone Ita in north Queensland have reached about $8.4 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

CEO Rob Whelan says 680 claims were received by April 15, with no further updates yet available.

Teams of assessors have travelled to Cairns and ICA sent a disaster recovery specialist to Cooktown to liaise with authorities and identify and resolve insurance-related issues.

Mr Whelan says insurers have been prioritising cyclone claims, and he urges cyclone-hit property owners to contact their insurers as soon as possible.

ICA has also echoed warnings from Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie about scammers going door to door offering unsolicited repairs.

The Category 4 cyclone made landfall in an area of relatively low population near Cooktown on April 11. It then moved down the coast, causing power outages, flooding and damage to sugarcane and banana plantations.

ICA has declared Ita a catastrophe for areas of north Queensland, meaning insurers give priority to cyclone claims.

Product disclosure a failure, NIBA tells inquiry

Regulators are now coming to realise that product disclosure obligations don’t work, don’t result in better informed consumers and don’t lead to them making better decisions about financial products, NIBA has told the Financial Services Inquiry.

NIBA's submission was filed on Monday, and advocates greater promotion of the valuable role qualified insurance brokers can play in providing advice to consumers on their insurance needs. It is NIBA's belief that product disclosure obligations can only play a limited role in leading consumers to make better financial decisions.

NIBA's submission states: "No amount of financial literacy and education programs will produce ‘confident and informed consumers’ of risk insurance products – the community does not understand and appreciate the nature and extent of risk, and the community will never become familiar with the nature and extent of insurance products and policies that are available in the market.

“In these circumstances, NIBA respectfully submits that the only realistic way to achieve confident and informed consumers of insurance risk products is to promote financial literacy followed by the need to seek qualified, professional advice from a licensed adviser who is experienced and expert in risk and insurance matters In other words, an insurance broker.”

You can read more details about NIBA's submission here.

You can access NIBA's entire sumission here.

Australia to experience fewer but fiercer cyclones

Queensland and Western Australia can expect fewer, but more intense, cyclones in the near future, according to a recent study published by Nature.

Research out of James Cook University in Cairns shows tropical cyclone activity has reached an unprecedented low not seen in the past 550 to 1500 years.

But the findings backup earlier studies that predict climate change will also result in stronger cyclones.

Environmental Sciences Professor and co-author of the study Jon Nott says the findings indicate that the last 40 to 100 years of cyclone activity in northern Australia represented a comparatively quiet period in the longer-term history of cyclones in the region.

“These results confirm that Queensland’s coastal development guidelines are based on an unrepresentative period,” Professor Nott says.

“Buildings and infrastructure on low-lying coastal land in northern Queensland face a higher storm-surge risk than our planners and development authorities have allowed for.”

Top 10 Global Risks of Highest Concern in 2014

  1. Fiscal crises in key economies,
  2. Structurally high unemployment/underemployment,
  3. Water crises,
  4. Severe income disparity,
  5. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation,
  6. Greater incidence of extreme weather events,
  7. Global governance failure,
  8. Food crisis,
  9. Failure of a major financial mechanism/institution,
  10. Profound political and social instability,                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Source: World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, Ninth Edition

Does your Sum Insured take account of current building standards?

An issue has developed as insurers with the claims arising out of the fires in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in October 2013. Over 200 houses were lost in these fires, and the total insurance cost is estimated to be over $183 million.

As property owners and their insurers are starting to consider rebuilding, they are faced with increased building standards that have been introduced in the past 4 years. The building standards apply to new buildings (which includes the rebuilding of residences lost in the fires) and major renovations/repairs in areas that may be affected by fire, and operate to increase the cost of rebuilding. This has led to a number of properties being underinsured in the Blue Mountains area.

Other parts of Australia are also faced with building standards that have been changing over time, including areas likely to be affected by major storms and cyclones.

It is critical that we insurance brokers discuss the sum insured with our clients, and in particular when the cost of replacement is being estimated, we take careful account of current building standards that may be applicable to the property. Knowledge of local requirements will be critical in this regard, as the building standards are mostly applied and enforced by local councils.

Happy new year, for employers

It appears that 2014 will be more eventful than 2013 in the employment law and workplace relations area. So what can we expect?

New anti-bullying laws

There is the commencement of the new anti-bullying laws on 1 January 2014. It is likely that a large number of applications will be made to the Fair Work Commission in the first year of the new anti-bullying laws. This area will develop quickly, providing further guidance on the meaning and operation of these laws. Bullying will continue to dominate the employment law and workplace relations landscape in 2014


Changes to the Privacy Act 1988 from 12 March 2014, will see the introduction of the Australian Privacy Principles (which will replace the current National Privacy Principles). There are changes regarding privacy policies and notices. There will be further regulation around cross-border data disclosure. The changes largely relate to increased transparency in the management of information.

The use and disclosure of employee information and records will vary from business to business.,

Productivity Commission Review

The current Federal Government intends to have a Productivity Commission Review of the Fair Work Act under the pretext of improving the legislation. It is expected this will commence in or about March 2014. The terms of reference for that review have not yet been released.

While the government has stated that any changes recommended would not be considered until the next election, we do not expect any real amendments to this Act, but they have already broken many promises so far such as education funding, reducing government debt and dealing with climate change.

Christmas Risks because Christmas isn’t always fun and games

There are risks to you with Christmas. In fact the risks could be greater to you than at any other time of the year. The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) has compiled a list of the most commons risks facing most people and of course how to manage them as follows:

Debt: Hard to avoid at Christmas. The IRM recommend managing this risk by limiting gifts to one per family. Alternatively encourage everyone to make their gift. It will save adding to the credit card bill.

Being shocked: Not just at the cost of goods or your weight gain, but high hazard things like Christmas lights and other gadgets plugged into the mains. It not only puts your power costs up but places the home power circuit under pressure. To avoid a shock and potential trip to Emergency, it may be time to upgrade the lights, unplug occasionally and make sure they aren’t left plugged in and unattended for long periods.

Crime: Many Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets will be on the wish list this year. However they contain a lot of sensitive data and a host of personal information. They are also targeted by crooks. So if giving or receiving these as a gift, the Institute of Risk Management recommends packaging it with security software.

Overindulgence: With the amount of parties and all the treats on offer, resistance can be futile. However to avoid gaining a waistline to rival that of Santa Claus,  the Institute of Risk Management suggests balancing this extra intake with additional and regular exercise.

Embarrassment: Having a good time at the staff Christmas party or family function often involves the consumption of plenty of alcoholic beverages. This can sometimes to lead to uninhibited affections or instead negativity surfacing. This can sometimes lead to a loss of temper and aggression ending in dramatic and unwanted situation. Then the regret and illness the next day. Opting for drinking less could mean avoiding that awful ‘day after’ moment.

Preparing for severe weather


As we enter summer, a time of more severe weather events, one insurer is prepared to help you deal with weather events like bushfire, flood and cyclone. 

They have prepared a guide to give you insight into 2013’s weather risks – including bushfires, floods and cyclones – and how they will help you if impacted by an event.

This guide is designed to help inform discussions with you to help better understand your risk and ensure you have the right level of insurance to protect your property and assets, should the worst-case scenario occur.

They have also prepared checklists and claims information to help our  customers prepare for bushfires and cyclones and minimise the risk of damage to their property and business.
Contact us for a copy 

Disputes with the Ombudsman miniscule when dealing with Brokers

Ombudsman’s report confirms Brokers’ low dispute rate
Statistics recently released by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) reveal  that of all the general insurance disputes accepted by the ombudsman during 2012/13, just 0.66% were between small businesses and brokers.

In comparison, there were more than 300 disputes between SMEs and insurers.

This low number could well reflect the quality of advice and guidance broker clients receive. The bulk of disputes involved decisions made by the financial service provider making up two thirds of cases heard by the ombudsman in this category.

These statistics should reassure our clients that our advice not only helps you make the right decisions but could also play a role in protecting you from troublesome disputes. 

Christmas and employee risks

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

By Lea Fox, Employsure Documentations Consultant 

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s timely to review leave provisions to ensure employers are aware of employee entitlements as well as employer obligations during this time.

Christmas Shut Down

Most modern awards and agreements allow for an employer to make a direction to an employee to take annual leave during a Christmas shut down, as long as certain requirements are met. This generally includes the requirement to give each employee notice in writing of the shutdown and the requirement to take leave, with notice required between 4 weeks – 3 months in advance depending on the award.

If an employee doesn’t have enough annual leave to cover a shutdown period, the employer can either:

  • ask the employee to take annual leave in advance, or

  • ask them to agree to unpaid leave.

Paid Annual Leave in Advance

In granting leave in advance, it is important for the employer to ensure their business is not financially disadvantaged if the employee’s employment subsequently ends without having sufficient accruals of leave.

The employer must exercise caution when granting leave in advance. Where the employment of an employee ends whilst the employee still has a negative leave balance, it can be difficult to recover amounts owing to the Company. In some instances, an award may refer to taking leave in advance and the employer’s right to recover moneys. However, such a provision does not appear in all modern awards.

Rapid response to Bushfires by Insurers

Rapid response to bushfires but costs linger

by Meenal Kumar | Broker Buzz 30 Oct 2013

The insurance industry is earning plaudits for its response to the NSW bushfires, with some small business claims being paid within an incredible one-hour timeframe.

Broker Buzz spoke to one Penrith-based broker who put in a general property claim on behalf of a client at 9:45am on Monday morning and had the final paperwork settled on the claim by 10:45am the same day.

“The claim was worth $5000 and covered tools the client uses in their business,” the broker says.

“The insurer responded swiftly to ensure our client was back on his feet as quickly as possible.”

This response and many like it have earned the industry high praise by NSW Bushfire Recovery Co-ordinator Phil Koperberg, who says: “The insurers are doing the right thing. They’ve been more than reasonably helpful in the main and I’ve not heard of any exceptions.”

“They have been very, very responsive. I know that a number of claims have already been settled.”

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Rob Whelan says insurance assessors have already visited nine out of 10 damaged properties, with well over 1000 claims made so far.

“Insurers have responded incredibly quickly and we believe this is in the best interests of residents and business owners affected by the bushfires,” he says.

BOM predicts 'typical' cyclone season

Australia is set for a “near-average” cyclone season this year, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual forecast.

Neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean prevailed from July to last month and are expected to continue through summer, leading to a 57% chance of above-average tropical cyclone activity, the bureau says.

“There is currently nothing in the broad climate drivers to suggest anything but a typical tropical cyclone season for Australia and the sub regions.”

A typical season runs from November 1 to April 30 and averages about 11 cyclones, with some likely to cross the coast.

In the eastern region, including the Queensland coast, there is a 53% chance of an above-average cyclone season, according to the bureau. The northern region, including Darwin, has a 52% chance.

The neutral state of the tropical Pacific Ocean reflects the absence of either El Nino or La Nina conditions.

Early bushfires highlight importance of insurance

Yesterday’s bushfires around Western Sydney and South East Queensland are a sobering reminder to consumers and property owners to make sure they have adequate insurance arrangements in place ahead of the coming summer season, according to the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA).

Following a hot 2012 summer and a dry 2013 winter, the fires in Sydney commenced on the back of the warmest overnight and day temperatures recorded so early in spring in more than 100 years. In some places temperatures reached in excess of 31 degrees.

Two homes were destroyed in the fires and meteorologists are warning that Sydney could continue to see warmer than normal conditions for most of September and October, increasing the risk of bushfires.

Roma has flood embargo removed

Vero, as part of the Suncorp Group believes flood mitigation infrastructure is essential to ensure insurance premiums can remain affordable in western Queensland.

Last year they made the decision to stop writing new business in Emerald (4720) and Roma (4455) until local councils could guarantee that adequate flood mitigation would be put in place.

A significant milestone has now been reached in improving flood mitigation in Roma with construction of a levee underway. As a result Vero will start writing new business for Home and Contents in Roma (4455) from 24 September 2013, using existing risk levels to price premium.

Time to abolish Taxes on Insurance

An extra 20% of taxes are added onto all Queenslanders Insurance policies. For every $100 in premiums you pay, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is added to make $110 and then a further 9% is added by the Queensland Government in the form of a “Stamp Duty” to make a total of $119.90. This is also not taking into account a Terrorism Levy on all Property Insurance.

While the Queensland Government can point out that we still have the lowest Stamp Duty in Australia, along with NSW at 9%, it does not get away from the fact that the Insurance Industry was told prior to the introduction of a GST, that this tax would replace inefficient taxes such as State Government Stamp Duties, it did not happen. We were tricked by the Conservative Government at that time.

All property owners should protect their assets with Insurance, every person needs to have liability cover in case they accidentally cause injuries or property damage to another person. However adding $20 on top every $100 of premiums charged by Insurance Companies is a disincentive.

The Scam watch web site

The Scamwatch website provides information on common scams that you should look out for.

Learn how to recognise and protect yourself from the following scams:

Online scams, 

Auction and online shopping scams,

Banking and online account scams,

Mobile phone scams,

Identity theft scams,

Personalised scams,

Door to door and home maintenance scams ,

Classifieds scams,

Social networking scams ,

Dating and romance scams,

Charity scams,

Lottery and competition scams (fake prizes),

Chain letters and pyramid scams, 

Investment scams (get-rich-quick), 

Money transfer requests ('Nigerian' scams),

Health and medical scams,

Job and employment scams,

Small business scams, 

Check the SCAMwatch radar for the latest scams. Also check the current consumer alerts section of our website.

Queensland Stamp Duty set to rise

Did you know Queensland Governmentplans to increase stamp duties on general insurance products by 1.5%.

It has been reported that stamp duties will rise from 7.5% to 9%, taking effect from 1 August 2013.

The problem with such stamp duty rises is that it adds to Queenslanders’, cost of living by forcing up the price of insurance. This leads to an increase in the level of underinsurance and non-insurance in Queensland, particularly in areas regularly exposed to cyclones and floods who are already facing increases in base insurance premiums along with the multiplying effect of such taxes.

The fact is, Stamp duties are inequitable, highly inefficient and unfair.

Robert Cooper has been named one of Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers.

Robert Cooper of CPR Insurance Services has been named one of Insurance Business magazine’s inaugural Elite Brokers.

The new issue of Insurance Business magazine hits desks today and he is featured in the cover story: 'Australia's Top 30 Elite Brokers'.

A place in the Insurance Business Elite Brokers ranking is a recognition of his professional standing as one of the leading brokers in the Australian insurance market.

Catastrophes report for April 2013

The global catastrophes in April were dominated by an earthquake in China and two in Iran.

There were also other earthquakes recorded for Japan, Afghanistan and Hungary during the month.

Parts of the U.S. suffered severe hail and flooding damage during April, although there were fewer tornadoes than expected.

Then there was a major building collapse in Bangladesh with its cause yet to be determined but thought to be caused by inadequate construction.

Australian sues McDonalds over Coffee Burns

An Australian woman is suing McDonald’s over burns to her leg that she says were inflicted by a cup of coffee.

The lawsuit is very similar to that made by Stella Liebeck in 1994, against McDonald’s in the United States. Liebeck won US$2.8million in compensation, after suffering burns to six percent of her body. The case, and its outcome, attracted significant media coverage at the time including a version of the scenario on Seinfield.

Jessica Wishart, who purchased her cup of coffee in Renmark in 2009, claims to have suffered second-degree burns which she says resulted from coffee spilling onto her thighs – due to the intense heat emanating from the cup and the failure of McDonald’s to properly secure the lid.

Her District Court statement of claim says that she was admitted to hospital, and that she “has permanent scarring and had difficulty walking and that she can no longer drink coffee, or go into any McDonald’s stores".

Products liability insurance can take away the risk of having to spend large amounts of money defending against such claims.  With product liability insurance, there is still going to be loss of time dealing with it that will not be covered, but at least you have the resource to defend these types of allegations. If you actually end up losing at least the insurance company will cover the costs. 

This cases illustrates the importance of product liability insurance to any consumer-facing businesses. 

Cyber Attacks - increasing in severity and frequency

In late March 2013, a massive cyber attack took place, not between warring nations but between an anti-spam group and a hosting service that rents server space to spammers. It resulted in what experts are calling the largest denial-of-service attack in the history of the Internet.
The players were Spamhous, a European group fighting spam, and Cyberbunker, a Dutch company that rents server space to a wide variety of clients, including those that send out spam. When Spamhous added Cyberbunker to its blacklist, war broke out.
Swarms of computers suddenly started sending out huge data streams. In this latest attack, cyber warriors exploited the Internet's Domain Naming System (DNS), bombarding Spamhous' servers with data requests. Very soon, the servers couldn't be reached by anyone else.
But the effects didn't stop there. Many Internet users in Europe and North America found the Internet suddenly slowed or ground to a halt. Some found streaming a video on Netflix next to impossible. Others had trouble reaching websites they visit on a daily basis.

NTI issues challenge to cut accidents involving trucks over Easter

 Australia’s leading truck insurer, National Transport Insurance (NTI), has issued a safety challenge to all holiday-makers taking to the roads this Easter.

Since 2009, the number of accidents between a truck and a third party over the Easter period has increased by more than 60%.

NTI is challenging road users and the trucking industry to reduce this during Easter 2013.

Mr Clark urged the trucking industry to also step up over this busy time, when traffic on national highways increases. “With greater congestion on our major highways over Easter, NTI urges the thousands of professional drivers to remain acutely aware of conditions and the threat of less experienced road users as they deliver the necessary supplies for the Easter holidays,” he said.

He recommended motorists keep in mind four tips when sharing the road with trucks this Easter:
1. Don’t cut in: Trucks are heavier than cars, so need more space when stopping. For example, at 100km/hr a truck needs an extra 30m to come to a stop compared to a car travelling at the same speed.
2. Give trucks room to turn: Some trucks need extra room at corners, intersections and roundabouts. Trucks over 7.5m must carry a sign saying “Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle”. This means the truck can legally use two lanes to make their turn, and may need to turn left across your path to turn left.
3. Be aware of blind spots: Remember – if you can’t see the driver’s mirrors, he/she can’t see you!
4. Overtake with care: It takes about 25 seconds to overtake a prime mover on the open road. That’s a long time if you’re on the wrong side of the road – and even longer if the truck is a B-Double or B-Triple. Make sure you have the time and clear visibility.

Electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces - householders tradespeople

There are many risks concerning Electrical Safety where anyone from Insulations Installers, Antenna Installers and Electricians often work in ceiling spaces. Recently there was a fatal incident at a school in which an electrical worker was electrocuted while working in a ceiling space.

The worker was installing communication cabling in a ceiling space. An electrical cable with damaged insulation made contact with a metallic plate, energising parts of the building structure to which the worker was exposed.

The Electrical Safety Office is reminding all householders and tradespeople to take extra care before entering a ceiling space. 

If you are planning to enter a ceiling space, think about where electrical cables and other electrical equipment might be located.

A risk assessment and safe system of work should be used to manage electrical risks. Where possible all electrical supply should be isolated before entering the ceiling space. A risk assessment must include measures to identify where electrical equipment is located and the control measures implemented to ensure this equipment is not disturbed.

In all contracting situations both the business engaging the contractor and the contractor must take appropriate steps to minimise any exposure to health and safety risks that are identified.


Overheated Extension Cord Causes House Fire

Be careful of those extension cords. In another reminder about the risks of electrical fires in homes or business, Authorities in the USA say an overheated extension cord is to blame for a house fire in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is an event that could easily happen anywhere else in the world including Australia.

Authorities say the house received extensive damage. No one was injured and authorities estimate the damage at $75,000. They were lucky despite the inconvenience of not being able to live in their home for a little while. No one wants to lose everything or the lives of their loved ones.

It is a reminder to get all your electrical cords regularly tagged and tested, along with the rest of your electrical wiring and electrical switchboard on a regular basis.

If you are looking for someone to do this for you, let us know and we can get experts in this area to call you. 

One Billion dollars worth of Summer catastrophes


According to the latest figures from the Insurance Council of Australia, Insured losses from this summer’s catastrophes currently stand at $942.1 million,  .

There have so far been 91,132 claims made, with insurers paying out an average of $5.22 million per working day.

The Queensland storms and flooding have caused $742 million in insured losses and 70,693 claims, with insurers paying $2.24 million each working day. This is a rise on figures released last month that put the cost at $661.3 million, with 59,010 claims.

Chartis returns to AIG name

Chartis Australia has gone back to being called AIG Australia Limited name as part of a global rebrand sparked by their strong economic recovery in the past four years. 
Internationally, AIG has completed the repayment to the US Government of US$182b, as well as bringing US government ownership in the company to just under 16% (September 2012). At current valuation, the remaining government ownership is worth approximately US$8b.

The rebrand follows research conducted with global customers and partners that revealed the AIG brand to be a stronger representation of the company's objectives.  

Are you dealing with WHS changes?

Unfortunately many organisations in Australia are unaware of their obligations under the latest workplace health and safety (WHS) laws. Some have chosen not to invest in compliance management. Their excuse is similar to the reasons some organisations do not take out insurance because “it will never happen to them”.

The WHS laws are being implemented and enforced in most Australian jurisdictions (including Queensland). Those States not yet signed up are planning to introduce them shortly or still giving strong commitment to their principles.

 One of the key features of the new WHS laws which you should take note of is the move away from the employment relationship. The laws now dictate that a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), owes the primary duty of care to each of its ‘workers’. This means not just an employer, but also a Principal engaging contractors.

Putting recent catastrophe losses into perspective

The natural catastrophes of 2011, including the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, flooding in Thailand, earthquakes in New Zealand, and floods in Australia, resulted in $110 billion in insured losses making it the second-highest figure ever recorded from global natural catastrophes,
according to Swiss Re.

A new report from AIR, a worldwide catastrophe modelling firm, explains that there is almost a one in thirteen chance that the global insurance industry will experience this sort of size loss level or even greater each year from now on. 

Two years after the floods - the situation

The second anniversary of the devastating floods that hit Queensland and Victoria in 2011 is taking place over the week from 10 January 2013.
More than 66,000 claims were lodged with insurers following the Queensland and Victorian floods, most of which were resolved without dispute.
However, as an external dispute resolution scheme that provides free, fair and accessible services to consumers who are unable to resolve disputes with financial services providers, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has received disputes about these events over the past two years.
The most common issues have been whether people were clearly informed of their insurance policy coverage, whether people had received all pertinent documentation regarding their insurance policy and the use and analysis of hydrology reports and the application of exclusion clauses in insurance policies.
Each dispute is unique and its resolution depends on the particular facts involved including the location, topography, time of inundation, and wording of the insurance policy in question. In reaching a Determination, FOS looks at all available information provided by the parties and in many circumstances conducts site visits.
One of the more complex issues surrounding the Queensland floods related to the release strategy in relation to the Wivenhoe Dam. FOS weighed up the available evidence and took into account the findings of the Queensland Flood Commission before determining that the heavy rain that fell from 4am on January 11, 2011 prompted engineers to later adopt the ‘W4’ release strategy at Wivenhoe Dam, which in turn was the trigger that led to the flooding of many properties. As a rule, therefore, those properties flooded within 24 hours of 4am on January 11 were likely to be covered if their insurer had provided flash flood cover within 24 hours of commencement of heavy rain. If on the other hand, the insurer hadn't provided that level of coverage, then the consumer quite possibly would not have been covered.

Hacking warning for small business

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are warning businesses to ensure their computers are secure after a series of recent hacking incidents.

Small businesses are increasingly becoming a target for cyber criminals due to the higher likelihood of vulnerabilities in their security and systems.

It is recommended businesses should:

A bigger Bushfire season approaches

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is warning that large spring bushfires and predictions of a hot, dry summer are sending a strong reminder to households in fire zones to prepare for a higher risk this bushfire season.

The ICA said Australia is moving towards hotter spring and summer weather, and recent bushfires were evidence of the high fire risk.

“The Bureau of Meteorology is warning the chances of bushfires this spring and summer are much higher than the previous couple of years,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

Householders in areas at risk of bushfires should take steps to prepare now. They should make sure their properties are physically prepared, and this should also serve as a reminder to review insurance needs.”


New Fair Work Act Handbook

We know that if you are employing staff there is a particular piece of legislation that you must abide by where failure to do so can result in severe penalties. The Fair Work Ombudsman has assisted by publishing a new handbook to assist employers better understand the fair work legislation and their obligations under workplace laws.
It is designed to assist employers prevent and resolve workplace issues in their businesses, the handbook provides an overview of the aspects of the Fair Work Act that employers must be familiar with.

Another solution is to take out an Employment Practices Liability cover. This can be an extension to Management Liability but this still requires some knowledge on your part. Or have someone do it for you with a more comprehensive "stand alone" package with a Risk Management component such as Employsure's product.

New Unfair terms legislation to be introduced

Federal Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury has announced that the Gillard Government will legislate to protect consumers from unfair terms in general insurance contracts. Further consideration will be given to the application of unfair contract terms laws to life insurance contracts in the future.
The new laws will:
• be introduced into the Insurance Contracts Act 1984.
• be based on the unfair contracts provisions in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001, but will take account of the unique features of insurance contracts.
• allow consumers, or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as the regulator, to challenge a term in the courts.
• give ASIC a range of enforcement powers to administer these new laws and if a term is found to be unfair, the insurer cannot rely on that term and the court may also order other remedies to help consumers.
• provide for an adequate transition period, and will apply to all new and renewed insurance contracts entered into after commencement.
• be released in draft for consultation in 2013.

In principle, the reforms should be good news for insurance brokers and their insured clients who will be better protected once the legislation takes effect.

After the Storm

The day after a storm, you do not want to regret wishing you had read your homeowner's insurance policy more closely but that is exactly what happens particularly if you have insured direct with an insurer rather than use a Broker. It is then you learn that even though you saved lots of money with such a cheap product, you do get what you pay for. With major Storms comes wind and water damage claims resulting in a huge number of claims being lodged all at the one time. All wanting to be dealt with and paid out straight away.
There are often questions and disputes about whether damage was caused by excessive rain, wind or flooding. Homeowners often find themselves being told that damage to their home is not covered because it was caused by flooding, which is not generally covered in homeowner’s policies. With many insurers, you need to specifically request the policy to be extended for flood insurance for that.

But here is the difficulty. After much pressure from the Federal Government, many insurers now automatically include Flood cover but they will cost this risk. In many instances, this pushes the cost of insurance much higher causing the Insured to seek out cheaper cover elsewhere.

Chubb launches new policy for Ultra High Net Worth clients

Not all house and contents policies are the same, just as not all clients are the same, even high net worth clients. To ensure your most important clients are given quality coverage and high levels of service, Chubb is pleased to announce the release of the Masterpiece Signature policy with effect from the 1st February 2013.

Masterpiece Signature provides Chubb’s broadest level of coverage and service to individuals with significant assets to protect. A dedicated team of Chubb underwriters has been established to handle your Masterpiece Signature client’s insurance requirements and prioritised claims and appraisal services are in place, providing the peace of mind critical to your on-going client relationship.


Brokers are better than direct Insurers

Did you know that the Financial Ombudsman Service reports that it handles more than 25,000 disputes annually? Did you also know that insurance brokers are responsible for only a tiny fraction these?
The Financial Ombudsman Service’s 2011-2012 annual review revealed it has accepted 25,298 disputes into its formal dispute resolution process, where a customer had not been able to resolve a dispute directly with their financial services provider. This was up 24% on the previous year.
When broken into sectors, general insurers were responsible for 7,591 complaints, second only to banks who accounted for 12,210. Life insurers also had 851 complaints.
General insurance brokers were responsible for a tiny 123 complaints. This means that general insurance brokers accounted for less than 0.5% of all complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service in this 12 month period. General insurers were responsible for 30%.

Have someone do the shopping for you

More Australians are looking to shop around for a new insurance provider rather than simply renew their existing cover.

The majority of household Insurance policies are automatically renewed without approaching other insurers. However, there is an increasing trend to shop around prior to policy renewal, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research’s General Insurance Industry Report.

In the 12 months to August 2012, 14% of households approached another company prior to renewal compared to 10% in 2008.

Making Experts more Accountable for their advice?

New York didn’t expect a severe storm like Sandy. We can’t rule out the possibility of these catastrophic events happening to our major cities. We need to look at how to manage these increasing risks.

We need our Scientists even though very limited research and development funding is available to them to come up with innovative methods to prevent loss of life. The extent of damage and how they spread and propagate is difficult to estimate accurately. However if properly supported and funded engineers and scientists, can come up with better predictions of these events.

Despite this, we did hear of the news of six Italian scientists charged for manslaughter and gaoled for six years each for failing to predict the intensity of a 2009 earthquake that killed over 300 people.

Allegations were made against the Engineers of Wivenhoe Dam in Queensland. They were forced to defend themselves, although they had mentioned the difficulty of predicting these extreme events.  We also do not want our scientists to no longer provide advice to us in the future. We have already seen how many Scientists have been heavily criticised for daring to relate Climate Change to these severe weather events.


Worst Passwords of 2012

According to SplashData, here are the Worst Passwords of 2012:


Do not take on the FWO!

Fail to summon your organisation’s employment records in a timely manner and you too could face the FWO’s wrath – and a hefty fine.
A Perth-based company director has been fined by the Federal Magistrates Court for refusing to provide staff employment records to the FWO.
According to an FWO statement, the court found that Jack Craig Garber, of Mirrabooka, had shown “a consistent unwillingness to co-operate with the Fair Work Ombudsman”.

More Householders are taking out Flood cover

According to new data released by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), many more consumers with householder insurance now have policies with flood insurance included.

Nearly four in five Australian household insurance policies now have flood insurancereported ICA chief executive Rob Whelan. He said the data demonstrates the variety of policies in flood insurance available to all Australian property owners, formatted to suit individual circumstances. Consumers are making well-considered decisions about their risks and their insurance requirements.

The home and contents insurance market is highly competitive. Consumers can choose to purchase products with flood cover as a standard inclusion, products that allow the customer to opt out of the flood component, or products that exclude flood from the policy, according to Mr Whelan.

The purchase of flood insurance had grown significantly since 2006, said Whelan, when it was a relatively new residential product and only 3% of policies had flood cover. 

Car theft figures rise nationally

The number of motor vehicle thefts in Australia increased in the last financial year.

A total of 17,578 vehicles were stolen for profit in 2011/12, up 1127 or 7% on the previous year, according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC).

Some 42,296 vehicles were stolen for short-term use, an increase of 1965 or 5%.

Social media ranked as a top source of risk

It has been a nasty time for the modern digital medium. Tough New Zealander Charlotte Dawson @MsCharlotteD recounted an incident on 60 Minutes that put her into hospital, the ACCC announced that Businesses that don't monitor and control their social-media posts will be in trouble, and social media giant Facebook revealed that the global currency of social media, the ''like'' button, has in fact been inflated by fake bots,

The image of a marketer's paradise with social media previously rarely considered is now seen as a risk thanks to the recent warning from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. Now big companies need to correct ''misleading Facebook posts'', combined with the increasing social-media crisis engulfing local brands has started whispers that some organisations may vacate the social-media field in which they be part of. Not surprisingly, social media is now ranked as one of the top sources of risk, level with financial risk.

Australian businesses need to be more proactive about acknowledging and managing the risks associated with social media if they wish to safeguard brand and reputation, protect information and intellectual property, and mitigate the chance of legal actions,

Trade mark trauma

While most business owners install alarms, lock their premises and have security personnel to secure their business, it’s the intangible assets—or intellectual property (IP)—that often gets left unprotected. And for many businesses, that’s practically leaving the front door open.

A trade mark is like the public face of your business as it identifies where the goods and services you provide come from. It differentiates you from other traders and is the way your customers will remember you and recommend you to others. Your IP represents your business and is the personality that consumers come to know and trust.

Security for this valuable business asset comes from registration and enforcement. While it’s not compulsory to register a trade mark to use it, it does give you an enforceable level of protection that you wouldn’t otherwise have.  

Claims fall sharply in year to June

Gross incurred claims on Australian general insurers fell 22% to $27.9 billion in the year to June as the industry rebounded from last year’s natural disasters.

The figure is still up more than 20% on 2010, when $22.8 billion of claims were made, according to data compiled by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

Net incurred claims rose 11% to $19.7 billion, with APRA noting higher gross claims in 2011 were offset by increased reinsurance recoveries.

The figures cover 112 insurers and 12 reinsurers. Their underwriting combined ratio was 98%, compared with 96% last year.

ASIO say many cyber attacks go undetected

Australia's chief spy has warned businesses to be on the alert for cyber attacks and corporate espionage.

David Irvine is the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and says many cyber attacks are going undetected by local security agencies.

This comes not long after $25 million was recently stolen from Australian credit cards by overseas hackers.  Company information, like planned investments and potential weak points of a business, were the constant targets of hackers, he warned.

He urged Australian businesses to be more proactive in protecting their company's information. He said senior management needs to consider very carefully their security culture and assess the threat and potential damage if they don't take action.

Insurer expects large increases in premiums

Insurance Australia Group has made the prediction there will be double-digit rises in insurance premiums in the next year, due to increasing global reinsurance costs.

Reinsurance price increases were only now working their way through the system, but further measures were needed to protect margins according to IAG’s Mike Wilkins. He said they have had a tough few years, mainly driven by external market factors, particularly perils and higher reinsurance costs, but they have started to come through it.

El Nino likely for later this year

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), El Nino conditions will affect the East of Australia towards the end of August.

El Nino events are linked with the likelihood of drier conditions and can be linked to the risk of heightened temperatures, drought, crop failures and bushfires. When we are in an El Nino period, large parts of eastern Australia are drier than normal during winter and spring, while daytime temperatures in southern Australia tend to be warmer. Therefore the likelihood of heatwaves and bushfire risk increases.

With the good rainfall of the past two years, we do have some in reserve against drought but it can also increase the risk of bushfire because of the extra growth in the Bush, from the two wet years of 2010 and 2011.

Time to consider Trade Credit Insurance

The credit risk environment is continuing to deteriorate but did you know that we can provide an Insurance solution for you? It is called Trade credit insurance.

There are a few insurers who can offer this cover and it is certainly worth considering, particularly if you are dependent on your debtors paying up quickly to maintain cash flow. However, what happens if that debtor goes into receivership because they are unable to pay you?

It has been reported by insurers that there has been a 20% increase in the number of credit insurance claims and a 64% increase in the dollar value of claims for the past three months of 2012. The failures of Retravision Southern, Wow Electrical, Kell and Rigby along with the Hastie Group, have certainly contributed to this. With the recent failure of Darrell Leigh, it will be interesting to see what further impact there will be on claims for their Creditors who are owed money.

Not For Profit Legislation coming

The Government has referred the draft Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) legislation to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics for an inquiry over the Winter Parliamentary break.

Assistant Treasurer, the Hon David Bradbury MP, says any recommendations made by the committee will be considered before introducing the legislation later in the year, ahead of the ACNC’s 1 October 2012 start date.

The ACNC will initially regulate only charities (including public benevolent institutions), but the legislation establishes a regulatory framework that can be extended to all not-for-profit (NFP) entities in the future.

Thalidomide Victim wins settlement from distributor

A Victorian lady has won a multi-million-dollar legal  payment from a company responsible for distributing the controversial Thalidomide drug in Australia.

Lynette Rowe, aged 50,sued the German drug company Grunenthal as wells as the Distillers company and UK company Diageo, which were responsible for marketing Thalidomide in Australia.

She was born with no limbs after her mother took Thalidomide to treat morning sickness.

The decision means Ms Rowe will receive compensation and provided with care for the rest of her life.

Contractors $197k back-pay case due to wrong classification

A business in Archerfield was recently audited by Fair Work Inspectors and ordered to issue $197,500 in back-payments to employees that the Ombudsman said were incorrectly classified as “independent contractors”.

They ordered 11 employees receive between $6,401 and $50,525 in back-payments.

Fair Work inspectors did determine that the mistake was not deliberate. The employer even co-operated to voluntarily rectify the issue which demonstrated this was a case of compliance oversight.

Unfair dismissal threshold under the Fair Work Act to rise from 1 July 2012

The previous high income threshold of $118,100 for the unfair dismissal provisions in the Fair Work Act will increase from 1 July 2012 to $123,300. The compensation limit for unfair dismissal will also increase to $61,650.

An employee's earnings include wages, money that is paid on their behalf (these can be superannuation top-ups or allowances on salary sacrifice), and the value of non-monetary benefits (such as laptops and mobile phones). They don't include payments that can't be set in advance (such as commissions, bonuses or overtime), reimbursements, or compulsory superannuation contributions.

For those employees who earn more than this amount (not including SGC superannuation) and who are not covered by an award or enterprise agreement are excluded from the unfair dismissal regime.

Financial Ombudsman Service - disputes on the rise

FOS is the Financial Ombudsman Service which deals with disputes made to it after an Insurance Company has declined or not adequately settled a claim.

It is a concern that Insurance Companies have yet to appropriately deal with their claims approach or service. Recent statistics from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) show total disputes across the financial services sector referred to the ombudsman were up 29% for the first quarter of 2012, compared with the corresponding period in 2011.

FOS cases have risen steadily over the past year, only reducing slightly in the last part of 2011.

In 2011 the number of disputes increased 13% from the first quarter to the second quarter. Then 12% from the second quarter to the third quarter, before reducing by 12% in the final quarter of the year.

However already the first quarter of 2012 disputes referred to FOS were up 16% on the final quarter of 2011, with 9590 new disputes lodged.

CPR Insurance Services nominated for award

We have become a finalist in the Quest Business Awards for 2012.

This is a great honour in only our second year of business.

We thank everyone who voted for us.

It would be fantastic if we won the award but just making the finals means alot to us.

Suncorp get tough on Flood prone areas

After Suncorp scored a Public Relations coup with their fanatastic response last year on providing automatic Flood cover in their policyholder's House and Contents insurance, including featuring real life testamonials in their advertising, reality has hit home.

They have now announced that new Home and Contents policies will not be offered in Emerald and Roma. These have been two of the towns worst affected by recent years of flooding 

 Their existing policyholders face hikes of up to 10-fold. 

Alarm systems can be beneficial for security

Alarms: Worth considering, worth the cost

  • An alarm system should be a priority for a business premise. It provides peace of mind to business owners, especially outside business hours.
  • There are now a wide variety of alarm systems on the market to suit any situation and any budget.
  •  Systems have become more efficient and reliable utilising the latest technology.

New and Emerging Risks to be aware of

Hold on to your hats, a new wave of disasters are about to hit

There are disasters that are new and unique that could occur in coming years that may or may not have insurance solutions around them.

As Risk Managers and advisors identify new risks to handle, they need to be measured and then they determine whether they can be transferred away or managed in some other way.

One of the places you can transfer your risks to are Insurers, however they will not accept any such risks without determining their Insurability.

There are a number of criterias for Insurability which are discussed elsewhere but not all meet these requirements. Some we are watching to see how they develop. Others we are attempting to control the risks but are impeded by a lack of knowledge about them. All at the same time as Insurers are seeking to be innovative and market leading. Ah the free enterprise system is a wonderful thing.

So what are the new wave of risks we need to be aware of? To sum it up briefly, whenever there is new technology, changes to the climate or changes to the law, then we see new risks come about. Modern Risk Managers and Risk Advisors need to be aware of these and continue to discuss these with their employers or clients. It is an ever changing world we live in. 

Earthquakes in Italy

With the amount weather related natural catastrophes occurring around the world, it seems like we have forgotten that there have been a number of earthquakes also that have devastated communities.

We were recently reminded of this when in May 2012, Italy reported another powerful earthquake has killed at least 15 people and others may be missing in the latest deadly tremor to hit the northern part of the country. This quake had a 5.8 magnitude, rocking one of Italy’s most productive regions.

Not enough buying Cyber Risk Insurance

Nearly three in four corporate risk managers are not buying insurance policies to cover data breaches and damage to customers’ privacy despite the rising threat of hacking, according to a recent survey.

In the USA, companies are largely ignoring the cover. According to consultants Towers Watson in their annual review of corporate risk, those who are taking out “cyberinsurance” are buying policies with only limited protection in case of an attack.

The Towers Watson survey was conducted in February and March 2012, covering companies across industries. The majority of them have annual revenue in excess of $1 billion.

Office of Fair Trading puts real estate agents on notice

OFT has recently received a number of complaints about real estate agencies in a particular area advertising properties with incorrect or misleading information, especially regarding the suburb in which a property is located.

A number of complaints have been investigated and agents put on notice about the consequences of breaching legislation that outlaws misrepresentation in advertising. Agents may see it as relatively harmless to advertise a property as being in a neighbouring suburb which is perceived to be more prestigious than its actual location.  In reality however, this is a clear example of misrepresentation.


The High Court has thrown out an appeal to stop internet piracy.

The High Court has thrown out an appeal by some of the world's biggest media companies seeking to stop internet piracy by making Internet Service Providers responsible for policing unauthorised downloads.

A group of 34 international and Australian companies, which included Warner Bros, Disney and the Seven Network, had alleged that iiNet were authorising the infringement of their copyright each time its customers downloaded movies and television programs. 

Wilston Grange Business Community


 The Wilston Grange Business Community  now has its own Web site and Directory. Just click on the Logo to be taken to the site.

If you have a business in the Wilston Grange area, you are welcome to join. We also hold a Business Breakfast on the first Wednesday Morning of each month at one of the local Cafes. The next one will be held 2 May 2012 at Cafe Conti at 7am.



Brisbane workers back-paid more than $230,000

Thank you to Employsure for this  - FWO Latest Release

Hundreds of workers in Brisbane and surrounding suburbs have recently been back-paid a total of $231,100, Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson announced during a visit to Brisbane today.The largest recovery was $22,300 for a North Brisbane development coordinator.

Mr. Wilson revealed that other recent recoveries as a result of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s intervention included:

• $18,300 for a Buranda engineer not paid long service leave entitlements,

• $17,000 for an executive officer in Aspley not paid wages, annual leave entitlements or redundancy entitlements,

• $14,800 for a Toowong manager underpaid the minimum hourly rate,

• $14,100 for a Hemmant engineering worker underpaid long service leave entitlements,

• $13,000 for a console operator at Ashgrove underpaid penalty rates,

• $12,100 for an office administrator at Camp Hill underpaid wages, accrued annual leave and long service leave entitlements on termination,

• $9100 for a Fortitude Valley waiter underpaid the minimum hourly rate,

• $8700 for a Kallangur sales representative not paid sales commissions,

• $8600 for a CBD business manager underpaid wages in lieu of notice,

Lloyd’s Posts AUD$850 Million Overall Loss for 2011

Lloyd’s of London proved just how severe the second costliest year for catastrophes on record for the insurance industry actually was. They announced a loss of £516 million ($822 million) for 2011. To be perfectly honest, while this appears large, it is a lot less than I would have expected when considering the number and scale of claims.

Lloyd’s reported that it had incurred total net claims of £12.9 billion (AUD$22 billion) during 2011, including £4.6 billion (AUD$8 billion) of catastrophe claims, this made it the ”largest catastrophe claims year on record for the 324-year-old insurance market.”

The claims from the world’s global catastrophes included flooding here in Australia in January 2011, the second earthquake in New Zealand in February, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March and the floods in Thailand beginning in July. 

Cyber-Bullying is Different to Traditional Bullying

An international research project led by Professor Sheryl Hemphill of Australian Catholic University (ACU) has found that the factors leading to incidents of cyber-bullying are different to those which result in traditional bullying.
Of the 927 students surveyed in Victoria, approximately 15 per cent had been engaged in cyber-bulling and 21 per cent in traditional bullying. Seven per cent had been involved in both.
Professor Hemphill found that academic failure, family conflict and past bullying behavior were the main factors leading to episodes of traditional bullying. Of these, only past behavior, in the form of relational aggression, was a factor leading to incidents of cyber-bullying.
Relational aggression refers to covert forms of bullying such as exclusion and spreading rumours.
Professor Hemphill commented that "Advances in technology can provide young people with positive ways to communicate but can also bring about new risks,"

2012 Fraud Week: 19 – 25 March

National Consumer Fraud Week is an initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce(ACFT). Formed in March 2005, the ACFT comprises 22 government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand with responsibility for protecting consumers against frauds and scams. The Office of Fair Trading is a long time member of the ACFT.

Fraud and scams can strike a business at any time, and Fraud Week serves as an opportunity for everyone to review personal and business financial security procedures.  It also raises awareness on new types of fraud and scams which have recently surfaced.

Slam scams! Press delete, throw it out, shut the door or just hang up is the 2012 theme and that highlights the many ways scams are delivered. A phone call, SMS, mobile app, letter, email, fax, or blog – scammers will use any of these means to target business victims. 

Insurers See Growing Risks from Climate Change

In 2011 there were 14 natural disasters in the U.S.A, the most ever known.

In the United States, when it comes to discussion on climate change, the public being mainly take the conservative line and believe it is all a conspiracy theory dreamt up by Scientists seeking more money for grants or from Greens or liberals from the left of the political divide.

However USA's insurance companies are now warning that these costs to taxpayers and businesses will continue to soar because of climate change. After a year of over $1 billion record breaking natural disasters, can you really blame them?

Insurers at a US press conference recently discussed the mounting financial impact of global warming. However, such issues have concerned the global insurance industry, with Committees such as the Geneva Association looking into impacts of Climate Change and in Australia the CSIRO have reported CO2 at record highs

Start ups at risk from lack of Professional Indemnity cover

Many new consultants appear to delay purchasing professional indemnity (PI) insurance for an average of six months after setting up their business, according to recent research.

The survey also found that 39% of respondents did not purchase PI cover until at least three months after they had been in business. A further 20% waited two or more years until they purchased the insurance. Many that take cover only do it because of contractual requirements with certain clients that include these arrangements as part of their own Risk Management process. 

Perils of the digital world

Business is increasingly engaging in social media not just for marketing, but also to interact with their customers and employees. It has been difficult for most underwriters to keep up.

The risks of defamation and copyright infringement previously the domain of print publishers have now become part of the on-line media exposures, along with issues such as cyber crime and breach of confidentiality risks.

Our legal system has also struggled to keep up. The Australian Government is watching with interest how Europe and the USA deals with issues of social media and threats to consumers. Website owners in some circumstances, carry additional risks such as having a duty of care to their users.  

Wilston Grange Business Group

If you own or run a business in the Wilston Grange area in Brisbane North, you are welcome to attend a breakfast meetingstarting at 7am at Cafe Conti on 7 March 2012 in Wilston Village, Kedron Brook Road.

Invitation to the event - Click here

Firstly, we will be discussing the future direction of the group and electing new faces to the committee.  If you are a local business, it is worth getting to know other local businesses. In the Wilston Grange area, they are a terrific bunch of very friendly people.

Secondly, we have a wonderful speaker - our new Wilston Fair Coordinator - Sally Porteous (from Red Lanyard Events). Sally is super-keen to update you on the exciting opportunities available for you in the 2012 Wilston Winter Magic Fair on June 3rd.  It is set to delight and mesmerise you with all the wonderful things about Wilston and surrounds - our food, friends and families.  The Fair naturally will provide us local businesses and organisations with a unique opportunity to showcase ourselves to the local community.   

Come along and find out how your business may become involved with such a fun event - Wilston Winter Magic Fair in Wilston Village

Litigation puts small businesses at risk

Small businesses are becoming more vulnerable in today’s litigious environment and are facing a range of legal threats, warns insurance company Vero.

Companies and their directors can be subject to lawsuits from regulatory authorities, shareholders, liquidators and even their own employees. Unfair dismissal cases, the most frequent type of employment dispute, often involve legal costs in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Sums of this size can be crippling to the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) involved. 

Lead Poisoning in a Valentines Day kiss!

Did you know that most lipstick contains lead? Lead has been banned in paint since 1978 because of its toxicity at low levels, but it still shows up in small amounts in some of the best-selling lipstick brands.

A Reuters report in the USA says that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which did an analysis of a study of lead in lipstick conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, wants consumers to know that most of the 400 different lipsticks tested were positive for the substance. 

Proposed Directors' Liability Reforms Released for Public Consultation

Proposed amendments to directors' liability laws released 27 January 2012 will form the first part of the Commonwealth's implementation of the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Directors' Liability reform project, said Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury.

Mr Bradbury today released an exposure draft of the Personal Liability for Corporate Fault Reform Bill 2012 for public comment.

CPR also stands for Cyber & Privacy Risk!!

We do have a habit of checking out what happens overseas, however for any new and developing risks, particularly in the technology area, we can be guided by what happens in Europe or the USA.

This certainly applies to the areas of Cyber Risks, and the ultimate protection of your client’s private details. You can be liable if you cannot show you have done everything possible to safeguard your clients details. And these days that is not easy to prove.

No longer can we hide behind simple Anti-virus software and firewalls. People are finding their way around these barriers and blocks. The software is much like a Flu injection, it can only inoculate you against known issues before they get to you.

This is why we think we are immune in Australia. They are going after the multi-nationals overseas? Not in every case. You are exposed.

As the managers of your business’s risks, you should monitor:


    Cyber Risks - a day in the life

    There have been a number of security issues exposed in the last 24 hours highlighting the need for all Businesses to consider their exposures in the Cyber Risk area.

    Chinese hackers claim to have infiltrated the secure smart card system used by US Government employees, according to a report by AlienVault. Government agencies generally use the smart card system as an extra layer of defence, Techspot said, as user passwords are generally quite easy to hack. It is not yet known what information, if any, has been compromised but the smart card system controls viewing of sensitive material.

    Meanwhile, the websites of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al, the Israeli airline, were compromised in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Monday.

    And a Twitter user has threatened to release the full source code for the Norton anti-virus software, a week after Symantec – the maker of Norton anti-virus products – admitted that its products had been compromised after a cyber attack on India’s military network. 

    2012 Starts With Bad Weather Signs for Insurers

    Reuters report that damaging hailstorms in Australia. Unprecedented tornadoes in the southeastern United States. Constant windstorms in northern Europe and so on are very familiar to last year.

    This year is starting a lot like last year in terms of unexpectedly severe weather, to the consternation of the insurance industry, which paid out more than $100 billion in 2011 on natural disasters.

    That could put more pressure on the shares of property and casualty insurers, who did relatively better than other insurers last year but who have turned in a mixed performance so far in 2012, despite being a favorite of some analysts.

    To be fair, more than half of the 2011 losses came from earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, and earthquakes are impossible to precisely predict. Even so, some of the worst events of 2011 (like the U.S. tornadoes in April and May) took many by surprise, and there is yet to be much relief. 

    ABN email scam circulating

    A number of fraudulent emails have been circulating recently targeted directly at members of the Australian public and those with businesses. The emails are purporting to be sent by the Australian Taxation Office, attempt to trick users into clicking links contained in the body of the email by claiming that there have been changes made regarding either the use of an ABN or changes regarding the submission of tax lodgements.

    While the links appear to be to the Australian Business Register website, if the user hovers the mouse cursor over the link, the link actually displays a completely different destination website. If a user clicks on the links contained within the emails they are taken to a malicious website which will infect their computer with malicious software, also known as malware.

    Malware will potentially perform harmful activities such as stealing passwords or other sensitive information and relay the stolen information to criminals, or even damage the user’s data and operating system. Visit Stay Smart Onlinefor more information. 

    Toxic Mushroom warnings

    Toxic Mushrooms have recently claimed the lives of a number of people in the Canberra area.

    Even people who have thought they were familiar with these types of Mushrooms, particularly visitors from Asia, have made this deadly mistake recently.

    Those who have died were awaiting Liver Transplants and with Australia's poor record of Organ donation, little chance can be given to anyones survival.

    Retailers Need Cyber Fraud Coverage

    An article on the Lloyd’s of London web site notes that while millions of people have been out an about shopping this Christmas New Year season, “an increasing number are choosing to shop from the comfort of their homes – and offices – using the internet.” However, the “growth in internet shopping brings new risks for retailers.”

    There is “cyber and payment fraud insurance” that can protect companies during critical trading periods like Christmas.”

    It is likely we will see a general trend towards more online transactions as more and more consumers turn to the internet to find products and make purchases. We have seen internet sales grow substantially as consumers go in search of better promotions. 

    Melbourne Storms declared Catastrophe

    Violent storms struck Melbourne on Christmas Day, causing wide spread damage to buildings and infrastructure. Insurer QBE said the country’s insurers have already received more than 15,000 claims as a result of the storm.

    The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has formally declared a catastrophe for the damage to homes, businesses and vehicles caused by the storms. It noted that this is the “eighth catastrophe declared by the general insurance industry in 2011, with insurable losses through catastrophes likely to exceed A$4.5 billion [US$4.53 billion] compared with A$2.144 billion [$2.153 billion] in 2010.” 

    Santa Claus urged to improve his Risk Management

    Risk management and insurance experts at the International Risk Management company and Insurance Broker Lockton made a list and checked it twice of all of the exposures K. Kringle Manufacturing Inc. faces on an annual basis.

    The Insurance report discusses suitable insurance coverages with recommended limits, and the cost to protect Santa and his operations from financial ruin should the unexpected occur. 

    The report gave 14 claims scenarios with examples of some of the exposures his operations face. It covered every likely scenario from toys in transit (ocean marine) and reindeer injuries (exotic animal coverage) to airborne sleigh accidents (aviation) and coal handling for “naughty” kids (pollution). Included also is crime coverage to protect against theft by The Grinch. 

    Congratulations to the Cooper Family

    Congratulations to the Coopers Brewery for winning the title as the best family owned business in the world.

    In 2012, the Coopers Brewery will be 150 years old and it is not just the name that makes it the best Beer in Australia. It is also the biggest Australian owned Brewery in the country!

    This Cooper family has given much inspiration to another Cooper family. Us! Cooper Professional Risks Pty Ltd trading as CPR Insurance Services is another family owned business, and while we are now in our second year only, we are buoyed by the success of any "Cooper" around the world.

    2011 was a great year for CPR Insurance Services and we expect even better in 2012. We thank all our clients, insurers, friends and relatives for their wonderful support and wish you all a safe christmas period and a happy new year.

    Reinsurer not happy with Climate Conference Results

    Reinsurers take the main catastophe risk from Primary Insurers and they will undoubtly be looking at mitigating their risks. One of them is  Munich Reinsurance and from their perspective, the recently concluded climate summit in Durban “yielded disappointing results that fail to reflect the world climate’s dramatic situation.”

    Prof. Peter Höppe, Head of Geo Risks Research at Munich Re, stated: “Durban has had the effect of postponing efficient climate protection even further. Another nine years will pass before binding reduction targets might come into force, and even then it is still very unclear how the reduction targets will finally turn out.”

    Munich Re also pointed out that the meager results came “in spite of resolute negotiating efforts on the part of Germany and the European Union – efforts without which the summit would probably have yielded no results at all.” 

    $16 Million Fraud shows it can happen to any one

    Police have detained a public servant who allegedly embezzled $16 million from Queensland Health.

    An intensive manhunt for the 36-year-old, ended on 12 December 2011 early in the morning at 3:30am when he was detained outside a unit in New Farm, Brisbane.He is now in custody and is being questioned by police. We are waiting to hear if charges have been laid.

    This morning Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts said that the case was "one of the most significant fraud cases" in Australian history. He said a "substantial proportion" of the money involved had already been recovered but we do not yet know how much. 

    Reminding you of potential issues arising from work functions

    It is that time of year again. Drinks and social functions with clients and staff Christmas parties are happening all around Australia. Unfortunately though, it sometimes does not always turn out to be the fun and enjoyable occasion it is intended to be. In fact many an incident has occurred leading to claims for compensation. 

    Reinsurers set to cause rate rises

    With many insurers currently negotiating their reinsurance contracts that are due 31 December this year, we all all bracing ourselves for large rate hikes as Australians are expected to pay for some of the consequences of our natural disasters and the subsequent claims.

    Fortunately there is still alot of competition for business, but what effect will this have.

    Read more from here about this

    Swiss Re Estimates 2011 Loess at $350 Billion

    The Victorian CFA Contamination – will a Liability Policy respond?

    When it comes to Public Liability risks, there are events that can arise years later that you may need to go right back to policy that was in force years ago. However, would it still respond?

    Then there are the Directors and Officers Liability exposures (which in this case would be Association Liability) and if they would respond.

    Take the current Victorian CFA contamination scare which now involves 13 deaths and more than a dozen people suffering serious illnesses. Authorities are beginning to investigate claims the CFA knew of dangerous chemical exposures.   

    2011 list of best passwords for being hacked

    One way to help lower personal and business cyber risk is to avoid using passwords that are obvious and common.

    SplashData is a password management application maker, recently compiled a list of the 25 worst passwords for the year 2011. The results were based on millions of stolen passwords that were made available online.

    While more complicated passwords may not necessarily put off those smart and determined hackers, they will put off many hackers consequently reducing the chance of a breach of your systems.

    Here is the list of this year’s worst online passwords. 

    Wilder weather the new norm

    In a report from, Insurance Australia Group CEO Mike Wilkins said Insurers must offer targeted and affordable cover to help prepare consumers for increasing and intense bouts of wild weather.

    Modelling from IAG’s natural perils team indicates that in the next 40 years there is likely to be a 15% increase in the number of the most destructive category 4 and 5 tropical cyclones and an increased frequency of cyclones tracking south into northern NSW.

    Mr Wilkins also expects the number of serious hailstorms – with stones up to 10cm – to double over that period. 

    The "Know Risk" Web Site is worth looking at

    Know Risk is an online network of tools and information to help the public better understand risk and appreciate insurance in their lives.

    The Australian & New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance began to develop Know Risk in the aftermath of recent natural disasters. Much of the pain and devastation of loss that resulted could have been reduced and mitigated had there been better community understanding of risk management and the security of appropriate insurance coverage. 


    Have a look at your Business's Security

    There are many forms of crime that may affect your business, however by implementing some simple strategies you can greatly reduce the risk to your business. 

    Senior Constable Donna Burley of Queensland Police from the Carseldine Police Station recently addressed the Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce Gateway meeting providing advice to members about how to improve security (which ultimately improves insurance premiums).

    The Queensland Police are very happy to come out to your business and give free security checks and advice because as we all know, prevention is better than cure. Call them on 07 38635114 if you would like this service.

    Or try their link here or as follows

    Natural Disaster Review Recommendations Released

    Government release their recommendations

     Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten this afternoon released the recommendations of the Natural Disasters Insurance Review, which encompass flood risk management, insurers’ claims-handling and dispute resolution processes, and the provision of flood insurance.

    Under the review’s proposals, every Australian seeking to purchase or renew home and contents insurance will be offered flood cover, but will have the option to “opt out”.

    The recommendations of the review, which was commissioned to examine insurance for flood and other natural disasters after last summer’s floods, “are a good place to start in mitigating the risk of disasters and making sure everyone has the appropriate insurance arrangements to set them on the path towards recovery after disaster strikes”, Mr Shorten said. Read more here

    Dishonesty is a reason for a fair dismissal

    Virgin recently  was successful in an allegation of unfair dismissal against an employee on the grounds that (1) she had abused the company's 'friends and family' free flight benefits scheme by charging a $50 'booking fee' to her friend and (2) had stolen two bottles of wine during a flight.

    The company's policy was that employees should not derive a personal benefit from the free flights scheme and that "where deception is involved it could lead to dismissal". 

    Boss sued for 'sexually harassing employee and forcing her to model underwear'

    In Melbourne, An Australian retail chain boss has been sued for sexually harassing a female employee, allegedly forcing her to model underwear in his office and also secretly photographing competitors' goods.
    Employee Sallyanne Robinson, 30, claimed in Federal Court documents that Goodman, 54, sexually assaulted and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her.

    Could Fracking cause Earthquakes?

    A company in the U.K.released a report that said it was "highly probable" that two minor earthquakes and 48 weaker seismic events resulted from pumping drilling fluids in hydraulic fracturing. At the same time, the report said the events were the result of a "rare combination of geological factors."

    The U.K. has become the latest place to see shale gas spur major debate because of controversy surrounding "fracking," which has been heavily criticized by environmental groups. 






    A decision in the NZ High Court prompts a need to review of Directors' & Officers' Insurance Coverages

    It is in the interests of all companies and directors to check on their current Directors and Officers policies to see if they have the right cover to respond in coverage to all claims arising against them. This is because a recent ruling in New Zealand has cast doubt on the extent to which directors can rely on their Directors' and Officers' (D&O) liability insurance cover to help fund defence costs. The decision is relevant to all directors of companies who have a single policy covering both defence costs and claims for damages.

    The clause in question is in regards to any civil claim that happens to exceed the policy limit, then directors cannot rely on the policy to pay defence costs if the civil claim has not yet been filed, or if the chances of success are not certain. This is because the charge gives the civil claim priority over the director's entitlement to claim defence costs against the policy. 

    Are you Storm Ready?

    Are you ready to face another season of storms and cyclones?

    With reports that Weather related events will be even more intense i the in the future, us Risk Takers need to adapt and prepare so that the impact is reduced and our family and community is protected.

    Insurance is fine when it comes to compensating you financially, but there are a lot of unpaid hours in preparing, submitting and following up on claims. There are many Flood victims who did not use an Insurance Broker still battling insurers to pay claims here in Queensland. Further, if the cost of a Claim is reduced by better prevention methods, then there is less of a need for Insurers to increase premiums.

    Prevention is better than cure. Click here for a web site with useful tips.

    Young Start Ups appreciate Brokers

    Dealing with a younger demographic.

    Generation Y seem to appreciate the services of Insurance Brokers more than other generations according to a new report from Zurich. Click here if interested in reading more. 

    Parliament Passes Business Names Legislation

    Legislation passed by the Australian Parliament 13 October 2011 means that for the first time Australian businesses will soon be able to pay just one fee and have only one process to register their business name nationally.

    “This is a commonsense and practical reform that will cut red tape and save time and money for businesses across Australia,” said Minister for Small Business, Senator Nick Sherry, in welcoming the passage of the Bill in the Senate. 

    Preparing for the Cyclone Season

    CGU have provided a brief flyer on how to prepare for the cyclone season. Click here to read the article.

    Directors & Officers Liability and its effects globally

    In Directors & Officers Liability Insurance, a lot is happening globally, but how is Australia going?

    Read this article from Zurich for more of an insight.

    Click here

    Down Under breach of copyright

    The band “Men at Work” lost their final court bid to prove they did not steal the flute riff from the childrens song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree which apparently appears in their 1980’s hit “Down Under”.  

    The High Court of Australia rejected their bid to appeal a federal court ruling that the group had copied the melody from the song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree for the flute parts of the song. 

    Climate Change is a concern in the USA

    The global insurance industry has a different outlook on climate change even though it is seen as a conservative area of finance. European Reinsurers have also expressed great concern about the future. More and more the industry is paying out considerably for the extreme weather events now occurring. They are lobbying for governments to act in a subtle way without isolating them from their Insureds. For this reason it is all based on absolute fact.

    The only issue is the question, is it man-made or a natural part of the cycle. The general attitude is, do not take the chance. Anything that can help reduce the risk, a principal of Risk Management, should be taken. It is better to prevent problems where possible rather than rely on an Insurance claim to pay for it, as premiums will just rise and rise.

    The biggest polluters are the USA, and the Insurance Industry here is concerned. Read about it here.

    Insurance against the future

    What are the entry points for hacking?

    This is an article claiming your employees are an entry point for Hackers. They are certainly one way. Read about it here.

     Employees are entry points!

    But then again, things like remote access can be a challenge. Read about that here. Remote Access.

    Time to get rid of Taxes on Insurance

    “What you need to know about taxes on insurance" is a discussion paper which examines the background and effects of insurance taxes, how they work and the much fairer funding alternatives.

    While in Queensland we have relatively low taxes, Victoria and NSW are the highest taxed states in Australia. Victoria is actually the highest taxed place in the world when it comes to insurance.

     As a policyholder, you are paying a number of taxes including GST (10%), stamp duty (7.5-11%) and – in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania – a fire services levy (up to 72%). Then don’t forget the Terrorism Levy and possibly in the future, a Flood Levy. 

    Accounting Firm Sued for $7.6B, accused of Missing Lender Fraud

    We talk alot about Fraud, Directors Duties and the professional risks of Accountants. So a claim in the USA against Deloittes for $7.6 Billion will certainly be of interest.

    Click on this link for details: Accounting Firm Sued for $7.6B, accused of Missing Lender Fraud

    No panic as Lloyds posts a big loss

    Lloyd’s has posted a £697,000,000 pre-tax loss for the first six months of 2011, its worst ever first half year loss due to an unprecedented £6.7billion of claims from natural catastrophes.
    This compares to an overall profit of £628,000,000 (AUD$1 Billion) for the first six months of 2010. Lloyd's have also indicated that 2011 looks likely to be the second most expensive year ever for insurers. They also had a combined ratio of 113.3% compared to 98.7% in the previous period (compared to 117% for the Bermudian (re)insurance market and 116% in the US reinsurance sector. However their investment return of £548m (£597 million in the previous period) was not too bad even though there continues to be volatility in financial markets. They also now have record central assets of £2.472 billion

    La Nina effect back for Summer

    There are two main types of weather event, with La Nina being the one that brings the wet weather to Queensland along with the associated storms and cyclones. The other is El Nino.

    Read here a report about what that means for us. ABC News

    Insurers being sued for climate change

    Insurers have been warning the world about the impact of climate change for as long as I have been in the industry (over 30 years) and the increase in extreme weather events.

    Already one energy company has sought to use their Public Liability policy to pay for global warming events and has sued their insurer for recovery. Read about it on this link.

    Insurer not liable for climate change events

    Managing Risks from Harvesting

    CGU have produced this very useful flyer about the risks that Harvester face and how to manage them. It is worth a look if you are about to commence these types of activities.

    Harvesting Risks

    Watch out Renovators for the toxic hazards of Home renovations

    Perhaps the television shows have motivated some of you to fix up or change some parts of your home? With the warmer weather coming up, now is a great time to do those renovations but be aware of the dangers.

    There are a lot of toxins that can be generated by sanding, scraping, pulling up vinyl tiles and drilling holes.

    Homes built between World War 2 and the 1980’s are likely to contain asbestos. Asbestos was used in the internal wall linings, ceilings and external fibro sheeting because of its insulation properties. 

    Could we have another Summer of natural disasters?

    According to news reports, we will have another tough summer on the weather front. After watching Hurricane Irene tear through the USA with Billions of dollars worth of damage, no doubt adding further to the insurers need to increase premiums, it will soon be our turn again.

    Could this summer/wet season be as bad as last year? Click on this link to the news article discussing this very issue.

    Vero still cleaning up the natural disaster claims

    Not all claims have been settled by Vero but when you see how many they have had, it is not surprisingi. They are still one of the best insurers in Australia to be insured with and to have a claim with.

    Read about it on this Link. Vero claims

    Facebook®- Connecting friends and collecting information?

    Facebook is now one of the biggest social media hubs for sharing photos, locations, opinions and pretty much anything you can think about. Facebook has moved ahead of My Space and beat off a few others.

    Soon Google plus will be taking them on.

    Like almost the rest of the world, I have a Facebook account, which I am using quite a bit, not just to keep in touch, but also to have fun. CPR Insurance Services has a page, and it is another way to promote your business too along with Linkedin, which is also great.

    However, many people don’t understand this about Facebook, is that many things inside the Facebook website are outside applications from other companies and web developers, which can download viruses and other malicious software in the background. 

    Do not fall for the “We are from Microsoft” scam.

    Do you recognise this scenario?

    Caller: Hallo, is this Mr Cooper?

    Robert: Yes

    Caller: My name is Sam and I am calling from Microsoft.

    Robert: Okay

    Caller: Yes. We have been receiving error reports from your computer.

    Robert: Have you really?

    Caller: We can fix this for you. 

    Huge Storms lashing New York

    It seems big storms are certainly a global event and nowhere in the world is immune. New York was battered yesterday but at least the Hurricane (Irene) was downgraded. But it is still enough to cause major damage and loss of life.

    For further details click on this link to ABC News

    Hackers threaten SME businesses

      SMEs need to invest more heavily in security to protect themselves against a growing incidence of website hacking, according to a software security expert. 

    Craig Scroggie, the MD of Symantec, says the growth of social media and the use of mobile devices is exposing businesses to more risks.

    Speaking last week at the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority Risk Conference, he said politically motivated hacking of websites – sometimes referred to as “hacktivism” – is one of the biggest threats businesses face today 

     But do not forget, CPR Insurance offers cover for these Cyber Risks with a special insurance policy. Click here for more details.

    Cyber Risk Insurance

    Horrible House Fires - a reality

    One of the saddest stories I have ever seen on a House Fire. 11 people were killed. House Insurance does not bring them back. We always want to see lives saved because houses can be replaced. People cannot.

    Despite the tragedy, the way the community rallied around the family makes me proud to live in this state.

    We do not yet know what caused the fire but the only other thing positive we can use out of this is to learn from it.

    CPR announce a new addition to the team

    Robert and Mandy Cooper are pleased to announce that Kathy Pushkareff has joined CPR Insurance Services as an Authorised Representative from 22 August 2011.

    Kathy has more than 15 years experience in the Insurance Industry working as an Insurance Broker for a large city firm.  She has a Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking).  She is dedicated to providing clients with solutions for all their General Insurance needs from small, medium and corporate accounts specialising in Community Organisations and Church Groups. 

    Managing Risks of bad debtors

    Maintaining a good cash flow is essential in any business staying afloat. Sadly, not all of our clients pay on time despite us providing our services or products in good faith.

     We will always have some Slow Paying Customers that if not better managed, could push your business to the brink of insolvent trading, which is not only illegal, can restrict the operation of some of your insurance policies.

     If your customers are not paying you on time,  they are effectively using you as an interest free bank and it is costing you more money than you think. 

    Australia underpricing D&O liability, says Zurich

    Claims exceed premiums from directors’ and officers’ (D&O) liability policies in Australia, but the market will remain soft due to the amount of competition, says Zurich’s Global Chief Underwriting Officer for D&O Liability and Financial Institutions, Paul Schiavone.

    He says rates keep falling here despite claims exceeding total premium income of around $200 million. 

    Article from

    More Sexual Harassment claims

    As a reminder to Business Owners about Employment Practice issues a MELBOURNE woman is taking on her former employer over sexual harassment claims says she's doing it to help all young women.

    Stephanie Lane was 17 when she started a call centre job with marketing company Salmat Salesforce in Franklin St, Melbourne, reported the Herald Sun.

    Now aged 20, she is taking legal action in the Federal Court against ex-employer Salmat, claiming her team leader made unwelcome sexual advances towards her at work when she was just a teenager. 

    For more about this, click on this link  Stephanie Lane

    Brokers and insurers agree – the hard market is coming

    Despite a relatively uneventful June 30 renewals period, major brokers and insurers remain convinced the market will harden. 

    When we refer to a market hardening it means Prices go up, and broadness of cover goes down. This due usually to less competition or a crisis or catastrophe which has hit insurers hard. It is also has been due to falls in the stock market as insurers make additional money by investing their reserves before needing that money to pay claims. If the stock market falls they make no extra money.

    More on this - click here

    Home Based Businesses need to have Insurance too

    While working from home for many of us is quite enjoyable, if it is a home-based business. you need to be aware that an ordinary Householders may not pick up most of your risk. In fact, it may cover very little. You should make sure you have appropriate insurances in place to protect not only yourself but the future of your business.

    Standard homeowner policies do not generally provide cover for many aspects of a home-based business. For instance, they may cover a home office up to a certain limit, but if you are holding stock, or building supplies used for a commercial project, your Householders policy will not respond to any loss or damage caused to it.

    Insurance tax removal on the agenda

    by Terry McMullan 

    The Federal Government has put insurance taxes back on the national tax reform agenda, saying it’s an inefficient way to collect revenue.

    The decision to include the state-imposed taxes in the discussion paper for its October tax forum examining Australia’s taxation system has been hailed as a positive step towards making insurance more affordable.

    The Government says the states have taxes on almost all general and life insurance polices, and “in comparison to other countries, Australia has high taxes on insurance”.

    “Insurance taxes have been a growing source of revenue for the states, raising about $4.6 billion in 2009/10.” 

    Interim Flood Enquiry Report released

    The interim flood enquiry has released its interim report which is a 266 page document seeking to improve the way we manage Floods in the future in Queensland. Click on this link to read more and even download the report if interested. ABC Flood Report 1 August 2011

    Is your Business Interruption cover adequate enough?

    Watch out for shortcomings in your Business Interruption cover

    Business Interruption remains the most undersold but vital cover to include in a Business Pack or ISR policy (Section 2 Consequential Loss).

    But problems exist even when an Insured has chosen the cover. Have they set it up correctly? Will it respond adequately after a material damage claim?

    I just want to touch on a few areas that can cause shortcomings in the cover. 

    WORKPLACE bullies watch out

    Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick has announced a new workplace bullying reference group to advise whether laws in Queensland should be strengthened.  In a potential  major shake-up to workplace laws, bosses and staff who victimise workers could be left with a criminal record instead of fines in industrial courts. 

    ICA to push market-based flood cover solution

    The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) will propose a premium rebate scheme exclusively for properties at high risk of flood when it submits its response to the Natural Disaster Insurance Review (NDIR) later this week.

    Under ICA’s plan, the rebate for the 135,000 homes at high or extreme risk of riverine flooding would be funded out of the $4.6 billion that is currently collected each year by state governments from their taxes on insurance policies. 

    The blame game begins

    Insurers are bracing for fallout from the Queensland floods on at least two fronts – resisting the compulsory flood cover option of the Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Insurance Review and preparing for an onslaught of criticism from the Queensland Government’s independent commission of inquiry. 

    Man gaoled for stealing $27 Million from a University

    In a reminder for businesses to get their Accounting systems in order, a South Australian man today went to gaol for fraud against his employer.  

    Christopher Wayne Fuss, 47, started misappropriating funds six months into his employment at Adelaide's Flinders University and continued for two years resulting in more than $27 million, has been sentenced to nine years in jail. 

    Mick Molloy loses defamation case

    In another example of defamation claims, former federal Labor candidate Nicole Cornes has won a defamation case against Channel 10 and comedian Mick Molloy. The comments Mick Molloy made on the television programme “Before the Game” in 2008 have now been found by a South Australian Supreme Court to be Slander. Ms Cornes claimed on-air comments Molloy made in 2008 questioned her fidelity and damaged her reputation, humiliated her and defamed her. 

    Centro case is another reminder of Directors Duties.

    The Federal Court judgement against eight former and current Centro directors on Monday ruled that the directors had failed to exercise due care and diligence by signing off the financial reports for Centro Properties, Centro Property Trust and Centro Retail Trust for the year ended 30 June 2007. These incorrectly classified more than $2 billion in debt as non-current and did not disclose a $2.8 billion debt guarantee used to buy a US shopping centre portfolio. 

    Why are Insurance Premiums rising?

    CGU have produced a very interesting booklet to explain to Brokers and clients why Insurance Premiums have begun to rise.

    It gives a very good explanation about the things that have affected claims results in recent times.

    As related in a previous post, you get what you pay for but as a Broker we are always seeking to get you the best possible cover at the best possible price. Competition keeps the prices down.

    If interested in CGU's perspective, click on the link below.

    Why are Premiums Rising?

    Cyber Risks - the new Frontier

    I am currently investigating what insurance solutions are out there for the risks now being found with hacking into private data, taking confidential details including credit card details and bringing down a Businesses Web site to the extent they lose revenue.

    I have found one product through a market at Lloyds and I will look into it and advise shortly.

    But in the meantime, check this link out which you may find helpful 

    There are dangers in buying cheap policies.

    With Insurance policies - you get what you pay for.

    Falling premiums, aggressive competition between underwriters and the large number of insurers mean policy prices become cheaper. This is great for our clients but cost savings in the short term may prove costly later.

    Ten years ago (March 2001) HIH Insurance collapsed with $5 billion in debts. They had a reputation for being cheap. Many of their policy holders regretted choosing an insurance policy on price alone.

    All Companies should analyse the risks their business faces and determine the scope of insurance cover required. As your Insurance Broker, we can help you to do this. While value for money comes into the equation, it shouldn’t do so if it means less protection.

    One of the odder breaches of Copyright

    The tattoo on Ed Helms' face is staying in the film of The Hangover: Part II because Warner Bros has settled the lawsuit brought by Missouri tattoo artist S Victor Whitmill. It was about a mark on Helms' face, which Mr Whitmill claimed infringed a copyrighted tattoo he created for boxer Mike Tyson.
    "Warner Bros and Mr Whitmill have amicably resolved their dispute. No other information will be provided," Mr Whitmill's attorney Geoff Gerber said.
    Apparently the deal was hammered out during an all-day mediation on Friday in St Louis.

    Zurich reaffirms commitment to providing automatic flood insurance

    Following the catastrophic Queensland and Victorian floods, Zurich today reaffirmed its commitment to provide automatic flood insurance to its commercial customers.

    In 2008, Zurich was the first Australian insurer to provide automatic flood insurance for the majority of its commercial customers and continues to be the only insurer to do so.

    "Despite the impact of the floods much of the country suffered last year and in recent months, Zurich remains committed to giving our customers peace of mind when disaster strikes," said Zurich Australia General Insurance Chief Executive Officer, Mr Shane Doyle.

    "There is major confusion with customers and the public at large on the issue of flood cover. Zurich simply believes it is the right thing to do to embed automatically flood cover in our commercial customers' insurance policies."

    "There's clarity with Zurich's commercial insurance with 98. 

    Employment Practices Liability - recent decisions

    $250,000 back-pay for Brisbane employees

    A number of workers across Brisbane have been back-paid a total of $252,000 following intervention by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

    The largest recovery was $16,700 for two Rocklea administration officers underpaid the minimum hourly rate and other entitlements.

    Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director Michael Campbell says after Fair Work inspectors contacted the business and explained its obligations, the employees were promptly paid all money owed without the need for further action.

    In a separate case, a Chermside chef was also reimbursed $16,700 after inspectors discovered the employee had been underpaid the minimum hourly rate and not paid annual leave and personal leave entitlements. 

    The importance of adequate Removal of Debris cover

    It has been easy for Removal Of Debris (ROD) to be determined by insurers and brokers at 10% of the sum insured for the building. However, it is likely this will not be adequate enough.

    The difficulty of building on a particular site is directly related to building’s cost. For example, sites with difficult access or steep slopes are usually more costly to build on. Therefore it should be expected that removing debris from a difficult site will also be more costly. So is a 10% allowance for Removal of Debris enough?  

    A 10 per cent allowance might not be enough in buildings of comparatively low value where site access is, or later becomes very difficult.

    If the building is full of asbestos or hazardous chemicals, the increased costs to clear can be much more than the 10% allowed for.

    What is Crisis Response Expenses Insurance?

     As a result of bodily injury to a third party, an insured may suffer adverse general public confidence. The purpose of considering this extended coverage is intended to help regain the confidence of the general public or of a specific market segment.

    Some examples include:

     The property owner of a premises experiences adverse attention in the local paper after a visitor accidentally slips and falls which causes severe bodily injury

    A manufacturer has a product in the market which has caused the user bodily injury and as a result experiences adverse media attention.

    These expenses incurred as a consequence of these or similar incidents may not be covered by your current policy, but Chubb Commercial Insurance Policy is offering this additional cover as a new endorsement.

    Dynamiq Risk Alert:


    There is a high risk of civil violence and political unrest as a result of the 19 upcoming major elections in African nations with the potential for the so-called “Arab Spring” to spread from the Middle East and North Africa. 


    Fair Work Inspectors are targeting smaller businesses.

    Make sure your documentation is in order. Fair Work Inspectors are dropping in to businesses of all sizes to check that the instruments and conditions that staff are employed under are fair, equitable and legal.

    Fair Work Inspectors do not have to give you notice of their visit. They will ask to see your documentation around employment when they arrive. If you have no documentation, they will rely solely on the instruments that are legally in place to see that you are compliant.

    These instruments include the National Employment Standards (NES) as well as the Modern Award.

    How far does a duty of care extend for a Taxi Driver?

    QBE has been ordered to pay 80% of a $760,000 claim on behalf of their client when Justice Fryberg had to rule on the civil responsibility for the death of Stephen Crouch.  French v QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited [2011] QSC 105  French v QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited [2011] QSC 105   QQ        French v QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited [2011] QSC 105

    The Taxi driver was held to have owed Mr Crouch a duty in tort and in contract as ‘carrier’, to have delivered him home safely and in the circumstances that arose, to remain with him at least until the police arrived. This standard of care the driver was required to observe was to be ”responsible for delivering Mr Crouch to a place of safety or to another person who would look after him.” The taxi driver ”ought reasonably to have known that if you failed to deliver Mr Crouch to his home or otherwise to a situation of safety, but left him lying on the footpath, there was a risk that he would wake up, wander onto the carriageway and be hit by a vehicle”. 

    Is Public Speaking your biggest Fear?

    Not really an Insurance subject but it is connected as us Brokers are often called upon to address Boards of Directors, or internal forums or Insurance related seminars. To do these is a great honour and an opportunity to sell yourself. But gee it is too scary..... What if people think I am stupid...... What if I really stuff myself up?

    Professional Indemnity revenue reduces in 2009

    INSURERS received less revenue from professional indemnity cover in 2009. All other sectors of the Insurance Industry actually rose!

    The decrease from $1.496 billion to $1.335 billion was provided by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority May 2010. APRA figures include Directors & Officers Liability as well as Medical Defence cover so it makes it harder to pin point where the reductions are occurring.

    James Hardie Directors win an appeal

    Seven former directors of James Hardie are now able to return to sit on Australian company boards, after they were successful appealing against their bans from company directorships and fines given to former chairman Meredith Hellicar, Michael Brown, Michael Gillfillan, Martin Koffel, Dan O'Brien, Greg Terry and Peter Willcox have been overturned.

    Allco - another corporate collapse based on ambitious company executives.

    Allco was put into administration in November 2008. The receivers are representing a consortium of 12 lenders, including Westpac which has a $200 million exposure. The Commonwealth Bank has a $170 million exposure.The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has also been investigating Allco's collapse.

    Latest News

    Above-average cyclone season looms

    As reported by

    Insurers should brace for an above-average cyclone season due to weakening La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean and warmer than average sea temperatures to the north and east, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

    The cyclone season begins next month and ends in April.

    The bureau says Australia has a 67% chance of an above-average season, while the west has a 59% chance, the northwest 63%, the north 56% and the east 58%.

    In neutral years the first tropical cyclone to make landfall typically occurs in late December, while in La Nina years it usually hits in the first week of December, the bureau says.

    Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller says even an average cyclone season – consisting of 11 events, four of which make landfall – can be devastating.

    “An above-average year could bring many more than that, and each one has the potential to cause catastrophic damage if it crosses the coast in a heavily populated area,” he said.

    “Only one cyclone made landfall last season, and that was in a sparsely populated part of WA’s Pilbara. There’s no guarantee Australia will be so fortunate this summer.”

    Tropical Cyclone Marcia cost insurers $544 million from more than 37,000 claims when it struck Rockhampton in February last year. In 2011 Cyclone Yasi cost insurers $1.4 billion.

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    Beware the escape clause in Motor policies

    Cheap motor insurance can have some tough exclusions The Policy Comparison team at LMI have highlighted some new exclusions have been introduced by some of the “Cheapy” direct insurers. Previously Motor Insurance wordings did not have an exclusion for “reckless acts” but this has now changed.  Reckless driving is often defined as a mental state in which the driver displays a wanton disregard for the rules of the road; the driver misjudges common driving procedures, often causing accidents and other damages. The legal dictionary defines reckless driving as operation of an automobile in a dangerous manner under the circumstances, including speeding (or going too fast forthe conditions, even though within the posted speed limit), driving after drinking (but not drunk), having too many passengers inthe car, cutting in and out of traffic, failing to yield to other vehicles, and other negligent acts.

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