Brokers add real value at the time of a claim

The key roles of a broker are to help identify and manage risks on your behalf, and to arrange and place appropriate cover. However, the true value of a broker is never fully appreciated or understood until you have a claim. Many businesses fail following a significant loss usually due to two things – inadequate or inappropriate cover prior to the loss and a lack of knowledgeable assistance to deal with an insurance claim. After a major loss, many people feel as though they are on their own when trying to deal with an insurance company, unless they have a good insurance broker to help them through the process. From lodging the claim to negotiating settlement, a broker won’t stop working for you until your claim is finalised. Generally, an insurance broker will act as an advocate for their clients. However, some brokers may have an arrangement with an insurance company that changes this

an insurance company that changes this relationship. If this is the case your broker will have told you this when you bought the policy. In these instances, the broker is acting on behalf of the insurance company. In all other instances an insurance broker is acting on your behalf and should ensure the best possible outcome for you.

 

This is achieved by:
• monitoring each claim to minimise disruption and ensure efficient handling of documentation,
• applying their experience and expertise in successful claim negotiations with Insurers.
• ensuring their clients are regularly updated on the progress of all claims. Your broker will maintain close contact with you and your insurer from the time of the reported claim through to settlement. The process adopted for claims management
should include:
• Notification – prompt notification of claims to relevant insurers
• Investigation and Negotiation- Assistance in negotiating with underwriters and third parties
• Settlement – Processing of all due payments. Contact us to find out exactly what claim service is available to you.

CGU See it Through in Rockhampton

When extreme weather hits, CGU is there to see it through for our small business customers and their community. When Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit Rockhampton, Brendon Reck’s pharmacy was inundated with water along with the medical centre who shared his property.

At a time when medical assistance was of the utmost importance to the local community, CGU worked quickly to repair the damaged building and get Brendan and the doctors back into their office in just nine days.

Source: CGU.

Businesses counting cyclone costs

by Cecilia Harris | Broker Buzz 18 Mar 2015

Claims from Cyclone Marcia’s recent battering of Central Queensland have soared after business owners started counting the cost of the damage, with about 30,000 claims lodged so far.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Rob Whelan says that the continuing rise in commercial claims over the past two and a half weeks was to be expected following such abrupt devastation, with total claims now sitting at around $400 million.

“These business claims are for a wide range of cyclone-related losses, from property and vehicle damage to business interruption. Many of these cases are quite complex,” Whelan says.

A large portion of property damage has been attributed to older buildings with poor resilience. However, Whelan says: “Most insured properties will be rebuilt or repaired to today’s cyclone building standards, which will ensure they have greater resilience to cyclones that may affect the region in the future.”

Whelan encourages policyholders with questions regarding insurance claims and handling, clean-up assistance, rebuilding and settlement options to register and attend insurance forums held this week.

The forums aim to foster resilience and sustainable recovery within communities, covering key aspects of recovery processes and offering policyholders an opportunity to discuss options with insurance professionals.

Peter Pierano, Principal Broker of Pirahna Brokers in Rockhampton, commends insurance companies for their involvement in community collaboration following the cyclone.

“Any community involvement that can promote better understanding of the rights of the consumer, I think is vital,” Pierano says.

“It is part of our charter as brokers to be community citizens.”

Regarding the response made by insurance companies in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, Pierano says: “I think they are doing a wonderful job, I really mean that. They are trying to get money out as quickly as can be. The overriding factor is that there are just so many claims, and we are trying to prioritise them.”

Insurance forums will be held in Yeppoon and Rockhampton this week.

Cyclone Nathan is expected to hit far-north Queensland later this week, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a cyclone watch zone for Cape Melville and Cardwell.

Forecasters have recommended that communities in the area brace for what is predicted to be a category 3 storm.

Link to full article here

Queensland Cyclone

Queensland cyclone victims lodge more than 5000 claims

SOURCE: insuranceNEWS.com.au

Cyclone Marcia in Queensland has so far prompted more than 5000 claims from car and property-owners, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) today.

By 1pm, ICA had estimated reserved losses at $33 million.

The Category 5 storm mainly hit the coastal towns of Yeppoon and Rockhampton on Friday, causing floods and cutting power and water supplies.

About 90% of claims are for property damage caused by heavy rain and high winds. When Marcia hit Yeppoon its winds reached 285kmh, according to media reports.

“I am 61 and I have never seen anything like this here,” Peter Peirano from Piranha Insurance Brokers in Rockhampton told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We don’t get many cyclones in Rocky… you have to go back to the 1940s for the last one.”

Mr Peirano has begun processing “more than 100 claims”, mainly from businesses.

“Rolladoors have blown out everywhere,” he said.

Mr Peirano had to get an electricity generator sent from Townsville to reopen his brokerage and process claims.

Many claims are for homes built before cyclone-proof building regulations took effect in 1985. “Most damage to houses has been done by trees.”

Suncorp has received 1500 claims, with more than 90% for home damage, spokesman Joshua Cooney says. “Our initial assessment is a combination of destructive winds, fallen trees, flying debris and flooding have caused the majority of damage to homes and motor vehicles in affected areas.

“We’ll be deploying a team of our most experienced insurance assessors once authorities give us the all-clear.”

Some customers require emergency safety works to secure their homes and prevent further damage.

“Based on requests made, we have already allocated more than 250 make-safe works in the Yeppoon-Rockhampton area alone,” Mr Cooney said.

IAG says it received 700 claims by Sunday afternoon and 90% relate to damage in Queensland and northern NSW.

In the Rockhampton area it has deployed two “major event rapid-response vehicles” to speed claims processing.

“We anticipate claim numbers will increase as people return to their homes and businesses, and we will provide an estimate of the financial impact as soon as we are in a position to do so,” IAG MD and CEO Mike Wilkins said.

IAG renewed its property catastrophe reinsurance protections in January, and its current maximum event retention is $250 million. Its natural peril allowance for the year to June 30 is $700 million.

ICA declared a catastrophe on Friday for parts of central Queensland affected by TC Marcia, and has staff in Yeppoon and Rockhampton working with emergency services and government agencies.

CEO Rob Whelan says insurers will prioritise all claims from the cyclone.

State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says damage is widespread, with the worst-affected areas of Rockhampton and Yeppoon still without power today.

The State Government has received assessments of more than 1500 houses with some kind of structural damage. In Yeppoon and Rockhampton about 100 were severely hit, with residents unable to return home.

ICA data shows Cyclone Ita, which hit less densely populated areas of north Queensland last year, cost $8.4 million. Cyclone Larry, which struck Innisfail in 2006, cost $609 million, while Cyclone Yasi in 2011 cost $1.4 billion.

Nikki Chambers, Hazard Scientist at risk modeller RMS, says winds of 180kmh caused significant damage in Yeppoon and Rockhampton. “Marcia is reported to be the southernmost landfalling Category 5 cyclone on the east coast on record.”

Meanwhile, Cyclone Lam, which hit Elcho Island off the NT coast on Friday, damaged homes with winds of about 230kmh. Power was cut to the Aboriginal community of 2000 people.

John Lewis from AIB Insurance Brokers – based in Maroochydore but with an extensive client base in the Northern Territory – told insuranceNEWS.com.au no claims have been received so far following Lam, a category 4 cyclone.

Higher Excess can mean Lower Premiums. Not always a good move

Most insurers will allow you to increase your excess to reduce your premium. Why? Because when you increase your excess it shifts some risk from the insurer back to you. It represents a saving for insurers, as they no longer have to pay out numerous small claims.

Often people see a higher excess as one of the most effective ways to save on insurance costs but it may not be the wisest option. The reality is that when you do make a claim, you will have to pay more towards it. And in the event of multiple claims, the total can skyrocket.

Consider this scenario: Jordan and Annabelle opted to increase their excesses to reduce their premiums last year. They had 2 cars comprehensively insured through ABC Insurance as well as their home and contents. For the cars, the standard excess was $600 but they opted to increase it to $1000. In addition, they increased their home and contents standard excess of $250 to $1250. The total premium saving for the year was $670. That’s great news! Or is it?

A serious hailstorm came along that hit their home and both their cars. Claims lodged for both vehicles and home were met with an excess bill of $3250. If they had retained the standard excesses they would only have to contribute $1450. So the premium saving of $670 left them out of pocket by $1800 at claim time.

Choose a level of excess you can afford and take the time to review your insurance schedule and policy wordings to see if you can bear the costs of excess contribution. Also, be aware that some insurers have different types of excesses that may apply in different situations or apply concurrently. Contact your insurance broker if you have any doubts or questions.

The Drift

MP Michelle Landry’s Speech to Raise Awareness for Prostate Cancer

Ms LANDRY (Capricornia) (09:51):  Today I urge all men in Australia to give their walnut-sized prostate a name and take him to the doctor for a health check. This is a novel concept that I launched in my electorate of Capricornia. The aim is to raise the profile of prostate cancer, which kills more men than breast cancer does women. The idea is to kick-start a conversation amongst Australian men to crack open what is a taboo topic. I will explain more about this radical idea shortly.

But, firstly, the reason I raise the topic is because I am pleased that the Australian government is now funding the services of a new specialist prostate cancer nurse for the Rockhampton region. Nurse Judy Cornick will work with patients at Rockhampton base hospital. The new position will help to ease the confusion and fear associated with being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia reports that nine men a day, or 3,300 a year, die in Australia from prostate cancer, while 20,000 men a year are diagnosed, making it one of the biggest causes of male deaths in the nation.

The prostate is about the size of a walnut and is located immediately below the bladder. As I said earlier, if you are a bloke, I challenge you to name your ‘walnut’. Give yours a name, get it out and get it checked. If every bloke took his Walter, Wilbur or Wally to the doctor for a PSA or a blood check-up, they might be able to identify signs of life-threatening prostate cancer a lot sooner.

Rockhampton insurance agent Peter Peirano is a prostate cancer survivor who named his walnut ‘Old Bitey’. Recently, Peter joined me to welcome Nurse Cornick at Rockhampton base hospital and bravely spoke about his experience to the media. A week or two later, a man stopped Peter at the Rockhampton airport and thanked him. He had read Peter’s story in the local newspaper and had taken his walnut to the doctor for a health check. His medical tests came back positive, and the man was waiting for his flight to Brisbane for immediate treatment.

To generate more conversation about this topic, I challenge every male MP and senator in Parliament House to name their walnut. Christening your Walter or Wally may kick-start a conversation that could well save your life—something for which all your family will be grateful.