Combustible Cladding

The Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017 has put building cladding under the spotlight with audits happening around Australia as a result.

Manufacturers offer two different versions of the cladding – one with a plastic core and one with a mineral core. The plastic filled version if ignited becomes a fuel for the fire, while the mineral core is considered less flammable.

Whilst investigators do not attribute the source of fires to the cladding, it certainly has attributed to the rapid spread of the fire. In the case of the Grenfell Tower fire which resulted in 79 people dead or missing, it took 15 minutes to engulf the complete 14 storey building.

The investigators believe a fridge freezer was the source. BBC reported that because of the rapid fire spreading on the outside of the building, the normal system of rescuing people and fighting from a lower storey did not work.

In August 2017 the Torch Building in Dubai caught fire for the second time (the first time was in 2015). Reports seem to suggest in both incidents, Combustible Cladding, whilst not the source, had a major effect on the spread and size of the fire.

In November 2014 in Melbourne, Australia, a small column of cladding on the Lacrosse building caught fire spreading quickly up the side of the building.

Reports indicated that a cigarette butt in a plastic container was the source of the fire
which spread up the 23 storey building in 11 minutes.

Luckily there was a limited amount of panels involved and internal sprinklers operated protecting occupants and reduced the spread of fire internally.

There were no casualties but 450 – 500 people were evacuated and had to find alternative accommodation. It was reported that the unit owners were instructed to rip off and replace the cladding at a personal cost estimated at $40 million.

Cladding is also used on many other buildings and authorities across the world are investigating. Following Grenfell, English authorities evacuated a further 650 apartments in other buildings fitted with the combustible cladding.

Looking at your building or if you are considering purchasing, how do you recognise the cladding? Reports seem to suggest that reviewing the building specification or looking at the cladding will not solve your question. It seems the only way to be sure is to have it tested.

The Australian newspaper reported that many buildings in Sydney could contain the cladding. And who is responsible and pay for repairs? Good Question.

Car thefts on the rise

If car owners think the improved security now fitted to most new vehicles has forced car thieves to move on to easier targets, think again! Empirical evidence suggest that they are now just targeting older model vehicles, but car thefts are not reducing.

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, there was a 9 per cent national rise in car theft numbers last year. In 2016, there were 56,086 motor thefts – the highest level since 2012 and up from 51,525 in 2015.

In the worst-performing state, Victoria, motor thefts rose by 25 per cent, while Queensland was up 19 per cent and South Australia 10 per cent. All other states and territories recorded decreases.

Three-quarters of stolen vehicles were taken from outbuildings, such as garages and carports, or residential land, including driveways and streets.

Four of the top 10 hot spots in Australia were in Queensland, with Brisbane City, Gold Coast, Logan and Townsville named as Queensland’s danger zones.

It’s important to be vigilant and take preventive measures to reduce the chances of vehicle loss. This includes ensuring your vehicle is locked and parked in a safe area and making sure you have placed your keys in a safe place.

The car makes most susceptible for theft were the Nissan Pulsar 1995-2000 models (932 stolen in the year), Holden’s VE Commodore 2006-13 (860) and Toyota Hilux 2005-2011 (759).
Also remember, one way to avoid a dispute with the insurance company as to the value of a stolen vehicle is to look at insuring the vehicle for Agreed Value at the time the insurance is arranged. We can assist with answering any questions or queries you have regarding your car policy

Creepy crawly spider facts

DID YOU KNOW?

  • You are rarely more than a few metres from a spider. And that one acre of ground is home to about a million spiders!
  • Around most homes you will find about 20-50 different species of spider. But in any bushland area, there is usually around 100-120 species!
  • There are around 10,000 different species of spiders in Australia, but only around 3,500 have names – but don’t be alarmed, most are too small to bite.
  • And it is the unexpected direction that spiders move in that generates the fear response in humans.
  • The majority of spiders will run away from wind/blowing.
  • If you have a 4WD watch out – spiders (as well as scorpions, cockroaches, lizards and snakes) are attracted to an idling 4WD diesel.
  • Speaking of cars…although huntsmen spiders have a weak venom, they are responsible for the most human deaths through car crashes (as they scramble across the windscreen).
  • Spider silk is easily dissolved with household bleach
  • Despite popular belief, daddy long legs spiders are harmless..
  • Male spiders look and behave like females until they are adult.
  • No Australian spider (including the white tail spider) has caused flesh-rotting.
  • An Australian jumping spider, Portia, has telephoto vision second only to the eagles.
  • Most spiders have eight eyes but are basically blind.
  • Spiders often consume their webs at nights end and then recycle the silk, through their gut, in about 20 minutes.
  • Most of the white on a spider is formed by the white guanine in the folds of the gut
  • Spider silk is highly elastic so when it reaches its most stretched point in the Spiderman movies, it should pull him straight back to base, not act like a rope.

Travel smart and travel safe

Passport – check. Clothes – check. Medications – check. Smartphone – check. You’ve got all of the above, but what about travel insurance?

Travelling overseas can be a fantastic adventure – but you shouldn’t do it without first having a travel insurance policy in place.

Not all travel policies are the same with many policy limitations that sometimes aren’t as obvious until it’s too late. It’s vitally important to ensure that you’re purchasing a policy that is adequate for where you are going together with coverage for activities that will be undertaken.

Many activities are not included in the “standard” policies for example heli-skiing or caving or certain underwater activities may be excluded or have policy

limitations imposed. Be careful to ensure that any activities you intend to undertake are covered prior to your departure.

Further, you should also make a point of looking up the Government’s smart traveller website to check the “safety status” of the country you intend visiting. This official site classifies countries according to travel safety and, of course, in many parts of the world this is volatile and subject to constant change.
The highest warning the Government issues is its “Do Not Travel”, which advises against travel to certain destinations. Some current “Do Not Travel” warnings include Syria,
Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen. Be aware that if you travel to countries against advice, your travel insurance will most likely be voided. A number of countries are on a “Reconsider your need to Travel” list. While your travel insurance will usually provide coverage in this case violence, political unrest and terrorist activities can escalate quickly, and may force the Australian Government to upgrade its warning to “Do not Travel”.

To ensure that you have the appropriate travel insurance its prudent to discuss your requirements with us, so we can tailor a policy accordingly and arrange well prior to your departure date.

Cyclone Debbie – the good and the bad

As the state continues to recover from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the real cost of the cyclone quite possibly will never be known.

The cyclone, which crossed the coast on 28 March, 2017 as a category-four system and caused subsequent flooding in communities from the Whitsundays to New South Wales and then across to New Zealand. Over 72,000 Queenslanders requested assistance.

And while PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organisation providing industry-wide catastrophe insurance data disclosed its initial property market loss estimate for Debbie at $1.116 million, there are other losses that are just not counted.

Cyclone Debbie caused the closure of many schoools in Queensland for two days and many businesses also closed in the lead up. Once the Cyclone past, many of the affected areas had further closures as a result of public utilities.

Business owners wore the cost of the closures with these figures unlikely to be ever known.

While many analysts expected the cyclone to have minimal impact on broader economic growth, there was severe damage to sugar and fruit and vegetable crops causing shortages in supply.

A quarter of all sugar produced in Australia comes from the Mackay-Proserpine region, with the Bowen region also a key producer of fruits and vegetables including mangoes, tomatoes and capsicum.

But there are some postivies that have come from Debbie including the fact that emergency services including the SES and volunteers who did a marvellous job during the disaster.

More coverage

In comparison to Cyclone Yasi in 2011, Queenslanders now have wider insurance coverage options available.
It is important to have a broker assist and talk to you in handling the claims process.

With reports of policy holders being scammed by people, doorknocking at homes, claiming to be representing Insurers and demanding cash payments to clean up, inspections and repairs. No Insurer’s representative would ever demand cash for such work.

These scams highlight the importance of having a broker who can assist with the claim process in what is a stressful situation.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

Peter Peirano’s passion for competitive drag racing dates back four decades and involves his whole family

PETER PEIRANO, principal of Rockhampton-based Piranha Insurance Brokers, has a love of drag racing that began at the age of 17 at Surfers Paradise. Today, Peirano and his family own the vehicle

Time Traveler and are part of the Aerofl ow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Show, which takes them right across Australia.

“I just love the fact that it is, for us and many other teams, a family event,” Peirano says. “The comradeship with our other drag racing families is just amazing.”
Asked to name standout highlights from time spent on the track, Peirano mentions his son, Nathan, winning two Australian National Drag Racing Association gold Christmas tree trophies, as well as third place in the Aerofl ow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Spectacular Extravaganza, which saw him beat a USA nitro funny car world champion.

And there’s still plenty more on the road ahead. “We have twice travelled Rockhampton to Perth and back to race,” Peirano says. “I just love it.”

Heather Peirano appointed to NIBA Board

The Board of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) has welcomed the appointment of new Board members Heather Peirano from Piranha Insurance Brokers, and Mike Hutchinson of Marsh.

Peirano takes over from Peter Roberts who resigned from the Board late last year and is the Director representing NIBA’s Queensland Division. Hutchinson replaces David Duffield as the Marsh representative on the Board as Duffield has retired from the Board to take up the role of industry representative on the Insurance Broking Code Compliance Committee.

NIBA President Tim Wedlock said: “Welcome to Heather and Mike who I know will be great additions to the NIBA Board.

“Heather is very highly regarded across Queensland, and in the industry generally.

“Mike has had great experience at Marsh, and will have a lot to contribute to the NIBA Board in the coming years.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Heather and Mike, as they are passionate about our industry and will help promote NIBA as being the voice for our broking partners around Australia.

“I would also like to thank Peter Roberts for his contributions to the NIBA Board on behalf of our Queensland members. I would like to pay particular tribute to David Duffield, who has served NIBA for many years, including as a Past President, Convention Chair and also as Chair of the NIBA Board’s Finance Committee.

“We are very grateful for Peter and David’s contributions while on the NIBA Board.”

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth added that Peirano and Hutchinson will continue NIBA’s ability to work closely with Queensland members. “I am grateful Heather and Mike have offered to make the time available to assist NIBA’s important work representing members’ interests to governments and other stakeholders.”

Peirano is Director of Piranha Insurance Brokers which she started with her husband, Peter Peirano, back in 1989. It is a family-owned brokerage in Rockhampton with a specialty in motorsport insurance.

She says she is keen to join the Board: “I believe NIBA is an important vehicle for change … and I look forward to working with the other board members to create good outcomes for both the industry and its customers.”

Hutchinson was recently appointed Chief Client Officer Australia at Marsh. With more than 40 years’ service, he is also a Managing Director at Marsh, and his previous roles have included National Practice Leader Real Estate and Financial Institutions, General Manager Client Retention, and Business Development Director.

“NIBA is a tremendous organisation, representing the insurance broking profession to government, business and the community,” Mr Hutchinson says. “I’m enthusiastic about joining the board and looking forward to making a positive contribution.”

 

Source –  http://www.insuranceandrisk.com.au/niba-welcomes-new-board-members/

Mandatory data breach notification laws to come into force

Parliament has recently taken steps to address issues relating to cybercrimes by passing the
Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 on 13 February, 2017. The legislation is due to commence within 12 months of Royal Assent, with no assent or fixed date as yet.
However, once enacted the legislation will amend the Privacy Act 1998 to require entities experiencing ‘eligible’ data breaches to notify affected and ‘at risk’ individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) of these breaches.
The new laws will apply to entities which carry on business in Australia or are subjected to the Privacy Act 1998, including businesses and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or more, credit providers, credit reporting bodies and entities that hold the tax file number information of one or more individuals.
An ‘eligible’ data breach is:

  • Unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure of, personal information held by an entity and a reasonable person would conclude that access or disclosure would be likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom that information relates; OR
  • Information is lost in circumstances where:

a. Unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure, is likely to occur; and

b. Assuming such access or disclosure were to occur, a reasonable person would conclude that the access or disclosure would be likely to result in serious harm to any of the individuals to whom that information relates.

Whether access or disclosure would likely result in serious harm depends on a number of factors, including the nature and sensitivity of the information, whether there were any security measures in place and the likelihood those measures could be overcome, the characteristics of the person obtaining the information and the nature of the harm suffered by the individual.

If an entity suspects that an ‘eligible’ data breach has occurred, the following steps should be taken:

1. Within 30 days of the suspicion arising, assess the relevant circumstances and whether it reasonably amounts to an ‘eligible’ data breach;

2. If there are reasonable grounds to believe an ‘eligible’ data breach has occurred then subject to a number of exceptions, an entity should prepare a statement setting out the contact details of the entity, a description of the breach, the kind of information concerned and the steps it recommends affected individuals take in response. A copy of this statement should be provided to the OAIC;

3. If practicable, take steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to notify affected and ‘at risk’ individuals of the contents of the statement. If direct notification is not practicable, the entity should publish the statement on its website and take reasonable steps to publicise the contents of the statement.
The OAIC may also give written notice to an entity directing it to prepare the statement if it is aware there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been an ‘eligible’ data breach.
The failure to comply with the new laws will effectively be regarded as a breach of the Privacy Act 1998 and can result in an entity being required to take remedial action, give
enforceable undertakings and pay compensation and/or fines of up to $360,000.00 for individuals and $1.8 million for corporations.
Businesses should now review their internal processes, resources and systems to ensure they can adequately respond to any potential data breaches in future. As part of this review process, we suggest contacting your broker to ensure you have adequate insurances in place for any potential cyber and privacy breaches.

End-of-Financial-Year

End of Financial Year Checklist

It’s that time of year again and the End of Financial Year is upon us. Before 30 June take a moment to review your business so you can start the new financial year off on the right track.

1. Review your business story
How has your business changed in the past year? As your business evolves to cope with your clients ever
increasing expectations and technology advancements, consider any improvements you made and if this has now changed your goals.

Do a financial health check to consider your current cash flow, profitability and return on investment. If possible see if there are benchmark figures for your industry available and compare your business performance to these.

Often, businesses forget to look at their systems and processes. Whilst it can be a tedious task to review and implement a new way of doing things, the long-term benefits of implementing something that will save you time, is a business win.

The aim of this exercise is to identify any weaknesses you find and to develop a plan to address them. You don’t need to do all the work yourself either, get your staff to help out and come up with ways to improve the business.

Actions out of this process should be documented, assigned to an owner and have clear timeframes agreed for resolution.

2. Have a clear strategy – Look at where you want to be in the future
Have a clear understanding of:

  • How you are unique.
  • Understand your industry, its unique qualities and opportunities.
  • Understand your customer, who you are going to serve and how you are going to do it. You can’t be everything to everyone.

3. Prepare a budget
Ensure that you have, or have access to, sufficient resources to achieve your objectives. Regularly monitor your actual results and identify the reasons for variations.

4. Cash flow is still king
Many businesses discover that even though their business is profitable, cash flow problems can be its downfall by stopping expansion plans or not having money available at the right time to increase staff or product lines. Ensure you understand any seasonal fluctuations in your business and also ensure you have a good invoicing system. Most accounting packages can send out automated reminders to customers who are slow to pay or perhaps it may be necessary to allocate a little more energy to chase up older debtors.

5. Review your marketing plan
Is it achieving your objectives? Measure the success of each campaign or activity to determine its effectiveness. Increase focus on products with a high margin and reward your employees for achieving targets in your preferred areas. The reward must be easy to understand and easily measured, monitored and communicated during the financial year.

6. Review your risk management plan
Some key issues to address might be:

  • Major damage at your own, a key supplier or key customers premises. This could have a disastrous effect on your business.
  • Loss of a key supplier.
  • Failure of a key customer.
  • Loss or illness of key staff members.
  • Damage to your reputation through a social media attack.

Take some time to think about your options, if any of these, or similar events occurred.

7. Don’t be afraid to bring in the professionals
A lot of businesses make the mistake of not reaching out to the specialists when they need help. There are a wide range of specialists, from business coaches, accountants, marketers, investments advisors etc. out there ready to help you achieve your objectives and keep you on track. Finally, although it may appear hard, it will put you in a good position to explore new
opportunities, minimise risk, maximise profits and help you sleep better at night.

Workers in the home – are you covered?

Injuries to household and domestic workers: Are you covered?

Queensland Home and Contents insurance policies exclude injuries to Domestic Workers such as domestic cleaners, babysitters, nannies, gardeners and in-home carers, or in situations where a WorkCover Policy of insurance might respond. By legislation, WorkCover Queensland Household Worker Insurance Policy will protect home owners against these types of risks. The cost for a 2 year policy is only $50 and is a simple online application. Click here to view the application.

Home based businesses

It should be noted that a WorkCover Household Worker Policy will not cover workers, including family members engaged in connection with a business operating from home, such as a home photography studio, home hairdressing business, office or operating a sharing economy like AirBnB. WorkCover Queensland advises that it is mandatory for Home Business owners to take out a WorkCover Accident Insurance Policy with WorkCover Queensland, to cover accidents or injuries to workers employed in their home operated business.

WorkCover Queensland advises that uninsured employers who lodge WorkCover claims are held to account and subject to significant financial penalties, including the cost of WorkCover claims lodged by their employees. Click here to view the WorkCover Accident Policy application.

The penalties can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe injuries, if you do not have the adequate types of cover for either the Household Worker Insurance policy or the Accident Insurance policy. Likewise, General Insurance products for Home Based Businesses requires totally separate consideration.

Some Home and Contents policies may not be suitable if you have a home business. It is recommended that you contact us to tailor a suitable insurance program for your business needs.