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.

NBN…Cause for Alarm?

The rollout of the NBN network involves new technologies and some of your existing devices are unlikely to be compatible with the new system.

Transitioning to the NBN can cause your alarm monitoring to stop working and consequently it is vital that you contact your alarm company to consider your options before performing your NBN transition.

Many current alarm systems are designed to use a phone line to dial the business owner or a monitoring centre and alert them to a sensor being triggered. Most alarms dial out over a copper phone line and can still dial out even if the phone line is already in use.

Currently, this copper line is not dependent on electricity being connected to your premises and your alarm is still capable of communication and provided you have a battery back-up power supply, your alarm will continue to function for a number of hours. While it’s tempting to think that you can simply plug into an equivalent phone port provided with an NBN service, there are some issues which need to be considered.

As the NBN fibre cable will mostly be fitted to an existing building, it is often laid in vulnerable areas and a thief can simply cut the fibre, defeating the alarm monitoring. The second issue is in relation to power failure. It is not difficult for a thief to simply turn off the power in an external power board, in order to defeat the alarm.

While the obvious solution is to look for alternative ways to maintain this connectivity, this must be done in collaboration with the alarm company. The simplest solution is to use the mobile network, provided you have a good and consistent signal. GPRS is the older

technology and is more widely used, but there can be coverage problems with 3G generally providing better coverage. Some alarm companies will set the communication to go via two mobile providers, as this protects against the failure of a particular mobile tower failing, which happens more than you realise. Although the NBN will provide a number of benefits, there is usually new equipment required to make the change and while this might be as simple as installing a new box onto your system, it may require a completely new alarm system.

Transitioning your business or home to the NBN can result in your alarm to stop working and consequently it’s important to contact your supplier to be able to consider your options before transitioning to the NBN.
Finally, it’s important to note that at the end of the 18 month transition period, your traditional copper telephone line will be disconnected. This means that if you wish to continue to make phone calls or use the internet through a landline service, you will need to be connected to the NBN.

Pool Safety in Queensland

Of Australia’s 280 drowning deaths in the year to June 2016, 45 occurred in backyard swimming pools according to The Royal Life Saving’s National Drowning Report 2016.

In the Summer of 2016-2017, news headlines around the country have been dominated by a swag of reports of toddler drownings in backyard pools.

Given the recent reports, it is a timely reminder to revisit Queensland’s pool safety laws and complete your own safety check of your backyard swimming pool.

The Queensland Government introduced the current pool safety laws as a result of the most comprehensive review of Queensland’s pool safety laws in nearly 20 years. The laws were introduced across two stages. Stage 1 commenced on 1 December 2009 and applied mostly to new residential outdoor swimming pools. It included:

  • Introducing the latest swimming pool safety standards
  • Regulating temporary fencing for pools
  • Mandatory follow-up final inspections
  • Introducing the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) signage standards.

Stage 2 commenced on 1 December 2010 and mostly affected existing swimming pools. The
stage 2 measures included:

  •  An independent pool safety council
  •  A training and licensing framework for pool safety inspectors
  •  Replacing 11 different pool safety standards with one pool safety standard for all regulated pools. Both new and existing pools must comply with the standard by 1 December 2015
  • All regulated pools to be included in a state based pool register
  • Fencing for portable pools and spas deeper than 300 millimetres
  • Mandatory inspections by local governments for immersion incidents of children under 5 in swimming pools. These incidents are required to be reported by hospitals including voluntary reporting by Queensland Ambulance Service. Under the laws, pool owners had until 30 November, 2015 to meet the current pool safety standard or earlier if they sold or leased their property. Since 1 December 2010, properties could not be leased or have another accommodation agreement entered into without a pool safety certificate.

Powers of Entry
The Local Government Act 2009 and City of Brisbane Act 2010 have been amended to provide the power for an authorised person from a local government to enter the property (other than a home on the property) without permission from the occupier of the property, to inspect a swimming pool and barriers or fencing for the pool for compliance purposes. If following an inspection, the pool is found not to comply with the relevant standards, then the local government must take the necessary enforcement action to ensure the pool is modified to comply with the relevant standards. This could include issuing an enforcement notice, issuing an infringement notice, prosecution and other legal proceedings, or carrying out remedial work in accordance with the relevant acts.

New domestic smoke alarm laws

From January 2017, new fire smoke alarm laws apply to domestic building owners.

As of January 2017, any new dwelling or dwellings that are being substantially renovated must comply with the new regulations.

 

This includes:

  • Only photoelectric smoke alarms are to be installed
  • Any smoke alarm over 10 years old must be replaced by a photoelectric alarm
  • Any replacement of an existing alarm must be with a photoelectric type.

Photoelectric alarms are more advanced and are widely regarded as being superior to ionisation alarms in most circumstances. They respond faster than other alarms to most fire types and are less likely to cause false alarms.
They are particularly effective at detecting smouldering fires, which provides the earliest possible warning of a small developing fire. If your smoke alarm has a radioactive warning symbol on it, it is an ionisation smoke alarm.

From January 2022, all homes or units sold, leased or prior to a lease renewal must comply with the new regulations. The new regulations will require photoelectric smoke alarms to be hardwired to mains power with a backup power source or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery.

The smoke alarms to be installed:

  •  In all bedrooms
  •  In all hallways that connect bedrooms to rest of the dwelling
  • If there is no hallway, between bedroom and other parts of the storey
  • If more than one storey building at least one smoke alarm in each storey
  • If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exist the building
  • All alarms must be interconnected with all other alarms for all to activate together.

Whilst most alarms are attached to a ceiling, care must be taken in positioning them. Keep them away from light fittings, fans, air conditioning and corners of a room. Cathedral and exposed beam ceiling require special attention. For more information, for fitting smoke alarms discuss with a qualified technician and/or refer to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services or Master Electricians Australia.

Insurance health check

Forget New Year’s Resolutions, at the beginning of 2017, it’s time to have a health check of your business and have a look at five mistakes you might be making with regards to your insurance.

1. Not regularly reviewing your insurance policies
Don’t leave it to once a year (usually at renewal time) to review your insurance policy. What was relevant to you at the beginning of the year, could be significantly different to your requirements at the end of the year and all the changes that come in between. It’s important to keep us up-to-date with any changes happening in your business (or at home) to allow us to ensure you have correct coverage and to ensure you are covered in the event of a claim. Use the start of the year to have a health check on your insurance with us and make a note to have a review every quarter, making sure you keep us in the loop with any changes.

2. Not getting advice from your broker when deciding to enter a different market
Many businesses are changing and adapting to the market and with the internet breaking down international borders, it’s easy to look to a new market to expand and grow your market. This could be importing products to sell in Australia, selling online domestically or overseas or exporting to international markets. You might think this is no different to regular business, but it can be. Talk to us if you make any significant changes with your business, particularly entering a new or different market. We are here to help you navigate this change and ensure you are adequately covered.

3. Under-insurance and Inadequate Business Interruption Insurance
A few articles in Brokerwise in 2016 tackled this subject and if you didn’t heed the advice then, take a look now. Many businesses around the country are under-insured meaning if there is a computer or electronic breakdown, machinery breakdown, burglary or even fire – your business might not be covered. Sit down with us to discuss your insurance needs and make sure you are adequately covered for the year ahead.

4. Reducing premiums when times are tough
When your business is going through a rough patch and times are tough, it’s tempting to reduce your insurance expenses to save some dollars. But this could have long-term ramifications. Talk to us about better solutions and ways in which we can help you possibly save some money without affecting your level of cover.

5. Being your own insurance broker
Google is a fantastic tool for finding out a wealth of information and can be a great tool in researching what type of insurance protection is out there for background information. But Google cannot replace the personal service of your broker.

We are here to deliver a professional service and a level of detail that an internet browser cannot. While the deal might seem great, you may end up under insured or worse – not insured. We are here to provide options and discuss in detail your level of cover.

Conditional registration with motor vehicles

Once a vehicle has been conditionally registered it should be treated in the same way as any other registered vehicle and should be duly insured under a Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy.

It’s a legal requirement that all vehicles that require any access to gazetted roads and public places, such as car parks, must now have conditional registration, even though this may not have been the case previously.

There are many types of vehicles that may now be required to obtain conditional registration, including but not limited to, golf buggies, forklifts, bobcats, motorcycles, motorised mobility scooters, motorised wheelchairs and mowers.

Should any of these vehicles leave private property and gain access to roads or public places they are now affected.

Whilst Conditional Registration provides coverage for Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance for Personal Injury Claims it doesn’t include Comprehensive Insurance to the vehicle and subsequent property damage. There are also other insurance policies such as “Broadform Public and Products Liability Insurance” that may have specific exclusions within their coverage. A standard exclusion may state “Property damage caused by any vehicle which is registered or which is required to be registered”.
Any claims costs in respect of property damage may be denied should these vehicles be not correctly registered. For further information regarding vehicle

For further information regarding vehicle registration please refer to the Queensland Government website or contact us to discuss the potential exposures and arrange the required insurance coverage.

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.