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.

Australian Institute of Company Directors Presentation in Yeppoon

Peter Peirano was part a four-man panel presentation at Charter Hall, Allenstown Square in Yeppoon last month, following the impact of Cyclone Marcia. The Australian Institute of Company Directors panel included the Mayor of Yeppoon, Bill Ludwig, Mercy Health, Ian Mill and Blake Repine.

 

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.

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.

Qld Rail history celebrating 150 years Steam train

Qld Rail history celebrating 150 years Steam train

This morning going past our office, Heather holding Jo-Anne’s (Bensons
Accountants) daughter.