be prepared for storms.

Cyclone and storm season has started – are you prepared?

Summer months bring hot weather and an increase in storm activity in Central Queensland, and while  severe thunderstorms are very localised events, not usually affecting wide areas as tropical cyclones and floods do, so their devastating impact is often underestimated.

Thunderstorms can occur anywhere and do so more frequently than any other major natural hazard. Each year severe thunderstorms are responsible, on average, for more damage (as measured by insurance costs) than tropical cyclones, earthquakes, bushfires and floods.

However, while insurance is always going to be your best risk management strategy for severe weather events,  a little bit of preparation can also go a long way to reducing the amount of damage to your property and business.

Below you’ll find some tips from Vero for staying storm prepared.

Preparing for storm season

Weather events can happen at any time of the year, but most natural catastrophes occur between October and April.

We encourage you to follow the tips below to keep your home, car, business and loved ones safe.

  • Keep valuables, medications, important documents and spare clothing in plastic bags with your emergency kit
  • Remove fire hazards from the property and secure outdoor furniture and loose items
  • Rake bark, leaves, twigs and trim trees and overhanging branches
  • Remove all debris from around your property
  • Ensure your roof and windows are in good condition
  • Make sure to back up all business computer files
  • Use a camera to document the condition of your business and stock. This will help you make a claim in the event of a loss. Update these records at least once a year
  • Use a safe-deposit box or a safe to store your insurance policies and photographic documentation
  • Check the condition of the roof and repair loose tiles, eaves and roof screws
  • Clean gutters and downpipes so water can drain quickly
  • Identify how to turn off mains for water, power and gas
  • Store all poisons above ground in case of flash flooding
  • Make sure your property has clear access for emergency services
  • Keep your vehicle well-maintained including wipers, lights and spare tyre
  • Keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full if there is a weather warning current to your district
  • Be aware of the process if you need to make a claim

Making a claim after a natural disaster

Contact your broker to lodge your claim.

Information you may be asked for

  • Policy number
  •  Full name and contact details (as per policy)
  • ABN if you are registered for GST
  • BSB and Account details to enable fast settlement of your claim (where applicable)
  • Detailed description of the loss or damage
  •  Location of the loss or damage

Tell us anything else that may assist us in helping you

Specific to motor claims:

  • Make, model and registration of the vehicle
  • Driver’s name and date of birth

Event claim process

1. Lodge

  •  Lodge claim with your broker
  • Your broker will advise initial steps and requirements
  • Confirm damage
  • Arrange make-safe repairs
  • Issue emergency payment
  • Arrange temporary accommodation if needed

2. Assess

  • Make an assessment (if needed)
  • Get quotes for repair/replacement

3. End

  • Repairs or replacement complete
  • Cash settlements issued
  • Claim closed

Tips to progress the claim

  • Contact your broker who will be able to assist you and advise what information we may require
  • Read your PDS so you are familiar with your policy. Are you covered for fire, storm damage or for loss of business income resulting from these events?
  • Provide proof of ownership or loss documents as soon as possible (photos, owner’s manual and item packaging or bank statements)
  • Where possible, provide photos of the damage
  • If you’re providing a builders report or quote, make sure it specifies the cause of damage
  • Remove wet contents from inside and keep the premises ventilated to avoid mould
  • List items you’ve thrown away with clear descriptions and supporting photos. Include the brand, make and model number of electrical items
  • Remove all damaged carpet and take photographs of damage in each room. Keep a metre squared sample or photograph the back where the make and brand is stamped so we can attempt to replace with similar carpet
  • Dispose of contaminated food as soon as possible keeping a list and/or photos of what perished
  • Keep receipts for emergency repairs (car lights, wiper blades, glass windows

 

Related articles from the team at IAGB

Cyclone Season is here; are you prepared? 

Tropical Cyclone Debbie Update

Piranha Chambers open for business – Professional office spaces for rent or hire

Piranha Insurance has opened up its premises to provide casual and permanent office space for small businesses in Rockhampton.

The new, high-quality co-working business space is located at the rear of the Piranha Insurance offices and can be hired casually or on a permanent basis.

Piranha Chambers also includes boardroom and conference facilities and is centrally located at 168A Denison St, Rockhampton, Qld 4700.

The complex has 24-hour access, 7 days a week, off-street parking and flexible, competitive rates.

For more information email sales@piranhainsurance.com.au, phone 49278400 or  DOWNLOAD OUR BROCHURE

All you need to know about Premium Funding

What is Premium Funding

Almost all of the major insurance companies offer their retail clients monthly payment options. Whether it’s your car or your home, or even your life insurance, paying by the month is easy. But when it comes to business and commercial insurance, you will find that most insurance companies do not have a monthly option.

Premium Funding

There is still a way to pay monthly however, and it is commonly known as premium funding, or premium financing.

Premium funding enables you to pay for virtually any insurance policy monthly, even if the insurance company does not offer a monthly option.

Essentially the premium funding company pays the full premium on your behalf, and you then repay the funding company with monthly payments over the course of the year.

Some of the main benefits of premium funding are as follows:

  • Spread your insurance costs over a longer period
  • Pay for multiple insurance policies with one monthly payment
  • Smooth out your monthly business cashflow
  • Obtain a tax deduction on interest paid for business policies

How Does It Work?

We, your insurance broker, will put your policy in place as normal, but instead of giving the invoice to you to pay, they will setup a contract with a premium funding company (‘the funder’).

The funder will then pay the full premium to the insurance company, and it will be your responsibility to repay the funder over a period of up to twelve months.

Ultimately this is a form of financing, hence why the product is sometimes referred to premium financing.

As with all types of financing there will be an interest rate which applies to the contract. The interest rate is almost always a fixed rate and will be confirmed at the time of taking out the policy.

The most common term for a premium funding contract is ten months. This means that you must repay the funded amount within ten months.

It is also possible to repay the amount over twelve months, which is great from a cashflow perspective however the fees and charges can be higher in some cases when compared to a ten month contract.

How Are Monthly Payments Calculated?

Although the specific method can differ from one premium funding company to the next, the basic method is generally quite consistent.

Interest applied to a premium funding contract is generally calculated as ‘simple interest’ which means that it does not compound. This makes the repayment calculation very straightforward.

Important Factors to Consider

The most important factor to keep in mind is that paying your insurance monthly via premium funding will be more expensive than paying the full amount upfront. It’s also important to know that if you cancel your insurance, your monthly repayments will not necessarily stop immediately.

What will happen is that the funder will receive any refund from your insurance company after the cancellation, and will then calculate whether or not any money is still outstanding.

There are a few factors which will impact upon how much is still owing, but generally speaking you could expect to pay at least one more monthly payment after cancelling your insurance.

When you enter into a premium funding arrangement, you are entering into a formal contract.

You won’t always be required to sign a copy of the contract, but the contract is certainly enforceable if you choose to stop making repayments for any reason.

Should I Use Premium Funding?

If you prefer the idea of spreading your insurance costs over the year rather than paying upfront, premium funding could be a great option for your business.

Even if you do have enough cash set aside for your insurance, by utilising premium funding you may be able to invest that money to make improvements in other areas of your business.

For any business which has cashflow concerns, especially small businesses, premium funding can be a great way to smooth out your costs and improve your cash flow.

Insurance issues arising in the gig economy

What is the gig economy?

‘Gig’ is a slang term referring to a ‘job for a specified period of time’ and harks back to when musicians were engaged for a performance or a ‘gig’. The gig economy refers to the growing trend towards freelance or contract workers, as well as the share economy of resources such as property and equipment. In the US, almost 30 per cent of the workforce now participate in the gig economy. That is expected to grow to 50 per cent by 2027.

Some highly recognisable examples of the gig economy at work are:

  • Uber and Lyft – ride sharing
  • Airbnb – accommodation sharing
  • Airtasker – task sharing
  • Dozr – construction equipment sharing

The gig economy is clearly the way of the future. This poses both challenges and opportunities in the corporate and insurance worlds in terms of how best to classify, assign and transfer risk in these ‘non traditional’ employment and commercial relationships.

What are some of the risks emerging from the gig economy?

The risks that have already emerged with some prevalence from the gig economy include:

1. Who insures the workers?

It remains unclear who insures gig workers in various scenarios. For instance, if an Uber driver is involved in an accident, who insures that driver for compensation and damages arising from any personal injuries sustained? There have been different judicial approaches to this issue in various jurisdictions and situations. This gives rise to great uncertainty for both the drivers and the corporation.

In another example, who insures an Airtasker worker who suffers injury when attending a domestic home to perform a contracted task? Airtasker eschews responsibility. The homeowner’s public liability cover (an extension to home and contents insurance) excludes claims by workers. The homeowner may have direct liability to the Airtasker worker, unless another insurance solution can be found.

2. Who insures the work performed?

A similar issue arises for consideration about who insures for the negligence of gig workers. If you are engaging with a freelancer who does not hold appropriate insurance cover, you may not have recourse against an insurer (and its deep pockets) in the event the gig worker causes loss and damage.

3. Who insures the property?

A standard insurance policy wording may not cover property that is ‘hired out’ via a platform such as Airbnb or Dozr.

Again, the platforms Airbnb and Dozr see their purpose as ‘connecting supply with demand’ and exclude liability. This creates a few issues for the property owner namely:

  • Are they covered if the hirer causes damage to their property?
  • Are they covered if the hirer suffers property damage, personal injury, loss or other damage arising from the hire of the property?

How can insurance help?

In some instances, the new and emerging risks arising from the gig economy can be assigned through properly drafted contracts and agreements that clearly spell out where the liability (and the obligation to insure) falls.

However, some of the risks identified above will not be covered by standard or traditional insurance policies.

New products providing coverage directed at the gig economy are constantly being developed. This may otherwise be achieved by amending or endorsing existing policies. However, insurance arrangements should be carefully reviewed to ensure that you are covered for risks arising from the gig economy.

What should you do to protect yourself?

The gig economy offers much in the way of flexibility and free market engagement – but review your insurance to make sure you are covered in the event something goes wrong.

If you are a member of the gig economy, or you engage with members of the gig economy, talk to your broker about your insurance needs.

40 Years | Commitment equals success for Piranha Insurance

On November 30, the Piranha Insurance family officially celebrated 40 years at a special Christmas function hosted at Korte’s Resort at Parkhurst, North Rockhampton. Peter and Heather were surrounded by family, friends and employees.

As Peter Peirano reflected on forty years in business, he admitted the feeling to be bittersweet.

In an ever-changing world, Mr Peirano and his wife, Heather have been committed to their clientele which has proven to be a major factor in the business’ success.

“It’s a huge milestone for any business to survive…purely we’re doing something right,” Mr Peirano said.

And as loyalty runs deep within the culture of Piranha Insurance, it has earnt them the respect of their clients.

“I’ve always told our staff look after the client and the money will come…you’ve got to look after your customers,” Mr Peirano said.

“We’re very much face-to-face, they can have a cup of coffee…we need to get to the bottom of their insurance problem.”

And despite opportunities which have arisen to expand the outreach of the organisation, Mr Peirano said he remains committed to helping Central Queenslanders.

“We’ve always resisted going outside of Rockhampton, we just believe in this area,” Mr Peirano said.

And after four decades in the industry, Peter’s love of people has remained the same.

Looking back to the beginning of his business journey, Mr Peirano said a chance meeting with an industry professional helped him establish a career.

Mr Peirano owned a slot car track, and one day he had been ten pin bowling when a man by the name Revel Henry from the Colonial Mutual Life Insurance had found him to be an effective communicator.

“I did an apprenticeship with Colonial Mutual Life Insurance and then I eventually moved to Mercantile Mutual Life Insurance and I virtually stayed with them through a number of life changes,” Mr Peirano said.

Mr Peirano stayed with Mercantile Mutual Life Insurance for 39 years.

With many years of experience behind him, Mr Peirano purchased the current Piranha Insurance premises at 168 Denison St in Rockhampton 29 years ago.

Peter and Heather have since created a warm working environment for his staff which has helped their organisation prosper over the decades.

“They’re all my family, I’ve watched them grow up,” Mr Peirano said. “It’s tremendous to see young kids grow into great young adults.”

Born in March 1953, Mr Peirano hailed from Duaringa where his father had owned the local butcher shop from 1952 – 1979.

While the Piranha Insurance owner said the thought of his business’ milestone brought him joy, he felt sad to think he no longer worked from the office to do what he does best – communicating with people.

The business is now in the capable hands of principal Broker, Heather Peirano, Senior Brokers, Ross Hudson, Nathan Peirano and Tracey Cook and our efficient support crew Lorraine Tree, Astrid West, Morgan Matthews, Elise Safstrom, Hannah Balgowan and Lara Thackeray.

For all of your insurance needs, visit the team at Piranha Insurance today at 168 Denison Street, Rockhampton or phone 07 4927 8400 for any enquiries.

Break in

Holiday break or break-in?

Christmas holidays are almost here, and many of us will take this opportunity to have an extended holiday to celebrate with friends and family.

But before you go, we urge you to do a quick review of your security and do some “risk management” for your private and business assets.

You might be travelling near or far to celebrate Christmas, but regardless of distance, it is extremely important to maintain the image of an occupied home or office to the outside world.

Many signs can show unwanted guests that your property is unattended. Below is a list of evidence that can make you a target for a break-in.

  • A build-up of mail
  • Little to no lighting surrounding the premises
  • No signs of activity
  • Lack of lawn & garden maintenance
  • Signage & social media posts displaying business/office closures

 

Before leaving, try to arrange:

  • Someone to collect or redirect your mail
  • Someone to be on call to check security devices are operational
  • Someone to maintain gardens and lawn
  • Have an extra security patrol check of premises

 

Christmas is a time to be stress-free and take a break from the rat race; nobody wants to return from a well-deserved break to find their premises has been vandalised and/or broken into.

It might take you an extra 10mins or a half an hour to organise but making an effort to maintain appearances can save you time and money.

Don’t forget that you should also notify your insurer if you intend to leave your property vacant for any period of time

For more information about when you should notify your insurer about extended periods of vacancy, read this article from our parent company IAGB. CLICK HERE

Let’s make this a holiday break, and not a break-in!

And remember, if you are worried your business is a target, insurance is the best risk management strategy you can have. Call our friendly team today and we can review your insurance needs to give you peace of mind.

Then if the worst should happen, the team at Piranha Insurance will be here to get you back on your feet.

Growth by Acquisition – how insurance brokers can help

In todays current Economic Climate many business’ are electing to increase their growth by way of acquisition.

Whilst this strategy remains sound there are many considerations that need to be undertaken prior to purchasing an existing business, particularly if that business is in the same industry and/or profession you’re currently trading in.

The main key to any successful acquisition is undertaking the appropriate ‘Due Diligence’ prior to any contracts being arranged. Initially, “Commercial in Confidence” Agreements are prudent to be agreed and executed as this provides protection to both the buyer and sellers.

It’s been stated on many previous occasions however if the ‘culture’ of both business’ aren’t similar that it can make the combining of the two entities difficult.

Whilst there are many dollar savings that are able to be achieved as a result of business “synergies” the largest is always the savings made from duplication of staffing. Any successful unification of business’ places a great deal of emphasis on the ‘coming together’ of multiple business’.

Some of the other cost savings that are able to be achieved are -: Lease & Rental duplication, Office Leases, Computer & IT Savings, Motor Vehicle duplication, Professional Fees etc.

As with all business acquisitions and purchases ensuring that the appropriate Sale Contract is in place is critical. It’s very important that matters relating to previous and ongoing taxation and other financial matters are succinctly dealt with so that neither of the parties is disadvantaged post settlement. The early involvement of Solicitors and Accountants, together with any other Business advisors such as Insurance Brokers, will assist in the smooth transition of combining entities.

Social Media Scams

Social media – there is no escaping it. Over time, it has become a way of life, from humble beginnings as a platform
for friends and family to keep in touch, social media is now a complex system that allows all to interact on a personal level from consumers and companies to groups and governments.

It is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe by 2019. With that many users it’s no surprise that social media is a hotbed for cyber criminals.

Here are five of the most common social media scams that you could possibly fall prey to.

1. Chain Letters
Just like the dreaded chain letter you used to receive in the mail, the chain letter has returned in the form of social sharing.
“Share this post and Bill Gates will donate $5 million to charity” or “Every like and $5 will be donated to charity”. These are typically ‘like farmers’ or a spammer looking for ‘friends’ to hit up later. Many well-meaning people continue to share their posts and pass these fake claims onto others. Break the chain and leave it.

2. Cash Grabs
Social media allow us to stay in touch with friends and family, but occasionally you may receive an email or direct message from a friend who ‘lost their wallet on holidays and needs some cash to get home’ – you drop everything to help as per their instructions, when in fact your friend never sent this request and is a bulk-email sent from their malware-infected computer. The easiest solution is to ring your friend directly, inform them of the request, then ensure your computer isn’t infected as well.

3. Hidden Charges
The quizzes that pop up on your feed asking “What type of friend are you?” or
“Personality tracker” – all your friends are taking the quiz, all you need to do is enter your information including your email and/or phone number. You may have unwittingly subscribed to a service that charges or spams you.

4. Phishing Requests
“Check out this video I found of you online” Click the link and check it out – you follow the link and your asked to login to your social media. Now the cyber criminal has your password and total control of your account. How did this happen? Both the email and landing page were fake. That link you clicked took you to a page that only looked like your intended social site. It’s called phishing, and you’ve just been had. To prevent this, make sure your Internet security includes antiphishing defenses. Many freeware programs don’t include this essential protection.

5. Hidden URLs
Shortened URLs, particularly on Twitter are common place, and while many times clicking on a shortened link will take you to the website you wish to go, it could be a link that installs all sorts of malware on your computer.
URL shorteners can be quite useful. Just be aware of their potential pitfalls and make sure you have real-time protection against spyware and viruses. Bottom line: Sites that attract a significant number of visitors are going to lure in a criminal element, too. If you take security precautions ahead of time, such as using antivirus and anti-spyware protection, you can defend yourself against these dangers and surf with confidence.

 

To respond to the increasing threat that social media scams can present to businesses and sensitive data, the insurance industry has created cyber insurance products. To find out more about cyber insurance and how it can help your business call Piranha Insurance Brokers.,

Reputations in the Financial Services Industry have been savaged!

The royal commission into Australia’s financial services sector continues to reveal how customers’ lives have been ruined by financial advice at the big banks, but those in the finance space are predicting the investigation will also change the game for smaller operators and independent financial advisers.

Recent hearings into the nation’s banking sector uncovered shocking tales of customers being charges by AMP for financial advice they never actually saw, and customers losing their family home after taking advice from Westpac.

The inquiry has also revealed cases where customers did not fully understand the financial services they were paying for, or weren’t informed about what they were paying for in the first place.
However, as the CEO of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA), Mr Dallas Booth, highlighted in a recent address to members of the Council of Queensland Insurance Brokers, not all sectors of the Financial Services Industry are performing poorly.

The NIBA Board of Directors recently met with the Lead General Insurance Ombudsman, John Price. John Price provided the following data for insurance broking disputes as at the end of April 2018, which showed disputes against insurance brokers were well down compared to the same period in 2017. Only around 13% of disputes reach a formal determination by the Financial Ombudsman Service, and of those, around 75% are being decided in favour of the broker.

During the same period, the number of general insurance disputes continued to increase substantially. Disputes against general insurers increased from 11,500 to over 13,000 during the same period. General Insurance disputes were around 5,000 a few years ago. NIBA expects the Royal Commission will try to examine the causes of such large numbers of disputes involving general insurance companies in the September hearings.

Unfair contract laws to be extended to insurance

Many of you would be unaware that existing legislation dealing with unfair contracts, does not apply to insurance.

Given the generally held distrust of insurers who “use the small print” to escape from paying genuine claims, some people would say that is a position which shouldn’t continue…and the Government agrees.

Following an announcement that a proposals paper has been prepared to extend unfair contract provisions for consumers and SMEs to insurance policies, the relevant Minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, believes that better protection is long overdue.

She said “Consumers and small businesses who enter into standard form insurance contracts should have confidence that the contract accurately reflects the cover agreed with the insurer”. “They should also have appropriate remedies when they suffer detriment as a result of terms in the contract which are unfair.” The lobby group for the insurance companies… the Insurance Council of Australia…have stated that they have “serious concerns” about the proposal, but many people would argue that the same protections from unfair contracts which exist for other financial products and services, should apply to insurance.

“While the ICA will work carefully through the proposed model with members… on an initial reading, the Governments proposal has profound implications for insurance contracts, the scope of cover offered and the pricing of insurance,” the group CEO said. “If implemented, it would cause insurers to fundamentally review their contracts and reassess their pricing”.

While it’s true that the introduction of the law to other providers of financial services, caused a substantial review of their fundamental contractual terms, the recent Financial Services Royal commission has shone the light on some appalling actions by the Banks, and while previous reviews of the insurance industry has not found any compelling evidence that introduction of these laws into the industry would significantly benefit consumers and SMEs, in the increasing age of transparency, it is hard to argue against its extension to insurance.