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    Whether you have a large corporation or small to medium enterprise, business today is tougher and more challenging than ever before.

    We will help you protect your business when you need it most and prevent you from further losses

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    We’ve got your business covered, but what about you and your family?

    You’ve worked hard to build a thriving business, but life can be unpredictable. While we have your business risk covered, in a serious event what you value most could also be at risk – you, your family and your livelihood

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    Benefit from our partnership with Allianz Global Assist and get a 30% discount by placing your business through our website!

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    We will insure your vehicle, truck, trailer, and a full range of registered / conditionally registered vehicles including earthmoving equipment.

    We will tailor the coverage to suit your personal or business needs and include various options to ensure the policy will respond due to damage caused by accident or collision, including cover to any third party property if you are at fault, theft, and public liability.

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    Backed by the largest insurance market in the world, Lloyd’s of London, Dream Wedding Insurance provides comprehensive wedding insurance to Australian’s getting married at home or overseas. A wedding is one of the most memorable days in a couple’s life and we make sure that it remains memorable for the right reasons. Dream Wedding Insurance provides coverage for unexpected events, giving you peace of mind for your special day.

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    We now have a dedicated Retail Division to help you place and manage your retail insurance such as home and contents, motor vehicles, boats, caravans, motorhomes, motor bikes and domestic farms.

    Motor vehicle insurance offers a range of different styles of cover and Austbrokers Coast to Coast can assist in making the right choice and delivering a personalised claim service in the event of an accident.

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    On average we can save you 25% on your next Insurance renewal!
    Is your Insurance tailored to suit your businesses specific needs?

    Austbrokers Coast to Coast have partnered with Vero Insurance to be able to provide you with a tailored policy that suits your specific hairdressing and beauty therapist needs. The policy has been designed to cover you for all the risks and hazards your business encounters on a daily bases.

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    Residential strata insurance (also known as body corporate cover in some states) is general insurance that covers common property under the management of a strata title or body corporate entity. Owners of strata titles typically share the premium costs of strata insurance as part of their strata fees and liabilities. Holding strata insurance is mandatory under each state’s relevant strata legislation.

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    Home and contents insurance is important cover and should be considered by all consumers. It seeks to cover the insured for damage to their home as well as the contents of the home.

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    From building damage to loss of rent,
    this insurance is vital in making sure that
    your investments conintue to grow

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    Here at Austbrokers Coast to Coast weve heard a lot of stories recently that involve business people having medical problems while travelling. We know that a serious accident or illness away from home can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and air ambulance expenses so in this edition we decided to focus in on the services behind our corporate travel insurance policies.

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    Benefit from our expertise in this complex market. Ask to speak to our Corporate Team for more information

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By the source below 19 Apr, 2017

Hair and beauty salons and retail outlets are the focus of a new Fair Work Ombudsman compliance campaign that will target businesses along the east coast of Australia.

Fair Work Inspectors will conduct audits of at least 1600 businesses in randomly selected urban and regional areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The campaign will be conducted in two phases, with audits to be conducted in waves.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the first phase was already underway and the campaign would take approximately 12 months to complete.

“The retail, hair and beauty sectors have been selected for audit because they employ high numbers of workers, particularly young people and workers from migrant backgrounds,” Campbell said. “In addition, previous audits into hair and beauty businesses and the retail industry have found high levels of non-compliance.”

“In 2013, the Fair Work Ombudsman released the results of a national hair and beauty campaign which identified an overall industry non-compliance rate of 55 per cent,” Campbell said. “Victoria recorded the highest rate of non-compliance with almost three quarters of salon operators audited not meeting their obligations under workplace laws,” Campbell said.

The retail industry is Australia’s second largest employer, and Campbell said a previous Fair Work Ombudsman national campaign saw $585 000 returned to 755 workers.

“Our 2012 report revealed that more than 40 per cent of the underpayments identified through the campaign were owed by NSW employers,” Campbell said. “This new hair, beauty and retail campaign will build on our previous work to reinforce the need for all workplace participants to proactively ensure they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.”

Inside Small Business

By the source below 06 Apr, 2017
It was Gold Coast-based brokerage Austbrokers Coast to Coast that took out Small Brokerage of the Year at the 2016 Australian Insurance Industry Awards. Less than a month later, Dale Hansen was named NIBA's Broker of the Year. There's no doubt 2016 was a year of success for Hansen and the brokerage, and he's extremely excited about times ahead.

An industry veteran with over two decades' experience and passionate about the role of the broker, Hansen is determined to play an active role in promoting awareness in the wider community of the important role of brokers, and precisely what they can achieve. Last year, Hansen told  ´╗┐Insurance Business ´╗┐ he's not buying into the "doom and gloom" regarding disruptors, and sees those businesses as providing an opportunity for brokers to reinforce their value proposition. Talking about current time, he said he's "never been prouder and more excited and enthusiastic to be an insurance broker".

We look forward to following Hansen, particularly the work he undertakes to bring home to the community outside the insurance space the real value that brokers can offer.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
New legislation may be enacted to force Queensland unit owners to sell their homes against their intentions if 75% of the property owners in the complex agree.  The existing Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (Qld) may only force unit owners to sell their home if the body corporate has 100% votes in favour of it.

The amendments to the current laws have come about after a recent review and report by the Commercial and Property Law Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology as commissioned by the Queensland Government. As a result of the review the Department of Justice and Attorney-General are now conducting a public consultation process which ends on 5 May 2017.

The report details recommendations which suggest that if a dissenting owner wishes, they may apply to the District Court within three (3) months to decide whether or not the termination plan should proceed. This recommendation is based upon the current New South Wales reformed body corporate legislation which commenced on 30 November 2016.

Under the reformed New South Wales legislation, lot owners of any scheme, regardless of the age of the scheme or its state of repair, may with the support of 75% of the other lot owners, approve a plan for the collective sale or redevelopment of the scheme. Western Australia is currently considering draft legislation that will implement similar changes.

If the new legislation is adopted it may still require several steps to be followed to develop a strata termination plan. The plan may include two (2) cooling-off periods and afterwards the owners would be given the opportunity on whether to move forward with the termination of an owner.

The proposed amendments are due to come into effect later this year (or early next year). These changes will deal with issues regarding outdated and often deteriorating unit blocks that are being maintained at great expense. Generally, the outdated and deteriorating unit blocks are situated on prime real estate which are in demand by developers to build better and safer apartments. This is an ever changing and interesting area of law and unit owners and body corporates alike should avail themselves of these suggested new laws.

For further information please contact our office on 07 5586 9955.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
Human error was the top cause of liability loss by value of claim for Australia and New Zealand, a new report has found.

Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty analysed more than 100,000 global claims in the corporate liability insurance market between 2011 and 2016 with 94% of local claims caused by human error.

The international insurer found that 80% of global losses came from ten causes, with defective product/work leading the way globally at 23%. Collison crash took second place on 22%, while human error rounded out the top three at 19%.

In Australia and New Zealand, human error was far and away the biggest cause for loss defective product/work taking second place with just 2%.

 “Liability losses are ubiquitous and can range from minor incidents to major disasters, always causing third party damage or injury,” said Alexander Mack, AGCS board member and chief claims officer.

“The risk landscape for companies is constantly shifting with liability risks on the rise globally.”

Mack noted that the use of new technology and the rise of the internet of things will create new liability scenarios in almost every business sector as the insurance market becomes more important.

While human error topped the charts in Australia and New Zealand, globally it accounts for just 1% of all claims received by insurers.

In a rising local trend, the report found that Australia is now second only to the United States in terms of securities class action exposures, which could become a key liability risk for the country over the coming years.

Top 10 causes of liability loss by total value of claims

  1. Defective product/work
  2. Collision/crash
  3. Human error
  4. Accidental nature/damage
  5. Slips/falls/falling objects
  6. Water/fire/smoke damage
  7. Environmental damage
  8. Natural hazards
  9. Vandalism/terrorism
  10. Property damage

** Please contact our office to discuss any of these matters further - we will help you make sure that you are correctly covered.
By the source below 04 Apr, 2017

It amazes me how many times people have spoken of Act of God being both an insured or excluded peril under an insurance policy.

There was even a famous Billy Connolly with this as its theme. My nephew, Jeffery, one of the guys sending me a joke questioned me on it and I thought it was worth setting the record straight.

Despite having read thousands of policies of insurance and being involved in the drafting of 100's more, I have never seen the words 'Act of God' appear in a policy as an insured, or excluded peril.

What it means in layman's term is:

a completely unforeseeable event where there has been no human intervention

Things such as fire, lightening, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, cyclone, flood, landslip, and the like.

Under policies such as a comprehensive motor vehicle policy, all these perils are in fact, insured. Most property policies, such as your home and contents, business pack or ISR, the vast majority would be insured, although landslip, action by the sea, storm surge and flood may be excluded.

If you are in any doubt as to the cover afforded by the policy which you have in place, I recommend that you speak to your insurance broker.

By the source below 04 Apr, 2017
Penalty Rates Decision – A Significant and Historical Departure

The Fair Work Commission has announced reductions in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates in the retail, fast food and hospitality industries, meaning that many thousands of Australian businesses in these industry sectors will be able to potentially reduce their labour costs at crucial times of trading. The FWC decided not to reduce penalties for ordinary work performed on Saturday.

Justice Iain Ross said the FWC decided to cut Sunday and public holiday rates because they were not a “fair and relevant” safety net and agreed with employers that reducing rates might increase employment. Justice Ross said evidence from business owners demonstrated that the present level of Sunday rates had led them to restrict trading hours, reduce staff levels and restrict the services provided. This was consistent with the Productivity Commissions findings from 12 months ago. The FWC chose to cut Sunday rates but not as low as Saturday levels because “Sunday work has a higher level of disutility” for employees. Not unexpectedly Labour and the Unions have protested the decision suggesting that nearly half a million people, would lose up to $6,000 a year.

However, for business this is a decision that goes far beyond just the retail and hospitality industries. It does represent a significant shift and a willingness by the Fair Work Commission to surrender many of the bastions and historical norms of our industrial relations system that have been in place for decades and centuries, that in terms of a modern Australian business and a more modern Australian society may no longer be relevant.

In its decision, the FWC said the “existing Sunday penalty rates in the Hospitality, Fast Food, Retail and Pharmacy Award do not achieve the modern awards objective, as they do not provide a fair and relevant minimum safety net.” Whilst these words may seem benign, in the context of the past, these are significant words.

Key elements of the decision include:

  1. Retail Industry – reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 200% to 150% (for permanent staff) and 175% (for casuals)
  2. Hospitality Industry - reduction in Sunday penalty rates from 175% to 150% (for permanent staff only);
  3. Fast Food Industry - reduction Sunday penalty rates from 150% to 125% (for permanent staff) and 175% to 150% (for casual staff); and
  4. Hospitality, Retail, Fast Food and Pharmacy industries - public holiday penalty rates reduced from 250% to 225% across all of these industries.
It should be noted that large parts of the variations sought in the Restaurant Award, and all of the claims sought in the Club industry were rejected by the Fair Work Commission.

The reductions take effect from July, however these are subject to possible transitional arrangements, and clients will be informed of the operative date and any transitional arrangements that will be in place. We suspect that those details will be finalised in April or May.
By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Having a licence to operate a vehicle is a well known requirement. Some might not be aware of this requirement in respect of pleasure craft in particular jet skis.

The enclosed Carter Newell legal update contains discussion of an interesting case authority in respect of personal injuries litigation arising from jet ski usage and in particular unlicensed drivers.

A brief summary of the judgment: The precedent holds that failure to possess a jet ski licence, despite being a breach of policy terms and conditions, but which does not cause the accident occurring , does not give the Insurer right to deny coverage. This is true of Australian law because of protections in section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act (ICA).

It is conceivable that in the family dynamic, the dominant driver would be licenced with other family members not being licenced. Without ICA s 54, an Insurer would be able to decline the claim. In other circumstances, where the act of not being licenced, say from lack of instructed practical knowledge does contribute to the occurrence of the claim, the Insurer will almost certainly be entitled to deny indemnity to the policy holder regardless of s 54 of ICA.

We take this opportunity to remind clients that even a family member or other acquaintance that only operates a vehicle for a minimal amount of time, exposes themselves to the prospect of being uninsured because of a technicality.

Given this case involve the unfortunate amputation below the knee of the claimant’s leg, it shows that jet ski injuries can be severe such that the potential for significant uninsured losses is far from trivial.

Below is a link to Carter Newell’s case discussion and judgment itself on AUSTLII should you wish to read more.



Kind regards,

Ryan Sandilands LLB GDLP GDFS ANZIIF Fellow CIP
Claims & Risk Manager

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Below is an article published in couriermail.com.au. It again highlights the growing need to business of all sizes to hold this insurance. This is just as important as having public liability cover. We will be talking to each of you about this cover when we next review your covers but if you would like to look at this sooner please contact our office.

ONE in five Australian small and medium-sized businesses have been hit with a cyber-attack, polling suggests.

And many have paid the price in the form of cash or intellectual property, according to the survey results.

The latest Norton SMB Cybersecurity Survey indicates that 19 per cent — or about 400,000 — of the 2.1 million Australian small and medium-sized businesses have been attacked at some point by cyber threats.

Phishing scams, where criminals send emails impersonating someone and ask for money or intellectual property, are the main form of attack. The Norton survey also found 11 per cent of small businesses had been hit with ransomware attacks.

In such attacks, criminals take control of computer systems remotely until a ransom is paid.

Among those targeted, 34 per cent paid the ransom at an average cost of $4677.

Cyber security expert Mark Gorrie from Symantec said he had even heard of businesses paying a $50,000 ransom to regain control of their data.

“Two respondents said that had paid more than $50,000 to recover their data…once they are in that situation and realise they can’t survive without that information, they are paying up.

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

Professional car thieves have colour preferences when choosing their targets, according to a new study by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.

A black 1997-2000 Holden Commodore VT is three times more likely to be stolen for profit than a red one, but black and red Commodores have similar short-term thefts rates.

By type, green small and medium passenger vehicles are the most likely to be stolen.

The 2015/16 theft rate for green cars was 3.58 per 1000 vehicles, followed by black at 2.96.

The next most popular targets by type are large black passenger vehicles, black sports vehicles, green SUVs and black light commercial vehicles.

Black cars became increasingly popular to own in 2015/16, up 29% since 2011/2012, and even more popular to steal, up 56% since 2011/12.

Red 1995-2000 Nissan Pulsars have the highest theft rate by model (29.6 thefts per 1000 registrations) – a 46% higher theft rate than blue ones.

Black 2006-13 Holden Commodores have a 57% higher theft rate than silver ones.

By the source below 09 Mar, 2017

The insurance bill for the hailstorm that pummelled parts of Sydney and the Illawarra on February 18 has passed $350 million, according to latest figures from IAG and Suncorp.

IAG today announced it has received more than 20,000 claims, expected to cost $160 million, and its net exposure could reach $200 million after allowing for reinsurance.

Suncorp has received about 11,000 claims across its insurance brands, at an estimated cost of $150-$170 million.

The Insurance Council of Australia says 48,000 claims have been received for the hailstorm, with 38% for damage to motor vehicles, while roofs and incidental contents claims account for the rest.

IAG is close to its 2016/17 natural perils allowance of $680 million, reaching about $650 million at the end of February. However, a 2016/17-specific natural perils cover of $96 million effectively extends the allowance to $776 million.

Suncorp’s total natural hazard claims stand at $610-$630 million for the eight months to February 28.

By the source below 13 Feb, 2017

Insurance fraud comes in a few different shapes and sizes. Some types of fraud are done on purpose, some types involve small lies that may seem like they won’t matter, and some are committed without the person committing them even realising.

The cost of insurance fraud each year is big — it’s in the billions — and while it may seem easy to ignore these costs because they only affect insurance companies, the reality is that insurance fraud ends up costing you and others, be it in the form of higher premiums, higher excesses or policies with more things an insurer won’t cover — all of which are aimed at cutting down the increasing costs of fraud.

But what exactly is insurance fraud? And how can it be avoided?

What are the types of insurance fraud? 

Insurance fraud generally falls into a few categories: non-disclosure, exaggeration and deliberate.

Non-disclosurecan be both deliberate and inadvertent. Fraudulent non-disclosure basically means that you haven’t revealed information to an insurer that might affect their decision to insure you or to pay out a claim. For example, when applying for car insurance, you may neglect to mention a conviction for drink-driving or you may tell your insurer that your car is always parked in a secure garage overnight when, in fact, it’s typically parked on the street. It’s important to note that even unintentional non-disclosure is still fraudulent.

Deliberatefraud is premeditated and calculated in an effort to defraud an insurance company. That is, someone planned to commit fraud to make money. Common types of deliberate fraud include setting fire to property or faking a theft in order to receive an insurance payout.

Exaggerationis pretty straightforward and is mainly limited to when a person makes a claim — it involves exaggerating the amount of damage or the cost of the loss in order to increase the payout of a claim.

As you can see from the various types, insurance fraud isn’t limited to criminals. Even well-behaved people can often be tempted to leave out important information or inflate the value of a claim for their own personal gain, and it can also be the case that a person doesn’t realise they are committing a crime by exaggerating the facts or failing to disclose important information.

How can you avoid committing insurance fraud? 

Obviously, if you are deliberately committing insurance fraud, then it’s quite easy to figure out how to avoid doing it. However, in order to avoid accidentally committing insurance fraud, there are a few things you can do:

  • Always tell the truth — don’t sugar-coat anything and don’t inflate the value of something or the extent of the damage.
  • Don’t leave information out — make sure you tell your broker or  insurer you’re getting a quote for anything you think might be relevant to the claim.
  • Read your PDS — it will detail what sorts of things will void your insurance. If you know what those things are, you can avoid doing them.
  • If you use a broker, ensure you read the Duty of Disclosure; this will outline key information that should always be disclosed to your insurer.

What is the insurance industry doing about fraud? 

Insurance companies are putting a lot of resources and money into combatting insurance fraud, and new technology and software is being used to identify it, along with specialist claims training and engaging with specialist investigators.

Additionally, the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Australia (IFBA) works with insurance companies to notify them of information relating to possible insurance fraud so that those companies can then investigate and act on these suspicions of fraud. The IFBA also works to help develop strategies that can be used across the industry to help stamp out insurance fraud and, as a result, protect honest consumers from having to bear some of the costs of insurance fraud.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) have an online form along with a toll free number (0505 372 835) where the public are encouraged to call and report information about potential Insurance fraud cases.

ICNZ use the information submitted to make investigations with Insurers who may take further action if necessary.

By the source below 13 Feb, 2017

Directors, CEOs, General Managers, and even HR Managers beware; the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) appears to be increasing its activities and is taking legal action against individuals under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“the Act”), and there can be serious consequences.

Last year saw an increase in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) efforts to pursue directors and managers, including HR and payroll managers, for their involvement in contraventions of the Act.

Section 550 of the Act makes it possible for legal action to be taken against individuals who are personally involved in breaching the provisions of the Act. This is commonly referred to as “accessorial liability”. The FWO is utilising that Section of the Act to prosecute personally those who make decisions which contravene the Act, particularly in respect to underpayment of wages.

Accessorial liability applies when an individual is “involved in” a contravention of the Act. Section 550 states that an individual will be considered as being “involved in” a contravention if the person:

  • Has aided, abetted, counselled or procured the contravention;
  • Has induced the contravention whether by threats or promises or otherwise;
  • Has been in any way, by act or omission, directly or indirectly, knowingly concerned in, or party to the contravention; or
  • Has conspired with others to affect the contravention.

Where its proven that an employer has committed a contravention and an individual has knowingly and intentionally been “involved in” that contravention, both parties can be held liable for the same offence and may be subject to separate penalties.

HR Manager Held Responsible

In the past 12 months, accessorial liability was dealt with in several notable decisions, including in FWO v Oz Staff Career Services Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] FCCA 105 where it was found that the Company had been falsifying its employment records and unlawfully deducting around $130,000 in wages from dozens of cleaners that it had employed.

It was found that the employer had been unlawfully deducting meal allowances and other fees from employees’ wages. Despite the employer admitting to a contravention of the Act, the HR Manager denied any involvement. However, the Federal Circuit Court found that the HR manager was aware of the deductions and knew that they were unlawful. Therefore, the Court found that the HR manager was “involved in” the contravention and was ordered to pay a penalty of $9,920.

Continual Breaches Treated Seriously

The Courts have clearly indicated that where an individual has previously had contact with the FWO, they will be taken to have knowledge of workplace laws and accordingly, contraventions of the Act that occur after contact with the FWO will be treated more seriously.

This was the case in FWO v AIMG BQ Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA where a director of one employer was also the director of another associated entity that had had previous dealings with the FWO. In that case the director had given the FWO an undertaking and commitment to properly pay all employees engaged by companies of which he was a director. It was then discovered by the FWO that the associated entity was not paying its employees correctly and had failed to keep proper time and wages records. Consequently, the FWO took legal action against both the company and the director. The Court found that the director’s previous dealings with the FWO and the fact that he had breached undertakings provided to the FWO made his contraventions more serious and the Court ordered the director to personally pay a penalty of $8,160.

Individuals Are Now Able to be Held Jointly and Severally Liable

Most cases involving underpayment of wages have required the Company involved to back pay wages to employees. However, a case from last year demonstrates that an individual can now be held jointly and severally liable for repaying unpaid wages to staff.

In FWO v Step Ahead Security Services Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 1482, the Gold Coast security company involved in the contraventions had only operated for a short period of time. The Federal Court decided that it was unlikely that the Company would be able to back pay outstanding wages to former employees, as it would be more than likely wound-up in the near future. Accordingly, the Court ordered that the sole director and the employer Company would be held jointly and severally liable for the amounts underpaid. Therefore, if the Company did not back pay the wages, the Director would be personally liable for paying a total of $22,779.72. In addition to the underpaid wages, the sole director was ordered to pay a record penalty amount of over $51,000 and the employing company was ordered to pay penalties amounting to $257,000.

After the case, the Fair Work Ombudsman stated:

“Unfortunately, there are some rogue business operators who think they can short-change their staff and get away with it by liquidating their companies and hiding behind a corporate veil … so they should think again, as we will seek to hold them to account at every available opportunity” (Courier Mail 20 June, 2016)

On-going Responsibility and Liability

In FWO v Sona Peaks Pty Ltd & Anor [2016] FCCA 6015, it is now clear that the FWO will also pursue individuals for their contraventions of the Act even after their involvement with an employer has ended. This is demonstrated by the decision where the Federal Court made a garnishee order against a former director of an employer who persistently failed to pay the penalty ordered against him.

The individual in question was the sole director and secretary of a restaurant that had underpaid its staff. As result of the underpayment contraventions, the director was ordered to pay a penalty of $23,715, which he didn’t pay. To recover the amount, the Court made a garnishee order which required the director’s new employer to pay regularly until the penalty was paid in full.

What Can Businesses do?

The simple and straight-forward answer is to ensure that due diligence is applied by Managers and Directors and make sure that all staff are being paid in accordance with the law and that proper records keeping practices are in place. These cases demonstrate that the FWO is working harder than ever to ensure that employers comply with Award, Agreement and legislative requirements and it also demonstrates that the Courts are prepared to hold those individuals personally liable for a range of penalties and underpayment amounts.

It is fair to say that much of this increased activity and action by the FWO can be attributed to the 7-Eleven matter, and it now appears that other fast-food chains have been involved in underpayment of wages as well.

By Greg Arnold

Director and Principal Consultant

Effective Workplace Solutions

By the source below 13 Feb, 2017
Yahoo! Inc. disclosed a second major security breach that may have affected more than 1 billion user accounts, another blow to the company’s reputation as it nears the sale of its main web businesses to Verizon Communications Inc.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that it hasn’t been able to identify the “intrusion” associated with this theft by a third party in August 2013. The event was unearthed by forensic experts after law enforcement investigators warned the company about a potential breach. Yahoo has said it has about 1 billion users.

Yahoo said it believes the incident “is likely distinct” from the hack the company disclosed in September. The shares dropped as much as 2.7 percent in extended trading after the announcement.

In September, Yahoo said the personal information of at least 500 million accounts was stolen in a 2014 attack on its accounts, exposing data from a wide swath of its users ahead of the Verizon deal. The attacker was a “state-sponsored actor,” and stolen information may have included names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, unencrypted security questions and answers, Yahoo has said.

“This is more of the same bad news for every Yahoo user,” Paul Martini, chief executive officer of San Diego-based Iboss Cybersecurity, said in a statement. “What’s really shocking about this latest breach is that everyone with a Yahoo account has now likely had their personal information stolen two or three times.”

Continuing Challenges
For CEO Marissa Mayer, the new hacks could weaken Yahoo’s reputation with users who have been using its services for years and further tarnish its credibility ahead of the Verizon deal. The lack of progress on the earlier breach, and the limited information provided to Verizon, caused misgivings inside the telecommunications company about the deal, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in October. Yahoo said last month the $4.8 billion sale of its web portal still is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

“As we’ve said all along, we will evaluate the situation as Yahoo continues its investigation,” Verizon said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “We will review the impact of this new development before reaching any final conclusions.”

If the investigation shows significant harm to the business and Yahoo customers, Verizon would consider options like reducing the deal price or walking away, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The acquisition still makes strategic sense for Verizon, said another person familiar with the company’s discussions.

“Strategically, common wisdom is that the parts of the company that Verizon is most interested in are not necessarily that tied to stuff like user accounts and e-mail -- it’s the media properties,” said Jeff Vogel, managing director at investment banking firm Bulger Partners. “If the liabilities of the rest of the company are more significant -- because of lawsuits and damages and reputational damage -- than we had thought, that could impact the deal financially.”

Alerting Users
In the 2013 hack disclosed Wednesday, Yahoo said compromised user account information may have included names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. The company said it was notifying potentially affected users and had taken steps to secure their accounts.

In November, Yahoo gave an update to investors on its internal review of the hack, saying an independent board committee is investigating how many employees at Yahoo knew about the breach.

Yahoo also previously disclosed an investigation into the creation of forged cookies that could allow an intruder to access users’ accounts without a password. As of now, the company believes an unauthorized party accessed the “code to learn how to forge cookies.”

“Experts have identified user accounts for which they believe forged cookies were taken or used,” the company said. “Yahoo is notifying the affected account holders, and has invalidated the forged cookies.”

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg
By the source below 12 Jan, 2017

The 32-year-old is locked in a nightmare dispute with insurer AAMI, which rejected his claim on the basis of what he says is a flawed analysis of photographs he provided as evidence of ownership of the stolen items, costing him close to $187,000.

And experts say a common glitch in time and date stamps on images stored by online cloud services could put other claims at risk, with metadata left exposed to accidental or intentional corruption.

Mr Dowsett has spent the past nine months fruitlessly trying to have a $51,000 claim on his home and contents insurance settled, finally lodging a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman.

It all started on April 28, when he and his partner returned to their rented home in the Perth suburb of Rivervale to find it stripped of valuables, with his remaining possessions strewn all over the place and a sliding door damaged after being jimmied open.

“Each room downstairs had been ransacked, the television, sound system and DVDs were missing from the loungeroom and the door of my safe was wide open and emptied of its contents,” he said.

Also among the missing items were a drone, two designer and smartphone watches and cash from a recent motor vehicle sale, the latter not covered by the insurance policy.

When AAMI raised questions about the time stamps on photographs taken from his Google Photos cloud platform, Mr Dowsett explained that they appeared to be showing the dates when he uploaded them, between May 20 and 23.

He said other photos showing these dates had in fact been taken during his March hospital stay, and provided evidence of this to AAMI.

Telstra confirmed the Galaxy Note 5 was not in Mr Dowsett’s possession. Source: Supplied

Crucially, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 used to take the photographs — a fact confirmed by AAMI’s forensic analysis — was not in his possession at the time AAMI alleges they were taken.

News.com.au has seen a copy of a letter from Telstra confirming that Mr Dowsett had traded in the Samsung Note 5 on March 3, replacing it with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

After retrieving the original images through a Samsung switch backup restore, Mr Dowsett said, he examined them using a Jeffrey’s Image Exif Viewer, a free online tool for analysing metadata embedded within images such as time, date, camera or device used and location.

The results, he said, showed that the photographs of his Samsung and Gucci watches had been taken on February 24, while that of his Cannon EOS digital camera had been taken on February 28.

But AAMI refused to acknowledge this when he provided them with this evidence, he said.

On October 20, the insurer officially rejected his claim, alleging that it had been made fraudulently, while cancelling his policy.


According to Matthew Warren, deputy director of Deakin University’s Centre for Cyber Research, digital time stamps are notoriously unreliable.

“The problem is, any data can easily be manipulated,” Mr Warren told news.com.au. “Time stamping is a key aspect of digital forensics, but it can be corrupted and altered. It’s such a grey area, and it’s going to become more of an issue as we move more into digital evidence.”

Metadata on images could be altered both on purpose or by accident, such as when resizing files or forwarding them by email or Facebook.

“It’s actually a problem of using cloud services because you don’t know who has access to your data on the cloud,” he said. “It’s something that insurance companies are very concerned about.”

Unfortunately for people like Mr Dowsett, he said, “there’s not a lot you can do if the insurance company doesn’t trust the evidence”.

“When someone takes a picture and uses it as evidence, a lot of that’s based on trust,” he said.

“If an insurance company thinks that manipulation has occurred, they simply won’t pay the claim.”

But if the master copy was provided with raw, unedited data, that would give a claimant the best possible chance.


AAMI declined to comment on Mr Dowsett’s dispute, citing privacy restrictions.

In its letter rejecting his claim, the insurer claimed that he had failed to attend appointments, which Mr Dowsett disputes.

“Our investigations indicate that you have deliberately provided false and misleading statements regarding the circumstances of the claim,” the letter said.

“You have not been able to supply a satisfactory explanation for why the images supplied were taken after the event, in the absence of evidence to the contrary we conclude that these items were not stolen as claimed.”

Mr Dowsett has taken the dispute to the Ombudsman, seeking a reversal of the insurer’s decision, plus compensation.


By the source below 12 Jan, 2017

If you live in a bushfire prone area you need to develop a   Bushfire Survival Plan  for you and your pets. Whether you choose to relocate your pets during high risk days or keep them at home with you, it’s important to plan for their safety as well as your family’s. But please remember to always put your own safety before the safety of your pets.

Here are some basic steps you can follow to help keep your pets safe and sound:

  1. Firstly, it is important that your pets are micro-chipped and wearing a collar to identify them in case they flee from your property in an emergency.
  2. Decide whether you’re going to keep your pets at home or if you’re going to move them elsewhere during days of high fire risk.
  3. Make a list of where your pets could stay if you decide to leave early, such as with a family member/ friend or in a boarding kennel.
  4. Talk to your neighbours about protecting your pets if you aren’t at home or can’t get back in time. Offer to do the same for their pets.
  5. Make sure you have prepared a pet relocation kit. This includes food and water, bowls, carriers where appropriate, a favourite toy, bedding and a blanket, any medications they need and your vet’s contact details.
  6. If your pets are staying with you, secure them indoors on a lead or in a carrier and keep plenty of water and woollen blankets handy.
  7. Keep your pets cool by wiping them down with a wet towel.


Find more information on keeping your pets safe during bushfire season at:

By the source below 12 Jan, 2017
Don't think your stuff is worth protecting with insurance... what if it's not just your stuff you should be worried about..?
By the source below 12 Jan, 2017

One of Steve Manning's early YouTube vlogs explained why it was important for all of us to have contents insurance. He explained it was not just to cover you for the loss of your household contents but to both his and my mind, it is the public and personal liability coverage that you have with the policy, typically $20 million. To view the video please go here .

Just how important this coverage is was brought home to me in the recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision of Silwood v Chandler [2016] QCA 273.

Here a visitor to the defendant's home slipped on a step which had been washed down that afternoon and not dried. It appears that was no sensor lighting in place and due to the time of night the step and the fact it was wet was not visible to the visitor. The visitor slipped and put their arm through a glass window sustaining a very nasty gash to their arm. The full extent of the injuries I am not sure but they do sound quiet serious.

The home owner argued, without success that some allowance should be made to the award to the fact that the visitor had been drinking. The amount was not disclosed.

The 3 judges involved, Atkinson J, McMurdo P, and Gotterson JA upheld the trial judges decision to award $650,000 to the injured party. Can you image trying to fund that plus the costs of both the first trial and the court of appeal yourself. This is where a few hundred dollars to purchase contents insurance does not sound that bad now does it!

Remember, insurance ain't insurance, to make sure you have the right coverage to protect you, please speak with an insurance broker

By the source below 12 Jan, 2017

Quite simply the introduction of new Privacy legislation in March 2014 changed the landscape for all sized firms to consider privacy protection and subsequently cybercrime to protect their business, regardless of size.


The Background:

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) protects personal information. Personal information is information or an opinion that identifies someone or could identify someone. Some examples are your client's name, address, telephone number, date of birth, medical records and bank account details.

On 12 March 2014, changes to the Privacy Act commenced. These changes include a new set of Australian Privacy Principles which set out how private sector organisations must handle personal information. They also include changes to the way credit information can be collected and used.

Therefore, if you think about how most businesses trade, you start to realise that any business that holds customer details need to understand and comply with the new legislation. Eg retailers who simply use EFTPOS machines or take client's credit card details. Companies like your own brokerage firm that use IT systems to collect information and money from your clients - is their information adequately protected?

Below is a link outlining how the new legislation has changed and how it can affect you and your clients:


What about Cyber Crime? How are small businesses exposed?

Wikipedia defines Cyber Crime as: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybercrime

Computer crime or cybercrimeis crime that involves a computer and a network (we all have one of those!)

It goes further to explain that, The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. It defines cybercrimes as: "Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm, or loss, to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (again we all use these tools in our private and professional lives).

Our news feeds are filled with many examples of Corporate Cyber Crime – they sound surreal and the idea of “it won’t happen to me ” is still common with small to medium sized companies - they simply just don’t believe anyone would ever do that to them - but isn’t that what insurance is all about – protecting against the unforeseen?

We are all intrigued by a good Cyber Crime story – in fact we have found a list of the Top 10 Cyber Crimes of 2015 for you – check out the link below:



So how can a small company protect themselves?

There are many options in the market for companies to protect themselves against cyber liabilities but not all companies can afford the premium associated with the level of coverage offered. An alternative could be an endorsement to an existing policy.


An overview of coverage available through our recommended insurer is as per below:


Section a) Third Party cover-

  • Liability for breach of any Australian or New Zealand privacy legislation;
  • Infringement of any intellectual property rights, copyright or trademark;
  • Defamatory statement as a result of content in email or website;
  • Negligent transmission of a computer Virus via email or website;
  • Unauthorised collection or misuse of customer data which is held electronically.
  • Section b) First Party cover-
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred by the client to repair, replace or restore systems and data as a result of a hacking attack or the threat of a hacking attack.


This covers reasonable costs incurred such as:

  •  Costs of Restoration and Recreation of Data
  • Computer Malware Decontamination Costs
  • Experts Fees
  • Costs of Restoration of Access Control System
  • Costs of Investigations and Inquiries
  • Costs of Managing the Procedure with Supervisors
  • Costs of Legal Defence
  • Notification and Communication Costs


So if you would like to talk to us or need a quote please contact us on 07 5586 9955
By the source below 12 Dec, 2016

It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: losing part or all of your home to the devastating effects of a natural disaster. But the only thing that can make such a difficult experience even more traumatic is finding out the insurance — which you purchased in the belief it would provide financial support if such an event took place — will actually not be adequate at best, and will be completely useless at worst.

Those living in New Zealand can take comfort in the knowledge that the Earthquake Commission (EQC) is in place to provide insurance for damage to residential property sustained in earthquakes, storms, floods, volcanic eruptions, natural landslips, tsunamis and hypothermal activity for those who have home and/or contents insurance. The EQC provides cover for up to $100,000, and natural disaster insurance can be purchased on top of that to cover any damage that exceeds the EQC’s level of cover. Pretty straightforward, right?

But it’s a totally different story in Australia.

Variations between policies

In Australia, the variations in terms of natural disaster coverage in home and contents insurance policies can be quite vast. These variations often result in underinsurance, leaving people who thought insurance would cover the cost of rebuilding or repairs to foot a fairly significant portion of the bill out of their own pocket.

Of particular concern is the damage caused by floods and storms. In the case of the former, not all home and contents insurance policies provide coverage for such an event. In the case of the latter, while home and contents insurance policies do typically cover such an event, the level of coverage differs greatly among insurers.

As such, before you purchase a home and contents insurance policy, it is supremely important that you know exactly what natural disasters you are covered for, as well as how much your insurer will pay in the event of one of those disasters.

How flood insurance works

Following severe floods in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria during the summer of 2010-11, a Natural Disaster Insurance Review took place. As part of the recommendations of this review, the federal government put in place a standard definition of “flood” for all home building and contents policies in order to limit confusion among consumers about what they are and aren’t covered for when it comes to flood insurance.

This universal definition of flood is as follows:

“The covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified; or any reservoir, canal or dam.”

As such, any flooding that does not fit within the parameters of this definition — so anything that has been contributed to by human error, like a broken washing machine, a hole in the wall of your property, etc. — will likely not meet the requirements for coverage under your insurance policy.

The types of disasters to consider when purchasing coverage

In addition to flood (inland flooding accounts for nearly a third of insured losses in Australia), these are the other types of natural disasters you should be considering when selecting a home and contents insurance policy:

  • Earthquakes — although Australia doesn’t have a high incidence rate of destructive earthquakes, there have been enough, four to be exact, in the last 40 years to make it worth considering as a key point of coverage in any potential policy.
  • Cyclones — particularly if you are in the Northern Territory and northern parts of Queensland and Western Australia.
  • Bushfires — there aren’t many parts of the country that are immune to the risk of bushfires, and we have seen multiple significant losses, particularly in recent years as the climate appears to be increasing in dryness and warmth, both of which are prime conditions for bushfires.
  • Hail — severe hailstorms have become an increasing threat in recent years, and they have the potential to cause significant damage.
  • Storms — as with bushfires, severe storms have the potential to cause widespread damage across most parts of Australia.

The key facts sheet

In addition to the development of a standard definition of the term “flood”, another recommendation of the Natural Disaster Insurance Review was a requirement that insurance companies provide consumers with a “key facts sheet” where home building and contents insurance is concerned. The key facts sheet must be concise and clear in nature. The aim of this requirement is to make it much easier for purchasers of insurance to understand exactly what their insurance policy will and won’t cover.

The institution of such a requirement should make it much easier for those seeking home and contents insurance to determine which of the above-listed natural disasters a potential insurance policy will cover.

What to check before making a policy purchase

As always, before you purchase an insurance policy, it’s important to get a range of quotes from different insurers and analyse the detail and coverage of each potential policy to ensure your ultimate selection is actually going to afford you coverage that matches your needs and situation. When purchasing a home and contents insurance policy, these are the questions you should ask yourself:

  • Have I received the key facts sheet?
  • Will the policy cover me in the event of bushfires, regular floods, flash floods and storms?
  • Given the area in which my property is situated, am I at a particularly high risk for one or more of these natural disasters?
  • What are the specific definitions applied to each natural disaster mentioned in the policy? How will these definitions impact my coverage?
  • Are there any policy exclusions?
  • What are the monetary limits to my coverage? Will this coverage be enough to account for repairs, or will I have to contribute out of my own pocket?

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions — as well as any others you may have — of any potential insurer. Their purpose is to provide coverage, and the only way they can do that adequately is if you are insured for all the right things.

When considering home and contents insurance, it’s also important that you have a fairly decent estimate of what your home is worth and what it would cost to rebuild or repair it. If you have the most accurate estimate, then you will be able to secure insurance that will be enough to give you peace of mind, at least, should the worst happen.

By the source below 06 Dec, 2016

We all know the lines, Australia's fastest growing insurer, we understand you, little red quotes, etc etc. The tv advertising claiming lower premiums and great service when you need them. Unfortunately the reality is quite different. The fact is that these companies ply us night after night with advertising because they need new clients to replace the ones that are leaving following the misfortune of bad experiences when they needed these companies most. Below are the annual survey results in relation to some of the well known insurers:

Satisfaction scores for insurers Youi, Coles and Budget Direct are below the industry average and the trio may find it difficult to retain home insurance customers, according to Roy Morgan Research.

The research company’s satisfaction survey for the year to October, based on interviews with more than 30,000 household insurance policyholders, produced an overall satisfaction score of 80.7% – up from 78.5% in 2013 and 74.3% a decade ago.

Youi scored 79.5%, Coles 77.3% and Budget Direct placed bottom in the survey of 18 insurers with 75.7%.

“It is worth noting that three of the major challenger brands… are all below average when it comes to satisfaction and likelihood of renewing,” Roy Morgan Industry Communications Director Norman Morris said.

“Our data shows these insurers are gaining new customers but they may have difficulty in retaining them.

“To be successful, it is crucial for insurance companies to retain customers.”

The Royal Automobile Association of SA tops the rankings with a score of 92.1%.

Suncorp-owned Apia is second with 89.3%, followed by RAC WA (87.5%) and IAG-owned SGIO WA (85.7%).

RACQ Insurance is fifth with 84.5%, followed by RACV (83.4%), IAG-owned NRMA Insurance (83.3%) and CGU (81.7%).

Rounding out the top 10 are Suncorp-owned AAMI (81.4%) and Allianz (80.9%).

Suncorp Insurance is 11th with 80%, followed by sister company GIO on 79.8%.

QBE scored 79.4% to take 14th spot.

By the source below 06 Dec, 2016

Christmas is a time for fun and celebration but amidst the tinsel and festivities, what is known as the “silly season” can pose a number of risks for business owners. Here are our best tips on how you can avoid some of festive season’s risks.

Party time - excellent

According to recent figures by employment law consultancy   Employsure , over 80% of businesses will host some form of end-of-year party this month. While this is a great time to celebrate the hard work you and your team have put in over the past 12 months, it can also be a time when things can go very wrong, particularly with alcohol involved. In fact, last year alone, over 70% of bosses disciplined staff due to bad behaviour at a Christmas function.

So what can you do to ensure that your Christmas bash doesn’t turn sour?

  • Make sure food is served regularly throughout the event and is available from the get-go.
  • Provide taxi vouchers or transport arrangements so your staff can get home safely.
  • While your staff may be attending your party after hours, they’re technically at work, so behaviour that might be rewarded with a retort or slap on the weekend can be considered harassment in a working environment.
  • Make sure you assign managers or team leaders to keep a watch on staff and to be ready to step in if someone goes over the line of appropriate behaviour.
  • Ensure the service of alcohol policy is strictly enforced and make doubly sure your employees are aware of it.
  • Remember, your staff members are at work and the normal occupational health and safety rules still apply. If an employee sustains an injury, they are well within their right to lodge a workers compensation claim.

Wild weather

In Australia, the festive season also happens to be smack-bang in the middle of storm and bushfire season for large parts of the country. The damage a large-scale thunder storm, cyclone or bushfire can cause is difficult to deal with at the best of times, but during the Christmas period many building, production or distribution services already stretched, making the impact of a natural disaster during this time much more significant. It’s always advisable to ensure your insurance cover is up to date and factors in the cost of your business being disrupted as well as the cost of replacing physical items. Talk to a qualified insurance broker for more information on ensuring you’re adequately covered.


As Christmas approaches, the lead up to the break can be extremely busy, with businesses working overtime to complete orders, finish projects or get ready for those much vaunted Boxing Day sales period.

Research conducted by GIO Workers Compensation has shown that there is a rise in workplace accidents during the Christmas period as many businesses cut corners or don’t take proper safety precautions in a rush to meet deadlines. Whatever your deadline is, the cost of a workplace accident is far greater.

Temporary staff

Similarly, the rush to deliver on time coupled with employees taking leave during the Christmas period means many businesses turn to temporary staff to help out. As with any new employee, temporary staff will likely be unfamiliar with your business processes or safety practices, which could lead to mishaps both in terms of worker injury or productivity.

Make sure your temporary staff are performing tasks that match their skills and experience and provide any new employee, temporary or not, with a proper workplace induction.


With the increased demand of products and service, many businesses can fall behind delivery schedules. To prevent angry customers from lashing out or tarnishing your reputation, make sure you keep communicating with them and providing updates on when they’re likely to receive your product or service. Generally, people don’t mind waiting as long as they’re aware of it and will go out of their way to talk about a good customer service experience, which can go a long way in helping you grow your business.

By the source below 06 Dec, 2016

PHOTO: Young Callum O'Connor enjoys the aftermath of a Perth hail storm in March 2010.

Hail is caused when raindrops are lifted up into the atmosphere during a thunderstorm and then supercooled by temperatures below freezing, turning them into ice balls.

Thunderstorms are extremely volatile weather systems and winds blow in all directions, including strong updrafts and downdrafts.

When the powerful winds inside a thunderstorm carry the water droplets high enough to freeze, they turn into tiny hail stones.

Small hail stones get bigger when downdrafts carry them below the freezing point, where they are coated with a layer of liquid water, before being lifted up again where the new layer of water freezes.

In this process pea-sized hail can become golf ball-sized hail, which can in turn become tennis ball-sized hail in the right conditions.

The blocks of ice fall to earth once they are too big and heavy for winds to keep them in the air.

According to Bureau of Meteorology archives, the biggest reported hail stones in Australia have fallen in south-east Queensland.

On November 11, 1869 there were reports of hail stones with a diameter of 20 centimetres, weighing more than half a kilogram, battering the greater Brisbane area. An observer remarked that "hail caused much damage to crops and cotton."

Twenty-centimetre hail was also reported in the Sunshine Coast community of Holts Hill on December 13, 1943, when a resident described the hail as "considerably bigger than hens' eggs."

By the source below 08 Nov, 2016

Further to my recent post regarding   Youi in NZ  and following from their conviction on 15 representative charges bought by the Commerce Commission for misleading sales techniques, Youi NZ have now been fined $100,000 by the Insurance Council of New Zealand for breaches of the Fair Insurance Code.

Following a disciplinary process, the ICNZ Board decided on imposing a financial penalty rather than the most severe sanction it could impose, termination of Youi’s membership of ICNZ, but warned Youi that any future misconduct risked their membership being terminated.

My initial thoughts were that Youi got off lightly and should have been expelled, but after considering the comments of the ICNZ President, Chris Black and giving the matter further consideration, I believe that this is the best outcome.

I can certainly understand the logic of the approach taken from ICNZ in that had Youi been expelled, they would no longer be held accountable for the standards set by the ICNZ. Although their actions have brought disrepute onto the insurance industry in New Zealand, they have demonstrated remorse, have made commitments to reviewing and changing its systems, processes and monitoring to prevent a recurrence and are strong supporter of the industry.

The ICNZ made significant changes to strengthen its Fair Insurance Code to raise the standards of service to consumers when it issued the revised Fair Insurance Code early this year. To my knowledge, this is the first time they have imposed a significant penalty on a member for breaches of the code and it is pleasing to see that they are prepared to do this to protect the rights of insureds.

By the source below 08 Nov, 2016

Insurers should brace for an above-average cyclone season due to weakening La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean and warmer than average sea temperatures to the north and east, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The cyclone season begins next month and ends in April.

The bureau says Australia has a 67% chance of an above-average season, while the west has a 59% chance, the northwest 63%, the north 56% and the east 58%.

In neutral years the first tropical cyclone to make landfall typically occurs in late December, while in La Nina years it usually hits in the first week of December, the bureau says.

Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller says even an average cyclone season – consisting of 11 events, four of which make landfall – can be devastating.

“An above-average year could bring many more than that, and each one has the potential to cause catastrophic damage if it crosses the coast in a heavily populated area,” he said.

“Only one cyclone made landfall last season, and that was in a sparsely populated part of WA’s Pilbara. There’s no guarantee Australia will be so fortunate this summer.”

Tropical Cyclone Marcia cost insurers $544 million from more than 37,000 claims when it struck Rockhampton in February last year. In 2011 Cyclone Yasi cost insurers $1.4 billion.

By the source below 08 Nov, 2016
Labour hire businesses face a dilemma when the relationship between the labour hire business’s worker and host employer breaks down to the extent that the host employer demands that the worker is removed from site, or even revokes the permission for that worker to attend at the site.

In the absence of an alternative host employer for the worker, can the labour hire business proceed to terminate the worker’s employment? This is the question that the Fair Work Commission Full Bench recently had to consider and held that the labour hire business fairly terminated the employment of its worker.

The Facts

The worker, Mr Pettifer was employed by labour hire company MODEC Management Services Pty Ltd (MODEC) which placed Mr Pettifer with BHP Billiton Petroleum Inc. (BHPB).

MODEC and BHPB entered into a contract by which MODEC provided labour for work at BHPB’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel (site).

Mr Pettifer worked at the site without incident from 2009 until 30 October, 2015 when he was involved in what BHPB called a “near miss” safety incident.

As a result of the incident BHPB exercised its right under its contract with MODEC to direct MODEC to remove Mr Pettifer from the BHPB site and MODEC was contractually required to remove Mr Pettifer from the site.

After removing Mr Pettifer from the BHPB site, MODEC reviewed whether it had alternative work at its other operations for Mr Pettifer, but no other positions were available. MODEC then terminated Mr Pettifer’s employment.

Mr Pettifer claimed that the dismissal was unfair. The Fair Work Commission Full Bench held that Mr Pettifer was not unfairly dismissed, noting that:

  1. Mr Pettifer was employed specifically by MODEC for providing labour to BHPB; 
  2. Being excluded from BHPB’s site went to Mr Pettifer’s capacity to perform the role for which he had been employed and so the termination was for a capacity reason, not a performance reason; 
  3. There was a “valid reason for dismissal” – Mr Pettifer no longer had capacity to undertake his employment.
  4. Given that MODEC genuinely attempted to re-deploy Mr Pettifer elsewhere, none of the other considerations by which the fairness of a dismissal is assessed supported a conclusion that the dismissal was unfair. 

Implications for Labour Hire Businesses

Although the decision clarifies that a decision by a host employer to withdraw permission for a labour hire worker to attend its workplace, goes to the worker’s capacity to work, it does not give carte blanche for labour hire businesses to automatically dismiss its employees.

Some of the important features of this case that supported the fairness of the dismissal on capacity grounds were:

  1. Mr Pettifer was employed specifically for that site and not generally in MODEC’s operations; 
  2. The contract between MODEC and BHPB expressly included a right for BHPB to direct MODEC to remove a worker from site; and 
  3. The dismissal was solely due to Mr Pettifer lack of capacity to perform the work at the BHPB site and not for performance reasons connected with the near miss. 
We recommend that labour hire businesses should:

  1. Review their supply contracts to identify if the host employer has the right to remove a worker from site. 
  2. Review their employment contracts to identify if employees are hired specifically for a site, or generally within the labour hire business.
  3. Take reasonable efforts to consider re-deployment options for a worker removed from a site, if the labour company does not think that the performance issues justify a dismissal. 
  4. If the real reason for a potential dismissal is a lack of capacity to perform work at site, ensure that this is properly reflected throughout the termination management records. 
If you require any assistance with the above matters then please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Law team
By the source below 08 Nov, 2016

Floods are one of the most common hazards in Australia, causing millions of dollars’ worth of property damage each year. Some develop slowly and can be easier to prepare for, while others, such as flash floods, can overwhelm a town in just a few minutes. Floods can be local, impacting only on a neighbourhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. The impacts of floods can be devastating for families and businesses alike. Here you will find some information on preparing for floods, what to do during a flood and after the floodwaters recede.

Being prepared for a flood

What would you do if your property was flooded? Are you prepared?

If you live in low-lying areas, near water, in an area prone to wild storms and heavy rain, behind a levee or downstream from a dam, you need to always be prepared for flooding. Even if you live in an area with a low risk of flooding, it’s important to be prepared because anywhere it rains, it can flood.

You can use this  flood warning map  to see the latest rainfall and river conditions and any flood warnings that have been issued.

Having flood insurance is very important so check your policy or talk to your insurance provider to see if you’re covered.

Other ways to prepare for a flood are:

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on display.
  • Advise neighbours of the impending flood and offer assistance when possible.
  • Roll up rugs and move them to a higher level.
  • Secure hazardous items.
  • Monitor Bureau of Meteorology forecasts and warnings via their website or listen to your local emergency radio station or ABC Radio 891.
  • Move electrical appliances to a higher level.
  • Shift chemicals that may react with water to a higher level.
  • Place important documents, personal effects and vital medical supplies in a waterproof case and move to a safe and easily accessible place in case you have to evacuate.
  • Place furniture on beds and personal items on the furniture.
  • Secure any item that may become buoyant in your yard (gas bottles, drums, timber etc.).
  • Locate your pets and ensure they are safe.
  • Review your home and contents insurance policy and update a list of your home's contents. You can use  Insurance Tracker  to help with this.
By the source below 04 Oct, 2016
The Australian Census 2016 has been thrown into disarray by a cyber-attack which shut down the Australian Bureau of Statistics website just as millions of people were sitting down to complete their online details.

Head statistician David Kalisch said the ABS had been a victim of a distributed denial of service, or DDOS. Such attacks are designed to cripple target websites by flooding them with useless internet traffic so that requests from legitimate users cannot be serviced, causing the “denial” of service.

DDOS attacks are generally launched by cyber-criminals using “botnets”, also known as “zombie armies”.

These are groups of computers infected with malware that are remotely controlled by cyber-criminals, generally without the owners’ knowledge. They are sold or rented out every day over the ‘dark web’, a vast encrypted network where criminals do business online.

Botnets change hands here for just a few dollars, and can be used to attack a website from multiple points at once in a massive synchronised hit.

A global risk

DDOS attacks are very common worldwide. Over 15 per cent of UK small businesses were hit by DDOS attacks last year - and they are so easy to launch that even a child can do it.

“A denial of service attack could be driven by financial gain, or to put competitors out of business – if your website is down, you can’t do business,’’ says Gerry Power, CGU’s senior underwriter for Professional Risks.

“It could be because people don’t believe in the product you’re selling – for example, you could be selling something someone doesn’t agree with online. Or it could be extortion, where cyber-criminals say ‘we’re holding your website hostage until you pay us’.”

With so many small businesses relying on their internet presence to trade, the implications of being offline for days or even weeks can be catastrophic. Unable to do business, they are unable to make a profit and meet expenses.

Increasingly these days, multiple businesses are reliant on each other’s online system to trade, and financial losses can spread to multiple clients and suppliers (imagine the ramifications if, for example, eBay’s systems were to crash).

And, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics is now discovering, the damage to one’s reputation or brand can also be devastating.

Few small businesses have the expertise and resources available to larger organisations to deal quickly with a cyber-attack. And unfortunately, few have even given much thought to how they would deal with such a disaster were it to occur.

This is despite the fact that, internationally, the proportion of cyber-attacks aimed at small businesses is on the rise. Over 40 per cent of all cyber-attacks in 2015 were targeted at businesses with less than 250 employees.

The federal government estimates almost 700,000 Australian businesses have experienced a cybercrime, and 60 per cent of these attacks were on SMEs, with an average cost per attack of over $275,000.

“All small businesses must have a business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan that is up to date and tested – and the key people who need to implement it know what to do right away,’’ says Power.

“But that’s the failure of SMEs - many of them don’t have a BCP if something like this was to happen.”

This is where cyber-insurance can help.

Mitigating the risk

A cyber-policy can protect businesses against the direct costs of cyber-attacks such as lost profits, as well as other costs such as defending claims from third parties.

Other risks business owners should consider insuring against include the costs of lost, damaged or destroyed IT systems and data, the costs of negotiating due to an extortion attempt, and fines and penalties incurred due to data privacy breaches.

A cyber-policy can also provide businesses with cover that will help protect their image, for instance through PR consultants who can help mitigate damage arising from a business’ website not being available, while also covering damage to the personal reputation of executives like CEOs.

An insurer with a good incident response capability can make all the difference in the event of a cyber-crisis too.

CGU’s cyber incident response team is on standby 24/7 to assist clients in need. Their capabilities include a breach coach service to assist clients who are experiencing a DDoS attack.

With cybercrime on the rise worldwide and attacks such as that on the Census 2016 so easily launched, cyber-insurance is becoming a must-have for more and more businesses.
By the source below 03 Oct, 2016

Lately there has been a spate of house fires around Australia where the tenant has been uninsured. Having been doing claims for over 45 years now, I have witnessed countless times the devastating effect that not being insured has on someone.

When landlords lease out their commercial premises it is standard practice to at least have the tenant hold public liability insurance. This is a basic risk management measure to protect the landlord from becoming the last resort for most public liability matters, as these issues can often fall back to them as an occupier’s liability rather than a building owner’s responsibility.

With these two issues rolling around in my head, I have come up with 5 major reasons why I believe that all landlords of residential properties should insist and seek proof of their tenants having contents insurance.


  1. With home contents insurance the insured, typically, has $20 million dollars of public liability insurance.It often ranges from $10 to $30 million. The liability coverage afforded by a contents policy can include protection for some claims by a landlord to the tenant for negligence, say leaving something on the stove and accidentally setting fire to your property. The same goes if they leave the plug in the bath and flood your building.
  1. The liability coverage also provides protection to the tenant should someone come on to the property and injure themselves.   Such a person would look to the tenant in the first instance and if their insurer sorts out the claim, you as the landlord are left out of it bearing in mind, even defence costs can be expensive and time consuming to you.
  1. In the event of a fire, the tenant’s policy provides coverage to remove the debris from the building.   With no insurance, the tenant usually walks away leaving you with the mess. As it is not your property (items damaged in the fire) your insurer may not cover this cost.
  1. A tenant that has insurance shows that they embrace risk management and I would suggest this shows a better quality tenant who will also take other measures to safe guard both their property and yours.
  1. By insisting they have insurance you could be a saviour to them should there be a fire   and they have that all important protection.

Contents insurance is inexpensive for most people. Less than $10 a week for approximately $50,000 of contents cover and as I say typically $20 million of that all-important personal and public liability.
Think about it, you could be helping yourself and your tenant!

By the source below 15 Sep, 2016

The winner of the inaugural QBE-sponsored Stephen Ball Memorial Award for Insurance Broker of the Year is Dale Hansen of Austbrokers Coast to Coast.

QBE Executive General Manager Intermediary Distribution, Jason Clarke, said: “This is a special year for QBE and the NIBA Awards. We’re building on our commitment to fostering the emerging talent in the industry through our long-time sponsorship of the student and trainee of the year awards. We’re also incredibly proud to be sponsoring the peak industry accolade for the first time – the newly renamed Stephen Ball Memorial Awards for Broker of the Year. This award reflects so much of Steve – his integrity, commitment to mentoring, education and professional development, which are captured in the components of the prize.”

The Vero-sponsored Warren Tickle Award for Young Broker of the Year was awarded to Noel Kelly of Austbrokers AEI Transport.

Vero has sponsored the Warren Tickle Memorial Award for the over 25 years.

“Vero recognises the vital importance of nurturing, developing and supporting the young talent that enters our industry. We have long been avid supporters of Australia’s young brokers and we look to their opinions on where our industry is heading in the future,” said Sam Sanfilippo, Head of Suncorp’s International Intermediaries business.

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth says: “It’s a great pleasure to be awarding the first Stephen Ball Memorial Award for Insurance Broker of the Year to Dale, who has set very high standards for his broking business, for his commitment to his clients, his community, and his staff. It was a challenge for the judges this year, with all finalists examples of excellence in insurance broking.”

“Noel has established himself as a very fine young insurance broking professional, who strives for the best and seeks to achieve high levels of support for his clients. Noel is a deserving recipient of the Young Broker of the Year award.

“All Broker of the Year and Young Broker of the Year finalists are exceptional brokers, and it is an honour to be able to recognise and celebrate their hard work. They set a benchmark for the rest of the profession.

“We would also like to thank QBE and Vero for their sponsorship of the two awards.”

At the same time, CGU was crowned General Insurer of the Year.

Booth says: “Congratulations to CGU for winning General Insurer of the Year for the second year running. This award is determined as part of the NIBA Broker Market Survey, where over 1,000 brokers gave their feedback on the performance of insurers in the past 12 months. The award recognises the strong efforts CGU have put in to servicing and supporting brokers and their clients in the past year.”

The Lex McKeown award for 2016 went to Robert Kelly, managing director and CEO of Steadfast.

NIBA President Graham Stevens congratulated Robert on receiving the award. “Robert is very widely acknowledged across the industry as one of the true leaders of this profession. He epitomises the commitment to quality advice and service to customers, and has been a major inspiration for the development and success of the cluster group model in Australia.”

Meanwhile, Maria Parry, of Austcover Queensland, was named Student of the Year. And Veronica Harrison, Oxley Insurance Brokers, NSW, was Trainee of the Year.

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016

Many modern cars, particularly European cars have a service key that is kept in the log book or service book kept in the glove or other compartment in the car.

This is well known to thieves and they are breaking into cars and people do not realise that the key is stolen. When the quarter glass or whatever other damage is repaired by the owner, the thieves return and simply drive off with the repaired car.

I understand that Audi have written to all their customers advising them to take the key out of the car and this is the advice that I am giving to everyone who has this system. The problem is that many car owners do not even know about the service key. In my own car the key it is painted black and was in a separate little pocket in the service book cover. I took it out and put it in a key safe and am glad I did.

The move now is to have the service key as being part of the normal key but can be extracted from the larger day to day key. My car keys have this as well so I am not sure why they have the second separate service key.

My advice therefore is to assume nothing, check your (and in the case of insurance brokers have your clients check their) service and log books for a service key and if you find one take it out of the car and keep it in a safe place.

The number of break-ins into cars is increasing. Following a break-in to my wife’s car a week or so back when 2 other cars in the street were likewise broken into, thieves hit at least one of the cars in our street again last night.

Last time, while our CCTV could not identify the thieves, there were three of them, the thief, a driver and a lookout, I was surprised that the thief was in the car for over 2 minutes and went through it extremely carefully. It was only when I discussed the matter with super insurance investigator Peter Hiscock from Peter Hiscock and Partners that I learned that the service key was the likely target.

This time both my wife’s car and my own were off the street as I had instructed the builders doing some renovations that I needed the driveway cleared which they did. This meant the cars were under a sensor light and CCTV.

Little comfort for the neighbour though. I will be taking over some alarm stickers that I have had made up for her to stick on her car and to see if her vehicle has lost the service key.

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016

Australia is probably the second-most litigious country in the world after the US, according to US management liability specialist Kevin LaCroix.

He says class action filings have surged in the US and are on track this year to reach the highest number since 2004.

Mr LaCroix, Executive Vice President at liability group RT Pro Exec – a division of Chicago-based wholesale brokerage RT Specialty – was a keynote speaker a the Australian Professional Indemnity Group’s conference in Sydney last week.

He says a number of differences exist between the US and Australian class action environments.

Litigation funders have a greater role in Australia and procedural issues are more straightforward, but the “loser pays” principle acts as a deterrent.

“The US is still more litigious, but I think in the rest of the world Australia is probably second – Australia and Canada.”

Class actions have played a role in improving corporate disclosure and provide an effective mechanism for handling large cases such as the Volkswagen emissions issue, he says.

“If you didn’t have a way to handle that collectively, it would be a mess for everyone. Everyone bemoans class action litigation, but it can be very efficient.”

In the US, securities lawsuit filings numbered 119 at the end of June, pointing to a full-year total of 238, which would top the level in 2008 during the global financial crisis, according to Mr LaCroix’s figures.

The previous spike was in 2004, driven by an era of corporate scandals including the failure of Enron.

Mr LaCroix says the latest increase comes amid more actions against foreign companies with US listings, lawsuits related to initial public offerings and case law developments in Delaware.

“All these factors together are contributing,” he told insurance NEWS .com.au. “Unlike the earlier years, it is not one single thing.”

This year high-profile cases have been filed against companies such as Volkswagen and Brazilian oil company Petrobras. Australian miner BHP Billiton faces legal action following the collapse of a dam at its joint-venture project in Brazil.

Mr LaCroix says there is also a trend among some plaintiff law firms to pursue smaller companies, rather than take on the bigger burdens of pursuing large corporates.

“To use a US baseball analogy, they are trying to be singles hitters, rather than home-run hitters.”

He says weakness in premiums is a global issue amid heightened capacity and competition in the sector, and which is unlikely to disappear quickly because insurers remain reluctant to lift rates.

“There is a restraining effect on the desire of insurers to raise their rates. In the end, the ability to be the one disciplined player in an undisciplined market is very difficult.”

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016

There is no doubt that the last 5-10 years has seen massive changes in technology and hand-in-hand with that the increased take-up of social media by individuals and by businesses as an effective marketing tool.

I would also suggest that almost everyone that has a Facebook or Twitter account has their own stories of “Posts” and “Tweets” that they would prefer were not in the public domain. In most cases they were put there not of their own making but were the result of others “friends” making comments on their page or account. Many of course have “posted” or “tweeted”; thought about what they have said, and upon reflection have thought they probably shouldn’t have said it – but it’s there for all to see.

This lack of consideration of consequences; naivety; a desire to express individual’s views, and often the need for revenge can have disastrous consequences on businesses and staff. This can often be the case with staff members who for whatever reason decide that they want to make public their views of other staff members and indeed their employers. For some it’s a quick and easy way to “vent” or exact revenge upon a person or an organisation. These comments can damage the reputation of a business, or it can result in bullying and harassment claims.


The Damaging Facebook Campaign

Most notably is the recent case of a Club in Brisbane where staff were not happy about being transferred to a labour hire company as the basis of their employment with the Club. Some of the disgruntled staff, with the assistance of other organisations started up a Facebook campaign page under the guise of a campaign against reduced penalty rates. Regardless of the truth surrounding all of the claims and counterclaims, that Club became the centre of this public campaign.

There were many disparaging posts and comments made by former staff, current staff and people who, in my view had no idea what the real issues were, but were happy to jump on the bandwagon. There is no doubt that the Club suffered considerable damage, if not to its reputation then certainly in the costs to mount a publicity defence against the Facebook campaign. One need only ponder if this sort of campaign would have been likely and as easily orchestrated 10 or 15 years ago when Facebook did not exist as it does now.


Linfox case

There has of course, been many cases in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and other Tribunals and Courts that have had to deal with the fall-out from social media outcomes. These cases started in about 2011 with the infamous “Linfox” case where the employee pleaded ignorance and naivety in respect Facebook posts about the Company and other managers and colleagues. In this case it was found that the employee had been unfairly dismissed for a number of reasons, including upholding of the plea of ignorance as to how his Facebook page worked, as well as the fact that there was not a Social Media Policy in place at Linfox at the time to provide the employee with guidance as to what was acceptable or otherwise.


Centrelink Case

There are numerous cases where people have taken unfair dismissal claims resulting from termination because of social media comments, some have been successful and others not, and commentators have clearly indicated the lack of consistency from the FWC in their deliberations about social media matters.

This was demonstrated in the most recent case involving Centrelink when they dismissed a staff member who had publicly posted that Centrelink customers were “spastics” and “whinging junkies” and taking aim at the Government. In this case the dismissal was held to be unfair by Vice-President Hatcher of the FWC because of the employee’s extensive length of service of 20 years; that the conduct was not factually related to his work; and that the conduct caused no harm to the Department.


General Principles

In spite of a perception of inconsistency arising from the FWC approach to these issues, there are some consistent principles that are critical for a dismissal of this kind to be upheld by the FWC. They are:

1.  That it is important for the employer to have a clear policy on employees’ use of social media, covering what is and is not acceptable use (including examples) and setting out the consequences for misuse;

2.  That the social media content must clearly identify the employer;

3.  That the content must have the capacity to damage the employer’s reputation and business;

4.  As knowledge and use of social media continue to expand rapidly, the ability of employees to argue they were unaware of how to control the use of it will diminish.


Need for Social Media Policy

It is absolutely critical to have a Social Media Policy in place before an employer can attempt to defend a dismissal based on inappropriate use of social media. The Policy needs to be a quality document that has application to your workplace. Here are some tips:

(a)It must be robust and is clear to the staff as to what is expected and what will not be tolerated in respect to social media, including the reference to the “Like” button;

(b)It must be a policy that is clearly understood;

(c)It must be properly communicated to all staff as part of an induction and refresher process;

(d)Ideally it should be referenced to your Bullying and Harassment and Anti-discrimination policies so that there is a clear link “cyber-bulling”


The bottom-line for businesses is, if you don’t have a social media policy in place, then you risk not being able to defend any disciplinary action that you take against staff who may have potentially damaged your business.

If you would like some help in drafting and implementing an effective Social Media Policy in your organisation, please don’t hesitate to call us at Effective Workplace Solutions

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016
Certain tenets of an international insurance treaty may stymie coverage for families of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, as new evidence points to a deliberate crash and potential pilot suicide as the cause of the plane’s disappearance two years ago.

Peter Foley, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s program director of the operational search for MH370, admitted for the first time this weekend that damage found in the recovered wreckage suggests the plane was under the control of pilot Zahari Ahmed Shah when it went into the sea in March 2014. Severe erosion along the trailing edge of two recovered wing parts points to a controlled landing, Foley said.

Australian authorities also admitted that a Malaysian police report suggesting Shah had plotted a route deep into the southern Indian Ocean on his home flight simulator was genuine. Evidence of any such route has since been deleted.

The two admissions throw significant doubt on authorities’ preferred theory that the plane’s disappearance was an accident, instead pointing strongly to pilot suicide – something that could prevent families of the crash victims from collecting insurance settlements from the airline.

Grace Nathan, a spokeswoman for MH370 next-of-kin group Voice 370, said families of the victims who are suing the airline for negligence may now pursue criminal action as well. However, families who accepted payout offers may no longer be covered by insurance.

Families who missed the March 8 deadline to initiate lawsuits against the Malaysia Airlines may also be stranded if pilot suicide was indeed the cause of the crash, thanks to the 1999 Montreal Convention, which dictates international aviation insurance terms. Under the treaty, claimants have two years from the date an aircraft should have arrived at its destination to file suit for compensation against the carrier.

“You can’t start something now because the limitations date has passed,” Nathan told  The Australian .

Nathan also pointed to the question of airline responsibility in a suicide situation.

Even if Malaysia Airlines can successfully determine the cause of the crash, aviation policies often carry exclusions for terrorism or suicide – under sanction from the Montreal Convention – which may apply here.

“If it is proven to be pilot suicide, then the insurance becomes void,” she said.

The Montreal Convention sets a mandated minimum compensation payment of just under $200,000 for claimants in cases where airlines could not produce evidence to defend themselves. Certain families of the victims have filed suit against the airline for the compensation under the assumption that the death of their next of kin was caused by something other than negligence.

Nathan has suggested Malaysia Airlines may not be able to meet this financial standard, calling the company “practically bankrupt,” though a spokesperson for the airline has pushed back against those claims.

“[There is] adequate insurance coverage in place to meet any legal liability that we may have in respect of those claiming as a consequence of the incident,” the spokesperson said.

Malaysian investigators concluded the Boeing 777 servicing Flight 370 crashed after someone aboard the jet intentionally disabled its tracking devices, turning it south before it plunged into the Indian Ocean and killed all 239 people aboard. The aircraft had been flying under Malaysia Airlines since May 2002 without mechanical or computer troubles. The communications systems aboard the plane were also operating normally until radio and transponder signals stopped during the flight.

The airline’s insurers –  Allianz  Global Corporate & Specialty and Lloyd’s of London unit Atrium – have already paid more than $300 million for claims related to the crash.
By the source below 07 Sep, 2016

Travel insurers do not usually cover losses caused by army coups, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says.

It has urged Australian tourists affected by the failed military uprising in Turkey to check their policies.

“Each travel insurer has different terms and conditions,” CEO Rob Whelan said.

“Travellers should review their policy document to check its inclusions and exclusions, and contact their insurer if they have questions.

“The attempted coup doesn’t void travel insurance policies, and policyholders in Turkey will still be able to lodge claims for a wide range of losses that are unrelated to the uprising.”

Travel policies usually contain exclusions on claims arising from riots, wars, rebellions, civil unrest or military insurrections.

Turkey has been rocked by political instability as President Tayyip Erdogan orders a crackdown on suspected supporters of Friday’s failed coup.

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016

As reported in the latest edition of  Risk Management magazine, many of us now use our smartphone to provide a single point of access to personal information such as financial data, medical records, photos and  videos, as well as work-related email, calendars, documents and other business information. Unfortunately, hackers know this and far too many people have inadequate security on their phone. Hackers naturally see the phone as a way in.

The image at the end of this post is a screen shot of a message a professional photographer who I know received, which turned out to be completely bogus. I am glad he contacted me before doing anything.

To learn more about this real threat and mitigation strategies, I would refer you to the full article which can be found   here . I have taken something away from this article which I will now ensure is actioned at LMI Group.

By the source below 07 Sep, 2016
Published on Sep 6, 2016

Never just assume that everything you own is covered under your policy. We take a look at what you should look out for!

By the source below 06 Sep, 2016

  On behalf of the team here at Austbrokers Coast to Coast I would like to thank you for your continued support of our business.

  At a Gala Awards Ceremony in Sydney last Wednesday 31/8/16, Austbrokers Coast to Coast were announced winners of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) Insurance Brokerage of the Year for 2016.

  Without the loyalty and continued support of our clients we would not have been able to win this prestigious award.

  Whether you are a longstanding client or have only recently become a client, I would personally like to thank you for placing your trust in the team at Coast to Coast to manage your insurance needs.

With sincere thanks,

Dale Hansen
Chief Executive Officer>

By the source below 17 Aug, 2016
Award-winning winemaker Peter Cummings experienced the devastation of floods first hand in January of 2011 when surging waters inundated two of his family's vineyards. Describing the event as "biblical" the catastrophe was not something his business was insured against with most of the submerged grape crop for their label Water Wheel damaged by mildew. This two-minute documentary spends a day with Peter his Water Wheel Winery as the family rebuilds and replants just months after the floods, and where the road from grapevine to wine bottle can be a tough journey but one that is possible with the right attitude.
By the source below 16 Aug, 2016
AIG is set to launch an add-on to its directors and officers insurance that will cover costs associated with Brexit.

According to reports in The Financial Times, AIG will include terms to help EU nationals wanting to become permanent residents of the United Kingdom and will cover the costs of a legal challenge if residency is rejected.

The add-on will also cover the legal costs of a challenge to a repatriation order and will pay for repatriation costs if a legal challenge fails.

“While the outcome of the discussions between the UK and the EU are unknown, this addition to existing cover, which will be implemented at no additional cost, will give our clients peace of mind during a period of potential change,” Anthony Baldwin, chief executive of AIG’s UK and European businesses, told The Financial Times.

The cover will also apply to UK nationals living in the European Union.

Before the referendum on the UK’s position within the EUropean Union, AIG stressed that the business could move its hub from London as CEO Peter Hancock warned that the business could look overseas.

“If a Brexit occurs, I suspect we will need a hub that’s within the EU, and there are some excellent choices,” Hancock said at a seminar in London, without specifying locations that the New York-based insurer has considered.
By the source below 15 Aug, 2016

Youi will plead guilty to misconduct charges, including making false sales pitches, filed by the New Zealand Commerce Commission.

The commission, New Zealand’s competition watchdog, filed 15 charges against the insurer in the Auckland District Court last week following a year-long investigation into allegations of unscrupulous sales tactics.

The South African-owned insurer is alleged to have committed the acts between July 2014 and February this year.

“Youi has co-operated with the commission’s investigation and has indicated it intends to plead guilty to the charges,” the commission says in a statement. “As this matter is before the court, the commission cannot comment further at this time.”

A spokesman for the commission told insuranceNEWS.com.au a date for the court hearing will be known in coming weeks.

Youi allegedly failed to inform customers they are not obliged to pay for unsolicited insurance invoices and gave false or misleading information during sales phone calls.

People requesting policy quotes were told they needed to provide credit card and bank account details, and unauthorised direct debits were then made from the accounts.

“From the point the issues were brought to our attention we co-operated fully with the commission and speedily implemented changes to our business practices that had fallen short of customer expectations, service standards and legal requirements,” Youi CEO Danie Matthee said. “We unreservedly apologised to all affected customers.”

Youi has notified the Insurance Council of New Zealand about actions taken to improve procedures.

By the source below 15 Aug, 2016
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has finally announced the details of the changes to Awards to reflect the outcome of last years decision in relation to the cashing out of annual leave and the taking of excessive annual leave. These provisions shall operate from the first pay period after 29 July 2016. 

Whilst the wording of the variations for each Award have been released, the official Awards from the FWC have not been varied at this point in time.

The majority of Awards are to be varied by the FWC, and the wording for these clause in the Awards are basically the same for all Awards with some subtle differences depending on the industry. However a summary of the changes is as follows:

1. Cashing out of Annual Leave

Awards will now allow employees to cash out annual leave, provided they:

  •  have at least 4 weeks annual leave left after the cash out
  •  have a signed written agreement with their employer
  •  cannot cash out more than two weeks each 12 months.
2. Taking Annual Leave in Advance

Awards will allow employees to take annual leave before they have accrued it if their employer agrees in writing. The agreement needs to:

  •  be signed by both the employer and the employee
  •  state how much annual leave is being taken in advance
  •  state the day the leave will start.
3. Managing Excessive Annual Leave Balances

Employers are now able to more precisely manage excessive annual leave and there is now certainty about the directions employers are able to give to staff about the taking of excessive leave. Excessive annual leave is when an employee has accumulated at least eight weeks of leave (or 10 weeks in the case of a shiftworker).

(a) Direction by employer

If an employee has an excessive annual leave balance and can't agree with an employer on when to take the leave, the employer can:

  •  direct the employee, in writing, that they must take annual leave
  •  provide the employee with at least eight weeks' notice (and not more than 12 months) of when  the leave will start.
There are also provisions about the length of the period of leave and the number of weeks of leave that the employee must retain as a “bank” after the taking of leave in these circumstances.

(b) Notice by employee

Some awards will now have a new clause allowing employees with excessive annual leave balances to advise their employer when they will take a period of leave. This clause however has a different operative date and takes effect from 29 July 2017 .

Until July 2017, employees who are covered by these awards and have large amounts of accrued annual leave should follow the normal process for requesting annual leave.

4. Payment for Annual Leave

Most awards provide that annual leave has to be paid prior to an employee commencing leave. A new clause has been added to these awards. Now, if an employee is paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT), they can continue to be paid using their usual pay cycle during periods of leave.
If you require a copy of the precise wording of the clause for your Award, let me know I shall forward it to you. However it is hoped that the official variation to the Awards in the FWC should be completed very soon.

Greg Arnold  greg@ewsolutions.com.au
By the source below 15 Aug, 2016

While there are many very reputable firms in motor trade there is a criminal element operating in Victoria in particular.

One of the many scams is staged accidents, often involving an innocent woman who is driving alone. The third party then offers to have the car fixed by a friend who turns out to be a crooked panel beater who charges way over the top, the third party disappears and the innocent motorist is left with a huge bill.

In one case, the innocent people were beaten when they said they were going to the police.

Other cases involve a lawyer who writes with supporting documentation from the same dodgy panel beater again claiming way over the true value.

The whole thing is well known in the panel beating industry. One of my team had someone run up the back of his Ford tray utility vehicle in their BMW. There appeared to be no damage but to be sure, took it to a panel beater and asked that he put it up on the hoist to see if there was any damage. The panel beater came back and said that there was none but if he wanted to have some he should take his car to “X” panels.

If you are or know anyone involved in an accident, my recommendation is that you do not take your car anywhere other than an authorised panel beater of your insurer, or if there is an insurer for a responsible third party to their authorised repairer.

Do not just rely on the third party sending you to a “mate”.

The whole situation is taking the sheen off the panel beating industry and tarnishing the reputation of the many good folk that own and work in it. It certainly needs to be addressed by the insurance industry and the police as soon as possible.

The panel beater that I personally trust and find does exceptionally good work is Mr Gloss at Moorabbin who is an authorised repairer for many insurers.

By the source below 27 Jul, 2016
Dale Hansen, chief executive officer of   Austbrokers   Coast to Coast, has a unique perspective on the insurance industry.

Unlike the vast majority of insurance professionals, Hansen did not fall into the insurance industry but he sought it out from his days in high school.

“For me, where I probably differ from most people, the comment or joke is that a lot of people just fell into insurance, I didn’t,” Hansen told Insurance Business.

“I decided I wanted to do that about half way through high school. I looked at the various career options and you can do anything in this industry, you can do absolutely anything.”

With his view as a lifetime proponent of the insurance industry Hansen said that the industry should not fear outside disruption as it presents insurers and brokers with an opportunity to highlight their worth to clients.

“Disruption in the insurance industry is nothing new and the industry must not fear the changes but rather use disruption as a way to demonstrate worth to clients,” Hansen continued.

“There is a lot of talk about disruptors and they certainly are here, but I don’t think we need to necessarily fear them.

“We take the alternative view, we see that disruptors are a terrific opportunity for our business to demonstrate its value and its worth.

“We are in the advice space, not the price space and most of the disruptors are in the price space. In any industry in any shape or form, there will always be an element of price,  an element of society that that will be their most important criteria.

“Disruptors haven’t brought that any more to the fore, that has always been there. It will be certainly here in a different way and a different format but then we must also transact in a different way and a different format.

“The same tools that are available to the disruptors to threaten or disrupt the business, are available to us to safeguard our business.”

Hansen joined   Austbrokers   Coast to Coast in 2006 and was recently named Queensland Broker of the Year by NIBA, which he listed as a career highlight alongside becoming a principle of the Coast to Coast business.

“Being a broker principle is actually a goal I set myself when I was about 16,” Hansen continued.

“I was 24 years getting there and it was a wonderful trip and I wouldn't change any of it. Even the times that didn’t seem quite so good, in hindsight were very, very good.”

Hansen said that he was able to pick up key knowledge and skills throughout his career, which included stints with NRMA, Warren Saunders Insurance Brokers and Guild Insurance, as he believes mentoring plays a key role for the industry.

“I think everybody, whether they believe it or not, is a mentor one way or another,” Hansen said.

“I think we all have that obligation and I say to my people, somebody did it to us. There is  not a single person where somebody hasn’t taken you under their wing, however big or small that is, and helped you with your development in some way, shape or form.

“We are obligated to do the same.”

With his place at the very pinnacle of the industry confirmed, Hansen said the future looks bright for the insurance industry.

“It’s been a really interesting journey, I wouldn't change a thing and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way,” Hansen said.

“There is still a lot in front of us and I really look forward to what the next 20 years is going to hold because I think  it is really, really exciting for our industry.”

Dale Hansen - Elite Brokers
Difficult to see an ‘Uber of insurance’
By the source below 22 Jul, 2016

This September marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London which led to both modern property insurance and fire brigades as we know them. I intend on writing an extended piece for this blog and am currently working on a coffee table book with my son, which will come out closer to the September anniversary.

Just as important, in my opinion, is the fact it is the 250th anniversary of the court case that led to the enshrining of the principle of Utmost Good Faith into insurance. The case we owe this to is Carter v. Boehm (1766), 3 Burr. 1905

In the course of his judgement, the famous. Lord Mansfield stated:

“Insurance is a contract upon speculation. The special facts, upon which the contingent chance is to be computed, lie most commonly in the knowledge of the insured only: the underwriters trusts to his representation, and proceeds upon confidence that he does not keep back any circumstance in his knowledge, to mislead the underwriter into a belief that the circumstance does not exist, and to induce him to estimate the risk, as if it did not exist.

“The keeping back such circumstance is a fraud, and therefore the policy is void. Although the suppression should happen through mistake, without any fraudulent intention, yet still the underwriter is deceived, and the policy is void, because the risk run is really different from the risk understood and intended to be run, at the time of the agreement.

“The policy would be equally void, against the underwriter if he concealed; as, if he insured a ship on her voyage, which he privately knew to be arrived; and an action would lie to recover the premium.

“The governing principle is applicable to all contracts and dealings. Good faith forbids either party, by concealing what he privately knows, to draw the other into a bargain, from his ignorance of the fact and his believing and the contrary.

“But either party may be innocently silent, as to grounds open to both, to exercise their judgement upon… There are many matters as to which the insured may be innocently silent. He need not mention what the underwriter knows… An underwriter cannot insist that the policy is void because the insured did not tell him what he actually knew; what way soever he came to the knowledge. The insured need not mention what the underwriter ought to know; what he takes upon himself the knowledge of; or what he waives being informed of. The underwriter needs not to be told what lessens the risk agreed and understood to be run by the express terms of the policy. He needs not to be told general topics of speculation…”

[Emphasis mine]

In this first case it was found that the insurer had not acted in good faith and the client was entitled to have their claim paid.

While the Insurance Contracts Act, [1984] (Cth of Australia) reaffirmed that this principle is the cornerstone of the insurance industry, I question when I see extremely low ball offers of settlement made to an insured, decisions to delay payments to force an insured into accepting a lower settlement, the events leading up to the portrayal of our industry around some investigators and the handling of life insurance claims, ignoring conflicts of interest, and if we are honest with ourselves what are in effect hidden commissions, if Utmost Good Faith is being given anything but lip service on the one hand but being held as something that the insured must exhibit at every turn on the other.

To examine these issues and others surrounding them to me is a vitally important underlying principle of insurance, barrister Greg Pynt from Perth and I are underwriting a one off special conference in Bengkulu, Sumatra (Indonesia) on 1 & 2 October. This location was chosen as it is very near the location of the loss which gave rise to the Carter v Boehm case. [A visit to the restored structure ( a fort) will be part of the event.]

A range of excellent speakers including Prof Robin Pearson from Hull University is being put together. Greg is up in Bengkulu this week to make sure all the logistics are in place for a smooth running of the event. While Greg and I are behind the conference and underwriting it from a cost perspective, the conference is being organised by Conference Images a company well known to many readers.

The cost of the conference which includes registration, tour speakers, lunches and dinners is a very reasonable $850 plus GST. To learn more please down load the Bengkulu Flyer or go to www.CartervBoehm.com . Finally Greg or I are happy to take your enquiries.

The concept behind this website is that it will remain active in perpetuity with papers from the conference, photos and videos of the presentations available for use into the future and hopefully reviewed at the 300th and other milestone anniversaries of this seminal case. Obviously other papers and items of interest on the topic will be added to the proposed knowledge data base.

The final point I would make is that Greg and I are not doing this for any financial gain. It is purely for educational and research purposes for the benefit of attendees, the wider insurance community and for future generations of insurance professionals. If the conference runs at a loss we will bear the cost equally between the two of us. If it runs at a profit, all profit will be donated to an education facility in or near Bengkulu to benefit the youth of that community.

Please come along. It will be a most interesting and informative event.

By the source below 22 Jul, 2016

Here is a video interview from the Director of a company that was destroyed by cyber attack, please take the time to watch this, it could be your business!

  • The client was a web service provider
  • Established their business in 2002
  • They had 200,000 domain names
  • Total revenue of $50,000,000
  • 30 Staff
  • 3,000 resellers
  • Hacked in 2011
  • The business was destroyed in 2 weeks
By the source below 21 Jul, 2016

The following article was published in the Gold Coast Bulletin following our ANZIIF nomination for broker of the year. We are very proud that we are a finalist for the prestigious award:

BURLEIGH BASED insurance broker Austbrokers Coast to Coast is in the running for a national award.

The company, headed by Nigel King and Dale Hansen, is a finalist in the 2016 Australian Insurance Industry Awards in the Small Broking Company of the Year category.

It is the only Gold Coast and Queensland finalist in the national awards.

The small broking category is highly competitive and offered to brokerages that have demonstrated strong performance and outstanding service for their customers.

"The brokers that reach the finalist stage must be truly exceptional," CEO of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance, Prue Willsford, said.

"Austbrokers Coast to Coast is a brokerage that strives for excellence."

The winners will be announced in Sydney of August 31.

By the source below 22 Jun, 2016

El Nino is officially over, with the Bureau of Meteorology confirming tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures and trade winds have returned to a neutral state.

The weather phenomenon usually brings high temperatures and low rainfall to large areas of Australia, and the latest event was one of the strongest on record.

The bureau says there is little chance of a comeback for this El Nino, and six out of eight international climate models suggest the opposite phenomenon, La Nina, is likely to form between now and August.

La Nina is associated with above-average winter/spring rainfall over northern, central and eastern Australia, and tends to have a greater impact on insurers due to the prevalence of flooding.

Climate models also suggest a negative Indian Ocean Dipole event is likely this winter, which typically brings increased rainfall to southern Australia.

The El Nino had dramatic effects in Australia and across the world, including an early start to the fire season, which led to devastating blazes in Victoria, SA, WA and Tasmania.

Large areas of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which had not seen fire for centuries, were severely damaged.

In Queensland, fewer clouds and less tropical rain helped create conditions for the most severe Great Barrier Reef coral-bleaching event on record.

However, El Nino also contributed to a record low number of tropical cyclones during the northern wet season.

Just three were recorded, with the previous record being five in 1987/88 and 2006/07 – both El Nino years.

By the source below 22 Jun, 2016

It's nearly that time of the year again when the Fair Work Commission will hand down the increase the Minimum Wage (FMW). This will mean that all Award rates of pay will increase by the increase that is pronounced. As is always the case, the announcement is expected in early to mid-June with an operative date of the first pay period on or after 1 July 2016.

How much will the increase be?

As is always the case, the peak Employer bodies and the Unions are "poles-apart" on their submissions for the increase. Employers are arguing for a modest 1.2% increase, while the ACTU submits that the increase should be a flat $30.00 per week I have long given up on trying to accurately predict the increase, however the trend since I can recall has been that the increase is about .5% -1% higher than the current CPI figure. In the last 5 years or so, the increase has been between 2.5% and just under 3%. CPI is currently running at about 1.3 - 1.5%. The recent interest rate cut by the RBA may also have an impact on the outcome.

So I'm going to hazard a guess and suggest that the increase will be between 2.3% and 2.5% - the lowest for a long time. But don’t be surprised if the increase is a flat dollar amount because we have had 5 years of percentage increases which results in an expansion in the range of wages, and the FWC may want to curb that expansion this year.

Do I have to pay the increase?

The question I'm often asked at this time is "Do I have to pass on the increase to my staff?" The short answer is yes; if you pay your staff under the Award.

However, if you pay your staff wages or salaries over the Award, then it may well be that you can absorb any increase into that over-Award payment. But much will depend upon the employment contract or letter of appointment that you have with the staff member and how the over-Award payment is expressed in those documents.

If you would like further information in relation to this issue, and whether the FMW increase can be absorbed into above Award payments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

"Since the writing of the article, the Fair Work Commission have announced a 2.4% increase in Award wages operative from 1 July 2016. If you would like information as to the application of this increase, and whether or not it can be absorbed into over-Award payments, please contact Effective Workplace Solutions"

By the source below 22 Jun, 2016

One thing is becoming clear about cyber risks: the problem is much bigger than any organization’s information technology department.

My background as an IT leader and information security professional before I joined XL Catlin gives me a good vantage point on how businesses can make the mistake of thinking that cyber risk begins – and ends – with their technology operations. Regardless of a company’s size and resources, IT operations play a critically important role in cybersecurity. But the total cost of cyber risk affects the entire enterprise, and a cyber incident frequently causes problems that no IT professional, however talented, can solve.

Business continuity, third-party liability, reputational damage and regulatory compliance – those are beyond the purview of IT. A well-run IT department can minimize downtime and get systems back up, which is critical. The value of data and the cost of a disruption, however, are ultimately determined by the data owners in the business operations. While a system shutdown can be catastrophic for some organizations, business interruption and data recovery insurance are available to mitigate that risk. Regulations regarding cyber security are evolving, and insurance is available to manage that uncertainty too.

"The complexity of responding to a cyber incident and communicating with stakeholders are strong reasons to have a team, such as an executive control group."

But the business itself must communicate with its employees, customers, investors and perhaps regulators, after an incident. If a data breach has occurred, a forensic investigation and notification of affected parties are likely required. A strong, unified message is critical to convey, and that is best delivered with the help of senior executives and crisis communication professionals. One of the valuable benefits of cyber insurance is access to expert resources, from PR to forensics to IT specialists, who can quickly come in to assist.

The complexity of responding to a cyber incident and communicating with stakeholders are strong reasons to have a team, such as an executive control group. The composition of such a team depends on the size of the entity and the nature of its business. In larger organizations, it likely will include enterprise risk management staff as well as C-level leaders, such as the chief technology or chief information officer. For smaller and midsize organizations, the team might include the general counsel, chief operating officer and the head of IT, for example. Regardless of the specific titles, the functions that need to come together to discuss cyber risk include risk management, operations, IT, legal, marketing and communications. Ideally, a cyber risk steering committee or group is convened to ensure that all relevant areas of the organization are represented and kept informed. The job of managing cyber risk shouldn’t fall to one person, however; a cyber risk team can ensure that the entire organization understands the risk and adjusts procedures accordingly.

It’s important to think about cyber insurance as similar to property or commercial general liability – as a form of protection that your organization needs to continue operating.

Midsize companies have particular challenges when it comes to cyber risk. Often they have fewer IT resources, which makes them attractive targets for cyber attacks. Statistics on cyber attacks bear this out. The   2015 Cyber Claims Study    from risk assessment firm   NetDiligence    found that 71% of cyber claims came from organizations with less than $2 billion in revenue, and 56% came from those firms with less than $300 million.

Many midsize companies also have contractual requirements with bigger organizations that increase their need for high cyber insurance limits. Based on their own perceived exposure, a midsize organization might not think it needs to purchase a lot of cyber insurance coverage, but that situation can change if a business relationship requires it. The lesson here is to look closely at your business and all risks relating to your systems and networks. How long could your firm afford to remain offline, if a cyber incident disrupted your IT operations? Could your company lose revenue or customers if that happened? Would you be able to meet your obligations to business partners?

There is a lot to understanding and managing cyber risk. A team approach is a good way to cover the bases, as well as working with expert resources and strong insurance partners to help protect your business.

About the Author

Sean M. Donahue is assistant vice president and underwriter, Cyber and Technology Insurance, at XL Catlin. Before joining XL Catlin in 2014, he was an information technology professional and holds the designations of Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Certified Ethical Hacker.

By the source below 22 Jun, 2016

I n less than 300 seconds you can experience the speed and intensity of a cyber attack. Today companies can defend themselves, taking control of the situation - effectively fighting back. Are you prepared?

Call us to help you prepare yourself

By the source below 20 May, 2016
Online shopping is an excellent way to get the best deal on many sort of products, so it can be tempting to head online when it comes time to buy insurance too. But there are some pitfalls to the process, as this new NIBATV video explains.
By the source below 20 May, 2016

It is indisputable that the provision of free information and free services online is continuing its meteoric rise and the provision of legal services is no different.

Generally speaking, these free online legal services seem to fall roughly within 3 categories:

1. Giving of legal advice over the internet through Q&A style forum

Of perhaps most concern are those forums where answers are not even provided by a lawyer but by members themselves. The members are then ranked or given points by whether the recipient (who is in no real position to know if the answer is accurate or not) found the answer helpful. Obtaining legal advice from a person without proper legal training and experience (no matter how well intentioned that person is and how confident that person sounds in their answer) is a recipe for disaster.

Even for those forums where “lawyers” are giving the answers (and what checks are carried out to ensure they are current lawyers entitled to practise), there is such limited scope for that lawyer to obtain proper details about the issues, that the risks of the advice not being appropriate or insufficient are still quite high.

Of the sites that were reviewed for the preparation of this article, it became quite apparent that many answers are either so vague as to be unhelpful or just plain wrong.

In fact, the United Kingdom’s Guardian has previously published an article about “Law on the Web” (self-proclaimed “UK’s biggest source of Information”) which article is located at

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jun/12/pitfalls-online-legal-advice   .

Referring to one piece of advice given by that website, the Guardian article stated “   This is just wrong in ways that may well leave a landlord relying on it in something of a mess   ” and “   Again, with a heavy sigh, this is just wrong.  

Then “   So, even from this sample, it is clear that the 'legal advice' provided is sometimes vague and imprecise to the point of being useless. At worst it is downright inaccurate in ways that may cause substantial problems for anyone, landlord or tenant, who relied upon it.“          

So if you are given legal advice on one of these forums and the advice is wrong, then you would be entitled to seek any damage you suffer from the lawyer who gave that advice, however practically speaking how do you do that?   There are simply insufficient details to allow you to properly identify the lawyer (to allow you to take the action), so you are left in the hope that the website provider will provide these details (and we don’t like your chances….).

2. Provision of Legal Documents

Whilst on a brief review, some of the documents provided on these websites do at least provide a basic level of detail – any proficient lawyer knows the real devil is in the detail.

Looking at a partnership agreement for example, whilst some online partnership agreements appear to provide at least a basic level of competent detail, they simply do not go far enough in encapsulating the expectations and assumptions the partners may have in the partnership (such as the agreed roles and time commitments of the partners and any authority stipulations, whether each partner’s time is to be valued equally etc – all rich sources of potential future disputes for the partners).

Then there is the lack of advice and warning about the terms. For example, some online partnership agreements contain provisions that “time is of the essence” with absolutely no warning about what that means. Put briefly, it means that if one partner fails to comply with an obligation on that partner under the agreement by the time stated in the agreement the other partner(s) has/have a right to terminate the partnership agreement (and seek damages for any loss those non-defaulting partners suffer as a consequence of the termination) without allowing the defaulting partner the chance to remedy their default. That might be useful for the partners to know, before they sign that agreement!!

So coupling the lack of detail in the documents with the lack of advice about the terms and effect of the documents, is in our view a disaster waiting to happen.

3. Online Referral

Finally, there is the online lawyer referral service. Sometimes these services have managed to locate the “best” solicitor in your area and sometimes that lawyers has agreed to provide their services at a fixed price.

Sometimes the websites promise that the lawyers have in fact been “handpicked” and that the lawyers are the best in the legal industry. When did such flagrant advertising in the legal industry become acceptable? Yes, there might have been an interview process and yes, not all applicants might have been accepted, but how can it possibly be asserted that the lawyers they picked are the best in the legal industry?  

We are often approached by such organisations asking us to join them and they will list our services (and of course there is a fee). We decline to participate, however if we had joined does that mean we are entitled to be held out to the public at large as the best in the industry?

Whilst some of the Law Firms on these websites are in fact very reputable firms with very competent lawyers, would they themselves represent to people that they are the best in the industry?? We would think not. Those claims are certainly not made on the websites of those participating firms that we checked. If you are in fact the best in the industry, wouldn’t you want people visiting your website to know that?

When it comes to the fixed price service, it then appears that some of these “best lawyers” can offer the service at a fixed price some 25% of the other “best lawyers”. Assuming for the sake of the argument that they are all the best lawyers in the industry and that each will give you a level of care expected from the best lawyers in the legal industry (so the products will all be comparable you would assume), why are some of the lawyers  charging 4 times as much as others??

In truth, these websites are nothing more than a flagrant advertising service for those lawyers, making claims those lawyers themselves are not prepared to make on their own websites. Whilst the notion of fixed cost services is no doubt attractive to some people, most lawyers will be prepared to negotiate a fixed price for the types of services these websites offer (ie the production of a draft pro forma agreement).

Do not get caught up in the hype of these websites. Recognise these sites for what they are. If you cannot trust their fundamental promise that the lawyers they have located are the best in the legal industry, how can you have any faith in the site at all and those people involved.

We recommend that you always seek a referral for law firms by word of mouth, from someone that you know and trust. Otherwise, contact the Law Society for your state.

By the source below 20 May, 2016

Trade credit risk for Australian businesses has never been higher, according to specialist trade credit insurance broker NCI.

NCI’s latest Trade Credit Risk Index Score   for the first quarter of 2016 was characterised by some large insolvency activity, including My Baby Warehouse, Dick Smith and mining and steel manufacturer Arrium Ltd.

The Index also reveals an 80% increase in claims lodged in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same period a year ago, while advertising, building and hardware businesses had the highest value of claims received.

Further insolvencies are being predicted by NCI, given the high level of overdue reporting.

"The slowdown in the economic environment, especially in mining services and retail sales has had an impact on many of our customer's clients," Kirk Cheeseman, Managing Director of NCI, told   Broker Buzz   . "The January-to-end-of-March period is seasonally a peak period for insolvency, but the first quarter of 2016 has definitely been an increase on prior years."

Outlining why the advertising, building and hardware sectors have been particularly hard hit, Cheesman added: "Any large insolvency, such as Dick Smith, or retail brands, normally have a media or advertising credit insurance loss attached to it.

"The building and hardware industries link to building contractors, home builders, electricians, plumbers and other mining services companies whom all have struggled over the past six months. Hence the level of insolvencies at the lower end of the contracting or building food chain where margins are extremely fine have been hit."

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Cheesman suggests the outlook is "murky rather than gloomy".

"Our statistics are showing a high level of defaults in overdue payments and collection activity. Where there is an increase in these actions, typically it will result in a higher level of insolvency activity in to the next six to 12 months," he said.

"However it is a good time for businesses to review their customers and the credit levels they are granting to ensure their customers have the facilities and capability to cope with tough economic conditions and have a good level of capital support to get them through the harder times."

By the source below 20 May, 2016

The facts

The 12 year old plaintiff was an outstanding young swimmer. Just prior to the incident, she was age champion at her school and in the District, was a multiple medalist at Regional and State levels, had appeared in the top 10 age rankings at National level in four events, and was expected to compete in at least four events in the Australian Age Nationals later that year.

On 7 January 2008, the plaintiff was undertaking a training program at Lithgow Memorial Swimming Pool which was managed by Lithgow City Council (   council   ). The plaintiff was training with two friends, Tom and Jordan Brodie, under the supervision of their father (   Mr Brodie   ). The training program was written by her coach (   Mr Critoph   ) who was the swimming coach of Kinross Wolaroi School (   school   ), however, as he was away at the time he gave the program to Mr Brodie to implement with his two sons and the plaintiff.

The training program involved each swimmer diving 10 times from the deep end and 10 times from the shallow end. When commencing her second dive, but first dive from the shallow end, the plaintiff's foot slipped in what may have been a puddle of water and she collided with the bottom of the pool, rendering her tetraplegic. The plaintiff had dived from the concourse (not a diving block), and was standing near, or on, a '   no diving'   sign.

The plaintiff was undertaking a    track-start'    dive, taught by Mr Critoph, which involved placing one foot on the edge of the concourse/block with toes gripping its edge, and placing the second foot some 50-60cm to the rear. Swimmers then lean down, placing hands at the edge of the concourse/block, and then propel themselves into the water using both hands and feet. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff would have performed track-dives on hundreds, but more probably thousands, of occasions.

The plaintiff subsequently claimed damages in negligence against the school, having a non-delegable duty of care for its servant/agent (Mr Brodie while supplementing Mr Critoph’s role), on the basis that it failed to conduct an inspection or risk assessment of the pool    'in respect of its suitability to be used for swimming training exercises involving dive entry into the shallow end'   when there were non-coping tiles, for failing to warn the plaintiff of the risk of injury in performing    'track-start'     dives, and failing to teach the plaintiff how to abort the dive to avoid injury. None of the allegations referred to any provisions of the   Civil Liability Act 2003   (Qld) (   CLA   ).

The plaintiff also claimed damages against the council for failing to prohibit dives from the shallow end of the pool (under the supervision of Mr Brodie or otherwise), and failing to have a sign that read    'Warning: Dive Entries Permitted by Trained Swimmer Under Coach’s Supervision Only'     in accordance with SU22, the supervisory guideline issued by Royal Life Saving Society Australia (   RLSSA   ).

The trial judge gave a verdict in favour of the plaintiff against the school on the basis that it was unreasonable that the school encouraged the plaintiff to use the '   track-start'   dive at the shallow end of the pool, especially when gripping coping tiles were lacking.

The plaintiff, however, failed against the council as it would not have been reasonable for the council to be aware of the increased risk associated with '   track-start'   dives, the difference between    'track-start'   or other dives, or of the importance of gripping coping tiles.

The plaintiff appealed the decision against the council. The school also appealed.


The following issues were considered:

  1. Whether the trial judge erred in finding that the school was liable (for reasons outlined above); and
  2. Whether the trial judge erred in finding that the council was not liable.


Appeal against the council

The Court of Appeal considered the RLSSA guidelines, expert evidence, and academic literature from the Department of Education and Training and Department of Local Government regarding the plaintiff's allegation that the council ought to have been aware of an increased risk of executing    'track-start'   dives and the importance of the coping tiles.

The Court of Appeal found that the plaintiff failed to establish that the council was, or ought reasonably to have been, aware of the literature, and that there was nothing in the literature that would have alerted the council to the increased risk of the track-start dive or coping tiles in any event.

The Court of Appeal also found that pursuant to SU22 of the RLSSA, the absence of any warning sign had no relevance to the plaintiff as a trained competitive swimmer.

The plaintiff’s appeal against the council was dismissed.

School's appeal

The Court of Appeal was critical that the plaintiff made no allegations pursuant to the CLA, such as whether the risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable to the school for the purposes of s 5B of the CLA. The importance of pleadings and submissions was emphasised.

The Court of Appeal found:

  1. There was no evidence to suggest that if the plaintiff had been trained to abort the    'track-start'   dive, that she could or would have done so on the date of the incident;
  2. When considering the available literature, there was no basis for the school to have been aware of that literature, and any increased risk associated with    'track-start'   dives, particularly given the literature indicated the safety of the    'track-start'   dive compared to other diving techniques;
  3. Ultimately the plaintiff’s foot slipped when executing the '   track-start'   dive which was causative of her fall, rather than as a result of non-gripping tiles; and
  4. Given the above, the alleged failure of the school in carrying out a risk assessment was not causative of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Lessons to be learned

This decision demonstrates that even in the event that the plaintiff’s foot was found to have slipped on the tiles whilst attempting to execute a '   track-start'     dive, it did not automatically follow that the tiles were defective or unsuitable or that a risk assessment would have identified any risk which could have prevented the incident from occurring. There was also no evidence to suggest that the plaintiff could have been trained to abort a dive gone wrong, or that she would have done so on the day of the incident. Further, just because literature is available that provides commentary and recommendations regarding diving, it does not automatically follow that being aware of the literature could have prevented the incident from occurring.

Public liability insurers ought to consider whether the availability of guidelines and expert opinion, lack of site inspections and risk assessments, and any failure to train is likely to impact whether the incident would have occurred in any event.

By the source below 22 Apr, 2016

Please join us in congratulating Dale Hansen for achieving this prestigious award. Insurance Business Magazine will go to print this month with their top 10 insurance brokers across Australia of which Dale has been included, recognising his commitment to the industry and his business.

The Insurance Business Elite Brokers ranking system is an objective means of ranking the best-performing insurance brokers in the country – not just those with the biggest portfolios or the largest clients.

Of particular interest was a discernible correlation between the level of satisfaction and the depth of the service provided by surveyed clients’ brokers. The Index reports that, generally, the brokers with highly satisfied clients provided service extending beyond the basics. More specifically, it found that brokers with highly satisfied clients were far more likely to provide an in-depth analysis of all of the options available to those clients, and to provide information on changes to insurance and/or regulatory requirements.

By the source below 22 Apr, 2016

The following article reminds us of the importance of making sure we are correctly insured for all aspects of storm damage including flood.   Please contact us if you have any concerns about your cover.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a 50% chance a La Nina weather system will develop later this year, bringing with it above-average rainfall and the prospect of floods.

The current El Nino continues to weaken, with Pacific Ocean temperatures falling fast, and the likelihood is increasing of it moving straight into the opposite La Nina effect.

While El Nino generally brings drier, warmer conditions to Australia, La Nina is associated with much higher catastrophe losses for insurers.

Five out of eight surveyed models suggest a La Nina is likely, with three neutral, while continuing record Indian Ocean warmth is expected to provide extra moisture for rain systems crossing Australia in the autumn.

However, the bureau warns forecasts at this time of year can be inaccurate, with a clearer picture likely to emerge in coming months.

By the source below 22 Apr, 2016

For Australian consumers who bought Patties brand Nanna’s and Creative Gourmet mixed frozen berries early last year, the risk of hepatitis A also allegedly came with the purchase. The berries were linked with 31 cases of this serious illness and the resulting product recall in February 2015 wiped more than AU$14 million from the annual profits of Patties Foods.

The Patties Foods berry scandal was a warning to all companies to pay closer attention to supply chain quality control. But it also highlighted the serious financial risks associated with product recalls and was a red flag for many companies to consider purchasing product recall insurance.


The complexities of an increasingly global supply chain, coupled with a tightening of product safety regulations around the world are leading to a rise in product recalls.

In 2014, there were more than 500 product recalls in Australia and this year is already proving to be a busy one. In the first two weeks of 2016 hoverboards, dining chairs and motorcycles were being removed from sale due to dangerous potential faults.

In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 803 separate vehicle recalls in 2014. In New Zealand, there were 27 food recalls in 2014 compared with 13 the year before. Companies in China carried out 72 consumer product recalls; however, its product recall system covers limited categories and is currently under review in order to enhance customer safety, China Daily says.

It’s not just the lesser-known brands that are suffering recall issues. Leading electrical goods company Samsung is tracking down 144,451 washing machines (with 45,047 currently unaccounted for) that have been responsible for 252 fires and other incidents in Australia since 2013. Supermarkets in New Zealand removed packets of Beehive Shaved Champagne Ham from their shelves in December 2015 over fears they could contain listeria. In the US and Canada, popular label Lululemon recalled 318,000 women’s tops in June 2015 as their elastic drawstrings were deemed at risk of causing harm to wearers. Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s recent and highly publicised recall and refit of 11 million cars worldwide will be among the biggest product recalls in history.


In most cases it is the supplier that initiates a recall (under Australian consumer law ‘suppliers’ include manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers). They are required to notify in writing the Commonwealth Minister responsible for consumer affairs within two days of initiating the recall. They must cease production and distribution and remove unsafe products from the marketplace. They are also required to notify the public through avenues such as advertising or social media announcements and to inform those within their domestic supply chainn some instances, product recalls are initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“The ACCC can either guide or attempt to convince a supplier that a recall would be desirable,” explains Kieran O’Brien, Partner with law firm DLA Piper. “Of course, there can be situations where the regulator says they are going to institute a direct mandatory recall. That’s rare, but it has the power to do so, and so it should because there can always be an organisation that just doesn’t listen.

“A manufacturer or supplier that allows matters to get to that stage clearly leaves itself open to sanctions down the track."


For companies not large enough to self-insure, product recall insurance is increasingly viewed as a strategic purchase and a key feature of an overall risk management policy. While public liability insurance covers third-party losses arising from bodily injury or property damage, product recall insurance predominately covers a company’s own losses, including business interruption caused by reputational damage or the loss of gross profits, usually for a period of 12 months.

Product recall insurance also covers the cost of recalling products and may cover rehabilitation expenses, such as the advertising costs associated with restoring consumer confidence and the cost of promotional offers. In most instances, it also includes the cost of crisis consultants and public relations advisers to help mitigate reputational damage associated with product recalls.

Michael Lincoln, Underwriting Manager, Crisis Management Solutions at Liberty International Underwriters, says some product liability insurance products provide product recall extensions. However, he describes them as the “poor cousin” of market-leading Product Recall Insurance. “It may provide either first- or third-party recall costs, but does not cover what is commonly the most expensive parts of a recall, such as replacement costs and business interruption,” he says.

Tony Parington, Director and Underwriter at Sterling Insurance, says coverage largely depends on the circumstances surrounding a product recall. “You have to look at the trigger,” he says. “Imagine if you were to produce bottled water and it’s perfectly safe but the colour of the water was not the prettiest. You want to distribute it all over town but you realise that no one is going to buy it because of the colour. In that scenario, if that water cannot harm anyone and it’s just an aesthetic thing, there’s no claim. That’s a commercial loss to your business.”


Product recall is a risk faced by any company that manufactures, imports or distributes consumable or non-consumable goods. Jae Ramsbotham, Senior Underwriter Crisis Management at AIG, says analysing this risk is a significant task for underwriters. “We need to thoroughly analyse the company’s operations and processes and the exposures pertinent to the industry,” she says.

In assessing the risk, an underwriter generally seeks evidence of a company’s quality assurance programs, including food and site security measures. They will also request documents such as food safety audit reports, recall and business continuity plans and supplier or manufacturer contractual agreements.

 “We would then work with the client’s insurance broker to establisha tailored policy that meets the needs of the clients based on the information provided,” says Jae. “An underwriter is charged with finding the very tight balance between client satisfaction, coverage, premium cost and commercially viable terms for all.”

Some product lines are considered high risk. Tony says dairy products often present red flags. “Cheese and dairy products often have a lot of claims and that’s just the nature of the beast,” he says. “You can always argue that there’s never going to be enough premium pool to pay for those claims.”

In some instances, products are simply too difficult to insure for recall. “We get people coming to us [for recall insurance] for building products,” says Tony. “It could be a bolt or a screw that’s used in trucks. The problem in that scenario is how do you recall it? You can only trace it to a certain point.”Tony adds that individual and cites the pigment used to colour red lipsticks, which is often made from crushed cochineal bugs. “If you have that as an ingredient and it was somehow contaminated, how do you recall all of those products?”


Insurers stress that clients should inform them as soon as possible in the event of a product recall. “The adverse media coverage that may follow even a single product recall incident poses a significant threat to consumer confidence, hard-won retail space, important contracts, market share and brand credibility,” says Jae.

“Zero risk does not exist,” she adds. “Even the best risk management programs may reduce the likelihood of an incident but do not completely eliminate risk. Accidents do happen and when they occur a company has to be able to manage the consequences.”


Between 2010 and 2013, up to 40,000 homes across Australia were wired with 4,000km of substandard electrical cables sourced from Infinity Cable Company. With insufficient plastic insulation, the cables are expected to become prematurely brittle, leading to fire and electrocution hazards.

In August 2014, the Infinity cables were recalled by 18 electrical retailers and wholesalers due to safety concerns.

Suresh Manickam, CEO of the National Electrical and Communications Association, says he would like to see an industry push for recall insurance to be a mandatory requirement for wholesalers and distributors in order to protect both contractors and consumers.

“It’s pertinent in our industry because faulty products have the propensity to kill,” he says. “While mandatory recall insurance would certainly address the symptoms, we also need to tackle the root of the problem, which is that products are coming into the country that are not up to Australian standards.

”The owner of Infinity Cable Company currently faces a criminal charge and the company is in liquidation. Meanwhile, the recall is estimated to have cost AU$80 million.

By the source below 22 Apr, 2016


In the last decade and a half, there has been a significant increase in the casualisation of workforces. This has resulted in a blurring of the lines between workers who are truly employees and those who are contractors. Often, these arrangements are not properly documented which can make it difficult to determine whether someone is an employee or a contractor.

This has ramifications for commercial organisations of all sizes and especially their liability insurers as it brings into focus the issue of whether an injury giving rise to a claim should be covered under a liability policy or a statutory workers' compensation policy.

This article examines how it is determined whether someone is an employee or a contractor and which claims are likely to be caught under the workers' compensation policy in Queensland.

Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act

The amendments to the   Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003   (Qld) (   WCRA   ) in 2013 were most notable for the introduction of the 5% degree of permanent impairment (   DPI   ) threshold for access to common law damages. Despite that threshold having recently been repealed, some of the 2013 amendments remain in place. This includes the definition of '   worker',  which was essentially restricted so as to no longer include contractors, except in limited circumstances.

Determining whether a claimant is a contractor or an employee is usually uncontroversial. If a claimant is an employee, then the statutory workers' compensation policy will most likely respond. If, on the other hand, the claimant is a contractor, then the public liability policy of the hirer will most likely respond.

There are times, however, when it is unclear whether a claimant is an employee or a contractor. There are also times when a claimant is treated as a contractor when, in fact, he or she is an employee, at least from the perspective of the Australian Tax Office (   ATO   ). This has obvious implications for policy response.

Definition of '   worker'   Pursuant to s 11 of the WCRA:

(1) A worker is a person who-

(a) works under a contract; and

(b) in relation to the work, is an employee for the purpose of assessment for PAYG withholding under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth), schedule 1, part 2-5.

(2) Also, schedule 2, part 1 sets out who is a worker in particular circumstances.

(3) However, schedule 2, part 2 sets out who is not a worker in particular circumstances.’

Therefore, subject to schedule 2, there are two limbs that must be satisfied in order for a person to be classified as a   ‘worker’   for the purposes of the WCRA:

  1. The person must perform work under a contract; and
  2. The person must be an employee for the purposes of the   Taxation Administration Act 1953   (Cth) (   TAA   ).

'Works under a contract'

There is no qualification as to the type of contract that must be performed. Having regard to the ordinary principles of contract law, all that is probably required is that the work be performed in exchange for some form of consideration. There is no requirement that the contract be in writing.


The term '   employee'     is not defined in the TAA.

The ATO has released a tax ruling   1   to provide guidance as to who is an employee for the purposes of the TAA. The tax ruling essentially provides that the term '   employee'   has its ordinary meaning as defined by the common law.

Consistent with the common law, the tax ruling recognises that parties are free to choose the nature of the contract which they make between themselves. However, their own characterisation of that contract will not be conclusive.

As stated in the tax ruling:

'If the underlying reality of the relationship is one of employment the parties cannot alter that fact by merely having the contract state (or have the worker acknowledge) that the worker's status is that of an independent contractor.'   2

Key indicia of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor include:

  • Control;
  • Basis of payment;
  • Delegation;
  • Risk; and
  • Provision of tools and equipment.


This indicator, which has been referred to as the '   classic test'   3   for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, relates to the degree of control exercised over the worker in respect of the work performed.

If, for example, a worker is told what work to perform, how and where to perform the work, and when to perform the work, then this degree of control is indicative of an employer/employee relationship.

While the degree of control probably remains the most significant criterion for determining the nature of the relationship, other factors still need to be taken into account.

Basis of payment

In simple terms, this relates to whether a worker is paid for the time spent performing the work or paid for the results. If a worker is paid on an hourly basis, then this is indicative of an employer/employee relationship. If, on the other hand, a worker is paid for a particular result (for example, the quantity of fruit picked or trees cut) then this is indicative of a principal/contractor relationship.

There can be instances, however, when a worker is paid for achieving specific results but is still an employee. In   Hollis v Vabu   4   the High Court considered that payment to the bicycle couriers per delivery, rather than per time period engaged, was a natural means to remunerate employees whose sole purpose is to perform deliveries.   5   This was in the context of other factors which, as a whole, tended to suggest that the workers were employees.


This relates to whether or not the worker has power or authority to delegate the work and pay someone else to perform the work. If a worker has an unlimited power of delegation, then this is indicative of a principal/contractor relationship.   6   If, on the other hand, the worker is required to perform the work personally, then this may be more consistent with an employer/employee relationship.


This relates to who bears the commercial risk arising out of an injury or defect in carrying out the work. In an employer/employee relationship, the employer bears the risk. If, on the other hand, the relationship is such that the worker bears the risk, then this is indicative of a principal/contractor relationship. A contractor will typically take out their own liability insurance in such circumstances.

Provision of tools and equipment

If a worker provides his or her own tools and equipment, then this can be indicative of a principal/contractor relationship. If the business provides the tools and equipment, or, alternatively, pays the worker to provide his or her own tools and equipment, then this is consistent with an employer/employee relationship.

This, however, is not determinative. For example, in   Hollis   , the workers, whom the High Court determined were employees, supplied their own bicycles and many of their own accessories.

This highlights the fact that it is the    'totality of the relationship'   that must be taken into account when determining whether a worker is an employee or a contractor for the purposes of the TAA.

Dispelling the myths

There are several misconceptions relating to the identification of independent contractors. The first is that, if a worker issues invoices for the work he or she is undertaking, then the worker is a contractor. This is not necessarily correct. As discussed, whether or not the worker is a contractor will depend on the characteristics and key indicia of the arrangement.

Another misconception is that, if a contract of engagement specifies that the worker is a contactor, then that is determinative of the nature of the relationship. Again, while relevant, this is not correct for the reasons mentioned.

Finally, if a worker has an ABN, then he or she must be a contractor. Again, this is not necessarily correct.

Employee/contractor decision tool

The ATO website provides useful guidance for assessing whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. This includes an ' employee/contractor decision tool'   7   which allows the user to enter information into an online questionnaire and, based on the responses, will indicate whether the worker is an employee or contactor. While this is not determinative, it is a useful starting point for assessing the relevant relationship.


To illustrate the point, the following is an example of what can happen.

Joe is engaged by Clean Me Pty Ltd to carry out cleaning work in a commercial building. There is no contract of engagement. Joe considers himself to be an independent contractor and issues tax invoices to Clean Me for the work he performs. Clean Me pays the full invoice amount and does not withhold any tax.

Joe is told by Clean Me that he must clean the building between 5am and 7am, Monday to Friday. He is paid on an hourly basis and is provided with the cleaning equipment by Clean Me. Joe is not authorised to delegate the work to anyone else.

Joe suffers an injury during the course of his work and sues Clean Me.

While Joe, on the face of it, appears to be a contractor, on balance he is likely to be an employee for the purposes of the TAA.

Accordingly, Joe is probably a '   worker'   for the purposes of the WCRA and the statutory policy will probably respond to the claim.

While '   employee'   exclusions in public liability policies differ from policy to policy, the intention generally is that the exclusion will be engaged in circumstances where the workers' compensation policy responds. On that basis, Clean Me’s public liability policy will probably not respond to the claim and dual insurance will not apply.


The key point to remember here is that a 'c   ontractor'   is not always a contractor, a '   contractor'   can sometimes be an employee.

It is important to not take an arrangement between a claimant worker and his or her '   employer'   at face value. It is the characteristics of the relationship, not any labels placed on it, or the way in which the parties treat the relationship, that will determine the nature or the relationship.

The starting point for assessing the relationship will often be the contract of engagement.

A failure to properly assess a work relationship may result in a liability policy responding to a claim when, in fact, it ought not to.


1   TR 2005/16 –   "Income tax: Pay As You Go - withholding from payments to employees."  
2   TR 2005/16, para. 18 – referring to   Commissioner of State Taxation v The Roy Morgan Research Centre Pty Ltd   [2004] SASC 288; 2004 ATC 4933; (2004) 57 ATR 147.
3   See   Hollis v Vabu   (2001) 207 CLR 21,   Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Company Pty Ltd   (1986) 63 ALR 513 at 525.
4   (2001) 207 CLR 21.
5   Ibid at 44.
6   Stevens v Brodribb Sawmilling Company Pty Ltd   (1986) 63 ALR 513 at 517 and 519.
7   https://www.ato.gov.au/Calculators-and-tools/Host/?anchor=ECDTSGET&anchor=ECDTSGET/questions/ECD... .

By the source below 24 Mar, 2016

A new report from the Financial Rights Legal Centre shows claimants routinely find insurance fraud investigations to be lengthy and intimidating and that their guilt is being prejudged.


By the source below 24 Mar, 2016

The Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) says it is too soon to tell whether homes constructed to “bushfire-proof” standards were among those destroyed in the Christmas Day blaze along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

CSIRO is completing a report on the fire that destroyed 116 homes around Wye River and Separation Creek. It will cover the performance of properties built to standards recommended by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

While declining to pre-empt the report’s findings, BBCA CEO Kate Cotter admits building a home to approved codes will not always save it.

“Even the best building code will struggle to make a big enough difference at the local level, [depending on conditions],” Ms Cotter told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“You’ll never be able to design your way out of [a fire like Wye River blaze], but there’s certainly more we can do to make homes safer.”

The CSIRO report will consider whether homes were lost due to a failure of the building codes or non-compliance.

The BBCA has revealed to insuranceNEWS.com.au it expects to release a national ratings system that assesses fire risk at a township level, to ensure local characteristics are factored into fire mitigation for homes and land use.

“If you don’t address bushfire risk on a township-wide basis, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at building new fire-proof buildings,” Ms Cotter said.

“We know from experience that local issues are not adequately addressed [in planning for bushfires]. In Wye River, for example, new houses built to the latest standards were next door to old houses.”

Ms Cotter believes the BBCA’s rating system will provide communities and local governments with the information needed to adopt localised bushfire risk management strategies.

“A star rating system for townships will give governments the tools to address risk. It will be up to shire councils to decide whether they want to have a go at enforcing standards based on our assessment of local conditions and particular problems associated with each township.”

By the source below 24 Mar, 2016

To compliment the top 5 most common claims, below are some tips on how your small business clients could minimise these incidents occurring to them.
    Preventing the top 5 most common claims  

There are several simple steps small businesses can take to prevent the top 5 most common claims from happening to them. Below are some tips on how your clients could minimise some of the most common claims.

1. Theft & Burglary

  • Install security systems to protect your business against theft and burglary
  • Secure all doors, windows or other access points when the business is unattended, and install adequate lighting in exterior and interior areas to deter trespassers
  • Conduct background checks on employees, and enlist their help in reducing theft
  • Ensure you have a system for tracking and managing inventory

2. Storm Damage

  • Understand the geography of your area, taking into consideration storm damage risks (eg proximity of trees, or elevation for storm water run-off)
  • Trim any overhanging tree branches
  • Check your building is in good condition, particularly the roof, gutters and eaves
  • Secure loose objects that could become missiles in high winds, and anchor outdoor equipment or material
  • Plan your business for the possibility of an extended power outage – including where you would relocate any perishable stock or arrange for Business Interruption cover

3.  Property Damage (Accidental & Malicious)

  • Ensure your business premises is well maintained, and proactively repair any small issues
  • Install security systems to deter vandalism and other malicious damage

4.  Machinery & Equipment breakdown

  • Implement regular proactive checks and maintenance of you machinery and equipment
  • Properly store equipment and machinery, ensuring electrical connections are clear of dust and obstructions
  • Use your equipment in the way it was intended (don’t run at over-capacity or in unfavourable environmental conditions) by experienced and trained operators
  • Don’t ignore warning signals, and replace worn parts

5. Liability (Property Damage)

  • Put systems in place to ensure you handle clients’ property with care and diligence, training employees on these systems
By the source below 01 Mar, 2016

Insurance do’s and don’ts: Check your policy to see you have the cover you need.

You are overseas on a three-month trip of a lifetime and a freak storm wreaks havoc on your home. You didn’t tell your insurer of your travel plans and now you may not be covered for the damage.

You’ve left your work tablet in the back of a cab and the boss says it’s your responsibility to replace it. Will your insurance pay up?

These are just some of the potential scenarios that could cost you thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars because you didn’t read the fine print on your general insurance policy.

Failing to understand what you are covered for can have catastrophic consequences for your hip pocket, says Abigail Koch, spokeswoman for comparethemarket.com.au.

"Insurance is not cheap so you really do need to know what you are paying for," she says.

Reading your policy Product Disclosure Statement will take hours of your life you’ll never get back, but it could spare you financial disaster.

If you are away for more than 60 days and you have a break-in or fall foul of a natural disaster, you could run into trouble with your insurer, says Koch.

"You could face a hefty 'unoccupancy excess' when you go to make a claim or find you’re no longer covered," she says.

"For long absences you must let your provider know and make special arrangements to maintain your insurance."

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show 228,900 homes (2.6% of all households) were broken into in 2013/14 with most burglaries happening on a Friday, between 12 and 5pm, according to the NRMA.

GIO spokesman, Stephen Bell, also warns against sharing your holiday plans online as opportunistic thieves often use social media to target victims.

When you are away, you should always recruit a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your place and collect the mail, cut the lawn and keep up general maintenance so the house doesn’t look unoccupied and to minimise any fire or storm damage risk.

Putting off odd jobs

"In the event of a fire you could have a claim questioned if you have let the maintenance of your home go for a while," says Koch.

Most people know to keep gutters and roofs clear but general upkeep is important.

"Some policies may require you to keep the home/unit and contents well maintained and in good condition. If you don’t meet your responsibilities, they may reduce or refuse to pay your claim or cancel your policy."

Damage from renovation projects can be costly.

Totalling tools of the trade

"If you have a work laptop or phone that you take home, make sure you know what you’re up for if it is stolen or damaged while in your hands," she says.

"You need to check your contents insurance policy and your employment contract whether your employer’s insurance will cover those work items."

Otherwise you could be forking out thousands of your own hard-earned dollars.

Renovation rues

If you are renovating then a call to your insurer should be on your checklist.

Some insurance policies specify renovations costing more than $50,000 could affect your legal liability cover — the cover you have in case someone claims compensation against you for injury on your property.

Renovating? Check your liability.

"Claims can run into the hundreds of thousands if someone is injured, or worse, on your property," she says.

"Tell your insurer about a renovation project and increase the value of your home so you are not left in serious debt."

Backyard bliss

If you decide to splash out on a pool or spa then check your existing policy document. These items may not be included and need separate insurance.

Doing business at home

Most standard homeowner insurance policies do not provide cover for home-based businesses, says Koch.

"Double check if your existing home and contents insurance covers your business activities or employees, suppliers or customers in the event of accident or illness."

Pleasure hazards

Aussies love the outdoors and a boat or caravan on the block is common but be aware of the potential hazards.

'If they’re timber, these items cannot only add to your fire risk but each of them could need separate insurance because they’re often expensive items not covered by a general policy."

Flora fails

Garden furniture, statues and even your gnome collection can be covered for fire damage or theft under most home policies but plants are another matter.

"If your prized Japanese maple or stunning rose garden are pilfered or destroyed by fire they will not be covered by the majority of insurers," says Koch.

"Some premium policies will offer cover but typically only up to a maximum of $2000 — not much when you consider how expensive plants can be."

Stocking up

If you sell products which you store at home, you need to protect your stock or inventory for damage or loss.

"Make sure your insurer can arrange alternative accommodation in the event of fire ... if you’re running a business from home, this could save you money in the long run," she says.

Don’t let the bugs bite

Termites cause around $1.3 billion in repair costs to Aussie homes each year but insurance companies will not cover against pest infestations — handy to know if you just bought your first house.

"Pests cause more damage to homes than natural disaster, theft and burglaries combined and insurance companies do not cover pests," says Koch.

"Prevention treatment is the only way to deal with them."


By the source below 01 Mar, 2016

With the data breach count ticking higher than ever in Australia, it’s clear that cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. And with each breach impacting an average of over 20,000 individual records, consumers can no longer turn a blind eye.

 Cybercrime does not discriminate. It impacts businesses of all shapes and sizes. But we can identify trends and high-risk sectors that are more likely to attract their attention and efforts.

 Here are 4 targets likely to be on the top of hackers’ lists in 2016.  

Your identity

Identity fraud is nothing new, but recent reports suggest that as new technology makes it more difficult to create fake identities, cybercriminals are opting to steal real ones with more tenacity.

 The   Veda 2015 Cybercrime and Fraud Report    found a nearly 60 per cent increase in fraudulent credit applications involving identity takeovers in Australia in the past two years and a 17 per cent increase in the past year. And with each data breach of consumer data, identify theft becomes that much easier.

    Your medical records

It may seem unusual for cybercriminals to be interested in what happened during your last doctor’s visit, but healthcare and medical organisations offer a treasure trove of information-rich data. That data, if used in the right way by the wrong people, can be devastating for consumers and businesses. Rumours around the health of the late Steve Jobs caused a sharp fall in Apple stocks and, just recently, it was revealed that Charlie Sheen’s HIV diagnosis was first uncovered in the Sony hack.

 But you don’t have to be a celebrity or high-profile target to be a victim of hackers using your highly personal information for their own gain. Just ask any of Ashley Madison’s customers.

    Your small business data  

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cyberstorms that many large organisations can weather can easily sink smaller ones. Unfortunately, small businesses looking to optimise their budgets often view robust security solutions as a grudge purchase.

 But the most dangerous thing for small business owners to think is: “We’re not big enough for cyber attackers.”   Research    has found that ransomware attacks are now targeting SMBs due to their more lax security measures and capacity to pay.

Your convenient, cloud-based platforms

Platforms like   MyGov    offer consumers a convenient way to access government services and information. Using just one login and password, the platform enables you to do everything from filing income taxes or applying for child support to managing your ABN. But this simple, consolidated, solution also creates a honey pot for hackers.

 Organisations tasked with safeguarding these types of platforms have to ensure the strictest levels of security, especially in the wake of the recent breach of payroll systems and tax file numbers.

 Consumers take a risk every time they trust their personal data to ill-equipped and underprepared businesses, and they’re starting to notice. A recent study found that, when considering new innovations, privacy is now the biggest concern for more than two-thirds of consumers globally.

 It’s time for businesses to take action to protect their IP and customer information. Encrypting what you deem most important to your business is a good place to start but even better are solutions that use multilayer encryption with private keys that are owned and managed by the user. It’s all about finding solutions that strike the right balance of security and productivity.

Eric Schwantler   is the General Manager of Dekko Secure, which provides complete security and privacy for email, chat and document storage.

By the source below 01 Mar, 2016
A large insurance claim can be one of the most stressful experiences a person can undergo, but it's also when a good broker can provide a lot of assistance. In this animated explainer video, NIBATV helps explain the claims process.
By the source below 10 Feb, 2016

The year 2016 marks a forceful departure from past findings, as the risks The Global Risks Report 2016 has highlighted over the past decade are now starting to manifest themselves in new, sometimes unexpected ways with impact to people, institutions and economies.

Now in its 11th edition, The Global Risks Report 2016 draws attention to ways that global risks could evolve and interact in the next decade. The year 2016 marks a forceful departure from past findings, as the risks about which the Report has been warning over the past decade are starting to manifest themselves in new, sometimes unexpected ways and harm people, institutions and economies. Warming climate is likely to raise this year’s temperature to 1° Celsius above the pre-industrial era, 60 million people, equivalent to the world’s 24th largest country and largest number in history, are forcibly displaced, and crimes in cyberspace costs the global economy an estimated US$445 billion, higher than many economies’ national incomes. In this context, the Report calls for action to build resilience – the “resilience imperative” – and identifies practical examples of how it could be done.

Click here to read the report

By the source below 30 Dec, 2015

It's widely regarded as crucial to the survival of almost any business that suffers a substantial loss but up two-thirds of businesses could be operating without   business interruption insurance   .

In order to help broker clients appreciate how business interruption cover works and its importance, NIBATV has prepared a short animated video covering the basics.

By the source below 30 Nov, 2015
Zurich's Sarah Bright talks with Dr Allan Manning of LMI Group on the impact of underinsurance on small business and why everyone thinks it won't happen to them.
By the source below 27 May, 2015
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Searles is interviewed at the Macquarie Securities Australia Conference 2015

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