BUSHFIRE RESISTANT HOMES APPARENTLY AREN'T ALL THAT RESISTANT AFTER ALL

  • By the source below
  • 24 Mar, 2016

INSURANCENEWS.COM.AU Edition 365

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 05 Sep, 2017

As a tenant we don’t often think it is necessary to have contents cover but this can be costly assumption to make.
A good contents policy not only covers your contents but also your Australia Wide Liability for property damage or personal injury you may cause including damage you may cause to the property you lease. We have outlined a few scenarios in which you could become legally responsible for damages to help explain this cover further.

▪ A pan catches fire causing smoke damage to the house and fire damage to the kitchen .
This claim will range from $50,000 for clean up to the value to replace the entire building.

▪ Your pet damages the carpet and a scratches walls.
This could result in replacement of carpets and repairs to the walls costing $10,000. A Plaster and Paint of one wall is normally approximately $2,500.

▪ You throw a small party which gets out of control.
Uninvited or invited guests cause damage to the property inside and out resulting in repairs of $30,000.

▪ A friend visits and consumes alcohol, as they are leaving they trip and fall down a small flight of stairs.
We all have a duty of care for all persons on our property and this is legally seen as a breach of that
duty. Your friend could pursue you for medical costs and trauma. This type of claim would normally result in a minimum of $80,000 just to determine if you are liable or not. Should the claimant be successful this could increase to over $200,000.

▪ You have hired a scooter in Bali and you have your friend on the back, you have an accident and they injure themselves.
The cost of medical care and fights home will cost a minimum of $30,000. Once back in
Australia your friend may also pursue you for ongoing costs and compensation. This could result in legal costs and payments in excess of $200,000.

People without insurance who are confronted with the above circumstances are often faced with bankruptcy if they are not properly insured.

Contents insurance can be tailored to your requirements and doesn't need to be expensive. We will help you find a product that fits your requirements.

 

By the source below 05 Sep, 2017

    Thunderbolts and lightning are very, very frightening on their own, but add heavy rains tumbling down and golf-ball sized hail stones smashing into things, and there are many ways a storm can wreak havoc to both our property and us. Each year across Australia and New Zealand, storms and hail cause hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of property damage and injuries to people. Here you will find some information on what to do before a thunderstorm or hailstorm.

    Here are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property if you live in a storm prone area.

    • Ensure your property is clear of any dead trees or bushes, keep trees and shrubs away from the house and power lines.
    • Perform regular maintenance on your home and property as materials deteriorate over time, especially in sub-tropical and tropical climates.
    • Be aware of changes to building standards, these standards are in place to reduce the risk of damage to your home, so have a builder check the structural soundness of your home as well as the condition of the roof.
    • Keep gutters and downpipes clear.
    • Prepare a household emergency kit with essential items such as a portable radio, spare batteries, torch and a first aid kit, and make sure everyone in your family knows what the risks are and formulate a plan for contacting one another if separated.
    • 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 05 Sep, 2017
    A grieving mother who lost her son to diabetes faced further heartache when she was not only burglarised but was also treated callously by her insurance company’s fraud investigator, it has been alleged.

    Violet, not the claimant’s real name, lodged a home contents claim after a thief broke into a back shed containing her deceased son’s belongings and got away with $20,000 worth of items.

    The third-party investigator allegedly accused Violet of being a liar and of stealing the items herself, pelted her with irrelevant questions including about her plans for the weekend and the death of her son; and even told her: “No wonder you don’t have a husband,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

    Violet’s story is one of many cases that have prompted the general insurance industry’s monitor, the Code of Governance Committee, to look into how external investigators are being used by the industry to detect and avoid paying out fraudulent claims.

    While there is a need to crack down on fraud, which costs insurers $2 billion a year and subjects honest policyholders to higher premiums, consumer advocates said the lack of rules for investigators has seen them bully, threaten, and intimidate claimants, SMH said.

    A new committee report has revealed that when insurers outsource claims-related functions to “service suppliers,” including investigators, compliance with the Code of Practice was “unpredictable” and the degree of oversight in some cases was “inadequate.”

    “As well, there is not enough guidance provided to external investigators when interviewing consumers,” committee chair Lynelle Briggs told the publication.

    “We also found that some respondents have authorised [investigators] to handle complaints when [insurance companies] are required to perform this function [and] some respondents’ contracts with [investigators] do not align with the code’s requirements.”

    The committee urged the industry to develop a set of best practice standards, and made 30 recommendations, including that interviews do not exceed two hours; that questions be “relevant, fair, and transparent”; that investigators assess whether claimants have special needs and provide them with additional support; and that guidelines be set up for interviewing minors.

    Drew MacRae from consumer advocacy group Financial Right Legal Centre (FRLC), said there was indeed a systemic problem with insurance investigations and that this problem should be quickly addressed.

    “We believe the recommendations should be implemented straight away because we think the industry has been on notice for enough time,” he said.

    “One of the key recommendations is communication, because we found that most people had no clue that they were being investigated, and if they did, they had very little information about what the process involved and their rights.”

    By the source below 07 Aug, 2017
    General insurer Virginia Surety will refund more than 500 customers over $330,000 in premiums, ASIC has said.

    The insurer will offer refunds and will have a condition placed on its Australian financial services licence, for improperly selling consumer credit insurance policies.

    From June 18, 2013 to December 31, 2015, Virginia Surety sold consumer credit cover, a bundled add-on which includes both life and general insurance, to customers taking out loans at car yards in Queensland and New South Wales.

    Search and compare insurance product listings for Financial Institutions from specialty market providers here

    ASIC found that the insurer had stated that the life cover in the add-on policy was underwritten by TAL Life, without TAL’s permission, leaving customers at risk that claims could be rejected even for paid policies.

    ASIC placed a condition on Virginia Surety’s AFSL so the firm has to refund the life premium paid by affected customers and engage an independent external compliance expert approved by ASIC to review compliance practices and report to the regulator.

    Peter Kell , ASIC deputy chair, said that consumers should have confidence when purchasing insurance cover that claims will be recognised.

    “The fact that Virginia Surety was selling this insurance without the life insurer’s approval indicates serious deficiencies with its compliance,” Kell said. “We have put all insurers in this market on notice that they need to change their practices and ensure they are properly considering the interests of consumers.”

    TAL has agreed to honour the life cover for those consumers with impacted policies and pay claims even though consumers will receive a refund from Virginia Surety.

    By the source below 07 Aug, 2017

    On one of the television channels special report shows they had an session last week (May 2017) criticizing the insurance industry including a broker over damage to a vehicle that had been insured for only third party property damage.

    This form of cover is risky in itself as there is no cover for damage to the vehicle when the driver themselves is at fault and or if it is damaged whilst parked and the person that hit the vehicle does not leave an honest note. Further there is no damage for weather perils or if the car catches fire or is stolen.

    Having said this there are fire, theft and third party property damage covers available, but they are still not as good as comprehensive.

    I do not know the circumstances of the matter and cannot comment as to why the other vehicles insurer is not coming to the party. There may be an exclusion such as  drink driving, unregistered vehicle, or the vehicle may have been un-roadworthy. it is possible that the insurance may have expired. These are all risks you take when you do not have full comprehensive insurance.

    In addition to remind people of this issue I also want to again warn that there are a lot of unscrupulous firms preying on unsuspecting people. They typically focus on people in the lower socioeconomic community. This group of course can least afford to be caught up in the scam financially and often do not have the training or experience to know how to fight the fraud.

    What we have seen is such a person, end up with a repair bill of say $10,000, plus a hire car bill of over $25,000, kindly provided by the scammer, when the damaged car has a net value after salvage of say $5,000.

    This is becoming a major problem in Australia, along with staged accidents, dodgy repairs. It was great to see arrests reported a little while back on fake injury claims and I know the insurance industry is throwing a lot of resources on building the case against many others as well.

    The sooner the better as it sickens that any one is caught by scammers but particularly those who are already victims and can least afford it.

    Any journalists out there please be careful of the companies you inadvertently promote in your programs and please go back after a few months and ensure that the whole thing has had a good ending for the innocent party.

    By the source below 07 Aug, 2017

    The great promiseof autonomous vehicles , aside from saving you from the tyranny of commuting, is their ability to save lives by replacing stupid humans with intelligent computers. But these cars, at least in the short-term, could make driving riskier because people don't yet understand the technology or just how it works.

    British auto insurance companies call this "autonomous ambiguity," and it is not an abstract issue. Automakers like Audi, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo already or will very soon offer vehicles that do some of the driving for you. In a new white paper, the Association of British Insurers argues that drivers don’t understand the limitations of these semi-autonomous systems, and believe their car is more capable than it really is.

    “This risk of autonomous ambiguity could result in a short term increase in crashes,” said Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research which collaborated on the report.

    As magical as it may seem to sit in a luxury sedan as it zips down the highway without any assistance from you, these semi-autonomous systems remain somewhat basic. They combine adaptive cruise control to main a safe following distance and automatic lane keeping to keep the car within its lane. Such systems typically require clearly delineated lane lines, reasonably good weather, and, most crucially, driver attention in case something goes awry.

    Dire warning aside, the British insurers “strongly support” vehicle automation, arguing that artificial intelligence will reduce accidents and save lives. Some 40,000 people died on US roads last year, and the figure is rising .

    But the technology's early days worry the researchers. Systems differ, as do their capabilities. Automakers have varying ideas on how best to implement the technology, and because there are no standards, drivers can't be sure how a particular system works. And it's not like automakers are in a rush to explain what these semi-autonomous systems can't do—their flashy adverts typically highlight how clever they are.

    With that in mind, the Association of British Insurers suggests a simple, two-stage, classification for cars—assisted or automated—and says international regulators should get on board. Under its proposal, an "automated" car is capable of driving itself in virtually all situations, come to a stop safely if it cannot drive itself, avoid every conceivable crash, and continue working even if something in the system fails.

    Few people expect the automotive industry to reach that level of autonomy at a large scale for at least another decade. And that means just about every vehicle with any kind of autonomous tech will be labeled "assisted." That may seem like a small distinction, but the idea is to remind drivers that the car is not fully in control.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US agrees about the looming problem, but says terminology isn’t going to fix it. The automakers must find ways of ensuring that drivers understand they must be alert and ready to take the wheel. “They need to make sure the technology keeps the drivers engaged,” says IIHS President, Adrian Lund. “Just putting it in the owner’s manual won’t work.”

    Automakers are taking heed. After Joshua Brown died when his Model S sliced under a truck that turned across his path in Florida in May 2016, Tesla modified its AutoPilot system with increased visual and auditory cues when drivers take their hands off the wheel for too long. Mercedes-Benz offers a similar trick with its Drive Pilot, although it can be confusing to use .

    Cadillac takes things a step further with its Super Cruise , which the automaker calls the first truly hands-off semi-autonomous system. It monitors drivers using a camera behind the steering wheel to ensure they're looking up at the road, not down at their phone. It also engages only on divided highways.

    The day is coming when your car is a better driver than you are. But until that day, consumers must remember that semi-autonomous vehicles are not infallible. Anything that automakers–and regulators—can do to remind them of that will only make everyone safer.


    By the source below 07 Aug, 2017

    Cyber breach could kill your business, Lloyd's warns

    As sophisticated cyberattacks increasingly target businesses, the world's specialist insurance market is warning them to be properly prepared or face significant financial losses that could kill their business.

    According to Lloyd's report, titled “Closing the gap – insuring your business against evolving cyber threats,” businesses face the rising threat of ransomware, such as last month's Wannacry and the recent Petya attack, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and CEO fraud.

    The study, which was made in partnership with KPMG and DAC Beachcroft, cited Lloyd's underwriter Beazley , for instance, as having seen a fourfold increase in ransomware attacks on its customers from 2014 to 2015. It also predicted that this number will double this year.

    Study findings also revealed that financial services firms are the most targeted by organised cybercrime, and named retail as another sector that's seeing increasing cyberattacks.

    Oil and gas, meanwhile, can fall victim to espionage and occasional high-end disruptive attacks as they find themselves caught in national politics, the study said.

    The study also revealed the susceptibility of the public and telecommunication sectors to espionage-focused cyberattacks.

    Commenting on the study findings, Lloyd's CEO Inga Beale stressed the need for adequate protection against looming cyber threats.

    “The reputational fallout from a cyber breach is what kills modern businesses. And in a world where the threat from cybercrime is when, not if, the idea of simply hoping it won’t happen to you, isn’t tenable,” she said.

    “To protect themselves businesses should spend time understanding what specific threats they may be exposed to and speak to experts who can help handle a breach, minimise reputational harm, and arrange cyber insurance to ensure that the risks are adequately covered.

    “By reacting swiftly to mitigate the impact of a cyber breach once it has occurred, companies will be able to minimise the immediate costs and their exposure to subsequent slow burn costs,” she said.

    Matthew Martindale, director in KPMG 's cyber security practice, also cautioned businesses to prepare against a breach's long-term damage: “Dealing with things like reputational issues and litigation in the aftermath of a breach, can add substantial costs to the overall loss. Businesses really need to start thinking about the cyber risk holistically rather than one that is currently very short sighted.”

    This sentiment was echoed by Hans Allnut, partner and head of cyber & data risk at DAC Beachcroft, who said businesses should not only focus on immediate business impact, which he said “may only be the tip of the iceberg,” but also legal consequences which could take months, even years to deal with.

    “Once notified, it is not uncommon for regulatory investigations to take more than a year before they reach a conclusion, “ he said. “Subsequent litigation can take even longer, particularly because the law surrounding data security and privacy is a relatively evolving area. In one UK data protection case, it took three years and a failed appeal before the litigation was finally settled.”

    By the source below 18 Jul, 2017
    Cyber risk and insurance is top of mind for both insurance businesses and the wider business community following the recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks.

    According to one cyber expert, things could be about to get a whole lot worse for the insurance industry.

    Search and compare product listings for Cyber insurance from specialty market providers here

    “It’s exceptionally likely that we will see an event over the next months that will seriously affect insurers,” Graeme Newman, chief innovation officer at CFC Underwriting, said, according to Bloomberg .

    “It would only need a combination of WannaCry’s wide reach and Petya’s destructive force to cost cyber insurers something like $2.5 billion, or a full year of gross premium income in the market.”

    Speaking after the Petya attack, Fergus Brooks, Aon Australia’s national practice leader for cyber risk, said that he believes attackers are “just flexing their muscles” in terms of the damage they can cause as he fears attackers may have something bigger planned.

    “I still think that these things are not being realised to their full potential,” Brooks told Insurance Business .

    “I still hold by my assertion that the first one [Wannacry] was a shot over the bow and I think this one [Petya] they have just gone, ‘I bet there are still some machines out there so let’s do it’.”

    As awareness of cyber risk and insurance continues to grow in the wake of these global attacks, so too does the exposure insurers face.

    As a new insurance market, cyber payouts have so far been limited but Thomas Seidl, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, in London, told Bloomberg that this limitation may soon disappear.

    “Sooner or later we will see a billion-dollar cyber claim and the insurance market is well positioned to absorb that,” Bernstein said.

    “Everybody has exposure to cyber risks and the best precaution can’t eliminate that, so there is a strong demand for insurance, making cyber coverage by far the biggest opportunity for non-life insurers for the next years.”

    By the source below 18 Jul, 2017

    At Austbrokers Coast to Coast we are always looking for tools to assist our clients to minimise their risk. A claim is not always the best result and, even though we can put cover in place to protect you against lost stock and machinery breakdown - sometimes prevention is the best measure!

    Maxichill Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Specialists have kindly supplied the following information on a device that monitors your cold rooms over 24 hours 7 days a week and prevents you arriving to work the next day to a disaster!

    This not only keeps your business running but prevents multiple claims damaging your claims history and pushing your premiums up or, at worst, resulting in uninsurable items.


    FRIGBOT Info Guide

    Frigbot is designed to work with all major electronic refrigeration controllers such as Carel, Dixell and Eliwell.

     

    How it works –

    Your refrigeration is at your command with Frigbot. With immediate access to all the information from anywhere you know exactly what is happening at all times. You even receive alerts so your equipment can call you when it's in trouble. Download the free companion app to have your Frigbot's information in your pocket.

    Frigbot is a system of  new business methods that connects refrigeration companies to fridge owners creating great value for our valued and future customers

     

    Features –

    Cloud Based:

    Apple of Android Based APP

    With Frigbot there is no software to download, no backups and no configuration issues with your PC or Mac. Why? Because it’s all in the cloud.

    We do all the backups and take care of all the other tricky stuff like security and updates. Super easy. Always on. It’s the new way to do business.

     

    Reports:

    Frigbot collects the operational data from your equipment and presents it in an easy to read graph. This can not only tell you the current status of your equipment but the Frigbot report* can tell you what was happening yesterday, or last week, or however long you want to go back. It’s your very own crystal ball that provides compliance documentation and is an essential tool for fault finding and troubleshooting equipment malfunctions. The Frigbot reports can also be used as a tool to predict equipment faults (maybe before they happen).

     

    Configuration:

    With Frigbot you can log in and update your configuration anytime you like and from anywhere you have internet access. But the  magic doesn’t stop there because Frigbot also has an incredible and unique backup feature that saves all your settings - so when you need to replace a faulty controller you can download and restore your  last known working configuration . This is unique to Frigbot and a genuine labour saving efficiency.

     

    Alerts:

    When refrigeration equipment breaks it can be a disaster: spoilt food and loss of trade sales (plus the emotional and financial stress of the whole event) and the only person who can solve the problem is usually the very LAST person to get involved. That’s the old way of doing business!

    The  NEW way alerts MAXICHILL Refrigeration FIRST . This simple alert triggers faster response and quicker repairs that mean less down-time. When there’s a breakdown the focus is all about turning the situation around as fast as possible and keeping any disruptions to a minimum.

     

    Technical Info –

    Frigbot has the ability to measure electrical current in real time. This is a more advanced feature but essential if you need the operational status of refrigeration equipment. If you measure electrical current  you can remotely determine if a compressor has a potential fault - this is a huge time saver for a busy refrigeration mechanic.

    Diagnostic and activation information is presented automatically on the low-power ePaper display.

    The Frigbot uses the cellular network to send refrigeration status and configuration information to our cloud servers. No need for any Wi-Fi connectivity, use your Frigbot’s anywhere that a mobile phone works!

     

                                        MAXICHILL REFRIGERATION & AIR-CONDITIONING

                                        Ph: 0419 102 754

                                        Email: info@maxichill.com.au

                                        ABN: 85 041 779 812

                                        ARC: AU31134

                                        BSA: 1271764


    By the source below 18 Jul, 2017

    The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance ( ANZIIF ) has announced the nominees for its annual awards.


    In the small broking company of the year category, Austbrokers Coast to Coast, Remingtons Insurance Brokers and Simplex Insurance Solutions make it two nominations in a row – with Austbrokers Coast to Coast hoping to secure an award-winning double.

    In the medium broking company category, Adroit Insurance Group will look to retain their title, as they face off against GSA again.

    In the large broking category, last year’s winner Aon goes up against Marsh and Insurance Advisernet.

    “With 106 submissions received this year, these awards recognise the outstanding performers and high achievers in the industry and the positive impact our industry has on the community,” Prue Willsford , CEO, ANZIIF said.

    Last year’s underwriting agency of the year PetSure faces competition from CHU and NTI whilst, in the large general insurance company category Allianz , CGU , QBE and Suncorp are all nominated.

    Small-medium general insurance company of the year sees both RAA and RACT nominated.



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