Casual workers will have the right to demand a permanent full-time or part-time job after 12 months

  • By the source below
  • 18 Jul, 2017

McKays Solicitors Newsletter 07.07.17

In an important decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), the FWC has decided to insert a provision for the conversion of casual employment to full-time part-time employment into all Awards. The decision was part of the FWC’s 4 yearly review of Awards. 

Some awards already contain a casual conversion provision. For those Awards that don’t, the FWC will insert a clause that allows casual employees to convert their casual role to the full-time or part-time position. There are about 85 such Awards.

The FWC decided that the conversion to full-time/part-time employment should become an entitlement after a casual employee completes a qualifying period of 12 calendar  months of casual employment on an ongoing regular basis.

The ACTU had argued for a 6 month qualifying period. A further qualification is that the work performed by the casual employee can be performed by a full-time or parttime employee without significant adjustment to the pattern of work hours.

An employer can only refuse to convert the casual employment to full-time/part-time employment if:
  1. doing so would require a significant adjustment to the hours of work; or
  2. the employer can foresee that within the next 12 months, the casual employee’s position will either cease to exist, or the hours of work will significantly change or be reduced; or
  3. there is another reasonable ground, based on reasonably foreseeable facts.
In addition, the clause will require employers to provide the casual employee with a copy of the casual conversion clause in the Award within the first 12 months of the casual employee’s initial engagement.

The FWC decided to include the casual conversion clause in all Awards to remedy what it held to be the detriments associated with long-term casual employment. These detriments, the FWC held, are inconsistent with the objective of all Awards, namely to provide a fair and balanced safety net for employee. The detriments identified by the FWC were:

1. a lack of career path
2. diminished access to training
3. poorer health and safety outcomes
4. a diminished ability to obtain loans from financial institutions
5. a tendency to still attend work when sick
6. an increased reluctance to take recreational leave (due to concerns about ongoing employment if they do)
7. an incapacity to attend to personal carer responsibilities; and
8. the potential for a sudden loss of regular work without proper notice or adjustment payment.

In a further aspect of the decision, the FWC noted that some Awards do not provide for a minimum engagement period for casual employees. The ACTU proposed a 4 hour minimum engagement period. The FWC decided to include 2-hour minimum engagement period for casual employees into about 34 Awards.

What does this mean for employers

This decision will have a particular impact on employers who use high degree of casual employment. Employers may do this as a means of regulating work hours, to meet peaks and troughs in customer demand and to minimise employment costs such as notice periods and potential redundancy payments and the costs of possible dismissal claims.

Employers will need to consider the manner in which their long-term casual employee are rostered and whether this pattern of rostering creates a clear and systematic pattern of work for casual employees. They will also have to consider whether the roster pattern could be carried out by full-time or part-time workers.

It will also be important to identify which roles cannot be done by full-time/part-time workers without significant adjustment to the hours available for work or if there are other reasonably foreseeable issues make converting casual employment unreasonable in terms of the business’s operational needs.

While the FWC noted that the casual loading is meant to compensate for a range of entitlements such as leave entitlements, casual loading does not, in fact compensate for all of the detriments associated with casual employment.

This may result in businesses having to rethink the reasons and objectives behind employing casual workers. It is better to consider and identify these issues now rather than upon an application for conversion to full-time or part-time work.

If you have any further questions, please contact one of our lawyers.
By Bethan Moorcraft, Insurance Business Online 15 Jan, 2018
Harassment allegations in the workplace are no shoulder-shrug matter – especially for those at the helm of a company.

An evolving culture of transparency is forcing directors and officers (D&O) to grab the bull by the horns and tackle harassment allegations head-on. It’s up to company leaders and management to establish and maintain a safe environment in the workplace.

Those who don’t could find themselves facing a D&O liability claim, according to Stephanie Resnick, partner and chair of the Directors’ & Officers’ Liability & Corporate Governance Practice Group at Fox Rothschild, LLP.

“If board members are turning their heads or ignoring allegations of harassment being raised, it’s absolutely a concern and a liability,” she told Insurance Business . “Looking the other way means increased liability to the company and each individual board member.

“It’s now the year of acknowledging these issues, addressing them, and moving forward. No longer will these issues, especially sexual harassment, be hidden under the rug.”

2017 has seen a widespread call for greater transparency in the workplace following a number of high-profile harassment allegations that blew-up in media across the world.

Leaders and companies that fail to address issues of harassment are “imposing a significant risk upon themselves and upon their companies,” for which an insurance carrier may or may not cover them, according to Resnick.

“Board members need to make sure that their companies have the appropriate ongoing training, harassment programs, and processes to adequately handle harassment complaints,” she added. “There must be proper investigation of harassment complaints and a process by which each employee feels comfortable reporting the improper conduct.”

Social issues, such as the workplace cultural shift surrounding employee best practices, are a growing part of business and D&O responsibilities, Resnick said.

“If board members are reticent to accept that social issues are a growing part of business responsibilities, I would wonder about their level of progressive thought,” she commented. “For board members, decisions about social and cultural concerns must be thoughtful and ongoing.

“Ultimately, a socially thoughtful company is a better company.”

By Jordan Lynn, Insurance Business Online 15 Jan, 2018
Swann Insurance will refund over 67,000 customers a total of $39m paid for add-on insurance, ASIC has announced.

The refund relates to add-on products bought via car and motorbike dealerships that were of “low or no value”, the regulator said.

Six different Swann add-on products will be refunded after ASIC found that it was unlikely customers would be able to claim on the policies as the insured value of the car was more than the amount borrowed in a loan.

“Add-on insurance has been under the spotlight because of significant problems with product design and sales,” ASIC Acting Chair Peter Kell said.

“Insurers should be taking active steps to ensure their customers are not being sold products that provide little or no value."

ASIC also found that some customers paid twice for roadside assistance, under two different policies, others were sold a more expensive level of cover than they required and life insurance was sold to younger people who were unlikely to need the cover.

In response to concerns raised by ASIC , Swann will also refund the premiums paid by customers who claimed on their comprehensive car insurance and obtained a replacement vehicle, as well as those who’s policies had little of negative value.

Customers who paid their loans off early will be partially refunded the insurance premium from the date the loan was paid and partial refunds will also be given to customers who were oversold cover.
ASIC 's work to fix add-on insurance through the car dealership channel is all about making sure customers are being sold insurance that meets their needs,” Kell continued.

“Where customers have been sold inappropriate add-on products then remediation should be provided, and we are announcing a series of substantial remediation programs with insurers.”

Swann will contact affected customers via email or letter by September 30 2018, with the insurer set to make a community benefit payment after that date for refunds that remain uncollected.

By Internal 10 Dec, 2017

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is currently being rolled out throughout Australia with a progressive implementation planned. The NBN utilises a range of technologies for broadband communication and for the majority of Australia, a fixed line connection operating over the existing copper network, in conjunction with new fibre optic technology, will be used. NBN is the wholesaler of this new network - once available you will have a choice of phone and internet providers known as Retail Service Providers (RSPs) to select a plan that meets your needs.

What changes with the introduction of the NBN?
The NBN changes communications technology to a digital data platform and this will impact upon devices currently used on the copper network, such as telephone landlines, monitored security alarm systems, monitored medical alarms, and lift emergency phones. Changes to the current copper line technology mean such devices may not be compatible with the NBN.

What does this mean for you?
The NBN may have an adverse impact upon existing devices within your home. In particular, devices used for monitoring of security alarms, lifts and medical alarms may require updating to ensure they will function when required in an emergency.

What do you need to do?
For monitored security alarms:

  • Contact your alarm service provider to review the current technology used and update equipment that is not compatible with the NBN;
  • Discuss the type of NBN service plan required to operate with your security alarm system;
  • Consider moving the monitoring of your security alarm system to alternative technology, such as the mobile network (3G/4G, also known as GPRS).

For lift emergency phone lines and monitored medical alarms:

  • Register your lift emergency phone service with the NBN by providing the correct Full National Number (FNN)
  • Register your monitored medical alarm with NBN
  • Contact your service provider to migrate to an NBN-compatible solution.
By insurance business mag by Jordan Lynn 29 Nov 2017 10 Dec, 2017
Youi has been forced to refund more than 100 customers and pay $150, 000 as a community benefit payment due to poor sales practices.

ASIC announced that the insurer had refunded 102 customers, to the tune of $14, 000, and will make the six-figure payment to the Financial Rights Legal Centre’s Insurance Law Service, after the regulator raised concerns about its home and car insurance sales practices.
The move follows ASIC ’s concerns that some Youi sales staff were charging customers for insurance policies without their consent.

The insurer has engaged EY to conduct a review of its sales practices as ASIC has also raised concerns that its remuneration and bonus structures incentivised staff to prioritise sales ahead of consumer interests.

“It is completely unacceptable that customers were signed up for Youi insurance policies without their knowledge or permission,” Peter Kell , acting ASIC chair said.

Since the EY review, Youi has changed its bonus structure and reduced incentives to sales staff based on sales volume. The insurer has also reviewed its sales scripts and staff training and introduced new controls and monitoring of its sales teams as well as “significant changes” to its legal, risk and compliance capability.

ASIC noted that EY will conduct a follow-up review to assess the implementation of the changes and test their effectiveness with a final report provided to ASIC by 30 June 2018.

By the source below 10 Dec, 2017
ASIC has announced that AAMI has paid $43,200 in penalties for false or misleading statements made on its website and in radio adverts for home insurance.

The regulator found that AAMI’s promotion of its home building insurance complete replacement cover stated that the insurer would repair or rebuild an insured home no matter the cost.
ASIC said the statements were misleading as they gave the impression that AAMI would take necessary steps to repair or rebuild a home as the insurer also has the choice to pay the policyholder the cost of repairing leaving the policyholder to organise repairs.

Peter Kell , acting ASIC chair, said that it is vital for insurers to be clear with potential customers when it comes to coverage.

“Customers decide to take out a particular type of cover based on what is advertised,” Kell said.

“While we recognise that AAMI offers a type of home building policy that can help reduce the risk of underinsurance, advertising must not mislead consumers.”

AAMI will revise its disclosure documents to give customers better information about the claims process, particularly when a cash settlement is provided, and the insurer has amended its advertising following ASIC ’s concerns.

By the source below 13 Nov, 2017

Buying a car is an exciting and often frustrating experience. Aside from the usual questions about fuel efficiency, blue tooth connectivity and whether red really does make it go is faster, we need to worry about how safe the car is. Well here are nine things

1.     Anti-lock brakes

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) do more than just stop a wheel from locking. They also control traction control by applying the brakes (and/or adjusting engine speed) when they detect wheel spin.

2.     Stability control

This system can prevent drivers from losing control of their car when swerving unexpectedly. It’s also compulsory in all vehicles and is more commonly known as ESP, but also as DSC, DTSC, ESC, ESP+, VDC, VSA and VSC.

3.     Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)

Another bit of technology to help you stop, EBD eases brake force if the grip is different at each wheel, helping to stop the car in a straight line.

4.     Lane-keeping technology

Similar to those little bumps on the side of the freeway, this technology vibrates the steering wheel when the car strays across lanes without indicating.

5.     Pre-tensioned/load-limited seat belts

Pre-tensioned seat belts take up slack in the belt when they detect if a crash is imminent. Load limiters help stop serious injury by stretching the belt slightly in a crash if too high a load is placed on the occupant.

6.     Dual-stage airbags

Inflating less rapidly in lower severity crashes, these airbags significantly lessen the chance of airbag-related injuries.

7.     Seat-mounted side airbags

Seat-mounted side airbags protect the pelvis, chest and abdomen in a side-on crash and unlike door-mounted airbags, stay in the correct position when the seat is moved.

8.     Side curtain airbags

This type of airbag drops down from the roof lining and protects the heads of passengers in the front and rear of the car.

9.     Isofix child seat mounts

One of the most important safety features are these mounting points for child seats which are built into the car seats, rather than the adult seat belt, making installation of the child seat much easier.

By the source below 08 Nov, 2017

A car or a motorbike is often one of the most expensive things that you will own. The freedom of driving on the open road is difficult to match but those open roads are varied in both location and condition.

Whether you own your vehicle outright, are paying off a loan, or someone else owns it and you are driving/riding it, appropriate risk management is pretty important. Not everyone has the same level of experience or care on the road. In many cases, it doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, as your chances of being in a bingle are very high. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are over 600,000 road accidents in Australia each year, costing the economy an estimated $27 billion annualy.

But it’s not just car crashes that you need to worry about, with statistics showing that 1 in every 9 cars are reported stolen each year.

So as careful as you are with your pride and joy, there’s always a chance that something will, not could, go wrong – making motor vehicle insurance a must.

Compulsory Third Party insurance

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is the most basic level of cover, and as the name suggests, is compulsory by law. It is generally covered by the government or is included in your vehicle registration fees, depending on which state you live in. This type of insurance provides cover for death or injury to those involved in an accident - apart from the driver.

Unfortunately, CTP insurance doesn’t cover anything that happens to your vehicle or any damage caused by it. For that you need some form of motor vehicle insurance.

Motor Vehicle Insurance: Different Levels of Cover

Motor vehicle insurance has different levels of cover and as is the way with most insurance products, the more cover you take, the more it will cost.

Third Party Property Damage

This type of insurance covers the cost of damage caused to other people’s property and legal costs but not damage to your vehicle. It includes items such as other cars, buildings, fences, lamp posts and traffic signals.

Third Party Fire and Theft

Much like Third Party Property Damage, this type of insurance covers the cost of damage to other people’s property, but will also cover you for damage caused to your vehicle by fire or theft. It does not cover damage to the owner’s car caused in a road accident.

Comprehensive

The name pretty much says it all – as this insurance product covers you comprehensively. It covers the repair or replacement of your vehicle for events including theft, collision, fire, malicious damage and weather-related damage, such as hail or flooding.

Comprehensive insurance will also cover the cost of repairing and replacing any other vehicles that are damaged by your vehicle in an accident, and damage to property.

In many cases, depending on your policy, it may also cover personal property in the car, death benefits, towing, legal costs and even hire cars needed while repairs are being done. These are usually treated as optional extras, so make sure you talk to an insurance broker or your insurer about which type of policy is right for you.

Legal aspects

As with many aspects of living, the law has an effect on everybody - insurance is no different. Several legal aspects are discussed below:

Duty of disclosure

An insurance company asks potential policyholders a number of questions so that it can decide whether to provide insurance and at what cost. The policyholder has a legal obligation to disclose all relevant details that may affect the terms of insurance. This includes any modifications made to a vehicle after the insurance policy is acquired, such as body modifications and sound systems. ‘Hotted up’ cars can be insured, depending on a number of factors, but it is important to disclose all information relating to the modifications. Obviously, this may affect the cost. Some insurers will choose not to insure cars that have been modified, while others tend to specialise in this type of insurance.

Parents and children

Some parents insure the car of a young adult in their own name. This leads to a lower cost, assuming the parent has a reasonably sound driving record. This practice is, in fact, fraudulent as it misleads the insurance company on the level of actual risk and therefore the cost. If your children are of driving age and own their own vehicles, they should have their own policy. Ensure you inform your broker or your insurer if you have children that are of driving age and drive your vehicle as not doing so could void any claim you need to make.

Privacy

Under federal law (Privacy Act 1988), there are strict guidelines related to the type of information that private-sector organisations, such as insurance companies, can ask. The laws govern the purpose for which information can be used and the way that information about policyholders is treated.

How Insurance Companies Assess Your Risk

The cost of motor vehicle insurance is determined by the level of cover - the more cover taken, the higher the cost will be, and the level of risk. When you buy motor vehicle insurance, the following factors are considered:

Your age

How old you are at the time you get your insurance policy will affect the price of your premium. The younger you are the more you pay because statistically drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to have an accident. Once you hit that magical time of life called 25 or over, the cost of your insurance can drop quite a lot. However, it will generally rise again when you’re over 65—because statistically, seniors, like younger drivers, have a higher accident rate.

Your gender

Sorry to say guys but studies have been done that show men drive more aggressively than women and are prone to have more accidents, and the prices they are charged for insurance premiums reflect this. Overall, women pay 12% less than males with a similar age, location and driving history.

Your driving record

If you have a spotless driving record with not even the slightest scratch of your car you will most likely pay a lower premium than someone who has had a few incidents. Some car insurance companies even reward safer drivers with ‘safe driver discounts’.

Your car

Cars that cost more to repair cost more to insure and cars that have been modified or ‘pimped out’ cost more again. Cars with extra safety features will normally cost less to insure because the safety features result in less claims and lower claim amounts. So before buying a car you might want to research the average prices for insurance for that make or model to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Your neighbourhood

If you live in a neighbourhood that has a statistically high crime rate you will have to pay a higher premium than someone who lives in a safer area with the same age, same driving record etc. People who live in and near cities pay more than people who live in rural areas because there is more traffic with a bigger chance of having an accident.

When it comes to choosing your policy it can be hard to figure out what’s a reasonable price to pay. So make sure you get plenty of quotes from different insurance companies or talk to a broker to find the policy that covers your needs at a price that suits you best. It's also important to remember to read the conditions to see what’s covered and what isn’t.

Vehicle Value

In terms of how your vehicle is valued, most insurers will offer two choices - market value or agreed value.

Market value— this is what your car would be sold for on the open market at any given point in time.

Agreed value— this is a fixed value agreed to between you and your insurer.

Can I reduce my premium?

Insurance companies generally provide a lot of options for people to reduce the premiums they pay. You can actively do a lot of things to help keep the costs down. These include:

  • Parking your car safely. Securely parking your vehicle (either off street or in a lock-up garage) can reduce the risk of theft, vandalism, flood or storm damage claims.
  • Maintaining a good driving record reduces the risk of you making a claim – many insurers offer sizeable discounts for drivers with good driving records.
  • Buying a car fitted with safety and security devices like alarms or immobilisers to reduce the risk of theft and damage, or have them installed if this is feasible.
  • Driving less often. It sounds silly but some insurers will offer lower premiums for drivers who don’t drive as much.
  • Limiting the number of drivers you nominate on your policy, especially if they are under 25.
  • Choosing a higher excess. This is a good option if you don’t think you’re going to need to make a claim any time soon. The higher the excess, the lower the premium
  • Choosing to insure for market value instead of nominated value. For newer vehicles, this isn’t usually an issue but as a vehicle’s value depreciates quickly, the market value of your vehicle may not be enough.
  • Bundling your car insurance with other types of insurance, such as home and contents, life or travel insurance.

As always, contact a broker or your insurer to check how these may be taken into account.

Extras

As with most types of insurance product, insurers will offer a range of extras that you may wish to consider. Of course, with any extra you choose, there will be an additional cost. These include:

  • protection of your no-claim bonus
  • a rental car following an accident
  • windscreen and glass damage cover
  • exclusion of cover for drivers under 30 years of age
  • cover for stolen work tools or stock
  • roadside assistance

 

What to do if you have an accident

When people take out motor vehicle insurance, they hope they never have to use it. Makes total sense. But with so many accidents happening every day, there’s a pretty good chance you will need to make a claim at some point.

Luckily though, most accidents only damage the vehicles rather than the occupants. The question is, do you know what to do if you have an accident?

  • Firstly, never drive away from the scene of the accident until you’ve completed the following steps.
  • Don’t panic! As hard as it can be, try to stay calm. Switch off the ignition and check to see if anyone is injured. If so, call 000 to get medical assistance immediately.
  • Report the accident to police if someone is injured (this includes you) or if there is damage to property whose owner is not in attendance. It’s also a good idea as sometimes your insurance company will want to see a police report. Speaking of which, it’s probably a good idea to call your insurance company and let them know.
  • Try and prevent any further accidents by keeping your hazard lights on. Only move your vehicle if it is safe to do so, and if it’s interfering with traffic.
  • Make sure you give your name, address, registration number, contact details and insurance information to the other people involved in the accident. Be sure to get the same details from the other driver, and contact details from witnesses if there are any.
  • When you get a chance, use your camera or phone to take photos of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, take photos of them too, and then instagram it. Maybe not, but having a photo record of the accident can be invaluable when it comes to making a claim later on.

Pleasure Crafts (boats)

Pleasure craft insurance is designed to protect private boat owners from loss or damage to their vessel and accessories as well as any legal liability arising out of the use of the vessel.

Like private motor vehicle insurance, there is usually a no claims bonus system and this can result in a cheaper cost if no claims are made.

Policies differ slightly among insurers, but the basic tenets are common to most insurers in Australia and New Zealand.

A typical pleasure craft owner’s policy protects the insured and anyone using the pleasure craft with the insured’s permission. The definition of BOAT usually includes:

  • the hull
  • motors - including control equipment
  • sails, masts, spars and rigging
  • auxiliary dinghy (if any), accessories and trailer

The craft is insured for market or agreed value, and is usually accompanied by an excess. The excess is payable only when the policy holder is at fault.  

Will pay/Full cover

Won't pay /No Cover

Voluntary rescue work

Extra costs- i.e. hiring replacement craft

Towing damaged craft to safety

Reduction in value- because of age or damage

Personal property on craft if lost or damaged

Cost of worn-out parts

Inspection of hull if stranded

Rust or corrosion

Recovering boat, reducing loss costs

Faulty workmanship, structural defects, design

Dismantle, clean craft if submerged

Mechanical or electrical breakdown

 

Pre-existing damage (prior to insurance)

 

Damage to tyres of trailer

 

Skiing or diving equipment,

 

Fishing equipment not permanently attached to craft,

 

Unsecured sails, protective covers, outboard motors

 

Overheated motors

 

Damage to sails, masts, riggings as a result of racing.

 

For sailing boats, a racing risk extension is available (for races that are less than 50 nautical miles).

When filing a claim, an insured must fulfil various contractual obligations including to:

  • Make a claim as soon as possible after a loss. Failure to do this may result in reduction of claim resulting in disadvantage to the insured
  • Take all reasonable steps to stop any further loss
  • Advise the nearest police station if boat is lost, stolen, vandalised or maliciously damaged
  • Keep the damaged property so that the insurer may inspect it
  • Advise the insurer of any prosecution or inquest that may be held
  • Send any document relating to a claim to the insurer as soon as possible (alternatively for some insurers within 72 hours) of receiving the document
  • Not repair or replace damaged property without the consent of the insurer
  • Not pay, promise to pay or offer payment, or admit responsibility for a claim

Caravans

If you’re taking the opportunity to travel more, or just enjoying your boat, caravan or motor home on the weekends, there are insurance products to help make sure you’re always protected.

Whether you keep it permanently onsite, or take it across the country, caravan insurance policy provides protection against accidental damage to your caravan. You can also cover extras such as your annexe and contents.

There are usually two types of caravan insurance covers, comprehensive (which covers both parked and mobile caravan) and onsite (which cover parked and/or immobile caravans).

What is a product disclosure statement?

A Product Disclosure Statement ( PDS) is a legal document, or sometimes a group of documents, that contains information about your insurance policy. A PDS will typically include any significant benefits and risks, the cost of the policy and the fees and charges that the policy provider may receive. Supplementary PDSs may be issued from time to time and must be read in conjunction with the PDS to which they relate. A PDS will help you understand the insurance policy and give you the the information about the terms and conditions, policy benefits and exclusions that you can use to compare differet policies. You should be aware that a PDS doesn't take into account your individual needs or financial situation.

Reading the PDS will help you compare and make an informed choice about the policy and give you information on you how your insurer will respond if you need to make a claim. And most importantly, if you don’t fully understand the PDS contact your insurance company and ask for more information. It's always better to have more information than less.

Cooling off period

When you take out a new policy make sure you have the details of your new product explained to you and confirmed in writing. In most cases, you will also have the benefit of a 30-day cooling off period. This means if you change your mind in the first 30 days after joining, and haven’t made a claim for benefits on the new product you may get a refund of any contributions you’ve paid.

By the source below 08 Nov, 2017

Sometimes, it’s nice to take something and make it your own. Sometimes, that thing you take and make your own is your car.

If you are contemplating 'souping up' your vehicle, regardless of whether the modification you want to make is in the form of a minor safety-minded addition or in the form of a full-on facelift, there are some important things you need to know and consider, both when it comes to the law and your car insurance.

So, if customising your ride is something you feel compelled to do, make sure you do your due diligence. While we can’t help you paint those fun racing stripes on your car, we can help you with the aforementioned due diligence. Let’s dive in and have a look at the modification-related things you need to know.

Important non-insurance considerations prior to making modifications

 First and foremost, before you add to or change anything on your car, you need to be certain that what you plan to do is actually legal. All vehicles being driven on the roads need to be what is termed “street-legal” — and there is every chance that your intended modifications may impact your vehicle’s street-legal status.

As a result, always notify your relevant licensing authority before making any modifications to your car.

What happens if my modifications are illegal?

 If your modifications aren’t legal, typically a few of the following things will happen, all of which are pretty massive headaches:

  • You’ll face a significant fine.
  • Your vehicle will be de-registered.
  • Your vehicle will be impounded.
  • You’ll receive a defect notice.

 

How do I know if my modifications are legal?

 In Australia, modifications to your car need to be approved by your state or territory’s motor vehicle licensing department and they must comply with the following:

  • Australian Design Rules (ADR)
  • The National Code of Practice for Light Vehicle Construction and Modification (NCOP)
  • Road rules and regulations

 

What sorts of modifications are usually allowed by law?

Permissible vehicle modifications include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Alarm systems
  • Roof racks
  • Stereo systems
  • Additional lighting
  • Body markings
  • Single tone air horns
  • Air conditioning
  • Stabiliser bars
  • Air shock absorbers
  • Badge bars

 

What sorts of modifications are usually illegal?

In general, the following are no-go zones:

  • Loud exhaust systems
  • Dark window tinting
  • Non-compliant modifications to the engine, chassis, tyres or suspension

 

Important modification-related insurance considerations

Now that we’ve handled the legal stuff, let’s take a look at what you need to be aware of when it comes to modified vehicles and car insurance.

Do I need to notify my insurer?

Yes, you absolutely need to notify your insurer if you plan to make changes to your car. It’s as simple as that. Failing to notify your insurer of any modifications could lead to the cancellation or voidance of your policy and rejection of any claims you make.

In some circumstances, failure to notify your insurer about modifications may even lead to the warranty on your car being voided.

What kinds of modifications will and won’t be covered?

While policies will vary between individual insurers, when it comes to modifications, insurers deemed “mainstream” will usually cover the following:

  • Chrome exhaust systems
  • Radio and stereo systems
  • Alarm systems
  • Alloy wheels
  • Driving lights
  • Bull bars
  • Bicycle racks

 

The sorts of things that these mainstream insurers usually won’t cover include the following:

  • Nitro or hydrogen fuel-equipped engines
  • Custom paint work
  • Turbocharged or supercharged engines
  • Racing harnesses
  • Roll bars
  • Roll cages

 

Will modifications affect the cost of insurance?

Typically, yes. While some modifications are pretty benign and won’t make a difference to your premium, where other modifications are concerned, whether or not the effect on cost is positive or negative will depend on what kind of modifications you are planning to make.

If you’ve put an alarm system in your car, which lowers the risk of theft, or you’ve added safety features, which lower the risk of an accident, then your insurance premium may actually be lower.

However, changes that impact performance and aesthetics (yes, even those fun racing stripes) usually carry a higher accident risk — and, therefore, a higher premium. Other changes that increase the value of your car — like stereo systems and custom parts —also increase its appeal to thieves, meaning such modifications also attract a higher premium.

How does me being super-young and hot affect my insurance prospects if I modify my car?

It’s pretty simple: If you modify your vehicle (particularly in a manner that is linked to greater engine capacity and speed) and you’re under 25 (and particularly if you are male), you may find yourself uninsurable, regardless of what type of insurer you try to acquire coverage with (e.g. mainstream or specialist insurer).

Who are these specialist insurers you just mentioned?

If the modifications you want to make to your vehicle will have mainstream insurers showing you the door, you may have better luck with a specialist insurer.

Specialist insurers will often provide coverage to modified vehicles in circumstances where mainstream insurers won’t. For example, specialist insurers will usually provide insurance coverage for enhancements or alterations to suspension, engine or chassis (provided such changes are legally compliant).

However, bear in mind that younger drivers with modified vehicles will typically struggle to secure cover with a specialist insurer, and premiums in general with specialist insurers aren’t extremely competitive — the idea is that they will provide you with insurance where other insurers won’t, not that they will provide you with cheap insurance where other insurers won’t provide you with insurance at all.

While the types of modifications that carry higher premiums will vary among specialist insurers just as they do among mainstream insurers, modifications that increase the power of your vehicle will usually attract a relative increase in premium with specialist insurers. For example, if the modification to your car increases its power by 15 per cent, then your insurance premium will also increase 15 per cent.

The overall message

Never make a modification to your car before doing your research about whether it’s legal and how such a modification will impact your insurance. Those racing stripes look way better on a vehicle that is both insured and not impounded.

Read more about decisions that can affect your car insurance here

By the source below 05 Oct, 2017

This is a common type of insurance, involving a person or an organisation taking out insurance to protect against a liability they might face from a third party in connection with a business-related activity. The third party typically has suffered some kind of loss, such as physical and/or property damage, and, as a result of this, might try to argue that someone else should compensate them.

This claim would usually be a negligence claim brought against the other party. (Some claims are also covered by contract law or the federal Trade Practices Act 1974.)

To make a public liability claim, the person suing generally has to show that their injury or loss is the fault of the other person or organisation they are suing.

Example 1

Darren suffers food poisoning after eating a pie at the football. If he wants compensation from the person who sold him the pie, he will have to argue that his injury was their fault. In other words, that he got the food poisoning from eating the pie, and not from any other source.

Example 2

If the pie seller above is found by the court to have been negligent in serving a dangerous pie, they might order the seller to pay the injured football fan compensation. This could be a large amount. However, if the seller has public liability insurance, they won’t have to pay the amount themselves; their insurance company will pay. This could save the seller thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Claim statistics

Recently, community concern about rising public liability costs has been raised, with many organisations and individuals complaining about increased costs. This has resulted in the cancellation of some community events because the organisers could not find appropriate public liability insurance at a reasonable price.

As a result, State and Territory governments around Australia have changed the rules relating to claims for negligence. These changes have made it tougher for a person to sue for negligence by:

  • changing how compensation is calculated—compensation payments are likely be reduced making it more difficult to bring a claim, especially if the person suing was doing a risky activity
  • in some instances, not allowing the person suing to claim their court costs in their compensation claim, with compensation to be paid in stages instead of as a one-off payment.

With public liability insurance there must be a proper balance between compensation for those who have been injured through the negligence of others and the costs to society of asking insurance companies to pay this compensation. Everyone contributes to the costs of insurance. If too many claims for public liability are allowed to succeed, there is a negative effect on society as everyone has to pay more for insurance.

In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of public liability claims made on defendants with payouts rising.  

For example:

From 1997 to 2003 the average size of a settled public liability claim (‘settled’ means paid out by an insurance company before the matter went to court) increased from $11,000 to almost $17, 000.

From 1997 to 2003 the average cost for a public liability insurance policy increased from about $600 to $1,400.

(Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance, 5th Monitoring Report, July 2005,

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