What is Management Liability and Directors’ and Officers’ Insurance?

A decade ago less than 1% of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) had any type of financial lines insurance. Fast forward to now, and with more and more companies facing litigation in connection with management risks and exposures, management liability insurance is now considered a ‘must have’ for Australian businesses.

What’s the difference between management liability (ML) and directors’ and officers’ (D&O) Insurance?

Often considered interchangeable, ML and D&O are different insurance solutions. While management liability insurance did start as an offshoot of the public company focused D&O insurance, it’s a much broader form of cover. It’s designed for SME businesses and provides cover for those accused of failing in their responsibilities as managers (in addition to some common business risks facing the company).

D&O is intended for larger companies and provides cover for those accused of failing in their duties as directors and officers (both past and present), essentially for the benefit of directors and officers only.

What does management liability cover?

According to insurer Vero, management liability can include:

  • D&O cover
  • Company liability
  • Employment practices liability (loss arising from claims brought by employees (past or present) alleging discrimination or harassment)
  • Crime loss cover (including investigation expenses)
  • Tax audit expense cover
  • Cover for pecuniary penalties incurred by insured persons/the company
  • Cover for the cost of representing insured persons and the company at WH&S investigations
  • Cover for the costs of representing insured persons at certain other official inquiries.

Essentially ML is designed to cover damages and claimant costs awarded against you, legal cost, investigation costs, fines and penalties.

Hopefully the above helps you to better understand these insurance solutions. Remember that every business is unique, which means you face unique risks and challenges and should get advice from your trusted insurance broker about the type of insurance solution that’s right for you.

Protect your important day with event insurance

From pony club tests to farmers market stalls right up through music and food festivals, there is certainly significant planning that goes into a successful event! But what if everything doesn’t go according to plan?

That’s where your event insurance solution plays an important part.

Whether it’s literally raining on your parade, or you’re facing venue or equipment damage, or public liability, or (nightmare of nightmares), the star of your show doesn’t bother to turn up, there are some unique risks facing the event industry.

Business continuity planning (what’s your back up plan?)

Prevention truly is the best medicine and hopefully your insurance solution is your safety net – only there if you really need it. The best risk management you can do is to make sure you consider what could go wrong. Run through what your worst-case scenarios are, and what you could do to prevent them.

Good events management companies and events managers will have a contingency plan A, B, C (and D) for things like weather and star attractions, but you can’t control everything, especially when members of the public are involved (and even more so if your attendees will be drinking alcohol). And that’s when you want the peace of mind that you’ve got the right insurance solution in place.

What kind of events are insurable?

Considering there is insurance cover for crocodile attack (for real), there is insurance out there for a wide range of things. But typically the event types that should consider insurance include:

  • Community celebrations, markets and fairs
  • Sporting events (i.e. colour runs or marathons)
  • Performances (i.e. theatre or concerts)
  • Corporate events and functions (i.e. annual general meetings, conferences, galas and seminars)
  • Exhibitions and auctions (art, lifestyle or food)
  • Music, film, food, wine or cultural festivals
  • Trivia nights, charity and fundraising events
  • And even weddings (and no, not just to protect against a runaway bride or a groom with cold feet)!

Get an event insurance quote

Have an event coming up? Even if you’ve previously gotten insurance directly online, why not get a free quote? That way you know your solution is competitive, plus you have the advantage of getting advice and peace of mind from a real person, with years of insurance expertise. To get a quote on your event insurance call the professionals on (02) 6892 1050

FAQ – Do I need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Concern around whether you need professional indemnity insurance is a frequently asked question (FAQ) that insurance brokers get. To help you get a better understanding, we thought we’d prepare a little ‘professional indemnity insurance 101’ and remember we’re always just a call away if you want to talk through your specific situation in more depth.

What is Professional Indemnity Insurance?

First off, what is professional indemnity (PI)? It’s is a type of insurance that protects you and your business against claims for alleged negligence or breach of duty arising from an act, error or omission in the performance of professional services (according to our insurer partner CGU’s definition).

To put that into context what that looks like, imagine you went out on site to visit a client and you overlooked something or accidentally forgot to tell them about a crucial piece of information, this may have led the client to enter into an arrangement or act a certain way they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the advice you administered. This can be true for doctor or a lawyer as well. Here are some case studies of recent professional indemnity cases in Australia that involved a certifier, building inspector and an engineer.

Do I Need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

The majority of white-collar professionals will need PI (some industries this is mandated by law), such as lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, engineering professionals, IT specialists, psychologists, and so on. It will also depend on the employment contract as well; some businesses cover their employees while others do not. It’s crucial to understand your contract with your employer and if you’re not sure you can get a lawyer to check over your contract.

Is Professional Indemnity Insurance Financially Beneficial?

Yes, imagine having to pay for a lawyer to defend you or your business in one of the cases mentioned above, this is cost that could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the right professional indemnity insurance solution this will give you some financial peace of mind in the event you get taken to court.

What Does Professional Indemnity Cover Me For?

PI insurance is designed to protect against slip ups at work including, omitting information, revealing information or miscommunication and saying the wrong information accidentally, etc. It’s especially important to have PI when working in a high-risk profession where you are giving out advice on a daily basis and it relates directly to a person’s wellbeing and health for example, a doctor, lawyer or psychologist even an engineer working on big project worth lots of money. The higher the stakes the higher the risk, in a nutshell.

So in conclusion, for those in professional services, we typically view PI as a foundational component of your insurance solution. If you’re not sure whether this applies to your specific situation, just contact us – we would be happy to have a chat and provide a free, no-obligation quotation so you can check that you’ve got a good solution in place at a competitive price.

Hospitality and Food Safety – Key Risks and How to Minimise Them

Running a restaurant, bar, café, hotel or catering service comes with a level of innate risk. Paired with rapidly changing technology (i.e. Uber Eats) and customer demand, hospitality businesses face one of the most challenging risk landscapes of any industry.

Some of the top risks to hospitality and food businesses and tips to manage them

Food-borne illness

Common infections include salmonella, campylobacter from contaminated chicken, vibrio from raw shellfish and E. coli. Norovirus is also a leading cause of illness from contaminated food. This virus can be spread when food comes into contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces and can be very expensive for your business if it causes disruption such as shutting down for deep cleaning or for costs from bodily injury claims. Foodborne illness like salmonella lead to unpleasant symptoms, hospitalisations and even death in some cases. A salmonella outbreak earlier this year in SA has resulted in 51 people getting sick and 19 admitted to hospital. SA Health found that the likely source of contamination was related to handling of raw egg products.

Quick tips for preventing salmonella (Source: CDC)

  • Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw (unpasteurised) milk.
  • If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
  • Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds, or baby chicks, and after contact with pet faeces.
  • Avoid direct or even indirect contact between reptiles and infants or immunocompromised persons.
  • Don’t work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time

Alcohol fuelled behaviour

Serving alcohol can increase the range of risks your business faces. You need to ensure you do not serve alcohol to a minor, or to someone who’s already intoxicated. Plus alcohol-fuelled customers can be at greater risk for being rowdy, causing injury or damaging property. In the US, venues serving alcohol are obliged by law to stop serving alcohol to customers that are believed to be considering driving while over the legal blood alcohol limit. If they take no action and the patron gets into a drink driving accident, the bar can be held liable.

Courtesy transportation

While offering safe transportation to and from your venue can be a risk management tool in itself, it does come with its own risk in that if someone is injured in one of these vehicles your establishment may be found liable for their injuries.

Safety and security

Both security systems (including cyber security to prevent things like credit card fraud) and physical security to protect your guests, your people and your establishment are a risk. Slips and falls are one of the top risks for food service businesses, so paying attention to flooring, cleanliness and hazards is very important, too. Cuts and burns are also a major concern, so keeping a well-stocked first aid kit can help keep a minor burn or abrasion from turning into a major infection.

Your reputation

With technology and social media in play, feedback (rightly or wrongly) can spread like wildfire. Businesses now need to have the ability to monitor and respond appropriately to online comments in addition to publishing positive and proactive posts. Do you have a designated person (ideally even more than one) to keep an eye on your channels for activity, and media/marketing training to respond using your key messages? Getting expert help to at least get you started and provide training in this space can be well worth the investment.

Your people

A good business almost always attributes its success to its people. Yet, finding and keeping good people is one of the biggest challenges for many businesses. Ensuring that your people are capable and qualified is the bare minimum – they are also your brand ambassadors whether they are onsite or talking about your business at a barbeque. Investing in training and development for your team can also be an important part of your risk management framework.

Kitchen fires

Cooking, grease and kitchen-related fires can be a huge risk to your business. Businesses like this charcoal chicken shop and the Happy Chef in NSW have both experienced fires that are thought to have originated in the kitchen. Keeping flues, oven and cooking areas regularly cleaned is a crucial step to preventing these types of fires. You should also regularly check your fire safety equipment to make sure you have current and working fire extinguishers, fire blankets readily available, and fire suppression and sprinkler systems.

The role of insurance for restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels and catering

Preventing an incident from occurring is the best approach, but it’s not always possible. That’s where insurance plays its part. Having the correct insurance in place can help get you and your business back on your feet. An insurance broker can help tailor a solution to meet your needs, whether it’s fire/property damage, machinery breakdown, public and product liability, burglary, cash, employee dishonesty, or cyber insurance. Public and products liability protects against your legal liability to customers, clients and members of the public, i.e. third parties (not including employees), for bodily injury and property damage arising from your business activities and products. In some cases, the policy can cover the legal costs of investigating and defending a claim made against you, your people or your business. In other cases, insurance may cover lost income for a customer if they contracted salmonella poisoning and were unable to draw income (for example if the customer was a contractor by trade) while they recovered.

Public and products liability also protect your business from potential claims from customers slipping, suppliers tripping or even stomach-turning events like a tooth or finger being found in food. Business insurance can help protect your building and your contents including damage to your chairs, tables and fit out, along with machinery breakdown (with extensions for loss of stock). Water damage and fire are two of the biggest risks for restaurants, cafes and catering. Business interruption is an important solution to help protect the continuity and sustainability of your business should you experience disruption from an internal incident or even an external one that you don’t have control over, such as natural disasters. If you have employees, it’s important to ensure fair treatment. Management liability can help protect against bullying and harassment claims, discrimination, unfair dismissal and fines from Fair Work. And as a restaurant or cafe owner you could be exposed if you hold any personal or payment details from your customers or suppliers, or if you suffer a denial of service attack on your website and your customers are unable to order while you’re being held to ransom. We tell clients ‘if you use the internet for your business, you have cyber risk’.

Want to talk about your restaurant or cafe business or get a free quote? Contact us.

This information doesn’t take your personal or financial situation into account and may only be regarded as general advice. You should speak to your insurance broker before taking action. And, of course, always read the fine print (i.e. product disclosure statement) before purchasing any financial product.

Risk Management and Insurance Solutions for the Construction Industry

The construction industry is the largest non-service related industry, contributing $134.2 billion to the country’s economy. But as with any big industry, construction comes with its own unique set of risks, and correlating insurance solutions.

About construction insurance

Let’s start with the basics. There are two different types of construction policies – a single project policy that insures a one-off project, and an annual policy that insures various works that take place within a 12-month policy period.

There are two insurance options when it comes to annual policies, the first of which is known in the business as a run-off policy, or a projects/ contracts commencing policy. This insures all projects that meet the characteristics specified in the schedule and begin during the policy period, right up until the construction and its defects liability period is complete.

The second option is called a turnover policy, sometimes referred to as a transfer or cut-off policy. This insures all projects being worked on (or planned to be worked on) during the policy period. Any projects completed within the 12 month policy period are followed by the cover provided during the defects liability period (a set period of time after a construction project has been completed, during which a contractor has the right to return to the site to remedy defects). However, if the project isn’t completed within the allocated timeframe, no defects liability period will attach – meaning all projects underway will cease to be insured.

As you can see, knowing the difference between the policies can be crucial for your construction business! This is why many businesses choose to use an insurance broker – to get the experience and advice they need to make an informed decision about their risks and protecting their businesses.

A bundle of bolt-ons

Beyond the basics, it can get interesting. Clients have the option to choose between a standalone construction policy or a bolt-on (extension to the existing policy) approach.

The majority of standalone construction policies have been specifically drafted to suit the Australian construction environment to help you meet the insurance requirements of the standards in Australian construction contracts. A standard ISR (Industrial Special Risks) policy offers about $500,000 worth of construction cover, but there can be considerable gaps in those policies compared to a specialised or tailored product.

Some of the key components to consider include:

  • a cross-liability clause – states the insurer will view every single insured like they’ve got their own policy, providing the insurers’ limit of liability doesn’t get any bigger. This is a requirement under the Australian standard of contracts.
  • a waiver of subrogation – states that you can’t sue any of the people you have insured as the insurer.
  • a non-imputation clause – states that you can’t prejudice one insured party for the breach of a policy condition of another. This is a crucial requirement for a lot of banks and financial institutions in particular, as it ensures they will potentially be paid what they’re owed, even if a subcontractor has breached the conditions stipulated in the contract.
  • adequate cover for a vibration removal and/or weakening of support – provides cover up to an adequate limit of liability for vibration damage or third party property damage that results from certain activities that cause vibration. This includes deep excavations, underpinning or the removal of supports.

(Source: Insurance & Risk)

Workers’ compensation and the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022

Another element of insurance for your construction business (or any business that employs people), is workers’ compensation.

The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 was launched on 31 October 2012 and an updated version republished in April 2018 (the amendments are listed here: Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022[1]). The Strategy is underpinned by two key principles: firstly, all workers have the right to a healthy and safe working environment, and secondly a well-designed healthy and safe workplace will allow workers to be more productive. The Strategy set three national targets for 2022:

  • 20% reduction in worker fatalities
  • 30% reduction in claims (resulting in 1+ weeks off work)
  • 30% reduction in claims for musculoskeletal disorders (resulting in 1+ weeks off work)

From the Strategy, seven industries were chosen to prioritise prevention activities due to high rates of incidents. The construction industry was one of the seven and is therefore worth spending some time taking a closer look at in regards to people and safety.

Construction industry safety track record

The construction industry has one of the poorest OHS records out of all industry sectors in Australia, with three workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers and 8.1 serious claims per million hours worked, according to recent Safe Work Australia data.

The nature of work in the construction industry means it is a relatively high-risk industry and this is reflected in both the comparatively high level of fatalities and serious workers’ compensation claims (accounting for 16 per cent of fatalities and 11 per cent of serious claims).[2]

Most fatalities were caused by falls from height (30%), being hit by falling objects (15%) and vehicle incidents (15%). Most major claims were caused by muscular stress from lifting/carrying/setting down and handling objects (31%), followed by falls on the same level (13%).

What does this mean for construction insurance clients?

Analysing the information from the report, there are some clear areas that construction industry insurance clients can focus on to reduce incidents and claims and help make sure workers get home safely.

[1] Source: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/about-us/australian-work-health-and-safety-strategy-2012-2022
[2] Source: www.sia.org.au/news-and-publications/news/construction-industry-poorest-ohs-performer-safe-work-australia

Construction risk management

A good construction project plan should always include a rigorous risk management approach. The primary elements of your risk management include a plan for the risk management activities and delineation if your risks, as well as how you intend to identify and document the specific risks and their magnitude to the project. Your risk management approach will then require qualitative and quantitative analysis to allow you to prioritise the potential impact of each risk and inform your decision of how you should manage the risk.

Options for managing a risk once properly analysed can include: eliminate or avoid the risk altogether, transfer the risk (this is where insurance comes in), identify actions that can be modified to help prevent the impact of the risk (i.e. safety equipment, training) and acceptance of the risk if it is an unavoidable risk inherent to the project (more common for low likelihood risks).

Once you’ve set your risk management framework and plan, it’s then a matter of good hygiene around monitoring, reporting and responding to risks, near-misses and incidents.

Some of the key areas that should be addressed in your construction risk management plan include:

  • Working at height – how strict are your policies and procedures around ladders, scaffolding and working on top of buildings?
  • Manual handling – do you have training in place to reduce risk of back injury from carrying heavy objects?
  • Vehicles (both operating in and around) – do you do driver safety training, and have clearly marked safe pedestrian walkway areas?
  • Slips, trips and falls – do you review the site for potential tripping hazards, holes or slippery surfaces?
  • Noise – where appropriate do you reinforce the need for ear protection, and equally have procedures in place to make sure important communications don’t get lost due to a noisy background?
  • Electricity – do you always use qualified electricians to carry out electrical work?
  • Collapse – do you complete a site specific risk assessment before you start an excavation to identify what ground support system, shield/wall reinforcement and angles are required for stable excavation and to prevent collapse?

By no means an exhaustive list, hopefully this article has given you some things to think about in regards to protecting your business and your people.

Questions?

You know how to run your construction business, and we know how to insure it. If you have questions or want to get a free comparative quote for construction insurance for your business, don’t hesitate to give us a call on (02) 6892 1050.

The information provided in this blog is general advice only and doesn’t take into account your specific circumstances or personal needs. Insurance policies and coverage differ depending on a number of factors so please talk to your insurance broker before making any decisions about your insurance.

The Risks of Underinsurance

One of the biggest things that keeps us awake at night as insurance brokers is when friends, family or clients are uninsured or underinsured. Some will opt out of insurance claiming cost as the biggest deterrent, but many have never properly had underinsurance explained to them and simply don’t understand the implications on their business or family.

‘If you think insurance is expensive, try ignorance.’

They say that the cost of education is high, but the cost of ignorance is higher – well, today we’re going to share some education with you for FREE in hopes that it helps you understand and make informed decisions about your risks. And so we can get a good night’s sleep. ?

Understanding underinsurance

We get it, insurance isn’t the most interesting and compelling topic. Many consider it a grudge purchase and just look for the easiest and cheapest way to cover the bare minimum or mandatory insurance requirements. And then many of us experience an insurable incident and realise the value and importance of insurance just a little too late.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Research indicates that Australia is one of the most underinsured nations in the developed world[1].

What is underinsurance?

Underinsurance is defined as the situation when your insurance covers less than 90% of the total costs in the event of a loss[2].

This can apply to business insurance, home insurance, car insurance or most other types of insurance policies.

Some contracts have averaging provisions that reduce the sum paid out by a certain percentage when the sum insured is less than the value of the insured object.

For instance, if you insure your contents for 25 per cent less that their true value and lodge a $30,000 claim, the insurer may reduce your claim by $7500[3].

Therefore, being uninsured or underinsured may not save you money in the end, and could cause a great deal of financial difficulty and heartache in a worst case scenario.

5 common reasons you could be underinsured

  1. When you renew your policy each year you don’t check the details or alert your insurance broker to anything that’s changed in your situation.
  2. You’ve changed, renovated or added features to your home.
  3. You’ve purchased expensive items, such as machinery, jewellery or electronics.
  4. You haven’t calculated an accurate value for your home or contents.
  5. You didn’t include the full costs that could be incurred in the case of an incident in your total sum, such as demolition, removal of a debris and rebuilding.

Am I underinsured?

The best way to get confident about having a strong insurance solution is with the help of your insurance broker. And insurance is not a ‘set and forget’ programme – you should have an open and honest discussion with your broker each year ahead of your renewal. The good news is that having appropriate insurance doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a huge amount more money – with the help of your broker, many insurers will also take into account other factors such as your risk management practices when it comes to pricing. Get some peace of mind, and talk to your insurance broker about underinsurance today!

[1] According to a survey conducted by Zurich in partnership with Oxford University

[2] ASIC definition on MoneySmart.gov.au

[3] Source: http://understandinsurance.com.au/do-you-have-enough-insurance

The 7 types of insurance your small business should consider

Small business owners know your business is your livelihood, and protecting it helps to protect yourself, your family and your future success. You face a wide variety of risks and challenges, some which you can anticipate, mitigate and prevent.

Others are unpredictable and unpreventable.

Sometimes these events can result in damage to your property or assets, or worse, to people. Most small businesses wouldn’t financially survive a significant event with the resources you have on hand, and that’s where insurance is designed to kick in and play its part.

Below is a list of some of the typical insurances that we would recommend for Australian small businesses:

  1. Business interruption – can your small business sustain an unexpected closure or disruption? For how long? According to a survey of 500 small businesses, CGU found that 1 in 4 would NOT survive if they had to close their doors for three months due to a major disruption such as a fire or storm. Business interruption insurance covers the shortfall in gross profits caused by the interruption to a small business from insured events. It helps pay ongoing costs and protects your profit margins until you’re back on your feet and operating at the profit level you were before the interruption.
  2. Commercial vehicle insurance – third party insurance is mandatory if you own a motor vehicle. If your company uses a vehicle for work purposes such as transporting your people or your equipment, you should consider insurance to cover things like damage or theft. If your employees drive their personal vehicles for work purposes, non-owned vehicle liability can protect your small business from being held liable to pay should your employee be involved in a collision.
  3. Cyber insurance – if you use the internet or a computer in your small business, it’s very likely that you have cyber risk. You are responsible for protecting sensitive and private information about your people or your customers if you are storing it and you could leave yourself exposed if you experienced a breach, hack or even accidental loss of a laptop containing data. Cyber liability insurance covers your small business for the costs associated with data breaches (such as legal costs or forensic investigation).
  4. Professional liability (also called professional indemnity or errors and omissions insurance) – this type of insurance protects you and your small business against claims for alleged negligence or breach of duty arising from an act, error or omission in providing a professional service that results in a financial loss, injury or property damage. If your small business provides advice or a service, this cover may be relevant to you.
  5. Property insurance – this is crucial cover to protect your building from damages, theft, fire or vandalism. If you’re leasing your space (i.e. you don’t own your building), property insurance can also cover the valuable assets that you do own, such as the office equipment, computers, inventory or tools that your small business relies on.
  6. Public liability – this type of insurance covers your small business in the event that damage to property or injury to a person (a member of the public, not one of your employees) occurs on your premises or is caused by the actions of your business.
  7. Workers’ compensation – if you employ people, you are required to have workers’ compensation to protect them in the event of a workplace-related sickness or injury. Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to those who are injured while working and protects your small business from facing legal action following an incident.

Hopefully the above is helpful in understanding some of the typical insurances that small businesses might want. Remember that every business is unique, which means you face unique risks and challenges and should get advice from your trusted insurance broker about the type of insurance solution that’s right for you.

 

drought, multi-peril income protection, farm insurance, crop insurance, NSW

Why Farm Insurance and Risk Management Still Matter During a Drought

We’re all aware of the severe drought conditions across our great state, and none of us more than our farmers that are weathering the storm (or the lacktherof).

Although many areas enjoyed lovely rain (and some not so lovely hail!) in the past few days, we all know that the effects of the drought will not diminish overnight.

Managing Your Risks Through Mitigation, Farm Insurance & Multiperil Income Protection

As a farmer, you understand risk management and how to throw thousands of dollars out in the paddock and get it back. However, one bad year tests your risk management and decides if you’ll get by or give up.

It’s unhelpful to say that you should ‘make hay while the sun shines’ and invest in drought mitigation during good years. Instead, there are some farmers that are looking at smart ways to invest even when cash flow is low. This is a good article that looks at a farm family that is taking action, doing things like building drought lots, speak to a livestock nutritionist, instal grain silos and bury plastic wrapped grain.

There is also some drought relief funding available, according to the publications on the DroughtHub.

But many farmers find it too difficult to accept handouts or charity and are instead holding out for rain.

We would encourage you to take advantage of available drought assistance, and also take advantage of this time to be putting a plan in place for the short term and also the long term (ahead of the inevitable next drought).

That plan should include your insurance strategy.

Contact GS Insurance to discuss a strategy where you can protect your assets and your livelihood while mitigating the cost where possible.

Defying the drought and thriving in difficult times

The number one important thing to do during this drought is to look after you and your family’s health and wellbeing.

Droughts often increase mental health issues like depression and anxiety in our communities and households.

We need to reach out and check in on each other, and if you are struggling do not hesitate to get support. The NSW Government recently announced that farmers will have access to farmgate counsellors – here is the website to get more information.

Get a farm insurance or crop insurance quote

In addition to multi-peril crop insurance, did you know that we specialise in farm insurance that will protect your machinery, buildings, public liability, fences and stock? Most importantly, your family and your livelihood. Contact us online or call (02) 6892 1050 to talk about your specific situation and get a free, no obligation quote.

General Advice Warning
Please note: The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.

bushfire-risk

Are you prepared for bushfire season?

Due to the well-publicised dry end of winter and beginning of spring we’ve had, our bushfire season is already well underway. And conditions are expected to continue to be warmer than average and drier than average from now through November, increasing the potential of bushfire risk. See the Bureau of Meteorology video below for more information.

Preparing for Bushfire Season – Climate outlook for September – November 2018

We hope that by now if you’re in an at risk area you’ve done some preparation, but if not, it’s not too late to start!

Here are four steps that you can follow to help you prepare for a bushfire:

  1. Make a plan for what to do if a bushfire is threatening your area, and discuss it with your family.
  2. Prepare your home and property to get ready for fire season (more detail on this in the next section).
  3. Stay aware and watch the bushfire alert levels.
  4. Organise all your bushfire necessities on your smart phone – bushfire information/alert phone numbers, websites and relevant apps, as well as your insurance broker’s contact details and policy numbers.

Prepare your home

Even if you plan to leave early should there be a bushfire in your area, preparing your home can help reduce potential damage to your home and contents. It can also make it easier for the firefighters to defend your property and even reduce the risk of spreading to your neighbours’ properties. Here are a few basic steps you can take to prepare your property:

  • Clean out your gutters and install metal gutter guards
  • Ensure your external walls and your roof are in good nick with no gaps, damage or missing tiles
  • Install metal mesh screens and fit seals around windows and doors
  • Enclose the areas underneath your house
  • Install a fire sprinkler system
  • Maintain your gardens and lawn and keep the grass cut short, as well as trimming back trees and shrubs (especially around buildings)
  • Check that your hoses reach around your house (or buy ones that do)
  • If you have a water source (pool, tank or dam), make sure you put a Static Water Supply sign at your property’s entrance so firefighters are aware
  • Prescribed burning and removal of combustible material can help prevent the outbreak of major fires (permits/permission or proper handling may be required)
  • Annually check that your insurance solution is up to date and adequate to cover your home, contents and property.

Did you know that there’s a bushfire risk management plan for every area of NSW? Click here to find one from your local area.

Check if you’re in a bushfire prone area

The NSW Rural Fire Service has prepared an online mapping tool you can use to identify if your property is designated as ‘bushfire prone.’  Simply click here, accept the terms and then enter the address that you’re checking for (disclaimers and terms apply, of course).

And don’t forget to make sure you’ve got the right insurance in place

Don’t assume that you’ve got the right cover, contact us for a free, no obligation quote to check your cover and make sure you’re getting a competitive deal.

cyber insurance, cyber crime, hackers, denial of service, ransomware

Attention Small Businesses – Think Cyber Risk Doesn’t Apply to You? Think Again.

Many of us have seen some of the world’s BIGGEST brands, Facebook, eBay, Target, Equifax, become victims to cyber attacks over the past few years. But while these attacks garner a lot of media attention, the reality is that most victims of cyber crimes and data breaches are actually small and medium sized businesses.

For small business owners, the idea of being hit by a cyber attack such as ransomware or denial of service is unpleasant and perhaps even daunting but many of us just cross our fingers and tell ourselves ‘it won’t happen to me.’

Unfortunately, that’s not what the numbers tell us.

The Cost of Cyber Crime

Did you know that cybercrime costs the economy over $1 BILLION each year?*

And the statistics are getting worse. According to Norton’s 2017 Cyber Security Snapshot, 1 in 4 Australian small businesses have fallen victim to cyber crime (this is up from 1 in 5 in 2016).

Almost 1 in 5 small businesses back up their data no more than monthly, but more than 1 in 3 businesses don’t think they’d last a week without their critical information!

If a small business experiences a cyber attack, it costs them on average $6,600 each time they’re attacked. We note ‘each time’ because according to a recent FireEye report, more than half of organisations that were targets of a significant cyber attack were targeted again within 18 months (and this trend is increasing).

For Australian businesses that employ 100-500 employees, the cost is upwards of $1.9 million if hit by a cyber attack, according to research released this week by global cyber security firm Webroot.

What Can You Do to Prevent Cyber Risk From Ruining Your Business?

Here are four ways you can help mitigate cyber risk in your business:

  1. Do your research and get both a security software solution and a data back up system.
  2. Keep these systems up to date – one of the biggest reasons that cyber attacks are successful is that your devices, routers, operating system, software or applications weren’t kept up to date with the latest versions and patches which can leave you with security vulnerabilities.
  3. Educate yourself and your team – employees are another large risk opportunity, make sure you and your people use security best practices such as learning how to spot email scams and using strong (and regularly changed) passwords.
  4. Consider adding a cyber insurance policy to help cover your business for financial losses resulting from cyber attacks.

If you want to get a free quote for your cyber risk insurance solution, contact us today.

*Australian Government Cyber Landscape