Welcome to the June-July edition of Insurance Insight.
The past couple of months have been a whirlwind – Federal Budget, Federal Election and the Coalition retaining government, continuing fallout from the Hayne Royal Commission across the financial services sector, not to mention the end of one financial year and the beginning of a new one.
As part of the Budget, changes were made to the instant asset write-off scheme for small businesses. With the threshold increased and the eligibility opened up, it may be the perfect time to look at acquiring assets, plant and equipment to improve business efficiency. In our EBM Finance article we explain the different finance options to ensure that not only the new asset works for your business, but that the way you pay for it does too.
Speaking of the Royal Commission, the insurance industry is taking the front foot and working on a number of its recommendations. One of the first being tackled is the review of the regulatory exemption that allows commissions to continue to be paid for general insurance products. Peak industry body NIBA argues that there is merit in keeping the status quo as brokers provide an important and valuable service for clients, insurers and the community. To this end, NIBA has launched the Broker Value Project and Ryan Cameron was a key participant in the inaugural workshop (see the story in News & Events).
Our industry – like so many others – is often noted for being hard to understand, with lots of jargon and documents/contracts that are decipherable by few. We help crack the jargon code with a ‘cheat’s guide’ to some of the common, and commonly misunderstood, terms used by insurers.
Following the devastating fire that destroyed part of the 856-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in April, putting priceless artworks and artefacts in peril, we will take a look at insuring collectibles. And while you may not own a gallery’s worth of art, your favourite collection might still need protection.
We welcome your feedback and invite you to contact us to discuss how our expertise can help you protect the things that mean the most to you.
Managing Director - Corporate Broking
Managing Director - Broking
From rock memorabilia to porcelain teacups,
PARLEZ VOUS INSURANCE?
Insurance has a language all of its own and, just like
the ‘inside’ can speak (or translate) it. So, while the jargon
might be confusing, it’s important to understand just what
those terms actually mean.
The instant asset write-off threshold for small
EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION
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CANTERING TO VICTORY
Sitting astride Ventura, Isabelle McLachlan rode into
EBM NEWS & EVENTS
CEO in the news, MD teams up with NIBA and
Increase in premium rates
WorkCover WA has recommended a 3.7 per cent increase in premium rates for compulsory workers’ compensation insurance for 2019/20.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Chris White announced “that the average recommended premium rate would be 1.645 per cent of total wages for 2019/20, up from 1.585 per cent of total wages for 2018/19, representing an overall increase of 3.7 per cent. Western Australian average recommended premium rates are low by national standards. Rates may vary from year to year depending on a number of factors; this small increase continues to ensure the workers’ compensation scheme is fully funded”.
It should be noted that the increase will not be applied uniformly across all premium rating classifications. Please be aware that the gazetted rates are only ‘recommended’ and individual risks may attract higher or lower rates.
The new rates come into effect at 4.00pm on 30 June 2019.
Changes to Entitlements
Injured workers in Western Australia have a range of statutory entitlements available to help them recover from their workplace injury and return to suitable and sustainable employment.
There is a maximum amount (Prescribed Amount) an injured worker can receive in terms of weekly payments for loss of earnings during the life of their compensable claim. The Prescribed Amount is indexed annually and is based on changes in the Wage Price Index.
A new Prescribed Amount comes into effect on 1 July 2019 and sets a ceiling of $232,050.
Changes to entitlements include:
- Weekly Compensation Payments: the prescribed gross weekly compensation amount is $2,619.70 (maximum weekly entitlement).
- Medical and Hospital Expenses: these are capped at a maximum of 30 per cent of the Prescribed Amount (or $69,615) for reasonable expenses.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: this is capped at a maximum of 7 per cent of the Prescribed Amount (or $16,244) for approved vocational rehabilitation providers to assist workers with their functional capacity.
- Vehicle Running Expenses: $0.47 per kilometre is the prescribed rate for reasonable expenses.
For more information, visit the WorkCover WA website.
EBM’s specialist Workers’ Compensation team
Workers’ Compensation is complex and EBM can assist you with every aspect of your Workers’ Compensation policy. Please contact us to see how we can help.
If your business is faced with a Workers’ Compensation claim, EBM’s Injury Management Team is here to help you with advice and support throughout the claims process.
NEWS IN BRIEF
SMEs more cyber aware
The 2018/2019 BDO and AusCERT Cyber Security Survey Report has found that by 2020, 84.8 per cent of respondents plan to implement regular cyber security risk assessments, while 86.4 per cent expect to have a cyber security awareness program in place. The survey results indicated the vast majority of SMEs were taking meaningful action and that there has been a genuine uplift in leadership awareness and improved reporting to senior levels. Speak to your EBM Account Manager about Cyber Liability insurance.
Data breaches revealed
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released its Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme 12-month Insights Report. Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, the scheme recorded 964 data breach notifications – a 712 per cent rise on the previous year, when reporting was only voluntary rather than mandatory. Of those, 60 per cent were found to have been the result of malicious or criminal attacks. A further 35 per cent was attributed to human error, with just 5 per cent being caused by system faults.
Disaster season losses
Figures from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) revealed the insurance bill from the catastrophic hailstorms that hit Sydney, Central Coast, and South East Queensland on 20 December 2018 reached $1.271 billion (137,795 claims). The NSW hailstorm was the first of the three summer catastrophes declared by the ICA. The other two were the monsoonal deluge that struck Townsville in February, resulting in $1.225 billion in insurance losses from 29,089 claims, and the Bunyip bushfires in late February, which incurred $31.9 million in insurance losses from 432 claims.
Director confidence at 2-year low
According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) Director Sentiment Index, the confidence of Australia’s company directors is at its lowest point in over two years. Overall director sentiment has fallen over 21 points to minus 16.9 over the last six months, with the pessimism largely driven by a fall in confidence about the health of the Australian, Asian, US and European economies over the next 12 months.
Reputation top risk for Oz firms
According to a recent survey, Australian businesses are most concerned about sustaining damage to their brand. In second place was economic slowdown/slow recovery, followed by business interruption, increasing competition, cyber-attacks/data breach, cash flow and liquidity, failure to attract or retain top talent, failure to innovate/meet customer needs, and regulatory/legislative changes. Accelerated rates of change in market factors rounded out the top 10 risks. Australia’s list differed to the global ranking, which placed economic slowdown highest, followed by brand damage and accelerated rates of change. The survey also revealed that economic slowdown and volatile market conditions have led to the lowest levels of global risk readiness in 12 years.
Emerging global insurance risks
Swiss Re Institute’s recent SONAR report has identified the top five emerging insurance risks: climate change; the clash between digital technology and legacy systems; risks associated with the spread of 5G mobile networks; increasingly limited fiscal policy flexibility; and the insurance implications of genetic testing.
NSW ESL increase
From 1 July, the Emergency Services Levy in New South Wales is rising about 15 per cent to improve firefighter access to workers’ compensation. With the increase, the Insurance Council of Australia has noted that goods and services tax (GST), stamp duties and the ESL will together account for more than half of the cost of NSW home and contents policies. For commercial policies, taxes will account for 60-70 per cent of the cost. ICA warns the levy increase “will hurt consumer and small business finances and will be detrimental to levels of non-insurance and underinsurance in the community”, with analysis showing the higher cost of premiums will result in a $20 million reduction in pre-tax expenditure on insurance (equating to about 2,000 households dropping their home building insurance and 9,000 households stopping insuring their contents).
ATO issues warning over cryptocurrency
New data matching tools are being used by the ATO to crack down on the estimated one million Australians using cryptocurrency and block chain technologies. Individuals and businesses found to have failed to disclose their income details correctly will be given the opportunity to verify the information prior to an audit being conducted.
Insurance within super at risk
From 1 July this year, superannuation funds will be required to cancel insurance cover within accounts if the account is deemed to be inactive. The changes will affect accounts that are inactive for 16 consecutive months, unless the member contacts the super fund and elects to keep their insurance or make a contribution to the account. Law Firm Slater & Gordon warn that this consumer protection measure under the Protecting Your Super reforms could also have the unintended consequence of Australians losing out on insurance policies they thought they held. Speak to EBM Financial Planning about retirement planning, including ways to boost super.
Roy Morgan’s General Insurance Industry Market Overview Currency Report has found Australian policyholders are sticking with their incumbent insurers. Over the past year, 9.4 million general insurance policies (or 19.1 per cent) were subject to review. Of these 78.4 per cent (38.3 million) were renewed with the same company without approaching any other companies, 14.9 per cent (7.3 million) were renewed with the same company after shopping around while 4.2 per cent (2.1 million) were changed to a different insurer (2.5 per cent or 1.2 million were new policies). Your EBM Account Manager will seek out the best policies on your behalf at renewal time.
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