Overall, Australia has done a good job at flattening the COVID-19 curve. While we are dealing with a second wave on the east coast, businesses elsewhere are preparing for government stimulus to wind back and there are opportunities emerging for SMEs across numerous sectors.
In this edition we look at some of those opportunities as our lifestyles change post-COVID. As always, our team is on hand to help you assess and mitigate the operational risks as we settle into the “new normal” and understand where insurance is needed most as your business evolves.
We also explore how the insurance industry has embraced innovation and adopted digital technologies during the pandemic to benefit customers. Streamlined processes and better efficiencies mean brokers have more time to connect with clients – to be there for you when you need us.
And speaking of going hi-tech, we explore how robotics are set to revolutionise Australia’s agriculture sector – but there are some insurance matters to get sorted first.
As the new financial year begins, it’s a good time to review your insurance covers – we have some tips on what to consider.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Insurance Insight.
LET’S GET DIGITAL
In the wake of COVID-19, the insurance industry has embraced innovation and technology to benefit customers.
DON’T SET & FORGET
EOFY is an opportune time to review your insurance policies. Chat to your broker to make sure you still have the right covers for your unique needs.
The times, they are a-changin’ – thanks to COVID-19. Australian lifestyles are expected to be irrevocably altered as we recover from the pandemic and settle in to the “new normal”. With the evolution come opportunities for SMEs.
WHS Legislation changes in NSW
On 10 June 2020 the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Act 2020 received assent. This Act amends the Work Health Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and insurance for WHS Fines in NSW is prohibited for penalties for incidents occurring after 10 June 2020.
GOODBYE TO “COME BY”?
As technology advances, robotics present opportunities for Australia’s agriculture sector. But before retiring Bluey in favour of a robo-dog, farmers need to consider the insurance and liability implications of going robo.
EBM's Injury Management team provide you the latest WorkCover updates
NEWS IN BRIEF
OECD investigates BI cover for pandemics
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Responding to the COVID-19 and pandemic protection gap in insurance report examines how business interruption insurance against pandemic risk could be provided with support from governments. The report is in response to the widespread disruption to economic activity and business interruption losses sparked by COVID-19 and the fact that the vast majority of these losses are likely to be absorbed by policyholders as few companies have business interruption coverage that will respond to these types of losses.
New workplace manslaughter offences
Following the passing of the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and other matters) Bill 2019 in November 2019, new workplace manslaughter offences came into effect in Victoria on 1 July 2020. Harsher penalties for negligently causing a fatality in the workplace now include fines of up to $16.5M for duty holders and up to 20 years in jail for individuals.
Grants for building and renovations
In an effort to boost demand for residential construction, the Federal Government will give eligible homeowners $25k to build or renovate homes. The HomeBuilder program is restricted to substantial renovations and the construction of new homes, with recipients required to spend at least $150k before being eligible. The grant is not available for investment properties or for owners who intend to build or renovate without using builders. All builders must bebeen licensed or registered for at least six months prior to the announcement of the scheme. EBM’s BuildCover team can assist those in the building trades to ensure they are properly insured.
Grants for cyclone upgrading
Homeowners living on low incomes in cyclone-prone areas in North Queensland may be eligible for government assistance to increase the cyclone resilience of their homes. Applications for grants under Phase 2 of the Household Resilience Program are open for eligible owners with houses built before 1984. EBM’s Gold Coast office can help home and business owners secure the right property insurance.
Clarity on Code of Conduct for commercial property
Law firm MinterEllison has published a Code of Conduct compendium to assist commercial landlords and their SME tenants understand the Federal Government’s Mandatory Code of Conduct and how the code is applied by each state and territory government. EBM’s Commercial Landlords Insurance Policy is specifically designed to protect against the unique risks commercial landlords face.
Transport accidents revealed
According to the National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) of National Transport Insurance’s Major Accident Investigation 2020 Report, there has been an increase in the number of deaths for the first time in two decades, with the number of truck drivers who died in 2019 two-and-a-half times higher compared to the 2017 figure. In addition, there were nearly 100 more serious incidents last year than in 2017. The report noted two out of every three crashes were the result of fatigue and distraction. EBM’s Transport specialists are experts in risk mitigation for the industry.
Instant asset write-off scheme extended
Following the Australian Government’s announcement in March that the instant asset write-off scheme would be increased to assets up to $150k and the size of businesses eligible to encompass those turning over under $500M, in June the scheme was extended for a further six months (to 31 December 2020). Business owners looking to finance the purchase of plant, equipment and assets, should speak to EBM Finance.
Ransomware attacks surge 25%
According to statistics released by Beazley, there was a 25% spike in ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2020 (compared to Q4 2019). While nearly all industries reported ransomware incidents, the manufacturing sector took the biggest hit – posting a 156% quarter-over-quarter spike in incidents. While manufacturing saw the biggest rise in ransomware attacks, the sectors most affected continued to be financial services and healthcare – which together accounted for half of all ransomware attacks. Security training firm KnowBe4 also noted phishing attacks soared during lockdown with cyber criminals stealing sensitive information through phony emails and texts designed to look like official COVID-19-related information. Business owners looking to protect their finances from cyber-attacks should speak to their EBM Account Manager about Cyber Liability insurance.
Back-to-work post-COVID to cost Government $90bn
According to research from The Grattan Institute, the Commonwealth Government will need to spend $70-90bn to get the unemployment rate towards the RBA’s targeted 5%. The think tank said that in order to get more than half a million Australians back into work post-COVID, additional stimulus (equivalent to 3-4% of GDP) should be focussed on social housing spending, shovel-ready maintenance and infrastructure projects which would get thousands back into work by the middle of 2022.
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