As spring arrives and we hurtle towards the end of the year, our country is still in the grip of the fallout – health, social and economic – of COVID-19. And although life and business are not back to ‘normal’, Mother Nature is not changing her course. With one of our most perilous seasons for bushfires, flood and tropical cyclones just around the corner, we look at risk mitigation in this edition.
From mitigation to litigation, we also explore the impact an ever-increasing number of class actions is having on the D&O market.
Speaking of markets… businesses in the market for new plant, equipment and assets have until 31 December to take advantage of the instant asset write-off scheme. Our EBM Finance article has the details.
And it’s details that matter when it comes to insurance cover – as our claims example demonstrates. EBM really knowing our clients has certainly been of value to PBF Australia.
Finally, we discuss the insurance implications of WA’s proposed new WHS laws.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Insurance Insight and tune in to our new podcast series!
SEE YOU IN COURT
A raft of class actions is contributing to the hardening of the Directors’ & Officers’ (D&O) insurance market with premiums skyrocketing and insurers changing their offerings and exiting the space.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
With memories of last disaster season still vivid, the need for risk mitigation is at the forefront as more summers of bushfires, storms and cyclones loom.
The instant asset write-off scheme has been extended and the eligibility criteria eased, making now an opportune time for SMEs to look at updating plant, equipment and assets. EBM Finance can help you secure the best finance option for your business.
WA’S PROPOSED NEW WHS LAWS
New Work Health & Safety legislation making its way through the Western Australian Parliament is expected to be law by the end of 2020. The proposed legislation introduces a range of new provisions and has serious ramifications for insurance cover.
Two little words that can have a very big impact, especially if they result in your life being irrevocably changed. That’s precisely what happened to Craig – a freak kite surfing accident turned his life upside down, but thankfully he had an invaluable financial safety net in place.
The latest worker's compensation updates are now available for VIC, WA and NSW.
EBM News & Events
EBM Supports NSW Emergency Services Levy Reform
If you have home, contents or motor insurance, or hold insurance for a commercial property in New South Wales (NSW), you have most likely paid an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on top of your insurance premium. The ESL is collected by the insurance company and paid to the New South Wales State Government to help fund fire and emergency services.
NSW is the only mainland state to use an insurance-based funding model for fire and emergency services. Other states have transitioned to a property-based model where the levy is applied to property rates.
A property-based levy is fairer as it means that those who get the benefit of the emergency services contribute to the funding, and the cost of the emergency services is spread across all property owners, not just those who take out insurance.
The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) has been under heavy scrutiny since the NSW state government postponed the transition to a property-based tax in 2017. Since then, the contribution amount set by the government has continued to increase, resulting in NSW paying some of the highest premiums in Australia. This year alone, policy holders in NSW will contribute over $1.1 billion to fund the fire and emergency services.
EBM has contacted the local Member of the NSW Parliament to let them know our concerns about the ESL. We encourage you to voice your concern to your local NSW MP. Insurance affordability is an issue that affects all of us, together we can ensure our voice to government is heard.
For more information please contact your EBM Account Manager or visit the National Insurance Broker’s Association NSW Emergency Services Levy Hub.
Tune in to “EBM Insights”
EBM is taking to the airwaves with a new series of podcasts!
Now in our 45th year, we are launching our first-ever series of free podcasts in which we do a deep dive into current issues surrounding insurance and risk management.
In our first episode we discuss how we can all be more cyber aware with cyber security specialist Steve Simpson from ES2, we have a Q&A with Ryan Cameron, EBM Director-Broking who gives us a breakdown on the hard and soft insurance market, plus we chat to Cameron Gaspar, EBM Karratha Account Manager about the effects of cyclone damage in the Pilbara.
Join us at:
🎧 Spotify - https://spoti.fi/3gPAJ7i
🎧 Anchor - https://anchor.fm/ebm
🎧 iTunes - https://apple.co/2ElOZY0
We hope you enjoy!
News in brief
Business interruption test case
The Insurance Council of Australia and the Australian Financial Complaints Authority launched a test case in the NSW Supreme Court to resolve uncertainty about certain Business Interruption insurance wordings that refer to pandemic exclusions. AFCA says it will use the test case outcomes to determine complaints related to business interruption claims and infectious disease exclusions. EBM continues to monitor these developments and will provide further updates as the test case unfolds.
The Australian Government has confirmed the continuation of the JobKeeper program to 28 March 2021. From 28 September 2020, to be eligible for continued access to the scheme, businesses (including the self-employed) and NFPs will need to demonstrate a decline in actual GST turnover for the September quarter 2020. For businesses with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion, a 50% decline must be shown; for businesses with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less a 30% decline; and for NFPs and charities a 15% decline. From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper payment will be $1,200 per fortnight for employees working over 20 hours per week and $750 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours a week. From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the payment will be $1,000 per fortnight for those working more than 20 hours per week and $650 per fortnight for those working less than 20 hours per week.
Mental health claims rise
Workplace rehabilitation firm Rehab Management has warned the increase in mental health-related workers’ compensation and life insurance claims driven by COVID-19 is likely to continue. The firm cited a 35% increase in claims related to areas such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders since February, and expected claims to continue until the effects of the pandemic abate.
Inquiry into small business insurance
Noting a growing trend in insurance companies denying small businesses insurance and pricing them out of the market, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman launched an inquiry into insurance affordability and availability. A report is expected by December 2020.
Flood risk heightens
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there is a 70% chance of a La Niña weather system developing this year. La Niña typically results in above-average winter-spring rainfall, particularly across the eastern, central and northern regions of Australia. The last significant La Niña event was 2010-11, which brought devasting floods to Queensland and resulted in insured losses of more than $1.5bn. Talk to your EBM Account Manager about flood cover for your business property or home.
Subsidies for bushfire mitigation
Following the handing down of the independent NSW Bushfire Inquiry report, the NSW Government said it will accept the 76 recommendations. While the Insurance Council of Australia welcomed the report and Recommendation 28 which suggests subsidies should be considered to encourage property owners to reduce their bushfire risk, resulting in reduced premiums, it said it was disappointed the issue of insurance taxes and levies that cause non-insurance and underinsurance was ignored. “ICA notes the combined impact of the GST, NSW insurance stamp duties and the ESL result in households typically paying more than 50% tax on their policies, with small businesses typically paying more than 70%.”
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