image Cyclone Debbie
28 March 2017
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared Cyclone Debbie a catastrophe and warned that, while there is no estimate of a damage bill yet, previous cyclones have cost billions of dollars. Key points: Insurers brace for billions of dollars in claims and declare a catastrophe Qantas cancels flights to Townsville, Mackay, Hamilton Island, Proserpine and Moranbah Economist Craig James says economic impact likely to be limited due to cyclone's timing More than 90 per cent of North Queenslanders have some kind of insurance coverage and most home and contents insurance policies cover cyclone damage, according to the ICA. The ICA will declare an event to be a catastrophe when it results in a large number of claims and involves multiple insurers. The council's general manager of communications, Campbell Fuller, told ABC News 24 that insurers are gearing up for a deluge of claims. "Once the cyclone has passed and it's safe to do so, ring your insurer, find out what's available to you under your policy and the insurer can then give you the best guidance on the next steps to take," he said. "A building [that] looks perfectly fine from the outside or seems to have suffered only minor damage may have actually incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and that's even for newer buildings." Events declared as a catastrophe: Insurers cannot discourage claims being lodged An initial decision on claims has to be made within 10 days A final investigation and decision will take no longer than four months Major insurer Suncorp said its claim costs from the cyclone are expected to be fully covered, with its reinsurance providing cover for the company for claims totalling from $250 million up to $6.9 billion.
image ICARE formerly WorkCover
14 November 2016
Insurance and Care NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW) have announced that from early 2017 ICARE will directly administer the policy and billing requirements under the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme.
There will be no change to claims management under the Scheme, or your current claims management contacts or services.
The changes to policy and billing will result in employers being able to purchase and renew their NSW Workers Compensation Insurance policies through the ICARE online self-service portal. Through the portal, all policy information to be consolidated in one place, providing transparency and accuracy. This will essentially see NSW operating similar to South Australia and QLD with policy and premium management being handled directly by the regulator.
This development will allow for online declaration of wages and policy maintenance and a more consistent approach to premium management, where there has been notable differences in service delivery between the insurers historically.
A new ICARE Customer Support Centre has opened from 1st September 2016, supported by Service NSW to enable customers to speak directly to a customer-service representative about these changes.
There appears no significant changes to the way policies will operate in NSW and do not envisage these changes will impact the policy costs currently within the state.
image Have your say on the Australian Consumer Law
2 November 2016
The ACL review is being undertaken to establish whether the law has been effective and how it can be improved to benefit traders and consumers, without imposing unnecessary red tape.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe outlined the importance of community feedback to the review. Consumer law is the most effective mechanism we have to protect traders and consumers in the marketplace.
It is important we have their feedback on how the system is working and where improvements need to be made.
The survey consulted more than 5,400 consumers and 1,200 businesses across Australia on their experience and understanding of the Australian Consumer Law, its application and enforcement.
The interim report seeks views on options to enhance the law's effectiveness across a number of areas, including: product safety; consumer guarantees; unfair contract term protections; and its implementation, administration and enforcement.
The Australian Consumer Law Review Interim Report is open and can be accessed at consumerlaw.gov.au. Formal submissions and comments are encouraged.
Submissions close on Friday 9 December 2016 ahead of the final report in March 2017.
image NSW moves to a fairer system for funding fire and emergency services
Media Release - Minister for Emergency Services
NSW will move into line with all other mainland states and introduce a fairer system of funding fire and emergency services that will also help reduce the high levels of underinsurance across the State, Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian announced today.
From 1 July 2017, the NSW Government will abolish the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on insurance policies and replace it with an Emergency Services Property Levy (ESPL), paid alongside council rates.
The reform will mean the burden of funding these services will no longer fall only on those with property insurance but all landowners.
"Under the current funding model, NSW property owners who insure their properties are subsidising households who don't purchase contents or building insurance," Ms Berejiklian said.
"Fire does not discriminate and the community rightly expects that firefighting and SES services will be available to everyone in their time of need. It is also fair to expect all property owners to pay their share for these vital services."
image QBE ready for claims after builder collapses
QBE has started receiving insurance enquiries from residential property owners hit by the collapse of Senator Bob Days building company Home Australia.
The Family First senator said last week that he will resign from Parliament after his company went into liquidation, halting construction on more than 200 homes across the country.
Property owners left with incomplete work can pursue claims under state-run builders warranty insurance programs, which operate under various names and rules.
image CGU makes it two in a row at NIBA
CGU has been named the winner of the prestigious General Insurer of the Year award at the National Insurance Brokers (NIBA) Convention in Melbourne this morning. It is the second consecutive win for CGU. The two other finalists for the award which is voted on by NIBA members through the associations annual broker survey were Allianz and QBE.