Latest Insurance News
Notifiable Data Breaches scheme
The NDB scheme was introduced on 22 February 2018 and, since then, OAIC has had 550 notifications, including 245 in the July-September quarter. That compares to only 114 notifications in the 12 months before the scheme's launch.
Organisations can reduce the potential for NDBs through risk management practices such as:
o Employee training, including strong password protection strategies and raising awareness about the importance of protecting personal information
o Restricting administration privileges
o Conducting daily backups
o Continuously patching operating systems and software
o Implementing multi-factor authentication.
Malicious or criminal attacks are still the largest source of notifiable data breaches (NDBs), accounting for 57%, human error is second with cyber incidents exploiting human vulnerabilities, for example, encouraging people to click on phishing emails or disclose passwords.
Human error accounted for 37% of data breaches in the latest report. Emailing personal information to the wrong recipients was the most common human error data breach (12%). Second highest was failing to use the BCC function when sending group emails, which impacted on an average of 494 people each breach.
Human error remains a key cause of notifiable data breaches, according to the latest quarterly report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
The healthcare industry continued to be the worst-performing sector, recording 18% of data breaches and human error was responsible for more than half those.
The finance sector was the second-worst performing industry for the second consecutive quarter, with 14% of breaches.
The legal, accounting and management services sector was a close third.
As knowledge of the NDB scheme increases in the business community, the number of known data breaches will continue to rise.
Education is the key to reducing the human error element of NDBs.
The increasing rate of notifications highlights the need for cyber insurance.
Cyber Insurance policies can include cover for reporting data breaches to OAIC, regulatory investigations, and costs of communicating data breaches to affected individuals.
2018 Well Covered
Welcome to Steadfast's online magazine.
Designed with the SME owner in mind.
Well Covered is full of stories and inspiration to empower and support your business needs.
1 November 2018 Australian Financial Complaints Authority
November 1 marks the launch of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), a new one-stop shop for Australian consumers to resolve problems with various providers.
A new independent body has been established to help consumers seek justice if they believe they have been treated unfairly by banks, insurers and other financial services providers.
AFCA was first proposed by the government on May 9 last year, and brings together three previous dispute-resolution bodies: the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman, and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.
The body will provide consumers with access to free, fast, and binding dispute resolution for financial services complaints, according to federal Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert.
3 November 2016 NSW Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF)
The NSW Government today announced an overhaul of the NSW Home Building Compensation Fund (HBCF) to enable private insurers to enter the market and improve protections for consumers against incomplete and defective work.
HBCF is a mandatory insurance product which builders are required to take out for residential building work over $20,000.
Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said that the current scheme has been in significant deficit for many years and is in need of reform.
“This insurance provides a safety net for homeowners in the event a builder cannot complete residential building work or fix defects, due to insolvency, death, disappearance or licence suspension,” he said.
“We are committed to enhancing consumer protection, improving home building standards and reducing the risk of insolvencies through private sector competition and innovation.”
Key elements of the reform include:
Insurers will be able to offer split cover for defects and non-completion, with homeowners entitled to $340,000 of cover for each product;
Risk-based pricing will be introduced, so that premiums better reflect a builders’ individual level of risk;
Premium increases will take effect in early 2017 to ensure the scheme’s sustainability;
Broker commissions will be phased out, to improve the scheme’s efficiency, eliminating 15 per cent of the current cost of the policy;
The Government will inject additional funds to return the scheme to surplus.
“NSW is experiencing a residential construction boom and these reforms protect homeowners and empower them to make more informed decisions,” Mr Dominello said.
A bill to reform the HBCF is expected to be introduced to Parliament in the first half of 2017. The reforms follow extensive consultation with industry stakeholders. Further information is available at www.sira.nsw.gov.au.
24 October 2016 IAG Licence consolidation project confirmed.
IAG has received confirmation from the Federal Court of Australia that it can take the next step to consolidate the number of general insurance licences in the group from nine to two.
The court orders cover the proposed transfer of seven separate entities into a related business entity, Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 (IAL), on or about 1 August 2017.
(a) CGU Insurance Limited ABN 27 004 478 371
(b) Swann Insurance (Aust) Pty Ltd ABN 80 000 886 680
(c) WFI Insurance Limited ABN 24 000 036 279
(d) IAG Re Australia Limited ABN 96 001 948 278
(e) Mutual Community General Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 59 007 895 543
(f) CGU-VACC Insurance Limited ABN 73 004 167 953); and
(g) HBF Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 11 009 268 277
(together, the above are the Transferring Entities).
The proposed transfer is part of IAG’s work to become a simpler, more efficient and agile business. Reducing the number of insurance licences from nine to two will help achieve this and will free up resources that can be used to improve operations and customer service.
2015 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."
The Government anticipates that the vast majority of insured residential property owners will be better off under the ESPL, with the average insured property owner saving around $40 per year.
Modelling suggests property insurance premiums will fall by around $200 on average every year under the change while the average cost of the ESPL will be around $160.
The ESPL will be budget neutral and will not raise any extra revenue for NSW.
"This fairer model for funding fire and emergency services will reduce the cost of insurance and encourage more people to insure their properties," Ms Berejiklian said.
The introduction of the ESPL will not in any way reduce levels of funding to the State's fire and emergency services.
"This long overdue reform has been recommended by recent reviews into State taxes, including the Henry Review, and shows the NSW Government is committed to tax reform," Ms Berejiklian said.
The Government will also appoint Professor Allan Fels AO as Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor to ensure that insurers pass on the cost savings to consumers. Prof Fels will have powers to seek pecuniary penalties from Insurance Companies of up to $10 million for unreasonable prices from today through to 31 December 2018. Professor David Cousins AM will also be appointed as Deputy Monitor.
Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said the ESPL will support the State's emergency services and ensure they have the resources they need to protect homes and save lives.
"The safety of our communities is what matters most and our frontline emergency service workers will show up at your house regardless of whether you are insured or not," Mr Elliott said.
"This reform will ensure we all share the cost of that life-saving service."
Following extensive public consultation in 2012, the NSW Government will now consult with key stakeholders, such as the insurance industry and local government, on the implementation of the reforms.
The new levy will be based on unimproved land values and will be collected by local government on behalf of the State. Different property-levy rates will be applied to different categories of land. The Government is considering appropriate land classifications such as residential, commercial, farmland and public benefit land.
Victoria abolished its insurance-based fire services levy and introduced a property levy in July 2013 - a reform prompted by recommendations of the Royal Commission into the 2009 bushfires with the goal of reducing the level of under-insurance.
Legislation to enact the reforms will be introduced in the first half of 2016. There will be discounts in place for pensioners and concession cardholders.
2014 law reform-The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Privacy Amendment Act) made many significant changes to the Privacy Act 1988.
These changes commenced on 12 March 2014.
The Privacy Regulation 2013, made under the Privacy Act, also commenced on 12 March 2014.
The Privacy Amendment Act is a part of a privacy law reform process that began in 2004.
Australian Privacy Principles
The Privacy Act now includes a set of 13 new harmonised privacy principles that regulate the handling of personal information by Australian and Norfolk Island Government agencies and some private sector organisations. These principles are called the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs). They replace both the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) that applied to Australian Government agencies and the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) that applied to some private sector organisations.
A number of the APPs are significantly different from the existing principles, including APP 7 on the use and disclosure of personal information for the purpose of direct marketing, and APP 8 on cross-border disclosure of personal information.
For more information on the APPs and the OAIC’s APP guidelines, see Australian Privacy Principles. The 2014 reforms do not apply to Australian Capital Territory government agencies. Instead, the Privacy Act, as in force on 1 July 1994 (and as modified by the Australian Capital Territory Government Service (Consequential Provisions) Act 1994 (Cth)), continues to apply to those agencies.
FIXING FLOOD INSURANCE NO.152 Media Release of 14/11/2011 JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH ROBERT MCCLELLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL
Every Australian seeking to purchase or renew home and contents insurance will be offered flood
cover using a common sense definition of 'flood' under proposals announced today by Assistant
Treasurer Bill Shorten and Attorney General Robert McClelland.
The announcements are part of the Gillard Government's response to the 47 recommendations in
the final Natural Disaster Insurance Review (the Review) report. The Review was commissioned to
examine insurance for flood and other natural disasters following the 2010 and 2011 summer
The Review made a range of recommendations encompassing flood risk management, insurers'
claims handling and dispute resolution processes, and the provision of flood insurance.
"The devastating floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria last summer showed how vital it is to get
flood and other disaster insurance right. The Review's recommendations are a good place to start in
mitigating the risk of disasters and making sure everyone has the appropriate insurance
arrangements to set them on the path towards recovery after disaster strikes," Mr Shorten said.
Standard definition of 'flood'
"The Gillard Government will introduce a standard definition of 'flood' to ensure we don't have a
repeat of what happened after last summer's floods, where people with insurance policies with one
definition of 'flood' received compensation while people living next door, with a different policy and
different definition, received nothing at all."
"Many families and individuals affected by the 2010 and 2011 floods were not even aware their
insurance did not cover flood. All policies that offer flood insurance will be required to contain the
standard definition and this will end the confusion."
"The Government will release draft regulations about the standard definition for consultation by the
end of the year:
Flood means the covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been
released from the normal confines of:
A. any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or
B. any reservoir, canal, or dam.
The standard definition of 'flood' will be used if the insurer offers flood cover in their home building,
home contents, small business and strata title insurance policies.
The Government is also consulting on a proposal that all insurers must offer flood cover as part of
home building and home contents insurance policies, while giving consumers the opportunity to
'opt-out' of that cover.
Stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal, following the release of a
consultation paper today.
"This proposal will increase the availability of flood insurance across Australia, while improving
transparency and choice for consumers," Mr Shorten said.
Flood risk information portal
The Government will also commit substantial funds to establish a flood risk information portal..
Mr McClelland said the Review highlighted the need to improve availability and consistency of flood
risk information. Flood risk information plays an important role in emergency management, land
use planning and environmental management as well as informing the setting of insurance
"The Government will develop a flood risk information portal, hosted by Geoscience Australia, to
provide a single access point to existing flood mapping data. The Commonwealth will drive this
process in close consultation with State and Territory governments," Mr McClelland said.
"The portal will be complemented by the development of national guidelines, covering the
collection, comparability and reporting of flood risk information. Once endorsed, these guidelines
will contribute to improved data quality and consistency."
Mr McClelland said the States and Territories have expressed their support for these initiatives.
"At last Friday's meeting of the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management, Ministers
agreed to undertake work needed to expedite the provision of existing flood mapping data for
publication in the portal," he said.
"Ministers also agreed that the national guidelines are needed and committed to cooperate in
"These measures will improve access to data and lead to a more consistent approach across the
nation. The cost of this measure is around $12 million over the period 2012-13 to 2015-16," Mr
One page Key Facts Sheet
The Government will also implement a requirement for insurers to provide their customers with a
Key Facts Sheet for all home and home contents policies. The Key Facts Sheet will clearly set out,
on a single page, all key information about the features of the policy. The Key Facts Sheet will
complement the existing Product Disclosure Statement.
Further consultation on the content of the Key Facts Sheet will take place early next year.
Prototypes of the Key Facts Sheet will also be subject to consumer testing prior to being finalised.
The NDIR recommended - and the Government accepted - that lending institutions should remind
borrowers annually of their obligation to maintain insurance and of the risks of under-insurance.
"The industry has accepted this in-principle - and I will work with the industry over the coming
months to develop a way to implement this recommendation," Mr Shorten said.
Reforms to the General Insurance Code of Practice and other recommendations
The Review made a number of recommendations for changes to the General Insurance Code of
Practice to improve insurers' handling of claims and disputes relating to natural disasters.
The Government and insurance industry have already agreed to remove the provision that the Code
doesn't apply during natural disasters and providing for time limits for the completion of expert
reports such as hydrology reports.
"In the past, insurers didn't have to abide by the Code for claims relating to a natural disaster. That
will no longer be the case and will give the victims of natural disasters the same rights as general
insurance consumers," Mr Shorten said.
Other measures recommended by the Panel include a limit to the time taken by insurers to resolve
claims and strengthened internal dispute resolution processes. The Government has started
discussions with the industry about these changes.
The NDIR also made a series of recommendations in relation to the provision of affordable flood
insurance to those at high risk of flood. This includes the creation of a reinsurance pool of funds
that will enable insurers to provide discounted flood coverage to eligible high risk households.
These recommendations require detailed consideration by the Government. A process of
consultation with relevant stakeholders will be undertaken, given the complexity of the
recommended scheme and its potential financial implications for governments. This will include an
issues paper to be released in 2012 following completion of the consultation process on the
mandatory opt-out proposal.
Finally, the Assistant Treasurer and the Attorney-General take this opportunity to thank the three
members of the Natural Disaster Insurance Review Panel, John Trowbridge, John Berrill and Jim
Minto as well as the Australian Government Actuary, Peter Martin, and the secretariat that
The full list of recommendations and the Government's responses, together with the consultation
paper, can be downloaded from the Treasury website, which also provides instructions on how to
make a submission and the deadline for doing so.
From 11 October 2011 Product Disclosure Statements (PDS), must inform Clients that the Financial Claims Scheme may be available to them in the event that an Insurer becomes insolvent and is unable to pay claims.
How will the change be implemented?
The following clause should be included in Schedules prepared after the 11 October 2011.
In the unlikely event the Insurer were to become insolvent and could not meet its obligations under this Policy, a person entitled to claim may be entitled to payment under the Financial Claims Scheme.
Access to the Scheme is subject to eligibility criteria and for more information see APRA website at http://www.apra.gov.au and the APRA hotline on 1300 13 10 60.
Which policy documents will not be updated?
The FCS does not apply to Life products and the clause is not required for those policies where a PDS is not required such as Compulsory Third Party, Workers Compensation, ISR, Construction, or Liability products.
What is the Financial Claims Scheme?
The Financial Claims Scheme (FCS) was established in 2008 by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA). For the insurance industry, its purpose is to protect policyholders of general insurers from potential loss due to the failure of these institutions. The scheme provides compensation to eligible policyholders with valid claims against a failed general insurer.
Standard flood definition raises too many uncertainties
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a decision denying authorisation to a proposal by the Insurance Council of Australia for a common definition of 'inland flood'.
"The ACCC supports efforts to establish a common definition of flood that is widely understood by consumers and can be used as a benchmark for flood cover in insurance policies," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "However, the definition proposed by the ICA is unlikely to achieve this aim.
"The Australian community has experienced a number of severe floods in recent years. These events have focussed a spotlight on the need to improve consumer understanding of what the term 'flood' means in insurance policies and the extent to which particular policies include flood cover."
The ICA has developed a definition of inland flood which insurance companies could voluntarily adopt, and sought the ACCC's authorisation for this definition.
The ACCC consulted widely on the definition of inland flood put forward by the ICA. Significant concerns about the proposed definition of flood have been raised by a range of consumer bodies including the Consumer Law Action Centre, the Consumers' Federation of Australia, the Insurance Law Service, the Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales, and Legal Aid Queensland.
A number of consumer groups with experience representing consumers in disputes about flood cover in insurance policies raised concerns about the terminology chosen by the ICA. These consumer groups argued that the ICA's definition would in fact increase consumer confusion about the meaning and nature of flood cover rather than improving consumer understanding. The ACCC is particularly concerned that the ICA definition of flood introduced a range of new concepts the legal implications of which are not clearly understood.
"The ACCC recognises that this is a complex issue and encourages the ICA to work with consumer groups and other interested stakeholders to develop a common definition of flood that will make it easier for consumers to understand what the term flood means and the extent to which their individual insurance policy covers them for flood damage," Mr Samuel said.
This decision does not prevent the insurance industry from seeking authorisation for a revised proposal in the future.
The ACCC's determination will be available from the ACCC website, under the Public Registers
Queenslands flood victims - State Government lends a hand - Insurer's respond
The final cost of repairing the 4,000 flood damaged dwellings could top $163,000,000.
The majority of damage has been assessed by the various Insurers however the Insurance Council of Australia
has warned it is likely to be some time before the final damage bill is known.
In general member companies of the ICA are keen to start rebuilding and repairing.
Technical assistance has been brought in from around Australia to ensure repairs get under way.
The State Government set up a co-ordination cente which has greatly assisted progress.
In addition there are asistance grants available for Primary Producers up to $25,000.
The Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority is responsible for the administration of these grants
prmarily designed to assist with the cost of clean-up.
The damage was caused by a huge volume of rain. A total of 624mm was dumped on Mackay in the 10 hours , nearly half the city's annual rainfall of 1561mm and almost twice as much rain as Brisbane has received so far this year.
A special fund has been set up to help seniors who are struggling to re-establish themselves after February's flood in Mackay.
Wild storms likely to hit insurance premiums
The Newcastle storms last year and more recently Queensland's storms and the Sydney rain and hail season will certainly drive up Insurance premiums paid by Australian businesses and householders. Global warming appears to be
reaping havoc on the voracity of our wild weather.
The Rudd Government is struggling to establish a suitable carbon emissions trading system.
From the Insurance Industry point of view the increase in frequency and severity of cyclones, floods, bushfires and hail storms and rising sea levels seems destined to affect insurance premiums paid by owners of property.
Extreme weather could result in changes to our building regulations in an attempt to reduce the damage caused by such events.
In the short term carbon trading systems appear destined to be guides rather then firm goal setting with a stringent timeline.
Achieving reduced emissions into the atmosphere over time at a minimum cost to the economy allowing the financial markets to influence its implementation appears to be the path Australia must follow to contribute to the Green House Gas issue.
Small Medium Enterprise Business Under-Insured
Commercial insurer CGU says 65% of small businesses have no business interruption cover, 47% do not adequately insure their stock and contents, and 82% of businesses that own buildings do not insure them appropriately.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says that one in six home businesses – of which there are 800,000 in Australia – are either under-insured or not insured at all.
Business insurance can be split into four basic categories:
Compulsory - Workers Compensation and other Compulsory Statutory Covers
Liability – Legal liability arising out of the activities of the Business for injury to others or damage to their property.
Assets and Income – Property the business owns and its revenue-generating capabilities.
Personnel – Injury or Accident to key staff and owner.
Compulsory insurance - its the law its not an option. Heavy penalties exist for non compliance.
Liability insurance - generally you buy a lot of protection for a little money. However an uninsured Liability incident can ruin any small business. The courts are generous where personal injury arises from negligence.
If you give advice you need Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Assets insurance - Stock and contents need to be protected against claims from Fire and perils and burglary. Business owners however need to consider revenue as an insurable asset.
The resultant interruption to a business gross profit after a fire claim can be devastating.
Nicholas Scofield, general manager of corporate affairs at Allianz Australia, says business interruption insurance, which protects the revenue from damage to the property that generates it, is a must.
Scofield says more than half of businesses that suffer a physical loss and that do not have business interruption cover will not resume their normal business operations. But in a classic case of false economy, the ICA estimates that 42% of small businesses do not take out business interruption insurance. Hooton believes this figure is closer to 60% to 70%.
Personnel insurance - Intellectual property sometimes is carried inside the owner’s head – so “key person” insurance is critical. Covers can include full income protection.
Small businesses need to make sure that their insurance cover keeps pace with growth in their business – and inflation.