When does the Indemnity Period end?

At LMI Group, have an issue which comes across, almost in waves, in regards to a number of claims which needs to be addressed before the next flavour of the month adjustment to reduce an Insured’s claim.

The one we have just overcome is where the adjuster has made a “notion” adjustment, without explaining the basis for it. Now, we have come across on a number of claims, particular involving restaurants, clubs and hotels is for the indemnity period to be cut off by the loss adjuster and then the Insured being ask to prove that the loss extends beyond the period allowed by the adjuster and then also prove that the ongoing disruption is as a direct result of the damage or other insured event which gave rise to the initial claim.

One of the great frustrations for us is that often this judgment call is being made by a Forensic Accountant or an adjuster who has not been to the site, met the insured, or if they have, it has been only one short visit. Without understanding the insured’s business, their assumption that the business should have been back to normal may well be completely ill founded and at times appears to be linked to the fact that the initial reserve placed on the disruption by the adjuster or forensic accountant has proved to be inadequete. That means the claim is then being adjusted within the confines of that initial reserve.

With this background, I thought that it was appropriate to review the typical Business Interruption cover and in particular, to look at the onus of proof issue.

There are differences in the market with business interruption policies and so, for the sake of this exercise, I will use the Industrial Special Risks (“ISR”) Mark IV Modified wording.

The trigger for a claim under Business Interruption under the Mark IV ISR reads:

In the event of any building or any other property or any part thereof used by the Insured at the Premises for the purpose of the Business being physically lost, destroyed or damaged by any cause or event not hereinafter excluded (loss, destruction or damage so caused being hereinafter termed “Damage”) and the Business carried out by the Insured being in consequence thereof interrupted or interfered with, the Insurer(s) will, subject to the provisions of this Policy including the limitation on the Insurer(s) liability, pay to the Insured the amount of loss resulting from such interruption or interference in accordance with the applicable Basis of Settlement.

Assuming that the loss falls within the triggering provision of the policy, it advises that the claim will be settled in accordance with the “applicable Basis of Settlement”. The Basis of Settlement reads:

The insurance under this item is limited to actual loss of Gross Profit due to: (a) Reduction in Turnover and (b) Increase in Cost of Working and the amount payable as indemnity thereunder shall be:

(a)   In respect of Reduction in Turnover:

the sum produced by applying the Rate of Gross Profit to the amount by which the Turnover during the Indemnity Period shall, in consequence of the Damage, fall short of the  Standard Turnover.

(b)  In respect of Increase in Cost of Working:

the additional expenditure necessarily and reasonably incurred .for the sole purpose of avoiding or diminishing the reduction in Turnover which, but for that expenditure, would have taken place during the Indemnity Period in consequence of the Damage, but not exceeding the sum produced by applying the Rate of Gross Profit to the amount of the reduction thereby avoided.

In both Section (a) and Section (b), the policy makes note that the Insured is to be indemnified during the Period of Indemnity. It is therefore important, that we look at the definition of Indemnity, which reads:

INDEMNITY PERIOD: The period beginning with the occurrence of the Damage and ending not later than the number of months specified in the Schedule thereafter during which the results of the Business shall be affected in consequence of the Damage.

In Summary, this definition states that the Policy starts on the date of the Damage, which may be before any disruption to the business starts and ends when the business is no longer effected in consequence of the Damage, or the number of months stated in the Schedule.

Often, it is a case of res ipsa loquitur which simply means, the facts speak for themselves.

Naturally, as part of the calculation and/or assessing process, the person preparing the claim and/or assessing the claim, would carry out tests to determine whether or not some other factor has arisen which has caused a downturn in the business, and for that matter, may have caused an upturn of the business, unrelated to the Damage which would have taken place had the Damage not occurred.

The reasoning behind this, is that at its heart, the traditional business interruption policy is a contract of indemnity. That is, of course, to put the Insured back to near as money will allow to the position they have would have enjoyed but for the loss. I stress that this is the underlying principle of the majority of business interruption policies in the market, however, there are some policies which are in fact agreed value policies, where the Policy stipulates a formula which may well over or under indemnify the insured.

To ensure that the principle of indemnity is maintained, the policy contains what to me is arguably the most important clause in the contract of insurance and the one that creates the greatest conflict between the insured and the insurer.

This clause is the adjustments clause, which reads:

Adjustments shall be made to the Rate of Gross Profit, Annual Turnover, Standard Turnover and Rate of Pay-Roll as may be necessary to provide for the trend of the Business and for variations in or other circumstances affecting the Business either before or after the Damage or which would have affected the Business had the Damage not occurred, so that the figures thus adjusted shall represent as nearly as may be reasonably practicable the results which, but for the Damage, would have been obtained during the relative period after the Damage.

While the Indemnity Period is not specifically mentioned in the clause, what is in effect occurring when the indemnity period is being cut short, is that the insurer or their agent is suggesting that the turnover that would have been achieved had the business not been affected by the Damage, would have been reduced for some other event, and as such, the period of disruption caused by the Damage is at an end.

Just as an insurer would take a dim view of an insured who came along with an unsubstantiated request to increase the standard turnover of the business, I’m of firm belief that if the insurer or their agent suggests that there is a special circumstance that reduces the standard turnover, then the onus of proof is on the insurer to prove this and not simply make an unsubstantiated claim that the business ought to have been back at that point.

I’m the first to admit that the adjustments clause is not an exact science and that no one can ever be 100% certain as to what the business would have achieved but for the loss, other than in the rarest of circumstances. There is always room for negotiation but both sides ought to provide some logical reason for any adjustment that they wish to make to the standard turnover. For the sake of completeness, I include the definition of standard turnover which reads:

STANDARD TURNOVER: The Turnover during that period in the 12 months immediately before the date of the Damage which corresponds with the Indemnity Period.

To further put this into perspective, the position I hold is that it is inappropriate for an insurer or their agent to simply say that the business should have been returned to normal, say a week after a restaurant reopens when the business had a track record of performing well prior to the event and has recovered to their pre-damaged position at a period longer than was expected by the insurer for the Indemnity Period to be cut off unilaterally and the Insured required to prove that the ongoing disruption beyond their stipulated cut off point is as a result of the Damage.

In fairness, how can this ever be proved?

It leaves the insured in a helpless position, starved of cash and with no logical way they can prove the ongoing loss, other than for the fact that their revenue has not returned to normal. Whether I am acting as a loss adjuster or claims preparer, my role would be to carry out an analyse and look at industry figures, the possibility of new competitors entering the market and all other factors to see whether the position I have adopted in my calculation of the claim is fair and reasonable to all parties concerned.

I have never attempted to cut off an Indemnity Period without any reasonable foundation for doing so. It appears that we will be taking at least one of our current claims to court to examine this whole issue of onus of proof and I look forward to the outcome which may resolve this, to me, inequitable position that many insureds are confronting.

 

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Are we just giving lip service to the customer experience?

I attended an insurance breakfast last week and heard a number of people talk about the customer experience. I thought I would share just two claims that have crossed my desk.

Yesterday, one of the LMI team attempted to report a landlord claim on behalf of a family who have lost a loved one. He thought he was speaking with the insurer but it appears that it was a joint number of the international insurance broker and the insurer. On the one hand, the person taking the call asked the full name of our team member, the name of our company and then sought to get the date of birth of LMI team member. This is after refusing to provide his full name to us for our records. All we know is that it is Tom.

Clearly, the person would not allow us to report the claim but insisted that one of the executors do it. The executor thought this was a complete waste of time when he had provided authority to us to act on their behalf and he was also put through the same experience. The executor, concerned of identity theft, refused to provide his date of birth, he knew neither his sister’s broker nor the insurer would have his date of birth to check against anywhere. He too could not believe that despite asking all this information Wayne from the insurance company would not provide his surname so that he had a record of who he was talking to. He hung up in disgust.

Attempt three, the executor emailed the notification of the claim through to the insurer, only to have someone from the Philippines ring our office asking for “Wayne”. Our office was not permitted to report the claim, Wayne was not the executor but the second claims officer spoken. To my knowledge the claim has still not been set  up, none of us know a claim number nor if an adjuster is to be appointed. All I know is that any insurance, both personal and business, the executor has with that insurer will be reviewed on renewal, and to be fair so it ought to be.

Not for the first time since it was announced has an insured said to me, a full enquiry into the general insurance industry cannot come soon enough.

I try to defend our industry but how do I justify this stupidity.

In another example, a long standing client has been financing a personal loan of $500,000 to have their home fixed. The Insured has invoices for all trades totalling over $400,000 and we had a test quote from a builder who we know well and has done a thorough scope of works which has come in higher. The issue is the cash settlement offer is around $250,000, naturally the Insured will not accept it.

While this goes through the disputes process it means the client has had to find the extra funds to meet the repayments which means no treats, no holidays, no nothing. There is no doubt in my mind that what has happened is that a builder who knows they will never have to do the repairs and is on the insurers panel has provided an unrealistically cheap price to win favour with the insurer and the insurer are trying to force the client into accepting a low ball offer. This insured will not do so and will tough it out and again is anxious to make a submission to the enquiry.

Here I think it is down the actions of one person within the insurance company who appears from our side not to be treating clients close to fairly.

Whether the inquiry goes to this level is unlikely but we ought not be surprised if we continue to fail Insured’s when they need us that we will be faced with enquirers and greater regulation.

Addendum

Within minutes of posting this I received the following email which I have since received the okay to publish without any names.

Confidential

Hi Allan,

That is just disgusting.

I also happen to be [X]’s Claims Manager as well as running my own book as an Account Manager.

Confidentially I can tell you that no less than 6 times in the last 2 months I have had the identical ridiculous situation with [Y] of all Insurers.

3 claims were landlords. 3 claims were motor vehicle.

Again; the attitude displayed by the person on the other end of the line was nothing short of arrogant…and again no names were forthcoming from them.

I was a little sarcastic a couple of times, & mentioned that my own personal details (DOB etc) were of no assistance or consequence to them.

What is frightening is that, if your issues were NOT with [Y], then are we facing an endemic problem starting to materialise across our whole industry??

It is just so disappointing.

Keep up your good work.

Cheers – [Z]

Sadly I had to write to [Z] that our experience was not with the insurer he named! Clearly this is more wide spread than I appreciated. Why are they collecting all these dates of birth when the risk of cyber attacks is on the rise and at least with the claim we are dealing with inexperienced people cannot even read an email?

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Cheapest is not always best – Lessons for procurement officers

I spend much of my time speaking at conferences for various industries, where I encourage the business owners not to purchase their business insurance on price, but to carefully consider how important their insurance program is and the protection that it offers.

Increasingly, over the last few years. I have been questioning the true value of a procurement officer, for regardless of what the tenders say, it seems to come solely down to price, without considering the true value that a good service provider to the insurer provides, nor the cost of what getting it wrong does to the average claims cost and potentially to the brand of the insurer and insurance in general.

I will give two examples to demonstrate what seems to be happening more and more.

The first involves a couple in their 70’s who have had their home destroyed during a bushfire over 4 years ago. Clearly, the builder that won the rebuild never expected to win the job and thought the matter would be cash settled. They were then horrified to find that they in fact had won the tender to rebuild. After 2 years, work had not started on the property and the Insured, naturally, complained. The builders found themselves busy at that time and engaged another building firm to do the work and it went along swimmingly until the first progress payment went in from the second builder to the first and they realised that they were going to lose more money in having someone else do the work than they themselves completing it. The first builder, original tender winner, dismissed the second builder and took the project on. Sadly, they did not start doing any work since the dismissal of the first builder, by which time I was then asked to get involved rather than the client go to the media.

I carried out an inspection of the property and then attempted to meet with the claims officer concerned to express some very valid concerns of the Insured and items that I had seen during my site visit. My first email was ignored, so I sent a follow up one setting out just some of the issues, three of which were:

  1. Between the second and first builder, the floor had been propped up in the centre of the home with nothing more than a piece of 19mm x 35mm pine framing. This may have been acceptable while the home was being built to floor level, but once the upper level was on it, the floor had bowed by at least 10mm and I was concerned that when the home was jacked up to be made level again, any works inside including plaster finishes, tiling etc may crack.
  2. The builder had held discussions with the Insured and it was agreed that the home would be rendered at the Insured’s expense. No credit however had been given for the fact that the builder would therefore be able to use seconds bricks rather than first quality as originally quoted/agreed.
  3. Because the home had been left without a roof covering for so long, there was mould clearly visible on the floor, framework and particularly between the floor plate and the floor.

I got a very disappointing reply back suggesting that to the untrained eye the timber prop may appear dangerous, but it wasn’t, and secondly that the bricks were not seconds but mixed, and thirdly they completely ignored the mould.

Ultimately, an engineer confirmed that not only was the timber ‘support’ dangerous as I predicted, but was so weak that it may have caused the entire home to collapse. The claim officer had also misunderstood the difference between seconds bricks, being that they were not first, and second hand bricks which means they came from another site. The day after they received my letter, the builder was advised and immediately sheared up all the framework, hiding the mould that I had pointed out, without treating it first. Because of the hype around mould at the time, coupled with the age of the Insured’s (I would remind you they are in their 70’s and the wife quite frail), I thought I would have it tested. I then received a note advising I had vandalised the home.

I took the entire issue to the national head of claims for that particular insurer and while someone with more experienced was appointed, it still took a full 15 months to get resolved with the insurer agreeing to cash settle the claim. The cost of the claim had blown out by several hundred thousand dollars, combined with the fact that they will be paying rent until they can get a new home built themselves.

Insurance should be there to help people in their time of need.

This was a completely innocent fire from the Insured’s perspective (it was clear it was from the bushfire) and they will have been without a home for coming up to their 4th Christmas. This is unacceptable in anyone’s language.

The second example, involves an insured who had water damage in their home. Rather than engaging a loss adjuster to oversee the claim, the insurer decided to save money and send out a restoration company. It took 8 days for the company to even attend site, and rather than take a detailed inventory, they simply packed everything up, put it into a shipping container and assured the Insured that it would be unpacked at their warehouse, separated between wet and dry and that the wet items would be cleaned carefully and sterilized.

6 months later, it was found that the items were still in the shipping container and a vast majority of the contents, even those that were not originally damaged by water, had become affected by moisture and mould etc. Some antique furniture which had been beautifully French polished had been stripped back and sprayed with a cheap lacquer. Here, the insurer is trying to distance themselves from their agents, which of course, is unconscionable. Here again, a claim has blown out dramatically due to poor service delivery.

These are just two claims that have come across my desk, and for every one that does, I question how many others are out there. In both of these cases, how many people have these insureds discussed and expressed their disappointment with the insurance industry and the particular brands involved. The first one I had to get LMI Legal involved to resolve, and it appears from the approach on the latest water damage case, I will have to do the same, for at this stage there still appears to be absolutely no empathy for the Insureds position whatsoever.

While I am annoyed with the claim process, I think it all starts at the procurement stage. Buying services is not like buying washing machines. If you have a highly competent professional who has studied, has years of experience, then of course their hourly rate is going to be slightly higher if they are honest and only charge the hours they work. The existing procurement process, appears to favour the shortcut takers, or those who cheat the hours. Either way, the insurer misses out on engaging the right person for the job.

What disappoints me, and I feel should be called out more is that despite this being a huge dispute, the Insured has not been given any advice of the internal complaints procedure, their rights with the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS) etc. This confirms one of the many examples I have that some insurers are able to obtain a better rating with FOS.

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Mansfield Awards – the movie

The Mansfield Awards for Claims Excellence hosted on the 13th July 2017 were a great success. InsuranceNEWS and LMI Group as organisers and hosts were delighted with the support received about the concept, from sponsors and from attendees.

Here is a link to a highlights video to remind those that attended what happened on the night or if you did not make it, what you missed out on. Either way, I hope you enjoy it and look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

Special thank you to the award sponsors, Steadfast and icare. Also to our Master of Ceremonies, Martin McAvenna and Mark Doepel for the Mansfield Oration.

Details of the winners can be found at www.claimscomparison.com

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The need for continued learning

One of the great things about general insurance claims is that it covers such a wide diversity of issues, industries and of course people. Whenever I can, I attend seminars or conferences alike that will add to my professional knowledge.

Last night, I attended an excellent one run by The International Association of Arson Investigators at the Police Forensics Laboratory in Macleod in Melbourne. For the very modest cost of $20, we were provided the choice of a hot meal, followed by coffee. The reason I raise this is that the cost should not be an issue.

What was the key reason for attending was 4 excellent speakers from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. While there were well over 100 attendees, I was personally disappointed that there were no loss adjusters present where as 20 years ago there would have been 10-15.

Good claims adjusters cannot be arm chair detectives, and while they should never pretend to be something they are not, they should be satisfying themselves that the reports they receive are credible and is in keeping with their own observations.

It has been quite a week for me in reflection as to how we can do things better as an industry, which again flows from the Mansfield Awards last week and the work we have been doing on ClaimsComparison.com.

One of the issues I had to confront was whether or not my membership of the Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters was value for money, and when I considered the cost vs the benefit, it was overwhelmingly apparent that my subscription was better spent elsewhere. This again, was extremely disappointing for me as I was the deputy president of the Australasian division of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters and along with the then committee worked extremely hard to merge three separate loss adjusting associations. Instead of it raising the standard of the profession, it appears to me we have slid down below the lowest common denominator.

I will retain my membership of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters out of the United Kingdom, the International Institute of Claims Preparers and work with The Financial Services School to develop a comprehensive course for claims professionals.

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Latest claims rating now available

As an addendum to the Mansfield Awards which were presented last week in Sydney (see here for article), I am pleased to advise that the latest claims ratings as determined by complaint data recorded by the Financial Ombudsmen Service, where appropriate, and insured feedback and our regular survey are now available at www.ClaimsComparison.com.

As always, I encourage people to consider the claims service when purchasing insurance and not relying on price alone.

Policy coverage and claims service and financial strength rating are all VERY important criteria when choosing the insurance program that is protecting your assets or those of your client. 

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Mansfield Awards kick off in Sydney

Last night I was extremely pleased to witness the great response that The Mansfield Awards received from all those who attended.

The night started with a video of an insured who went through a major fire and was so appreciative of the support he received from the insurance industry to allow him to put his “baby” and life back together.

This was followed by the evening’s MC, Martin McAvenna who really nailed the reason behind the awards which were to recognise the often unsung heroes of the insurance industry, the claims teams, and to start pushing the need to move the focus away from the price of insurance to quality products backed by good claims service.

Mark Doepel, partner at Sparke Helmore and Chairman of Lloyd’s Australia kept up the very high standard with an excellent presentation on Lord Mansfield and why it is so fitting that the awards were named after the Chief Justice who enshrined Good Faith as an underlying principle in insurance back in 1766.

The first awards were presented by Mr Vivek Bhatia who was representing the first of our two major sponsors, iCare, who announced the winner of the SME category, with the winner Chubb Insurance and the Specialty category with NTI taking the award.

Martin then introduced a short video on the Amal Mulia Orphanage where all funds raised from the evening will be donated to. Both insurance news and LMI Group donated all their time to this important cause and therefore all monies by way of sponsorship and ticket sales over and above the cost of physically running the event will go to this very worthwhile charity.

Our second sponsor for the event was Steadfast, who was represented by Samantha Hollman to present the awards for Corporate Property & Casualty with the winner Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance and Personal Lines category, Allianz Australia Limited.

I then had the opportunity to speak and I stressed the need to continue to invest in our claims teams and their service providers, such as loss adjusters, investigators and the like, and that the evaluation of these services purely on price is equally as silly as buying insurance on price alone. One of the big issues facing the industry is training and recruitment and the government with their changes to the 457 Visa is putting enormous stress on the loss adjusting fraternity in particular, with 34 adjusters in Australia operating on a 457 visa with another 14 in negotiations.

But, the night was more about the positives and I congratulated all winners and finalists, all of whom deserve to be on the finals list, before Terry thanked everyone involved in putting it together, in particular, Madison Seymour from Insurance News, Ashleigh White and Andrew Pitts from LMI Group, our MC, Martin McAvenna and keynote speaker, Mark Doepel.

Then the final pleasing duty was to announce the overall winner of The Gold Mansfield Award for the best claims team in Australia, as Chubb Insurance Australia. Just jumping above finalists Insurance Australia Limited and Vero.

Speaking to people after the event, it is clear that they were so pleased to see so many senior executives from the industry to attend and support their part of the insurance industry and their strong support for this to become an annual calendar event which both Insurance News and LMI Group are committed to.

Today, ClaimsComparison will be updated to reflect all the survey results in 20 classes of insurance, to learn more please visit: www.claimscomparison.com

 

The categories and their nominees and winners (highlighted gold) were:

Personal Lines

Allianz

Ansvar

Chubb

Defence Service Homes

 

Specialty

GT Global

NTI

Terri Scheer

 

SME

Ansvar

Capricorn Mutual

Chubb

Insurance Australia Limited via their brands NRMA, RACQ, RACV, SGIC

 

Corporate

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

FM Global

TIO/Allianz

Vero

 

The Gold Mansfield

Chubb

Insurance Australia Limited

Vero

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Another broker angry at the NSW Government

I received this email last night and it mirrors many phone calls and emails I have received.

“The NSW ESL Insurance Monitor has now gazetted a new Section 30 Notice which requires premium comparisons to be provided with renewal invitations and renewal schedules for residential property insurance in NSW from 1 July 2017.”

At what point does the State Government pull their head in & stop meddling in our Industry; specifically in areas that really have nothing to do with them?

Sorry to sound aggressive Allan. It’s just that, if consumers don’t like their renewal premium, they already have ample facilities at their disposal to shop around.

Further, this outrageous new “requirement” is totally disingenuous and simply propagates comparisons on price alone. It just isn’t a good look.

Where is the Government’s warning to review the quality & extent of cover, at the same time as comparing cost?

Thanks Allan – Gary. [surname and email provided]

I could not agree more. I seem to be constantly writing to politicians, most recently Nick Xenophon explaining that insurance is not about price. It is about protection and that is what the New South Wales government completely forgets. No one remembers the price of insurance when they have a claim occur.

What they want (and need) is coverage that indemnifies them for their loss or damage and has a sufficient sum insured, limit or sub-limit high enough to meet the cost. On top of this they look for a fair and reasonable claim service that is proactive and does not take a delay, deny, defend approach.

If anyone can get all of this in one policy and assure me that insurer will not have gone to God when I need them sign me up!

Let us see this for what it really is. The New South Wales government completely messed up the transition of Emergency Services Levy from the insurance industry where it has not been in Queensland since 1985 (nor in UK since the mid 1880’s) on to property rates where it ought to be so that all the community pay it. How they messed it up when they were the last state, is beyond my comprehension and one of the best examples of incompetence in government I have ever seen. How can anyone trust them after this.

One of the oldest political tricks in the book is to move the focus off your own failings and divert it elsewhere. We are constantly being demonised by the press and government and an industry who is incapable or unwilling to fight back, so we become the fall guy and the whole nonsense with the appointment of an insurance monitor who of all people should know better is showing examples of price differences between policies that are chalk and cheese.

I think every broker and insurer should comply with the request but also show just how much the New South Wales is taking of the total cost of insurance and in particular the completely unconscionable tax on tax on tax where the New South Wales Stamp Duty on insurance is a 10% on the premium, the Emergency Services Tax, and the Goods and Services Tax (“GST”), with the GST being applied to both the premium and the Emergency Services Tax. So it becomes triple tax.

If the New South Wales Government were genuine about making insurance more affordable, which only helps protect their citizens and economy by the way, then remove the taxes which is adding over 20% to the cost of home, home contents, and business property and business interruption premiums.

PS: I would also add a how to vote for one of the opposition parties in the same envelope if they gave a commitment to remove the Emergency Services Levy from insurance.

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Is it any wonder the public has lost faith in politicians? NSW ESL what a mess!

No news article has caused my phone or email to run to hot as the one announcing the New South Wales back flip on the removal of the State’s Emergency Services Levy earlier this week.

Let us review the facts. The New South Wales government are the last mainland state in Australia to remove the levy. They did not have to reinvent the wheel, all they had to do is copy one of the other states that have gone through the change with little or no drama and pick the one that worked best.

They chose Victoria to model their change on, which to my thinking was the most unfair for the public, but created the greatest windfall for government and made it the most difficult for the insurance industry. (But this was all masked by beating up on the insurance industry).

The NSW government also engaged, with huge fan fare, high profile chest beating Allan Fels  to oversee it all.

Now a few people complain and with just one month to go it all gets put on hold. Like all the people who wrote or phoned me, I cannot believe this has occurred.

My own wife came into me shaking her head as she had paid the rates on our Sydney offices including the new Emergency Services Levy. How many other businesses would have done the same. Do we get this back before we get a new invoice from our insurer asking for it from them for them to comply? Think of all the extra work this will create for local authorities, the insurance industry, and business and home owners.

The irony here is that, within the insurance industry, every one of us should be, with only one month to go, applauding the NSW Government for removing the disincentive for full insurance and grossly unfair hidden tax. Instead we are shaking our heads in complete disbelief! View full post…

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2 words of warning regarding motor vehicle claims

On one of the television channels special report shows they had a segment last week criticising the insurance industry, including a broker, over damage to a vehicle that had been insured for only third party property damage.

This form of cover is risky in itself as there is no cover for damage to the vehicle when the driver themselves is at fault and/or if it is damaged whilst parked and the person that hit the vehicle does not leave an honest note. Further, there is no cover for weather perils or if the car catches fire or is stolen.

Having said this there are fire, theft and third party property damage covers available, but they are still not as good as comprehensive.

I do not know the circumstances of the matter and cannot comment as to why the other vehicles insurer is not coming to the party. There may be an exclusion such as drink driving, unregistered vehicle, or the vehicle may have been un-roadworthy. it is possible that the insurance may have expired. These are all risks you take when you do not have full comprehensive insurance.

In addition, to remind people of this issue I also want to again warn that there are a lot of unscrupulous firms preying on unsuspecting people. They typically focus on people in the lower socioeconomic community. This group of course can least afford to be caught up in the scam financially and often do not have the training or experience to know how to fight the fraud.

What we have seen is such a person, end up with a repair bill of say $10,000, plus a hire car bill of over $25,000, kindly provided by the scammer, when the damaged car has a net value after salvage of say $5,000.

This is becoming a major problem in Australia, along with staged accidents and dodgy repairs. It was great to see arrests reported a little while back on fake injury claims and I know the insurance industry is throwing a lot of resources on building the case against many others as well.

The sooner the better as it sickens that any one is caught by scammers but particularly those who are already victims and can least afford it.

Any journalists out there please be careful of the companies you inadvertently promote in your programs and please go back after a few months and ensure that the whole thing has had a good ending for the innocent party.

 

 

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