Prof. Allan Manning

Another lesson learned from the US when it comes to motor

Like many things in the United States, and particularly when it comes to insurance there a lot of differences. I am looking at motor insurance.

No matter how old you are and/or your level of driving experience you may have in another country, if you are an expat or new resident, it counts for nothing and you start from scratch as if you are a new driver.

In my case, my daughter has been living in Chicago for 5 years studying for her doctorate. Living in the ‘loop’ (central business district) in this city with loads of public transport there was no need to have a car. To complete the degree she has to do a one year residency and she selected Phoenix Arizona as her number 1 choice and got it. Phoenix is like LA in that you need a car to get around. The cost of insurance however, due to the penalty for not having US driving experience is cost prohibitive. She worked out she could catch an Uber to and from work every day and getting groceries etc delivered it would be less than the cost of insurance let alone petrol (gas) depreciation and having the hassle of selling the car when she returns to Australia.

Had she got a US licence when she first went there and had a 5 year clean driving and accident record it would have been around 1/3rd the cost and she may well have got the car for the convenience sake.

The other issue that she discovered was like home insurance, the basic liability coverage limits are ridiculously inadequate. The standard is $15,000 for bodily injury under a comprehensive motor insurance policy. You do not have anything with your registration. If you consider the really high cost of hospital and medical treatment it shows how inadequate such a limit is.

Similar standard low limits apply for third party property damage. I would hate to have the $15,000 limit and cause a semi trailer to overturn.

Yes, you can buy more but to get it to even a $1 million coverage significantly adds to the cost.

When compared to our level of coverage, we are way better off in Australia and New Zealand.

 

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Trap with US hire cars when it comes to policy excesses

As I posted yesterday, I have been over in the United States over the past month and during that period I had to hire a car twice. The first time they asked if I wanted to buy down the deductible and I said no, I have travel insurance for this.

As part of our corporate travel cover we have A$5,000 which is more than enough for any rental agreements I have seen in Australia.

The second time, I needed the car longer but just to be sure I mentioned I had $5,000 cover and I was then told the self retention was US$17,500. My first thought was how could it be so high, the second was thank goodness I did not have an accident with the first vehicle.

Morale of the story  is double check the self retention of any hire car, in any country and pay the extra for the buy down if you do not have sufficient coverage under your own travel insurance.

Also, like an insurance policy, a hire car contract is a legal document and you should read it before you sign it so you are not caught!

I thank my lucky stars I wasn’t.

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I cannot understanding headlines like this..

For the past month I have been working over in the United States as LMI launches products such as our Business Income (BI) calculator into this market.

While there, hurricanes hit in Texas and Florida and it was heartbreaking to me to read that people were not fully insured for such events which are not a case of: ‘if it happens’, but rather: ‘when it happens’.

While an enormous amount of money has been collected for Texas it will come no where near the total cost of the damage.

Flood is a major problem following any major storm, let alone hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones.

With the number of major storm events that the US has suffered over the years, and the soft insurance market, I simply cannot understand why people thought they could take the risk.

I did hear some say they could not afford insurance, but the obvious question is now your home or business is destroyed, how can you afford not to have it!

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Product Recalls Australia – 13 September 2017

11 SEP 2017

Makita Australia — Makita EM2600U & EM2600L Brushcutters

For more product recalls visit: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls

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Product Recalls Australia – 5 September 2017

This week’s product recalls include the following:

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Product Recalls Australia – 25 August 2017

Product recalls from this week include:

For more recalls, please visit: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls

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Product Recalls Australia – 14 August 2017

Product safety recalls recently include:

For more recalls please visit: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls

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Increased security when travelling follow up

Following my article yesterday about the increase in security at the airport due to terrorism, I can see that others are thinking the same way as per the article shared with me here.

Airline passengers undergoing a security check

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Should Australia follow the US with Travel Pre-Approval

I caught my first flight following the upgrade of security after the latest terrorism arrests that took place last week.

I was concerned, as when I was called over for explosive testing the official tested two other people I did not know at the same time. Even though I was the first called, he wiped the swab over me last and tested us all with the one swab.

What would have happened if either had traces on them or their baggage and it was then wiped all over mine? It seemed an extremely unprofessional way of doing things which could at worst have severely delayed my travel and worst damaged my reputation if I was caught up at the same time as a terrorist.

It could be that they are just trying to look like they are doing something, but do it properly or do not do it at all.

The airport check in was, of course, a nightmare and I suggest that the government consider introducing a similar system as the United States government with a pre-approval travel system.

For those who travel frequently for business, within Australia and internationally it continues to get harder. We all appreciate the need for security but if you have say an APEC Travel Card which means you have been checked by not only our government but many within Asia, you have no criminal record and are not on any terrorism watch list then allow them to get on with their business and tax paying ability.

The benefits to government and the security system would be:

  • More revenue for government as there would no doubt be a fee to get the pre-approval. I think the APEC Card costs $700 and at present offers absolutely no value within Australia, going in or out at present. The value is in countries that honour the system.
  • It would reduce the congestion currently seen at the airport making it more pleasant for all travelers.
  • It would allow the security officers to focus on those that have not had the stringent security clearance and therefore likely improve detection.

Naturally, I would still suggest a random check of pre-approved travelers and if they were found to be carrying something not permitted they lose their pre-approval status which in itself would be reason to take care of what they take.

While security is the new norm for all our sakes, if the United States, who you would suspect would be one of the highest if not number 1 on the target list, can develop a workable solution, there have been no successful circumventing of the system that has been such to have it disbanded after many years of successful application.

This was the first of 6 flights I am to take between now and Thursday evening. Meanwhile, I am not looking forward to the rest of the week spent in airports. While I do not wish to be difficult, I certainly will not be allowing the explosive test to be conducted with others again. We will see how that goes down.

Oh, and please check your travel insurance to make sure that it has no exclusions for terrorism that may prevent a claim being made for cancellations or heaven forbid something worse.

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Another fire in one of the world’s tallest buildings

Images from social media

I posted an article back in March 2015 on a fire in a residential tower block in Dubai.

Back then, as a precursor to the terrible Grenfell Tower fire, the combustible cladding was blamed for the rapid fire spread.

Firefighters have just brought yet another fire at this tower, ironically called, the Torch, under control.  To read one of the many news articles go here.

This building is the 65th tallest in the world.

With the police in the United Kingdom predicting a charge of corporate manslaughter against council representatives and the building managers following the Grenfell Tower fire, I hope that we see an immediate end to not only the combustible cladding but all non-conforming building materials.

In the meantime, there has to be some brand damage for those who have invested in these huge tower blocks when it comes to occupancy and resale. Particularly if there is a need to replace the cladding or any other non conforming building products.

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