Thursday, January 27, 2011

Group Insurance Schemes – why?

What is an insurance scheme?
Firstly, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a Group Insurance Scheme is where an organisation with a group of “members” such as an association, industry body, institute, franchise group etc. set up a scheme whereby it’s members are encouraged to purchase their insurance policies from the scheme manager. Generally, the manager would be an insurance broking firm; who will in turn harness the groups combined buying power to negotiate them better coverage and lower prices directly with competing insurers. The benefits of any scheme increase as greater numbers of members participate, as the manager is able to leverage this greater buying power to achieve lower prices or exclusive benefits. 
 For example: A Real Estate Agency Franchise council may set up a group insurance scheme for franchise owners to purchase their business insurance packages and professional indemnity insurance policies.
What are the main benefits of establishing an insurance scheme through an insurance broker?
·    Larger buying power helps to reduce premiums without the need to compromise on quality
·    Insurance policies will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of your members which eliminates paying for unnecessary cover and helps to further reduce premiums
·    Provides an additional membership benefit for your organisation
·    Combined claims history helps to lower risk to the insurer and therefore assists in lowering premiums
·    Your insurance brokers service does not end once your members premiums are paid, we are available for the duration of their policies to provide risk management advice, and should a claim arise we will assist with lodging and following up the claim with the insurer. 
·    Depending on the size of your scheme and your requirements Coverforce Insurance Brokers will actively assist you in the promotion of your Group Insurance Scheme to your members. Some ways we can do this are; by creating marketing materials including brochures and flyers, through mail outs and publications, group presentations, conference sponsorships, etc.   

How hard is it to set up a group insurance scheme?
Establishing an insurance scheme is generally a very quick and simple process with no set up fees or costs over and above your annual policy premiums. Contacting a insurance broker like Coverforce who specialise in establishing Group Insurance Schemes is a great start as they will be able to walk you through the process and get you a great result for your members.
 So why wait, contact Coverforce today to find out how we can make your organisations buying power work for you.

IMPORTANT: General Advice Warning General advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness. Consider our disclosure documents, which include our FSG and Product Disclosure Statements PDS) for some products.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flood cover - not as simple as it seems

world news image:, Queenland flood waters 
In the aftermath of the Queensland floods and with over 2000 homes already affected by flooding in Victoria, and further flooding predicted to continue across Victoria for at least another seven to ten days, many people are now looking into the fine print on their insurance contracts and are becoming concerned that their policies may not actually provide the cover they assumed they had bought.

Many policies exclude cover for certain types of flooding, for example; A typical policy may provide cover for flash flooding but not for flooding on normally dry ground due to the gradual rise in natural river levels. Exclusions such as the one just mentioned can be quite difficult for property owners to interpret and can lead to disappointment when a claim is rejected on this basis.

Property owners cannot hope to overturn a rejected claim by complaining that their policy is difficult to understand or that the exclusions were not explained to them in detail. The ABC’s Annie Guest has reported “The Insurance Council of Australia has rejected complaints that flood policies are too complicated and is instead blaming customers for not reading their contracts”. Read full story here:

With above average rainfall predicted to continue particularly across Queensland and Western Australia until Autumn 2011, our insurance brokers urge that all property owners ensure that they avoid unpleasant surprises and find out exactly what they are and are not covered for in the event of a flood.

The easiest way to find out what your policy covers you for is to talk to a qualified insurance broker, insurance brokers are different from insurance companies, they do not simply sell you their insurance policy and send you out an invoice. A good broker will be able to listen to your situation and recommend the best policy for your needs, they can shop around and provide quotes from more than one insurer for you, and they can help explain in plain English exactly what you are covered for. You can also call your broker throughout your policy period with questions and in the event of a claim, a reputable broker will assist you to complete all necessary paperwork and deal with the insurer on your behalf to get your claim dealt with fairly, and in a timely manner.

Don’t leave it till it’s too late to find out you aren’t protected and if you or your business don’t have a great broker – contact Coverforce Insurance Brokers for sound advice, quality cover and superior service.

IMPORTANT: General Advice Warning General advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness. Consider our disclosure documents, which include our FSG and Product Disclosure Statements PDS) for some products.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

General Claims Advice, Contacts and Emergency Information for Flood affected clients

Floodwaters destroy home in Grantham- ABC TV
If you have been issued a current flood warning, or you have already been affected by the recent and ongoing Queensland (and Northern NSW) flooding; once yourself and your loved ones are safe and secure, you can begin to consider what to do next. 

Whether the flood has happened or has only been predicted in your area, it is helpful to know the simple steps you should take to prepare for a possible insurance claim. Taking the right steps now will result in a quicker and simpler resolution of any claim you may have.

1. Notify the incident to your account broker on our main board number - 02 8814 7777, or to our National Claims Manager - Joseph Rovella on 02 8814 4708. Upon Notification of your incident, Coverforce will be able to assist you with specific advice relating to your circumstances and can answer your questions relating to policies you currently hold.

Alternatively, should you wish you contact your insurer directly, most recognised insurers have Customer Response Teams on the ground and can be contact on the following numbers.

Allianz Australia - 1300 300 573
CGU - 1300 657 119
Chartis  - 02 9240 1729 or 03 9522 4594
Lumley/Wesfarmers - 1300 922 670
QBE Insurance - 1300 650 500
Vero - 1300 888 073
Zurich - 02 8263 9660

2. Keeping safety in mind at all times and adhering to any instruction to vacate flood affected areas, take all possible steps to mitigate further losses of life or property damage. For example:
  • Call the State Emergency Service, police or other appropriate emergency service depending on your circumstances.
  • Where applicable, ensure the evacuation of all building occupants including any neighbours that may be at risk.
  • Where possible take steps to secure any buildings and assets against unwanted intruders by installing boarding over exposed entry points and, if appropriate, employ an overnight security watchman.
  • Remove property which is exposed to further loss or damage to a more secure place if possible and where practical help to protect buildings through flood prevention measures like laying sandbags.
  • If critical machinery is destroyed or damaged, commence investigations to locate replacement plant or services.
  • Providing no danger to life or limb is involved, ensure the safe removal and storage of vital business records and back up computer records where possible.
Note: Actions to mitigate losses mentioned above should also be taken before the incident where appropriate warning is given.

3. Document losses including listing condition of affected assets, taking photographs (if possible before and after the incident is desirable), also ensure you track any expenses incurred in the clean up process, identifying all claim related expenses.

4. Where relevant, ensure supply chain continuity if possible and engage Business Continuity Plans or Disaster Recovery Plans (assuming these are in place).

Further Information

Throughout this difficult time, should you have any queries in relation to the insurance coverage you hold, or require claims guidance or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your Coverforce Account Broker and they will assist you in any way possible.

IMPORTANT: General Advice Warning General advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness. Consider our disclosure documents, which include our FSG and Product Disclosure Statements PDS) for some products.

Flood emergency Information

Disaster Recovery Hotline - 1800 173 349
State Emergency Service - 132 500
Queensland Government Flood Information -
ABC Emergency Website -
Weather and current warnings -

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to choose the right insurance broker for your business

Sadly, the importance of choosing the right Insurance Broker is generally understated, in fact a lot of the time the broker isn’t chosen at all, they are simply employed by default for having the cheapest policy, or the policy with the longest list of unnecessary features. However, as anyone with a great broker will tell you, it’s well worth doing a little homework up front when you are looking for someone to protect what’s most important to you; because leaving it to chance could end up costing you a lot more than time.

The following is a list of tips and information to help you in finding a quality insurance broker: 

 1. Choose an insurance broker from a reputable insurance broking firm that meets all ASIC requirements 
All brokers are required to be licensed by the Federal Government’s Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Most brokers will display their license numbers on their websites and other documentation, if their license number is not displayed - request it. Licensed insurance brokers are regulated by ASIC and must comply with the requirements of the Australian Financial Services Licensing. They are also required to participate in a Government approved consumer complaints handling scheme.

2. Choose a qualified broker
An insurance broker is someone that you trust to give you advice and assistance with the protection of your business, your property, your income and your staff. Wrong, out of date or unethical advice could cost you dearly, that’s why it is so important to deal with a true professional. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you are dealing with a qualified individual – ask for verification if you have doubts as to the broker’s capability or qualifications. 

There are a number of qualifications insurance brokers can hold, these are typically displayed on their business cards however this is not always the case, so it’s best to ask. 

Some common and highly regarded qualifications are explained below:

ANZIIF’s CIP (Certified Insurance Professional) program, CIPs are insurance professionals with an Institute qualification or recognised equivalent, who maintain up-to-date technical skills and knowledge through continual professional development and abide by the ANZIIF Code of Ethics, ensuring best standards of professional practice and integrity. Being a CIP is a symbol of insurance professionalism. 

Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker (QPIB), is another strict system of professional accreditation, introduced by NIBA in 1992, to ensure the highest professional standards. Insurance Brokers who are QPIBs are obliged to meet and maintain rigorous standards of knowledge, skills and behaviour to retain their accreditation. A QPIB accreditation is a good indication that you are choosing a highly professional Insurance Broker.

In addition to the accreditations CIP and QPIB some brokers may also hold a Certificate or Diploma of Financial services. Each Certificate or Diploma requires the completion of in depth studies in a specific area, the most common being General Insurance or Insurance Broking. Qualifications are generally displayed in abbreviated format; for example: Dip FS (Insurance Broking) indicates a Diploma of Financial Services in Insurance Broking.

3. Choose an insurance broker that can assist you with claims advice
Water starts gushing down from the ceiling in your office, water is going everywhere – you’ve evacuated all the staff, but what should you do now? You know you have insurance but is this particular incident covered? Do you have to notify anyone yet? Can the insurer assist with temporary office facilities so you can get back to work? 

Your broker or insurance broking firm’s claims department should be able to provide you with advice and obtain answers to your questions. Before choosing a broker you should ensure that claims advice is available 24hrs a day 7 days a week should you need it.

4. Choose an insurance broker with a claims processing service
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and enjoy dealing with large insurance companies it’s best to choose a broker that will do it for you. Your insurance broker should be able to assist you in completing any necessary forms and should be willing to liaise with the insurer on your behalf. You may also want to check that there are no claims processing fees levied with this service, a reputable broking firm should look after your claim from start to finish without charging you any additional fee. 

5. Choose an insurance broking firm with a wide range of services to meet all of your business or personal needs
Whether you are a business or an individual you are bound to need more than one type of insurance product or service, so make your life a lot easier by choosing a firm that can service all your requirements, this way you establish a relationship where you can ask all your questions in the one phone call and you’ll know exactly who to call any time you need insurance related advice. 

6. Choose a broker that can arrange premium funding on your behalf
Do you prefer to pay your insurance in installments, rather than all in one go? If so, you are best off asking if the insurance broker you are considering can arrange premium funding for your policies. 

For more information; or for an insurance broker that meets all your requirements, contact Coverforce today.

IMPORTANT: General Advice Warning General advice on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness. Consider our disclosure documents, which include our FSG and Product Disclosure Statements PDS) for some products.