Category: News

autumn insurance review, get insurance quote, allsure insurance, geelong, hobart

What’s the opposite of spring cleaning?

Autumn insurance reviews, of course!

Autumn is the time of year where leaves fall off the trees in glorious shades of yellow and orange. It’s the time where everyone has settled back into the daily routines after the chaos of summer holidays. We start eating comfort food and relish time indoors, and get confused as to what to wear with the ever changing weather.

It’s also the time where these falling leaves fill your gutters and the daily grid can leave you on autopilot and maybe you forget to turn the stove off. This is why autumn is also a great time to review your insurance: so you can be sure that during winter, when most house fires occur, you are properly insured.

So pull out your papers from that bottom drawer in the office and firstly ensure you have everything covered; the house, the cars, your ‘stuff’, the pets… you would be surprised as to how much you have! Walk around your home, taking note of the more expensive things you own; the tv, the lounge suite, that premium latex mattress. These quickly add up, let alone the cost in phones, laptops and tablets that you and the kids use every day.

Insurance review checklist

To help you make sure you get the best outcome, you can:

  • Read through your insurance papers, paying close attention to the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS.)
  • Pay a visit to your insurance broker and ask all your questions in person, of course we can do this over the phone too.
  • Complete a contents replacement ready reckoner. This is a handy document that allows you to add up the replacement costs of everything you own rather than assuming (tip: in our experience, people tend to DRASTICALLY underestimate the cost to replace your contents). Ask us for an electronic copy.

Be prepared for house fire season

We find house fires amongst the most heart wrenching of claims – even the thought of a family being displaced, losing their belongings and memories or worse leaves us with our heart in our throats. Please prepare for the event of a fire! Keep fire blankets and fire extinguishers on hand, test those smoke alarms and don’t just talk about it but actually practice your fire escape plan.

With over 1,000 house fires each year (most of them occurring in winter) it really pays to spend the time needed to review your risk management and insurance. And remember, having the right insurance is no accident.

PS. A brick home does burn!

bushfire risk, insurance, hobart, tasmania, geelong, victoria, insurance broker

Do you live or work in a bushfire risk area? An insurance broker’s plea

As an insurance broker who deals with the claims and concerns of clients who have been impacted by bushfire, please make sure you understand your risks, put measures in place to protect yourself, and make sure you have the right insurance in place as a safety net should the worst happen.

“I’ve seen and heard some of the hardest stories,” reflects Allsure Director Melissa Donaldson.

“Even having great insurance doesn’t take all the hurt out of losing belongings, pets, your home or, in the very worst case, your loved ones. For an insurance broker, we see the aftermath of insurable events, and the most frustrating thing is when it could have been prevented (and also when people are underinsured or uninsured – I think that will be one of my next articles!)

“This year has been heartbreaking, with bushfires across Australia including in Victoria and Tasmania where our two offices are. So after reflecting on the bushfire season that was (without jinxing it as certainly there is still risk in many areas), I wanted to share some things from an insurance broker’s perspective that I wish everyone in a risky area knew before it was too late.”

Bushfire insurance can save lives

The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria were the most devastating in Australian history; 173 people tragically lost their lives, 414 were injured, more than a million wild and domesticated animals were lost and 450,000 hectares of land were burned.

There was stats from the royal commission into the black Saturday fires of 7 February 2009, that showed that most of those who died did not have insurance. It’s been concluded that having insurance saved lives and not having it cost lives. Put more simply, those without insurance were more likely to stay and defend their properties, those with insurance left in time, knowing they could rebuild.  

Business interruption insurance

In the case of the Bunyip State Park fire in Victoria, over 100 homes and outbuildings have been damaged or destroyed. Additionally, many businesses, roads and schools have closed due to the fire risk. Recovering from a bushfire and all the work and clean up entailed can take a long time – could your business survive if you have to close for months? Or even if one of your key suppliers is severely impacted and unable to service your business? If the answer is not a confident ‘yes’ then you may want to speak to your broker about business interruption insurance.

Don’t gamble with embargoes!

Did you know that if you wait until a disaster like a bushfire is imminent, it may already be well too late to get insurance coverage? Check out our ‘procrastination’ article for more information, but at a high level, you need to know that insurance companies can set a timeframe to prevent you from purchasing insurance when an event is known to be extremely likely or already having an impact.

Removal of debris

Many insurance solutions include cover for the cost of debris clean up after an event. But not all policies are equal. This can be an expensive and time consuming components of disaster recovery, and it’s worth getting your broker to read the fine print so you know what you’re getting. After all, that’s what we’re here for! (And yes, maybe that does make us an insurance nerd, and proud of it.)

Bushfire management & mitigation – make it happen

What if taking just a few steps could reduce or altogether prevent a bushfire from impacting you? Would you give up a couple hours of Netflix a month to have the peace of mind that you’ve done something to reduce your risk?

There’s a huge range of actions you can take – many that cost only time and sweat. As you may know, you could be held legally liable if you don’t reduce the risk of fire in and around your property. PLUS – did you know that insurance companies can reject your claim if you do not take ‘reasonable steps’ to minimise your loss should an incident occur? Keep that risk management hat on – before and after an insurable event.

So find out what ‘best practice’ for bushfire risk management for your situation, whether it’s clearing your gutters regularly or ensuring you have an evacuation plan, know what you need to do.

There’s even some talk of incentivising people with reduced insurance premiums to build homes and businesses to better withstand cyclones and bushfires according to this Queensland article. We will certainly be watching this space and keeping you up to date.

Questions?

Talk to us about your situation. Seriously, we love to help and at the very least you can come away with a free quote and the peace of mind that you’ve had a good conversation about your risks and you’ll know whether you have a competitive solution in place.

Please note: The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.

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Curb your complacency on cyber risk!

Another week, another three major cyber attacks hit the news. You may have seen recent reports that Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne, Toyota Australia and the Australian government have all been targeted by sophisticated cyber attacks.  The government and Toyota have claimed that the attacks were unsuccessful and no data was obtained, but Australian security agencies are investigating the ransomware attack on the hospital.

There are so many cyber attacks (one every 39 seconds according to Security Magazine), that it can start to sound like white noise. But the figures below should convince you otherwise. You might think ‘it won’t happen to me, it only happens to big corporates’ but it’s also important to note that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses!

Cyber security by the numbers (source: Smart Money):

  • 516,380 — the number of Australian small businesses that fell victim to cyber crime in 2017, according to Norton.
  • $4,677 — the average amount the majority of SMEs would have to pay to free their data from ransomware.
  • 25 hours or more — the amount of downtime one in four businesses hit by cyber attacks suffer.
  • $1.9 million — the average cost to a medium sized business if hit by a cyber attack.
  • One third — the number of SMEs who say they continuously back up their systems’ data.
  • One — the number of staff members that hackers need to dupe in order to gain access to your business’ data.

What are the different types of cyber attacks?

First of all, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what a ‘cyber attack’ is. A cyber attack is considered when an organisation or individual maliciously and deliberately attempts to breach the information system of another individual or organisation. Typically, the cyber attacker is seeking some sort of benefit from disrupting the victim’s network (i.e. a ransom), though some do it as part of protest or ‘hacktivism’.

Some of the most common types of cyber attacks, according to technology giant Cisco, include the following:

Common types of cyberattacks

Malware

Malware is a term used to describe malicious software, including spyware, ransomware, viruses, and worms. Malware breaches a network through a vulnerability, typically when a user clicks a dangerous link or email attachment that then installs risky software. Once inside the system, malware can do the following:

  • Blocks access to key components of the network (ransomware)
  • Installs malware or additional harmful software
  • Covertly obtains information by transmitting data from the hard drive (spyware)
  • Disrupts certain components and renders the system inoperable

Should you pay a cyber attack ransom? In the case of Cabrini Hospital, they paid the ransom that was blocking access to their client records, but they only got a portion of the records back. According to the Australian government and Forbes magazine, you should NEVER pay a ransom. Not only are you not guaranteed to get your systems back up and running as they were before, but it also makes cyber attacks more appetitising and lucritive for the cyber criminals.


Phishing

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, usually through email. The goal is to steal sensitive data like credit card and login information or to install malware on the victim’s machine. Phishing is an increasingly common cyberthreat.


Man-in-the-middle attack

Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, also known as eavesdropping attacks, occur when attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. Once the attackers interrupt the traffic, they can filter and steal data.

Two common points of entry for MitM attacks:

1. On unsecure public Wi-Fi, attackers can insert themselves between a visitor’s device and the network. Without knowing, the visitor passes all information through the attacker.

2. Once malware has breached a device, an attacker can install software to process all of the victim’s information.


Denial-of-service attack

A denial-of-service attack floods systems, servers, or networks with traffic to exhaust resources and bandwidth. As a result, the system is unable to fulfill legitimate requests. Attackers can also use multiple compromised devices to launch this attack (sometimes known as a botnet). This is known as a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.


SQL injection

A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection occurs when an attacker inserts malicious code into a server that uses SQL and forces the server to reveal information it normally would not. An attacker could carry out a SQL injection simply by submitting malicious code into a vulnerable website search box.

Learn how to defend against SQL injection attacks.


Zero-day exploit

A zero-day exploit hits after a network vulnerability is announced but before a patch or solution is implemented. Attackers target the disclosed vulnerability during this window of time. Zero-day vulnerability threat detection requires constant awareness.

Your data breach and privacy obligations

Are you familiar with what your obligations are should your business experience a data or privacy breach? Under the Privacy Act, you have a duty to disclose breaches when a data breach is likely to result in serious harm to individuals whose personal information is involved in the breach.

Examples of a data breach include the following incidents:

  • a device containing customers’ personal information is lost or stolen
  • a database containing personal information is hacked
  • personal information is mistakenly provided to the wrong person.

There are a few exceptions, which may mean notification is not required for certain eligible data breaches.

Agencies and organisations that suspect an eligible data breach may have occurred must undertake a reasonable and expeditious assessment to determine if the data breach is likely to result in serious harm to any individual affected.

When an agency or organisation is aware of reasonable grounds to believe an eligible data breach has occurred, they must promptly notify individuals at likely risk of serious harm. The Commissioner must also be notified as soon as practicable through a statement about the eligible data breach.

The notification to affected individuals and the Commissioner must include the identity and contact details of the organisation, a description of the data breach, the kinds of information concerned, and recommendations about the steps individuals shoudl take in response to the data breach.

As you can imagine, this process can be expensive, time-consuming and damaging to the reputation of your business. Prevention truly is the best medicine! There are many ways to protect the privacy and data on behalf of your business and your clients. You can find more information provided by the Australian government here, including what client information you are required to protect and the steps you must take (such as ensuring you have a privacy policy available) to comply withe the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has also developed cyber mitigation strategies that may assist in protecting your systems from cyber threats. However, a lot of the recommendations are fairly sophisticated, and sometimes it’s the basic, simple risk management activities that are what let us down, such as:

  • Making sure you have good password management – don’t use the same password for everything, and use a password that isn’t easy to guess
  • Provide awareness and education for yourself and your team – make sure you know what the latest scams are and what they look like, reminders NOT to click on attachments unless you are 110% confident that you know the sender and are expecting the information
  • Practice locking your computer and phone when you’re away from your desk – the windows + L key is a shortcut to locking your laptop!

There are many simple ways you can protect your business – perhaps the best thing is to set a date and make a plan with your team! Delegate responsibilities and hold each other accountable for good password management and data protection measures.

Where does cyber insurance fit in?

Insurance forms an important part of your risk management framework. It works as your safety net should your business be targeted by a cyber attack or experience a data breach.

Insurance policies differ, but they can include things like:

  • Business interruption loss due to a network security failure or attack, human errors, or programming errors
  • Data loss and restoration including decontamination and recovery
  • Incident response and investigation costs, supported by a 24/7 multilingual incident reporting hotline and on-demand vendors
  • Delay, disruption, and acceleration costs from a business interruption event
  • Crisis communications and reputational mitigation expenses
  • Liability arising from failure to maintain confidentiality of data
  • Liability arising from unauthorised use of your network
  • Network or data extortion / blackmail (where insurable)
  • Online media liability
  • Regulatory investigations expenses

(Source: Examples above from Chubb)

Get a cyber insurance quote

Find out more or get a quote specific to your needs and your business – just contact us!

Please note: The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.
allsure insurance podcast, business insurance

Business Insurance Podcast Featuring Allsure Insurance

Recently our director, Melissa Donaldson was invited into the studio by  well known podcaster Angela Henderson to record episode number 31 for her podcast on business and life conversations.

Melissa had a great time ‘geeking’ out with Angela and talk all things insurance 101 and educating the listeners about why it’s important to get insurance and what the pros and cons are.

 

Excerpt from the podcast: 

ANGELA:

But the way I see it is, insurance is a cost of doing business, and it’s relatively a small cost, if you consider that a huge fire could explode you could say that you’re going to have to put out, or a lawsuit, or an employee accident could ultimately put you out of business.

MELISSA: Correct.

ANGELA:

It’s super actually important, but yet so many businesses are failing to do this. Even if your business is incorporated, your personal assets could be at risk if you are sued or found personally liable. So again, I don’t know about you, but as a business consultant, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of holding the appropriate and adequate business insurance. What are your thoughts about that, Melissa?

MELISSA:

Spot on. It is such a small cost, and it should actually be part of your business planning and factored in. I always get a bit surprised when people want to reduce the cost of the insurance, and it’s ridiculous sometimes, when you’re considering like a public liability policy that might cover your butt for 20 million might only cost you eight or nine hundred dollars, and you’re going, “That’s so cheap, because if you do something wrong that they’re going to pay out to the tune of $20 million, is nothing in comparison to what they’re offering for you.”

So yes, you do need to have insurance. It’s really important, and public liability is one of those bare minimums, essentially what you’re trying to do with insurance. And so people go without it. I don’t understand it.

ANGELA:

I almost would have to say, if I went back and looked at my data with all the clients that I’ve helped, you know. I would have to at least say 90% didn’t have insurance, or have thought about insurance, before they started working with me. Again, some of those clients, all I can do is advise accordingly. Obviously very big disclaimer, I’m not an insurance expert. But I do say things like, “Do you have insurance? Do you need to be linked to a broker?”

MELISSA:

I think they get a bit scared about the cost. Because it’s an unknown, so they actually haven’t asked, and haven’t researched it. So, when they go and do it, and find out that it’s not that expensive, and there’s options to pay for it, and things like that. Then they go, “Oh okay that’s not so bad”. And often I find when we educate our clients, and help them like that, then they go and are free to actually then go and grow their business more, because they actually know that they’re covered.

Check out the full podcast and transcript here.

 

#MeToo, diversity, gender, management liability, employment practices insurance, D&O, directors and officers insurance

What are the #MeToo implications for insurance clients?

Regardless of your individual opinion on the #MeToo movement, it continues to be headlining news and is causing policymakers and business leaders to change the way they view things like bullying, discrimination and harassment. All of these factors can result in an increase in employment and reputational risk, so we thought it was worth examining how these trends could impact our clients, their risk management practices and insurance solutions. 

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