Australia finally has mandatory data breach notification

Australia will have a mandatory data breach notification scheme in place within the year after several aborted attempts, following the passage of legislation through the senate today.

The Labor and Liberal parties today united to pass the government’s Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 into law. Learn what the rules mean for your organisation.

The passage came despite a last-ditch attempt by the Greens to make changes to the bill that would shorten the period in which an organisation must notify of a breach down from 30 days to three.

The party also attempted in vain to capture political parties and businesses with less than $3m turnover under the legislation.

Read the full article here

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australia-finally-has-mandatory-data-breach-notification-450923

City Rural principal voted No.1

Principal of City Rural, Andrew Benda, has been named SA/NT Broker of the Year in NIBA’s prestigious broker awards.

The award, sponsored by Zurich, was presented at the NIBA SA Gala Lunch at the Adelaide Oval with 400 insurance industry staff attending.

Key criteria in choosing the winner included peer interviews, a review of the nominee’s relationships with clients and insurers, and evidence of a proven role as mentor and participant in community life and service. Andrew scored highly on all counts.

Andrew is now in the running for the national Broker of the Year award to be announced at the NIBA Convention in Melbourne from 6 – 8 September 2015. 

The national award goes to the broker deemed the year’s best role model to the broking community. NIBA CEO Dallas Booth says: “We continue to be highly impressed and inspired by the calibre of our regional winners and finalists.”

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SMSF investments in Collectibles

Are you aware that there are regulations for SMSFs who invest in artwork and collectibles to insure the collectibles in the name of the fund?

If your SMSF has invested in collectibles or is considering doing so we recommend you download the Hoodsweeny Accountants PDF for further information.

City Rural Insurance Brokers

Underinsurance

Underinsurance – Don’t risk it

At City Rural we work with our farming and rural clients to ensure the policies we arrange on their behalf provide the right cover for their needs. This is why when you’re with City Rural and a claim arises, there are no surprises.

It’s all about making sure that you are fully covered against the financial impact of insurable events, especially those that, as history shows, will occur time and time again.

Our broking staff is trained to recognise potential problems and also identify circumstances that can cause a client to risk underinsurance. Surely underinsurance is one of the saddest eventualities to happen to anyone in the event of an unpleasant loss. You paid the premium… but were not covered for the extent of damage that occurred.

Underinsurance

It’s important that you insure your farm buildings and property for the right value. Underinsuring your possessions may save you a small amount of money in the short term but it can also mean you will have to pay far more to replace or repair damage. Cheaper premiums invariably mean less coverage and lower payouts.

Although fire is the most feared natural disaster event, it’s not the only threat to your farm buildings. A storm can cause damage to sheds and with the updated building codes, you may find the sum insured is not enough to rebuild or repair.

Use the CGU Insurance Home & Contents Calculators to estimate your replacement cost needs or call the friendly team at City Rural for more information.

City Rural Insurance Brokers

Fire Safety in Rural Areas

Bushfire season – be prepared

City Rural is fortunate to have CGU Insurance as one of our selected insurers for our rural and farming clients.

With CGU, our clients get additional benefits and useful tools that are not available with other insurers. These tools help to ensure safety on the land and that the insurance covers undertaken are correct and suitable for our client’s circumstances.

We are pleased to provide this recent update and advisory from CGU Insurance as once again we enter that time of year when ‘bushfire’ is front-of-mind with rural clients.

CGU Insurance: Bulletin 1/11/14

Large areas of Australia are once again under threat of serious bushfires. Each year, bushfires cause severe damage to property, assets and lives. Unfortunately for us all, Australia is predicted to experience an increasing number of fire events over the coming years, with fire seasons starting earlier and running longer than in previous years.

While State and Territory protocols vary, the common precaution is to prepare and plan. If you live in a high-risk bushfire area, planning and managing risks will decrease the risk of damage to life, property and assets.

Use the CGU bushfire checklist to help your preparations.

Bushfire Attack Level (BAL)

The Bushfire Attack Level system was introduced in 2009 following the Black Saturday bushfires. BAL ranks the different intensity levels a home may experience during a bushfire. It takes into account the region where the home is located, the type of vegetation around the property, the distance the property is from different vegetation types and the slope of the property.

BAL’s range from BAL-Low to BAL-FZ (Fire zone), with each level in between requiring more fire resistant building materials. Not factoring in BAL ratings when calculating insurance leaves owners open to the problem of underinsurance.

There is a free calculator available here that allows you to calculate your BAL. It’s important that you ensure you have all the facts about your property before deciding what level of insurance you require.

Contact the friendly team at City Rural for more information about how you can protect your family and property from the financial loss of natural disasters.

Womadelaide Fire

City Rural take the heat!

Dateline: early hours of 11 March 2014

Location: Womadelaide event-sound stage in Botanic Park

Fire breaks out at the rear of one of the event stages. The owner of the sound and PA system equipment had packed up and stored his gear in the transport boxes at the rear of the stage, along with a grand piano.

The fire was spotted by a security guard who raised the alarm. Fire crews raced to the scene and the fire was promptly extinguished but not before there was $1 million dollars worth of fire and water damage to the equipment, piano and stage.

Just doing our job, City Rural had arranged the correct cover and our client, Womadelaide Foundation Inc., simply paid the excess and the insurers handled the claim

Womadelaide Foundation Inc. is a long-term client of City Rural. Over our more than 10-year relationship, we know their routine with the event and what items need cover. Early this year though, after 10 years of no claims, they questioned if they really needed the cover.

This is a very common question from our event clients – “Do we really need it? As professional risk managers, we explained the cover; outlined potential claims scenarios … and why adequate cover was a ‘must have’. Our advice was taken…fortunately.

As a result of the policy being correctly structured and placed with a reputable Australian insurer there has been no financial impact on our client. We look forward to working with them on Womadelaide Festival 2015.

As an interesting side issue (well, we think it is), because the event was in the Adelaide Botanic Park, any plant life that may be damaged also needs to be considered when arranging cover for these events. City Rural had it covered but thankfully, the 100-year-old tree near the stage was not affected.

Business Insurance - City Rural Insurance Brokers

The Benefits of Premium Funding

Pay business insurance by the month

Cash flow is the key to business survival. Without sufficient cash flow it becomes very difficult for even the most profitable business to avoid financial disaster, or at the very least achieve its true potential.

When economic times are challenging, business owners should be seeking ways to improve their cash flow and preserve their working capital at every opportunity. One of the easiest ways to do this is by paying your business insurance by the month.

Most forms of insurance can be paid via a monthly payment plan either direct with the insurer (if available) or a premium funding facility arranged by your insurance broker.

Paying direct with an insurer that offers monthly payments at ‘no cost’ may seem like the easiest option, however if you have multiple policies with different insurers, this can be cumbersome with multiple debits each month. The cover offered through an insurer’s pay-by-the-month facility may also vary. Your broker can help you ensure you understand the right option for your business.

Premium funding companies lend you the amount required to pay your insurance premium and pay it on your behalf. You can even combine multiple premiums into the one loan. You then repay the premium funding company in monthly instalments over a period of typically 10 months.

The premium funding company charges a flat interest rate on the amount of the premium that is fixed for the term of the loan. The interest charge may be tax deductible as a business expense, however you should discuss this with your accountant.

When obtaining quotes it is important for you to ask your broker about any additional service fees that may apply. Some companies will charge an application fee in return for a lower rate over the term of the loan. To ensure you are getting the best deal always compare the bottom line.

Finally, because the loan is secured by the insurance policy in most cases, no security is required. This ensures that applications are simple and processed quickly – usually within 24 hours.

Preserve your business cash flow. Talk to City Rural Insurance Brokers about the benefits of premium funding for your business.

 

Specialty Insurance - City Rural Insurance Brokers

Employee Fraud

Fraud…an inside job

When people have access to other people’s money there is an inherent fraud risk and sooner or later, history says that someone will take advantage of an opportunity.

There has been a fundamental shift in recent times; where previously fraud was generally committed by an individual and often for small amounts, dishonest employees are increasingly colluding with external accomplices to defraud their employers.

The schemes these fraudsters concoct are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to identify. Research shows that it’s taking more than two years to identify many instances of criminal activity.

Not even large insurance underwriters, with all of their formal compliance programs, are immune. A case in recent headlines told of a senior claims officer who set up a law firm and through it invoiced her employer company for $17M of bogus legal work. It was reported that “discrepancies” had been identified when the person was on maternity leave. A devastated company spokesperson said, “This person worked for us for many years…she was a trusted employee…I could not believe the betrayal by a loyal employee”. Fortunately, the employer firm had insurance protection and the money was recovered.

A recent survey identified that less than 5% of businesses have insurance against criminal activity. However, the reality is that very few businesses can confidently say they are immune to internal fraud.

Smaller businesses are considered more vulnerable, mainly due to the lack of resources to adequately and regularly check all operations and the common practice of using one or two people to be responsible for all accounting issues.

Often, when a minor fraud or theft goes unnoticed, the perpetrator feels more confident and the incidents and amounts involved start to escalate.

Business operators can take steps to minimise the chance of these incidents:

  • Ensure there is definite segregation of duties so that no one employee handles all points of a transaction.
  • Investigate anything and everything that appears unusual or suspicious.
  • Screen all new employees for prior history before hiring them.

Estimates suggest that fraud accounts for 40% of all identified crime…or to put it in dollar terms, it amounts to $8.5billion p.a.

You can have a policy that protects your business from internal fraud. Contact City Rural Insurance Brokers for more information.

Business Insurance - City Rural Insurance Brokers

Cyber-crime…the growing scourge of business

Computer security is becoming a high priority for businesses around the globe as cyber criminals sharpen and broaden their nefarious skills.

Every day, virtually all companies in Australia handle electronic data containing sensitive information about their clients as well as corporate information about their own company. All are faced with real liabilities if data falls into the wrong hands or enters the public domain accidently or fraudulently.

Cyber crime has many faces and is the growing scourge of commerce worldwide. From hackers who seize and hold your data for ransom to denial of service attacks; inadvertent or negligent breaches of client data; websites not being accessible, leading to loss of reputation… the outcomes of a cyber security incident can have a significant impact on the finances and reputation of a business.

In the USA some of the largest companies in the world have lost millions of dollars as the result of cyber crime. In recent months, threats to Australian businesses have come from many directions with hackers shutting down computers and blackmailing companies for the safe return of their data. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) reports Australian businesses are feeling the pain of cybercrime. The estimated cost to businesses per annum is more than $600million and rising.

No company is immune to Cyber Risks! 

Even more concerning is the report highlight that these cyber attacks are not restricted to any industry or size of enterprise. All companies, large or small are targets for cyber criminals.

Using the Internet, email and any business network system exposes you to hacking, fraud, viruses and information misuse. Expensive lawsuits, lost business opportunities and damage to your network and reputation can cost you more than you think.

The reality is that the World Wide Web has no boundaries and as business models evolve through the use of new technologies, so must traditional insurance programs and risk management practices.

Many businesses operate under the belief that their existing insurance policies are enough to cover their data security and privacy exposures. This is not the case.

Fortunately, Australian insurance companies are at the forefront of making good the damage of cyber threats.  And although stopping the hackers and other criminals in their tracks is not within their capability, they are able to provide the next best thing… picking up the financial pieces of damaged businesses following a cyber attack event.

Cyber attack insurance. What can be covered? 

Cyber Risk cover can protect you for claims arising from your use of the Internet, email, intranet, extranet or your website. Cover includes but is not limited to:

  • Breach of privacy
  • Damage to your network or website
  • Transmission of a virus
  • Third Party Liability
  • Cyber Extortion

City Rural Insurance Brokers can provide all the information you need and help you implement the right Cyber Risk protection strategy for your business.