Welcome to Tony Bourke – Insurance tips, tricks and traps

This Forum invites a number of experts to be a guest for one week and control discussions on specific topics. The public can gain a great deal of free information from reading the posts, but only members may write posts, add to discussions and ask and answer questions. I hope that everyone enjoys the forums and topics that will be featured.
Barbara Gabogrecan
President

Re: Welcome to Tony Bourke – Insurance tips, tricks and traps

Postby Tony Bourke » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:11 am

So on to Saturday's Topic:

Workers Compensation. What is it and who needs it?

A plain English description of Workers Compensation Insurance is it covers you for injury to employees of your business. It covers medical expenses and pays wages to the injured employee while they cannot work.

OK that sounds simple enough so isn't it just a matter of saying every business needs it? Well actually no, like every insurance cover the devils is in the detail.

So if not every business needs it then how do you know if you need it in your business?

In simple terms a business will need Workers Compensation insurance if it has employees or those that are "deemed" to be employees by the Workers Compensation legislation.

Heer are the main tips and traps to watch for with Workers Compensation Insurance:

- The cover requirements and who is "deemed" to be an employee varies in every state and Territory in Australia. Yes that means if you have employees in various states you will need a different workers compensation policy for each of those states and the definition of who is an employee, the benefits payable and the legislation all varies.

- The cost of your premium is determined by your occupation and how you are categorised. Make sure you are being categorised correctly so you are not paying more premium than you should.

- Previous claims may impact the premium you pay.

So given that I am based in NSW here are the main points to see if you should have a Workers Compensation policy in NSW:

- If you are a sole trader or partnership with no employees you will not need Workers Compensation. The legislation in NSW does not respond to protect an injured sole trader or partner.

- If you are a company i.e Pty Ltd, a partnership with employees and you pay wages including super of $7500 or more per year you are required to have a Workers Compensation policy in NSW.

- Please note that the definition of wages in NSW for Workers Compensation purposes includes Directors Fees, bonuses, allowances and trust distributions.

- Premiums are calculated based on your occupation category in NSW. You are required to estimate your wages for 12 months and then at the end of each year declare your actual wages and pay any adjustment premium owing. If you over estimate you will receive a credit.

As you can see workers compensation insurance can be a minefield. Either use an insurance adviser that can assist you to set it up correctly or contact Workcover or the related governing body in your state.

For those of you in NSW here is the website to visit for more info www.wokcover.nsw.gov.au
Regards

Tony Bourke
Director
AIIB Pty Ltd
Insurance Brokers
Mob 0432 686907
Email tbourke@aiib.com.au

Author of "Risk Your Business, Risk your life" and co-author of the best seller "In Service". For more details visit: http://www.tonybourke.com.au
Tony Bourke
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:30 am

Re: Welcome to Tony Bourke – Insurance tips, tricks and traps

Postby Tony Bourke » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:04 am

Well that week went very quickly!

On to our last topic and it is one of the most important:

What to do if you need to make an insurance claim

Whilst we all hope we will never need to make a claim on our insurance policies the time will come for a large amount of business owners where they need to do just that.

Usually this can be the first time where we start to worry as to whether the insurance policy and the insurance company will respond as you want them to.

We have all heard about how insurance companies don't pay claims however I am pleased to say that in the vast majority of cases claims get paid without any fuss.

As we know bad news sells and like any other part of society you will find it hard to find the good news insurance story's in the media.

There are times where things can go "off the rails" so here are some tips to make sure your claim runs smoothly:

- Use an Insurance Broker to purchase your insurance - The insurance broker is required to act in the best interests of you when arranging insurance and assisting with getting claims paid. The broker will help you at claim time by being the "middle man" to make sure the claim is dealt with fairly and in a timely manner. The broker will also know who to go to in a large insurance company if things go off the rails. Statistically in major natural disasters there are far fewer complaints about claims that are handled via a broker as opposed to those who have purchased insurance direct from an insurance company.

- Keep accurate records of all items your business owns - When it comes time to claim your insurance company is always going to ask you for proof of ownership. Keep accurate records of your purchases and record all the items you own in a register. If you have an accountant make use of the asset register they use to depreciate items. Just remember though that in most cases you need to insure for replacement value so don't use the depreciated values. Get your accountant to ad another column for replacement cost. If you can do so it is good to take photos as well.

- Always notify your insurer of the claim asap - It is a requirement of most policies that you report any loss to your insurer as soon as possible. The sooner you report it the easier the claim should run. Also be aware that you must take steps immediately to prevent further loss or damage occurring.

- If a dispute arises with your insurer - The vast majority of insurers have a dispute resolution process in place. There are usually 2 tiers to this. First there is internal dispute resolution where you have the right to ask for a claim that has been denied to be referred to this internal area for review. If you are still not satisfied you can take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). They will review the case with you and the insurer to make sure that the claim is being settled etc as per the insurance policy. The decision of FOS is binding on the insurer however it is not binding on the consumer. For more information on this service visit http://www.fos.org.au

I hope you have found these topics to be useful and informative.

The winner of a copy of my book, well 2 winners actually will be to Peter O'Connor and Barbara Gabogrecan for 2 really good questions. Just email me your postal address and I will get the books to you.

In insurance there is no such thing as a bad question so if anyone has any further questions please do not hesitate to email me.

Thanks for this opportunity and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Regards

Tony Bourke
Director
AIIB Pty Ltd
Insurance Brokers
Mob 0432 686907
Email tbourke@aiib.com.au

Author of "Risk Your Business, Risk your life" and co-author of the best seller "In Service". For more details visit: http://www.tonybourke.com.au
Tony Bourke
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:30 am

Re: Welcome to Tony Bourke – Insurance tips, tricks and traps

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:26 pm

Thanks so much Tony for your very valuable information that was so easy to understand. I know the readers numbers will increase over time - and you may even get some more queries, so please keep your link open to receive comments if they come in.

Your comment about having a good broker is such a valuable one. Our Broker not only gets us the best possible 'deals' but actually advised us to claim on a lawn mower that 'blew up' and we didn't realise was covered with our insurance. It was great getting a brand new ride on mower! He has also chased up other claims for us. And the best thing is there is such a low cost (we pay around $100 per year) and just ring our broker for everything (cars, household, business etc).

We have actually become good friends with our broker. Who on earth would want to do all the research, reading and understanding the 'fine print', and chasing up themselves, when a broker will do it for you!

Have a great Christmas Tony and I will catch up with you shortly.
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Welcome to Tony Bourke – Insurance tips, tricks and traps

Postby Claire McFee » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:44 am

Thanks for all this information on an important topic a lot of us don't know enough about Tony.
And Merry Christmas!
Claire McFee
Author Organize Your Life
http://www.organizeyourlife.com.au
Claire McFee
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:14 pm

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