Veracity – June 2021 edition

By  Vero Insurance

Message from Anthony and David

Welcome to the latest edition of Veracity. With the June renewal period well underway, we wanted to share with you a couple of things upcoming for Vero. Our dedicated distribution, underwriting, claims and risk management teams are here to provide you with extra support and expertise during this busy period.

Facilitating risk placement

The Vero SME Insurance Index Report has repeatedly shown that clients have a strong appetite for risk-related information. Our risk engineering team have prepared a series of property risk articles focusing on ‘COPE’ - Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposures to offer guidance on how to present necessary information in the insurance submission more effectively, helping facilitate risk placement in today’s hardening market environment. Guides focused on understanding and reporting on construction and occupancy are now available for download below.

Claims support where it’s needed

After the recent major floods in NSW, SE Qld, Vic and bushfires in WA, it has been a tough time for many of our clients. Our claims teams have been on the ground in some of the hardest hit communities offering face-to-face support, arranging emergency repairs, providing temporary workplace options and cash payments for emergency purchases, in addition to activating our delegated natural catastrophe broker claims settlement authorities.

What do small businesses really want?

We understand how important claims satisfaction is to SMEs in solidifying long-term business relationships with their brokers. To that end, our SME Insurance Index has uncovered actionable insights that can help you achieve a better connection with your clients following the release of two bonus chapters on the important role of brokers in Claims & Natural Disasters and the changes in Communication preferences. Read on to find out more.

Forward with confidence

We hope you will enjoy reading this issue of Veracity. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to supporting each other into a new financial year with our renewed focus on all things commercial and intermediated.

Anthony PaganoDavid Hoffmann
Head of Commercial IntermediariesHead of National Underwriting


Supporting our broker partners in the north

With travel in Queensland declared ‘good to go’, members of Suncorp’s leadership team seized the opportunity to travel to far north Queensland to meet with the local business community and key broker partners.

Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston joined Darren O’Connell, EGM Commercial and Intermediated, Anthony Pagano, Head of Commercial Intermediaries and local BDM Lachlan Bailey in Cairns and Townsville, where they provided an update on the Vero Commercial strategy and addressed the issues top of mind for the local insurance market. Read more


Access two new bonus chapters of the Vero SME Insurance Index

Earlier this year, we released the 2021 Vero SME Insurance Index Report giving you access to insights collected from a decade of research into the Australian SME market. The report unearthed some reassuring news towards claim satisfaction levels and changing communication preferences amongst SMEs.

SMEs who see their broker as a collaborator are almost twice as likely to be satisfied with their claims experience than direct buyers. It is also when the relationship is cemented, and when trust reaffirmed between the client and their broker.

So why then, when it comes to Natural Disaster claims, do we see satisfaction levels drop? Access these insights and more with the newly released bonus chapter:

> Bonus chapter: Claims and natural disasters

The arrival of COVID-19 changed our communications landscape completely. As we look to the future, do SMEs want to revert back to face-to-face? Or is there an acceptance of the advantages of web-based communications?

To communicate effectively with your clients, it’s time to look beyond the assumptions. Uncover the answers with the newly released bonus chapter:

> Bonus chapter: Communications preferences


Listen to the latest episode of ‘Good to Talk’ podcast with Insurance News and Anthony Pagano

From SME expectations to valuing interactions over transactions, Vero’s Head of Commercial Intermediaries Anthony Pagano and Insurance News Managing Director Andrew Silcox tell it like it is on the INsight podcast.

On the latest episode, the pair will talk through some of key findings from the SME Insurance Index, focusing on the intricacies of the broker-client relationship. Unpacking why clients prefer constant communication, how exactly their expectations have evolved over the years and why brokers have become SMEs themselves.

Click below to hear the full conversation.

Listen now


Help your clients make the complex facts simple during the extreme weather event seasons

A common cause for dissatisfaction during a natural disaster is when a client doesn’t understand their policy’s inclusions and exclusions. We have developed a flood fact sheet to assist you in discussions with your clients and to help you educate them on the complexities that arise when a flood, storm or natural peril has occurred. Click here to find out more.


New guides available on core property risk assessment principals of COPE - Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposures

This year’s insurance renewal period is expected to be one of the more challenging ones, considering the impact of COVID-19 and major natural hazard events in the recent months.

Drawing from the wealth of risk engineering expertise, Vero specialists have developed a brand-new series of RM Insight articles on the core risk assessment principals of construction, occupancy, protection and exposures (COPE).

This comprehensive suite of property-related articles provides an understanding of each COPE principal, offering guidance on what to report upon and how to convey the necessary information in the insurance submission more effectively to help achieve a better outcome for your clients. Please refer to the first four COPE guides below:

> RM Insight - A broker's guide to Understanding Construction (1966 KB)

> RM Insight - A broker's guide to Reporting on Construction (433KB)

> RM Insight - A broker's guide to Understanding Occupancy (138 KB)

> RM Insight - A broker's guide to Reporting on Occupancy (120KB)


ISR Endorsement changes – Cyber & Communicable Diseases exclusion

In alignment with changes taking place in the global reinsurance market we are reviewing our position on Cyber and Communicable Disease.

Effective from 30 June 2021, for all ISR new business and renewals we have updated our cyber and communicable disease endorsements to provide greater clarity to customers relating to our intent of coverage.

Cyber

The electronic data exclusion which was silent on cyber related events will be replaced with a general Cyber exclusion.  Whilst the approach taken is policy specific and dependent on the nature of the risk, write backs will be provided for certain scenarios relating to Cyber Incidents.

This change only applies to ISR and our approach to all other products will be confirmed following the renewal of the reinsurance treaty.

Communicable Disease

In line with our SME Packages approach, we have refined our Communicable Disease clauses to specifically articulate the intent of cover and departed from relying on a legislative reference to act as an exclusionary trigger.

For more information please contact your local underwriter or BDM.


Changes to the NSW Emergency Services Levy

To ensure we meet our financial obligations to the NSW Government for the Emergency Services Levy (ESL), we have recently adjusted our Commercial and Corporate Property rates.

These changes will apply to new business and renewals from Monday, 19 July 2021 and are reflected in the table below.

Product class

Corporate Property (ISR), SME Property, Business Interruption and General Property classes

Current rate

28%

New rate

24%

Note: Commercial Motor Fleet and Non-Fleet Motor ESL rates will remain unchanged.


Employee or a Contractor? Understanding the difference

A worker’s classification has significant implications for both them and their employer, which is why it’s so important to get it right. If a worker is an employee, they are entitled to leave, superannuation and protection under unfair dismissal laws, as well as workers compensation cover. If the worker is an independent contractor, they need to manage their own superannuation and tax arrangements and find suitable personal injury insurance.

Workers and the gig economy

The legal classification of contract workers is evolving in response to the emergence of the gig economy, which has transformed the traditional 9 to 5 job arrangements for many workers.

In Australia, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recently finalised a two-year investigation (i) relating to Uber Australia and its engagement of drivers. They concluded that Uber drivers were independent contractors. FWO noted that for an employee/employer relationship to exist, there must be, at minimum, an obligation for an employee to perform work when it’s required by the employer. Uber drivers, FWO found, have control over whether, when, and for how long they perform work.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) took a similar stance in 2017 and 2018, identifying drivers’ control over the hours worked and ability to refuse trip requests as key factors distinguishing workers and independent contractors. However, the FWC found that the food delivery company Foodora (ii) holds a lot of control over the work of their bicycle delivery riders. As such, they concluded that Foodora delivery riders are employees.

How the difference impacts workers compensation coverage

For the purpose of workers compensation coverage, the extended definition of a worker can include sub-contractors, where they’re paid for their labour or services. Businesses must assess whether the employment relationship between their workforce is based on a ‘contract of service’ or ‘for service’. The former indicates an employee relationship, while the latter doesn’t.

There is no single determining factor or combination of factors. However, to support your clients understand their working relationships refer to the guide below (iii):

> Employee or contractor? Guide to understanding the difference (PDF, 66KB)

While the legal classification of workers is evolving, the duty of care of employers isn’t reduced or cancelled. Part of maintaining that duty of care is ensuring that your business has adequate Workers Compensation Insurance.

Vero can offer Workers Compensation Insurance for businesses in WA, NT, ACT and TAS through GIO. Our risk team can provide support and guidance for workplaces with exposure to RCS. For more information please speak to your local Vero representative or email the Workers Compensation Risk Team at riskservices@gio.com.au.

References:

i) Fair Work Ombudsman, Uber Australia investigation finalised, 7 June 2019 https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/2019-media-releases/june-2019/20190607-uber-media-release [Accessed 23 April 2021].

ii) Fair Work Commission, Joshua Klooger V Foodora Australia Pty Ltd, 16 November 2018 https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwc6836.htm [Accessed 23 April 2021]

iii) Fair Work Ombudsman, Independent contractors and employees https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/independent-contractors [Accessed 23 April 2021]


Disclaimer: This newsletter is for information purposes only and is not legal or financial advice. The information is intended to be of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. This newsletter has been prepared by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Vero Insurance.