Public Liability Blog

Small business insurance Brisbane

BrisbaneBrisbane is home to a large and diverse range of small businesses.

From cafes in New Farm to manufacturers in Darra, and everything in between, Brisbane is home to a thriving small business community.

It’s important to protect these businesses, and one of the most effective ways of doing so is with insurance.

So what do you need to know about insuring your business?

Importance of insurance

As small business owners we all know just how much work it takes to build and maintain our businesses.

We put huge amounts of effort into growing our businesses and building up financial security for ourselves and our families.

We also understand the importance of protecting our businesses and doing everything we can to reduce the risk of things going wrong.

But there are certain things that our out of our control.  No matter how much care we take, there are some things which are going to happen regardless of what we do.

This could be anything from a car crashing through the front of your restaurant to the recent floods that ravaged parts of Brisbane in 2011 and 2013.

And this is where insurance comes in.

Insurance is there to help your small business when things go wrong.

Small businesses (and their owners) arguably have more to lose than any other business type when it comes to things going wrong.

If a big business suffers a major loss it might put a small dent in their quarterly profit, but the same loss could be catastrophic for a small business, sending it and its owner bankrupt.

It’s just not worth putting all of the blood, sweat and tears into a small business if there a chance that you could lose it all.

Especially if you lose it all to something which could have been covered by insurance.

Using an insurance broker

When considering small business insurance there are two main options.  You can go directly to an insurance company, or you can use an insurance broker.

Here in Brisbane there are plenty of options either way.  You could use a local insurance company such as Vero, or you could use a local insurance broker.

The better option for small business owners is generally to use an insurance broker.

Why is this?

Because an insurance broker has the skills and knowledge, not to mention the qualifications, to provide you with personalised advice on your business insurance needs.

By going to an insurance company directly you will be able to obtain quotes easily enough, but generally their call centre staff are unable to provide personal advice to you.

An insurance broker on the other hand can analyse your small business and come up with a set of recommendations that suit your own personal needs and objectives.

When choosing an insurance broker it’s important to choose one who knows your business.

Choosing a broker whose office is just down the road might be convenient, but if they have limited experience with your type of business it might not be a great match.

By using a broker who knows and understands your business and your industry you are giving yourself the best chance of obtaining the right coverage at the right price.

More information

For more information on small business insurance in Brisbane please speak with an insurance broker.

If you do not already have one you can try the ‘need a broker’ service offered by NIBA, which is the National Insurance Brokers Association.

We also have a range of articles on our website which you can read, however please remember that online guides and articles are no match for professional advice.

Small Business Insurance NSW

NSW Public Liability InsuranceNew South Wales is a great place to run a small business.

Whether you operate in the heart of Sydney or out in regional NSW, it’s important to ensure your business is properly protected.

So many things can go wrong in business, and arguably small businesses have more to lose than their larger peers.

This guide will run through some of the important steps in obtaining business insurance in NSW.

Getting quotes

There are a couple of different options when seeking quotes on small business insurance.

The traditional route was to contact a local insurance broker, or to contact insurance companies directly yourself via their call centre or website.

Increasingly small business owners are using online services to obtain quotes.  This is sometimes via the insurance company’s own websites, but the growth of comparison website cannot be ignored.

These comparison websites can be useful, but if you’re running a small business it’s probably a better idea to seek professional advice.

Getting advice

If you want expert advice on your small business insurance the best option is to speak with an insurance broker.

Insurance companies themselves cannot give you advice.  Their staff can speak to you about insurance, but they cannot provide personal advice or recommendations.

Although once upon a time you would need to use a local broker who you could meet with face-to-face, electronic communication is changing this.

Thanks to the internet, email and phone you can deal with a broker anywhere in Australia, rather than having to use a broker in Sydney or elsewhere in NSW.

Getting cover

Once you’re happy with the quotes you’ve received, and the advice you’ve received if applicable, the next step is to get your cover in place.

If you’ve contacted an insurance company directly you will simply take out the insurance with them.  This can generally be done over the phone or via their website.

If you’ve used a broker for the quotes (and possible advice) then you’ll need to contact them to proceed with the cover.

This can also be done over the phone or via email in some cases.  There is generally no need to meet with the broker in person.

So no matter where you are in NSW, getting quotes, advice and cover on small business insurance is as simple as picking up the phone or doing a Google search.

For more information please check out the other articles on our website, or follow this link to our online insurance quote form.

Other Business Insurance Types

Qld Business OwnerOur website is all about public liability, but it’s also important for Qld businesses to consider other forms of cover.

In this guide we’ll look at some of the other forms of business insurance available.

Which of these insurance types are necessary for your business will depend on the type of business you operate, but it will give you an overview of the covers available.

Property Damage

Once you’ve insured yourself against damaging other people’s property (via public liability insurance) the next step is to insure your own property.

Property damage insurance will cover your business property from a range of risks including fire, storm and malicious damage.

Cover for flood damage is also available, but keep in mind that not all business policies provide full flood coverage, which is especially important for businesses located in Queensland.

Theft, Glass & Money

These are actually three separate covers, but they are typically bundled together under a business pack.

Theft will cover your contents and stock in the event of burglary, whilst glass provides cover for all fixed glass within your premises such as windows and shelving.

Money covers a set level of cash held on your premises or in transit either to or from your premises.

General Property

General property insurance is separate to your standard property damage and theft covers, and is designed to protect your portable items such as tools or laptops.

The cover is more expensive than the standard property options, but does have the added benefit of protecting your tools and equipment anywhere in Queensland or around the country.

Professional Indemnity

In some ways this insurance is similar to public liability, but whilst public liability covers your physical actions, professional indemnity covers the advice or service you provide.

That’s quite a simplistic way of putting it, but it gives you an idea of what is covered.

Professional indemnity is generally only required if you provide a professional service, such as an account, solicitor or anyone else who charges for their advice.

Business Interruption

If you operate your business from dedicated premises, business interruption can protect you in the event that you cannot operate from the premises.

A claim would occur if your premises where damaged by fire or storm for example, and your business lost revenue due to not being able to trade for a period of time.

Other covers

There are other forms of cover available, and we recommend speak with a broker about which forms of insurance are right for your business.

For more information about the other covers available to Qld businesses please contact us.

Sydney Cafe Insurance

Coffee beans

When operating a cafe in Sydney there will be a range of business insurance types required.

One of the most important is public liability, and that is the one this article will focus on.

Some of the topic we’ll be looking at include what the policy covers, how much it costs and why it’s important for your cafe.

What does it cover?

Public liability insurance will cover your cafe business in the event that your business activities result in property damage or personal injury to another person.

A common potential claim for a cafe is the classic ‘slip and fall’.  If a customer was to slip or trip in your cafe and suffer an injury, you could be found liable for their costs.

Another potential claim which is less common, but still worth knowing about, is that of coffee and hot drink scalds and burns.

If you were found to be liable and responsible in any of these cases, your public liability insurance policy would cover the costs of a claim against you and your business.

What are the costs?

The cost of public liability for a cafe in Sydney will generally be quite low, especially when included in your overall cafe insurance package.

In terms of what will impact upon your costs, generally it is a case of the larger the business the more expensive the premium will be.

The insurer will look at factors such as the number of staff, your annual revenue and the number of seats in your cafe when determining your premium.

Why do cafes need it?

It’s all about protecting yourself and your business from the costs of a claim against you.

If you are found to be responsible for someone’s loss and therefore liable to pay their costs, the money involved can be huge.

A small claim for a customer who has sprained their ankle whilst in your store may not send you broke, but if that client was to suffer a serious back injury which affected their ability to work then you could be up for hundreds of thousands.

Whilst a typical cafe owner in Sydney may not have a spare couple of hundred grand laying around, your insurance policy can cover you for anywhere from $5 million to $20 million.

Get a quote

To get a quote on your insurance please complete our public liability quote request form.

You have worked hard to build your cafe business, so don’t risk not having the right cover in place.

How do I get public liability insurance?

Brisbane Public Liability InsuranceThe internet has made it very easy to get covered for public liability insurance.

But whilst it’s easy to get cover, it’s more important to make sure you’re getting the right cover.

There are a few options for comparing and taking out a policy, and in this guide we’ll run through those options and tell you which one we think is best.

Obtaining and comparing quotes

Step one is to get a quote on your insurance.

There are three main options for obtaining quotes, as we have detailed below:

  • Contact an insurance company directly
  • Contact an insurance broker
  • Use an online service

If you have little or no understanding of business insurance, and are not interested in learning, then your best option is probably to use an insurance broker.

The broker will be able to speak to you about your needs, recommend a suitable policy and provide you with quotes, and then put the cover in place if you wish to do so.

If you’d rather be more hands-on with your insurance you can ring around to a few insurance companies yourself.

The insurance companies will provide you with quotes either via their call centres or their websites, but it’s important to remember that unlike a broker they will not be able to give you any advice.

An increasingly popular option is the use of websites to obtain and compare public liability insurance quotes.

If you’re going with this option it’s important to make sure you are dealing with a reputable website, preferably one that is run by a licensed insurance firm.

Going ahead with a policy

Once you’ve compared the quotes and have decided on a policy, the next step is to go ahead with a policy.

The method for this step depends largely on how you obtained your quotes.

If you obtained quotes via an insurance broker, they will walk you through the process of taking out the policy.

If you received your quotes directly from an insurance company you would contact them to proceed, and if you used a website generally they will have functionality allowing you to proceed online.

In most cases you will be required to complete an additional form known as a proposal.  This basically just confirms the information that you provided during the quote stage.

After that you just need to pay for your policy, and you’ll have a nice new certificate of currency which confirms your business insurance arrangements.

Which is the best option?

The best option to get public liability insurance really depends on your own preferences.

If you are not comfortable with insurance matters and just want to make sure everything is done correctly, then using an insurance broker is undoubtedly the best option.

In some cases it may be slightly more expensive to use a broker, but at least you know it will be done properly, and the time savings will most probably make up for the additional cost anyway.

For business owners who care more about price than anything else, then contacting an insurance company directly or using an online service could be the way to go.

It’s important to remember however that the call centre staff used by the direct insurance companies are generally not qualified or authorised to provide personal advice, so any decisions you make are really on your own head.

The websites can be a bit of a mixed bag.  Some of them simply gather leads and sell the details to other parties, whilst others have their own complex (and very impressive) online quoting systems.

Using a website could be a good idea, but it really depends on the website and whether or not it’s a ‘good’ one.

NSW Insurance Providers

NSW Public Liability InsuranceAs a business owner you are free to insure your business with whoever you choose.

But if you’d prefer to insure with a company that is headquartered here in New South Wales, the list does shrink slightly.

Thankfully there are plenty of big and reputable insurers based in NSW however, and in this guide we’ll run through some of the major firms offering public liability and other forms of business insurance.

Allianz

Allianz are headquartered in their home country of Germany, but here in Australia their head office is located on Market Street in Sydney.

The global insurer has been operating in Australia for many years and employs thousands of locals both in Sydney and in other offices around the country.

Allianz offers a range of business insurance products including public liability, general property and business interruption to name a few.

QBE

QBE is one of Australia’s largest insurance companies, and their head office is located on Pitt Street in the heart of Sydney.

They offer a full range of insurance products for both domestic and commercial uses.

Zurich

As is the case with Allianz, Zurich are another insurer which is based overseas but have their Australian head office in Sydney.

Zurich have operated in Australia since 1961 and their head office is on Blue Street in North Sydney.

Zurich are one of the few insurers operating locally who can offer both general insurance products (such as public liability) and life insurance products (such as income protection and term life insurance).

Others

There are other smaller insurance companies headquartered in Sydney, but the above list is all about the major insurers.

There are other major insurance companies based in Sydney such as AMP and OnePath, however these are life insurance companies and do not offer business cover such as public liability.

If you would prefer to deal with a NSW based insurer, simply let your broker know and they will be happy to assist with your request.

How Much is Public Liability Insurance?

NSW Public Liability InsuranceThe cost of public liability insurance for a business in NSW can vary hugely.

There are a number of factors which affect the pricing of this form of insurance, and in this guide we’ll take a look at them.

Costs

A public liability insurance policy can cost a business in New South Wales anywhere from $300 for a very small and low-risk business, through to many thousands for a big business.

As with all forms of insurance, the cost of public liability is based primarily upon the chances of your business making a claim, and the likely size of that claim.

If the insurer believes that your business type has a low chance of making a claim, and that any claim would likely be fairly small, then they will charge you a relatively low premium each year.

If on the other hand the insurer believes that your business has a higher chance of claiming, or that the claim amount could be particularly high, then they will charge you a higher premium.

Now let’s take a look at the specific factors the insurers look at when pricing public liability cover.

Factors Affecting the Premium

There are three main factors which will affect the cost of insurance for a NSW business.  These are as follows:

  • Type of business (i.e. your business activities)
  • Size of business (in terms of either staff or revenue numbers)
  • The amount of cover required

There are other factors which will affect the pricing, but these are the big three which will have the largest impact on the cost.

Other factors can include the following:

  • Working in hazardous locations (such as airports and mine sites)
  • Prior claims and incident history
  • Use of subcontractors and labour hire
  • Working at heights

Again this list does not cover every factor, but there are more of the main things that an insurance broker will need to know below they can provide an accurate quote.

If your business conducts any activities which could be considered to be outside of the norm for your industry, you will need to let the insurance company know, and this could also impact upon the cost of the cover.

There are very few options available to businesses to vary their own insurance premium, but one option is to increase the excess on your policy.

By increasing your excess, which is the amount you must contribute to a claim, you can decrease the premium payable each year.

Whilst this will result in a premium saving, it will increase your costs in the event that you need to make a claim.

Getting a Quote

Whilst it’s important for a business owner to know what affects the pricing of their public liability insurance, the only way to get an accurate quote is to seek one from an insurer or insurance broker.

There are many insurance brokers located in Sydney and throughout NSW who can assist with quotes on public liability cover.

To request a quote on your insurance please click here to visit our online quote form and follow the prompts.

We can then put you in contact with a business insurance broker who understands the NSW market and can provide you with quotes and information on your insurance needs.

Qld Stamp Duty Changes to Insurance

Insurance PolicyFrom the first of August 2013 the stamp duty charged on insurance by the Queensland Government will be increasing.

These changes were announced as part of the 2013-14 budget handed down by the Treasurer earlier this month.

Previously most business insurance policies, including public liability insurance, attracted stamp duty of 7.5%.

Other forms of insurance, including professional indemnity insurance, attracted stamp duty of just 5.0%.

With the changes coming in August this year, all forms of insurance (with the exception of CTP) will be charged stamp duty of a rate of 9.0% including GST.

As far as business insurance goes, the changes represent a 20% increase for public liability and a whopping 80% increase for professional indemnity.

Although this seems like a fairly hefty increase, a letter issued to businesses by the Office of State Revenue was quick to point out that the new rates are equal to those charged in NSW and lower than those charged in all other states.

It is certainly a kick in the guts for Qld small businesses, and there is a risk that it will lead to more businesses choosing to operate with either no insurance or inadequate insurance.

In reality the increase in dollar terms will be fairly minor, but in small business every single dollar counts.

New Stamp Duty Rates

The insurance stamp duty rates from 1 August 2013 are as follows:

  • Class 1 General Insurance – 9.0%
  • Class 2 General Insurance – 9.0%
  • Compulsory Third Party Insurance – 10c per policy

Note:  Insurance stamp duty is charged as a percentage of the premium paid and includes GST.

Previous Stamp Duty Rates

The insurance stamp duty rates prior to 1 August 2013 were as follows:

  • Class 1 General Insurance – 7.5%
  • Class 2 General Insurance – 5.0%
  • Compulsory Third Party Insurance – 10c per policy

What’s the Difference Between Class 1 and Class 2?

This question is somewhat irrelevant now since class 1 and class 2 general insurance are both charged stamp duty at the same rate, but here is the answer anyway:

Class 1 – All general insurance types other than class 2 general insurance and CTP insurance.

Class 2 – All general insurance types relating to the following:

  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Personal injury insurance relating to aircraft travel
  • Motor vehicle insurance other than CTP
  • Home mortgage that is a first mortgage
  • Life insurance riders

More Information

For more information about the Qld stamp duty changes and how they affect your business insurance please contact the Office of State Revenue or your insurance broker.

Vero Insurance

Vero Commercial Insurance Qld

One of Queensland’s largest providers of public liability insurance is Vero.

Vero are based right here in Brisbane, and they are part of one of Queensland’s most iconic financial services companies – Suncorp.

Further cementing their place in Qld, Vero are also a major sponsor of the Brisbane Lions AFL team.

Along with public liability, they provide a range of other business insurance types to assist businesses in Qld and around Australia.

Public Liability Insurance

The public liability cover offered by Vero is generally no different to that which is offered by most other reputable insurers.

Where Vero excels is in areas such as customer service and claims, and if your business is located in Qld they have the added benefit of local knowledge since they are also based in Qld.

Vero provides public liability insurance for virtually all occupations and business types, from tradies through to professional service providers.

Vero are also one of the few insurers who offer a policy which meets the Qld electrical contractors licence requirements.

Other Forms of Cover

As well as providing liability cover, Vero provide a full range of covers to suit many different business types.

Vero can assist with professional indemnity insurance, business interruption insurance and a range of commercial building and property covers.

Whether you operate as a sole trader doing consulting work from a home office, or run a national company importing and exporting goods around the world, Vero have policies that can assist you.

Contact

Vero deal exclusively with insurance brokers and other intermediaries, and do sell insurance policies direct to the public.

If you would like a quote on insurance provided by Vero, or would like to take out a new policy, you should speak with a local insurance broker who deal with Vero.

As one of Australia’s largest providers of commercial insurance, virtually all insurance brokers will be able to assist you with a Vero policy.

Although new policies cannot be taken out directly through Vero, they will still be there (along with your broker) to assist you in the event of a claim.

If you like the idea of supporting a Qld company, then give Vero a try next time you need to take out or renew your business insurance policies.

NSW Electrician Insurance

ElectricianIf you’re a licensed electrical contractor in New South Wales you may need public liability insurance.

Public liability is one of the most important forms of insurance that an electrician can have, and is many cases it will be mandatory.

What is Public Liability?

Public liability will protect you as an electrician if your work results in property damage or personal injury to another person, and it is shown that negligence was a factor.

For an electrician, this could involve faulty wiring work that causes a fire and damaged property, or that results in electrocution to someone else.

Licence Requirements

Although Fair Trading NSW does not list any specific insurance requirements on their website (click here) it is widely accepted that public liability is vital for a licensed electrician.

Most building and construction companies will require that all electricians on site have public liability insurance of at least $5 million.

In addition to public liability, many work sites will also have mandatory income protection requirements for all self-employed and subcontracting electricians.

Master Electricians Australia is also a strong advocate for sparkies having public liability insurance, as outlined in this article about an electrician who received a lifetime ban in NSW.

Insurance Cost

The public liability insurance cost for an electrician will vary depending on your business.

If you are a sole trader working on domestic and light commercial projects the cost of public liability can be as little as $450 in NSW.

If however you are working on larger projects or have multiple staff working for you, the cost can increase dramatically, especially if you are working on locations such as mines and quarries.

For more information about public liability insurance in New South Wales please speak with your insurance broker.