The changing face of SME: Is your insurance up to date?

I was working with a small business recently who were looking to add a new insurance plan to cover a new expansion to their business. However, when asked it became clear their cover all insurance plan that they had bought online 3 years earlier, was outdated and left a key part of their business uninsured.

They were insured, but they were underinsured. If you have significantly under-insured your business, your insurer may have the right to pay only part of any loss because you’ve insured for only part of what it’s worth.

Insurance isn’t something that you can set and forget if your business changes. Whether it’s to add more staff, change your business location, or add a new service to your business it needs to be updated. However, not only do businesses change, but government legislation and policy are also regularly updated, as are the insurance plans on offer.

In the past few years the percentage of businesses that bought their insurance online has risen from 20% to 27%. While it may be convenient and cheap for the busy company owner, it may not be the best option in the long run.

Buying online only offers you a handful of policies which may not cover you completely, like a raincoat with holes in it. You are mostly covered, but there are still holes where the water can come in and leave you unprotected. These holes can come from not fully understanding what you need to protect your business, or missing little details that may seem unimportant but are actually vital.

Taking out insurance can be confusing at the best of times and can often cause you to over insure, under insure or ignore your insurance altogether. However, utilising a professional insurance broker to help you evaluate and choose your coverage plan can help you keep track of the changes in your business and insurance needs. As a broker, we can help navigate the changing landscape by:

1 – Keeping in touch with industries. Like everything else the SME industry is always changing, new policies come out regularly as does new legislation and regulations. Keeping our finger on the pulse keeps us in the know and allows us to provide the most up to date policy options for your company.

2 – Changes to the claiming process. It’s something we hope we never have to do, but making a claim from your insurance is inevitable in some cases. It’s not always as simple as just contacting your insurer though, as some companies have quite a few hoops that they make you jump through before they approve your claim. Even for those who have had to make a claim before, companies can change their claiming process at any time, making the process difficult. Buying insurance through a broker means that you get the most up-to-date information on the claiming process for each company, saving you time and money in the claims process.

3 – Business changes. Businesses are constantly changing, services and locations change, staff members come and go causing the business to grow and shrink with them. Your insurance cover, however, stays static and may leave your business unprotected if it’s not updated to reflect your business. A broker can help you find the best policy for your new circumstances making it easy to keep your policy up to date and your business protected.

As a business grows and changes so do their insurance needs, what met those needs last year, or even 6 months ago, may just not fit anymore. Be sure to keep an eye on your insurance and update it yearly to make sure you are completely covered. Utilise a broker when looking for a new policy because they ask the right questions to make sure that your insurance is the best possible fit for you.

Brett Thiedeman is the Director at Thiedeman Insurance Solution. He can provide advice on what insurance will provide you with the best cover for your business and your budget. Contact Brett Thiedeman today.

Most Viewed Content of 2018

Top ten most viewed content on the Advisr website in 2018

These ten articles had the most page views of all the articles published this year. They are a mixture of Advisr-published and broker-published content aimed at both insurance brokers and customers looking for insurance such as small business owners. Well done to the insurance brokers who made the top ten – Brett Theideman, Byron McPherson, Penny Collins and Greg Dobrin – Byron only set up his profile on Advisr recently yet still made the top ten most viewed of 2018!

1. Most Popular Insurance Brokers for 2018

December 2018

This post lists the top 20 most viewed Advisr Insurance Broker Profiles in 2018. The people on this list are doing a great job of networking both offline and online, as customers are looking for them.

 

2. Advisr wins Insurance Business Insurtech Pitch

May 2018

Advisr was selected as the best pitch winning a $20k marketing package with Insurance Business at the 2018 InsurTech Summit in Sydney.

 

3. Four ways to protect your business from cyber attacks

January 2018

This Advisr ‘Experts Opinion’ piece by Brett Theideman from Theideman Insurance Solutions takes an indepth look at 4 ways to protect your business from Cyber Attacks.

 

4. Claiming Across Multiple Insurance Policies

October 2017

In this Advisr ‘Experts Opinion’ piece Greg Dobrin of Sureserve Financial Services discusses the misconceptions surrounding claiming on several insurance policies and the actions you can take.

 

5. Unintended consequences of Royal Commission creates an insurance ‘Perfect Storm’

November, 2018

In this Advisr ‘Experts Opinion’ piece Byron McPherson of CPRS Insurance highlights some of the consequences of The Royal Commission into banking and financial services misconduct for the sector.

 

6. Five Things You Need to Know About Professional Indemnity InsuranceProfessional Indemnity Insurance

November, 2018

In this Advisr ‘Experts Opinion’ piece Penny Collins of Capital Mutual Insurance Brokers gives the latest developments to be aware of in Professional Indemnity Insurance.

 

7. Cyber Risk
Cyber Risk

May, 2018

Given today’s globally connected online environment, small businesses face more cyber threats than any other group. Unfortunately, these cyber attacks are on the rise, since they gain more sophistication with every new technological breakthrough.

 

8. Why an Advisr profile helps you dominate in Google (SEO)

November, 2018

How are you staying on top of the changes in the Google algorithm (how Google determines what to return when people search for things) and how are you keeping up with and ahead of your competitors?

 

9. Three Factual Cyber Crime Claims

June, 2018

Cybersecurity is applicable for most businesses. Austbrokers Countrywide share 3 cyber scenarios that have created risk and exposure.

 

 

10. How to write and post your content on Advisr

November, 2018

Posting your content on Advisr is a great way to drive new business by showing the world your expertise. This article outlines the steps involved in planning and posting content.

 

Publish your own content

If this list has inspired you to publish your own content on the Advisr site then read this article outlining how to do so.

How Tech is Transforming The Insurance Industry

Insurers who adopt innovative technology, or “insurtech”, are not only speeding up the process of getting insured and making claims, but they’re making it more transparent. Meanwhile, brokers are working hand-in-hand with these innovations to offer you a new level of strategic advice.

In its Tech Vision 2018 report consulting firm Accenture identifies five key emerging tech trends for the insurance industry, each promising benefits for customers:

  1. With bots and other artificial intelligence (AI) entities getting more autonomous and more sophisticated, you’ll see amazing efficiencies at all stages of your customer experience. AI will reach beyond robotic process automation in the back office to serving you on the front-line. In fact, 80% of insurance executives surveyed said they believed that within the next two years, AI will work next to humans in their organisations, as a co-worker, collaborator and trusted adviser.
  2. Virtual or augmented reality can help insurers overcome the problem of distance to produce better-trained staff and a faster, more accurate claims process. For instance, virtual reality headsets can put employees into immersive environments for re-skilling and training. One insurer is giving smart glasses to field inspectors and risk engineers so they can access data and documents hands-free as they inspect damaged properties.
  3. Insurers are urged to build strong cybersecurity and data science into their businesses to keep the customer protected. Things like connected cars, smart homes, digital workplaces, social media and government databases all make routine tasks easier and help simplify our lives. With all the data these entail though, there has to be a focus on data veracity or “truth” in data to guard against the inevitable rise of fake data, manipulated data and inherent bias.
  4. You’ll be able to move seamlessly through innovative ecosystems, e.g., a ride-sharing company or an Airbnb scenario thanks to frictionless business – a trend that sees companies working together in strategic, technology-based partnerships. “Smart” contracts and blockchain help insurers overcome old, restrictive legacy systems to become more agile.
  5. “Edge processing” will allow things like self-driving cars to operate efficiently. Instead of processing its data in the cloud, the car has special devices installed in it, allowing real-time processing as you drive. This is part of what Accenture calls the Internet of Thinking: because the cloud can’t support all the data coming from the smart devices connected in the Internet of Things, edge processing comes to the rescue, offering special-purpose hardware and processors that sit on location and take advantage of the data more effectively.

Using tech innovations such as these, insurtech continues to simplify and streamline the underwriting process, which means insurers have increasingly sophisticated and accurate risk modelling and a better understanding of your needs. Your claims are handled more efficiently and with more transparency, you’ll have greater visibility and control over your claims, and enjoy better customer service.

More user-friendly design and interaction will also help educate you about what you need and what you’re buying.

Where is your broker in this?

While technology will absorb some of the more routine aspects of a broker’s job, “Insurance brokering will not become obsolete,” Accenture says in a 2017 blog. You’ll still need to go to a broker for strategic, independent advice – you just need to ensure your broker is responding and adapting to this wave of digital disruption.

To deliver added value and to earn your loyalty, your broker will need to work hand-in-hand with tech, using all the benefits it offers while making sure you understand how it fits together.

Find a broker that offers just that, here.

5 ways to boost your online presence

By Nick Hill, Director, Hillster Marketing

Unfashionable industries, like insurance, face an uphill challenge when it comes to building a profitable online and social media presence. Here are 5 tips to improve your visibility and traction:

1. Should I use personal or company profiles?

This is a common question. As a general rule, especially with smaller firms, personal branding is the way to go. All the social channels prefer individuals to post rather than businesses. With that said, unless you want all your prospects/clients to see the personal things you post on Facebook, having a business page makes sense. Effective personal branding will build your trust and credibility.

2. Use the right channels

Have a plan and focus on the channels that will work best for your business. For example, a resource like Advisr.com.au is a good alternative to classic social media channels, as it is actually built to deliver leads – and you can share content too. LinkedIn is great if you are targeting specific industries and Facebook is better if you are chasing smaller businesses in specific geographical areas.

3. Educate, don’t just sell

The rule of thumb is 80% education, 20% sales. Video content gets much more traction too – if you are using LinkedIn, upload the videos directly rather than share a YouTube link. Aim to post regularly, not just when you ‘get a moment’.

4. Don’t just post, broaden your reach

Most brokers I know struggle to get a large, engaged social following. There is little point in posting lots of content that just reaches a limited audience (unless that audience is your target market). By using your partners/sponsorships you can boost your reach without the need for thousands of direct followers. Paying to sponsor updates can be a good way for cost effectively reaching more people.

5. Integrate your offline and online activities

Use your offline activities to help provide content for your online channels and use online work to promote offline activities. Not only will this boost your content but also reduce the resources you need.

Social media can suck up a huge amount of resources, often with little return. You need to make sure you have a targeted plan and integrate it with your broader sales and marketing activity. This will mean you devote the appropriate resources to increase your bottom line.

Need a hand? Contact Nick for a free 30 minute insight session.

Nick Hill is the Director of Hillster Marketing with 20 years’ experience of marketing within the insurance industry around the world. Hillster Marketing is a Partner Service Provider for Steadfast and works with companies from all areas of the insurance industry. He can be contacted on 0419 371 018 or email nick@hillster.com.au.

Most Popular Insurance Brokers for 2018

Congratulations to the top most viewed insurance brokers of 2018! The people below received the most views on their profile pages over the course of the year. This is great as it means people are searching for and finding the right person to provide advice for them. And that’s exactly what Advisr exists for – to connect people with the right insurance broker.

If you’re not featured yet, remember, profiles with photos get the most views by far, and adding content and a detailed bio boosts your chances of being found by new clients.

 

Brett ThiedemanBrett Thiedeman
Brett is the business owner & insurance adviser at Thiedeman Insurance Solutions. Congratulations Brett.

 

 

 

Greg DobrinGreg Dobrin

Greg is the founder of Sureserve Financial Services based out of Sydney. Congratulations Greg

 

 

 

John JennerJohn Jenner

John is the principal of MS2 Insurance Brokers based out of Camberwell in Melbourne. Congratulations John.

 

 

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark is a commercial insurance broker at Regional Insurance Brokers based in Rockhampton. Congratulations Mark.

 

 

Karen BrownKaren Brown

Karen is a Senior Account Executive with Marsh and is based out of Adelaide. Congratulations Karen.

 

 


Emily RadmallEmily Radmall

Emily is an Account Executive with Your Insurance Brokers as is based out of Caloundra, in Queensland. Congratulations Emily.

 

 

Elaine McNulty

Elaine McNulty

Elaine is an Account Executive with F D Beck based out of Melbourne. Congratulations Elaine.

 

 

 

Stephen Shur

Stephen is a Senior Account Executive with Trident Insurance Group based out of Perth. Congratulations Stephen.

 

 

 

Danby Sequeria

Danby Sequeria

Danby is the General Manager of AMA Insurance Brokers based out of Perth. Congratulations Danby.

 

 

 

Polina KesovPolina Kesov

Polina is the directory of ii-a and is based out of Sydney. Congratulations Polina.

 

 

 

David SmithDavid Smith

David is an Insurance Broker with Scott Winton Insurance Brokers based out of Melbourne. Congratulations David.

 

 

Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter is the Managing Director of Genesis Insurance Brokers Australia based out ofBurleigh Heads in Queensland. Congratulations Peter.

 

 

 

Leigh Moulden

Leigh Moulden

Leigh is the NIBA Vic / Tas Young Professional Broker of the Year Award for 2018. Leigh is the Principal of Doreen Insurance Solutions. Congratulations Leigh.

 

 

Raymond Wong

Raymond is a Manager at Tony Bemrose Insurance Brokers. Congratulations Raymond.

 

 

 

Penny Collins

Penny Collins

Penny is the Director of Capital Mutual Insurance Brokers.  Penny is the winner of the VIC/TAS NIBA Broker of the Year Award for 2018. Congratulations Penny.

 

 

Rochelle Kettles

Rochelle Kettles

Rochelle is the Director of Cairns Business Insurance Solutions. Congratulations Rochelle.

 

 

 

Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson

Ashley is the Strata Account Manager at Arcuri & Associates. Congratulations Ashley.

 

 

 

Frank IadarolaFrank Iadarola

Frank is the Principal of B Frank Insure based out of Adelaide. Congrats Frank.

 

 

 

Meena Wahi

Meena Wahi

Meena Wahi is the Director of Cyber Data Risk Managers based out of Melbourne. Congratulations Meena.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten marketing presents to make the most of the holiday period

The Christmas and holiday period is a funny time of year. It is either crazy busy, crazy quiet or a bit of both! Businesses often feel neglected at this family time of year.

Here’s a list of ten presents you can give to your business this year.

1. Have some fun – any business can inject a bit of life into their marketing and even the most corporate can get away with being light hearted over Christmas. How about getting the team to video a Karaoke thank you to send instead of a Christmas card, or gift wrapping all December proposals.

2. Social media never goes on holiday – even when they are on holiday, people will still be surfing the web and using social media. If nothing else, make sure you are monitoring any requests or comments so you don’t miss out – or worse, come back to find unhelpful comments have gone viral.

3. Sort out a project – use the holiday time as an opportunity to complete that project you’ve been meaning to get around to for ages. If you are a service provider, try offering to undertake a project for your client while they are on holiday.

4. Recognise your people – most businesses do give their people some kind of Christmas bonus or gift to say thanks. If you don’t, you should. Why not do something different this year like buy a family pass somewhere or even just give people an impromptu half-day shopping afternoon?

5. Thank your business partners and clients personally – sending that typical bland Christmas card with just an illegible signature, or an impersonal e-card, screams, “I really don’t care about you much”. If you are going to buy cards/presents, make the effort to personalise them properly – you could even use your own handwriting!

6. Catch up for a coffee or a beer – while many people are away, there are still lots of us who are still working. With less phone calls and emails flying around, often people have more time for a physical catch up.

7. Do some planning – time away from the business is perfect for working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business. Sitting on a sunny veranda with a beer in one hand and a pen and paper in the other can be remarkably fruitful – or by an open fire in the Northern Hemisphere. Don’t forget to drink responsibly though!

8. Make a seasonal offer – that isn’t just a typical holiday sale. How about delivering an ice cream to everyone in the office for a purchase? If it’s a big account, get an ice cream van to turn up!

9. Gear up for February – everyone comes back to work with a nasty bump after the holiday period. Prepare your next sales campaign, so you are ready to push the button, as soon as your prospects are back, will put you a sleigh ride ahead of your competitors.

10. Take some time off – if you are one of those business people who never stops working, treat yourself. Recharging the batteries will help reinvigorate you for the New Year ahead.

Above all I hope you, your loved ones, and your business have a safe and happy holiday!

And by the way there are free ice creams for any new Hillster Marketing clients in December – no matter where you live!

The business of blogging

The journey from passion to profitable online business

New technology means it’s never been easier to turn a passion into a fully-fledged online business, as Kelly Baker, Founder of The Beauty Insider can attest. We spoke to Kelly about taking the plunge and the steps she’s taken to protect herself along the way.

A few minutes scrolling through your Instagram feed or a quick search for ‘wellness’ online and you’ll find hundreds of blogger accounts offering tips and advice.

The truth is, it has never been easier to take a passion like fitness, wellbeing or beauty and turn it into a real, money-making business with millions of dedicated fans and followers. Free social media platforms and DIY websites mean it is achievable for anyone to establish an online presence – but just because your business is based in the cloud, doesn’t mean you can forget about having the right insurance in place.

Being an entrepreneur always comes with inherent risks, especially if your small business is your primary source of income. You need to be smart and make sure you’re protected. We spoke to Kelly Baker, Beauty Director and Founder of The Beauty Insider, to get some top tips for bloggers looking to keep themselves covered:

Protect your health (and your income). If you’re working for yourself, you don’t have the luxury of paid sick leave. A couple of weeks out of action could see you struggling for cash, so considering health insurance and income protection or total disability insurance will make sure you’re covered should anything go wrong. Kelly says, “I also have life insurance as I’ve got two little ones. Knowing they would be OK if anything happened to me is a load off my mind.”

Think about your liability. Operating on a public forum can win you fans and earn you critics. General liability insurance will make sure you’re protected against things like libel and copyright infringement.
“It might sound extreme,” says Kelly, “but there is always a risk that a client might take offence at something you produce and decide to take legal action. In that case, professional liability insurance will cover you.”

Whose data do you have? If your site stores user data like email addresses or fitness data, you need to make sure you treat it with care and have proper protection in place. Check that your insurance package will protect you if your site security is breached.

Consider what tools you need to keep your business going. If you’re running an online business, your phone, laptop or tablet are probably crucial to keeping your business up and running. Make sure your assets are protected in case of loss or theft so you can maintain a seamless online presence and keep your clients happy.

“I firmly believe my business will only go from strength to strength – but I’m smart enough to know that things can and do happen, and I want to be prepared,” says Kelly. “If I’m ever fretting over what I would do if things didn’t work out as planned, I remind myself of the insurance policies I’ve taken out and it sets my mind at ease.”

Finding the right insurance for a growing business can be confusing. Find the right insurance broker to help.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

Make your Christmas party one you remember for the right reasons

Bubble soccer, a cook-off or karaoke night – there are plenty of ways you can reward your team and help bring them closer. But it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, either physically or emotionally.

You can never predict what’s going to happen over the course of a workplace social or team-building event, and if you aren’t prepared with the right cover, a bit of harmless fun can have sizeable repercussions.

So, without being total spoil-sports, let’s use one business’ mistake to explore the risks and repercussions that small business owners need to consider, and how they can be avoided.

Case study: Sexual harassment, bullying, unfair dismissal

It started out like millions of other office Christmas parties. The employer, a roadworks company, put on an open bar to thank staff for their contributions throughout the year.

But it’s fair to say things went off-road pretty quickly.

At the party, an employee told his bosses to f— off. After the party ended he allegedly sexually harassed several colleagues. When the employee returned to work in January he was sacked for sexual harassment.

It doesn’t end there. The employee took the matter to the Fair Work Commission, which ultimately found he had been unfairly sacked, in part because his employer had supplied him with free flow of alcohol.

Commission vice-president Adam Hatcher reportedly said: “In my view, it is contradictory and self-defeating for an employer to require compliance with its usual standards of behaviour at a function but at the same time allow the unlimited service of free alcohol at the function.”

Avoiding risks

  • Set the ground rules

Before any social event it’s a good idea to send your staff a memo reminding them of your Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) policy, their obligations under that policy, and encourage them to be safe and responsible at the function, the Australian Industry Group recommends.

This can serve two purposes – it can reduce the risk of mishaps during the event, and if something does go awry it can serve as evidence that you took preventative action.

It’s also important to note that if you direct, request or even support your employees to take part in an activity, the courts can consider that any resultant injury is work-related and therefore subject to workers’ compensation.

  • Set physical and temporal boundaries

Clearly define the venue and the time within which the work-related event will take place. Any conduct which occurs outside those boundaries is likely not to be your responsibility or liability.

In the case study outlined above, the employee’s alleged sexual assault was committed after the party’s advertised end-time and at another venue.

As such, Mr Hatcher’s ruling on the matter stated: “Employees were informed in advance that, in substance, the organisation’s standards of conduct would apply at the function, but there was no suggestion of any expectation that those standards would apply to behaviour outside the temporal and physical boundaries of the function.”

  • Identify and manage hazards

Manage the OHS risks associated with a work-related social function in the same way you manage any other OHS risks.

That means your pre-event planning should include identifying any safety hazards, assessing the risks and eliminating or controlling them.

Further steps you can take

Clearly, a bit of harmless office fun can have sizeable repercussions. But that doesn’t mean you – or your staff – have to do without.

In addition to taking the above steps, consider protecting your business from any unfortunate mishaps with appropriate insurances, such as workers’ compensation, public liability or events insurance.

For advice on protection and risk management, find a great broker here.