The single greatest asset that many of us will own is our home, but how much thought has been placed into the current values? Are you adequately insured and will you be able to rebuild your property to the same standard as it was previously if the worst happened?
Some of the costs that need to be considered are:
- Local building codes and regulations—have they been updated, do you need to add additional fire measures to your property, will you need to change the building materials?
- The current replacement cost of your property (excluding land), taking into account any escalation in costs that may occur due to a catastrophe. Builders tend to increase their labour rates when a catastrophe occurs and the cost of building materials also escalates due to the number of properties that need rebuilding which puts pressure on the manufacturers and the ability to source materials.
Some policies do include an “escalation clause” to cover some of these costs
- The cost to remove all the debris from the site and re-level to start again. Consider any hazardous materials that are on site that will need specialist removal.
- Have you included sheds, outdoor structures, pools and outbuildings in your sum insured?
- The majority of policies have an underinsurance clause which determines how close you need to be to the correct replacement sum insured of your property. Generally this is between 10 and 20%, meaning that if you underinsure by more than this “buffer” you will be penalised in a claim. Please refer to your Product Disclosure Statement or Broker for more information on this.
Did you know that after the Blue Mountains fires many people were not able to rebuild their properties due to underinsurance? This was caused mainly by a change in council regulations which has left a number of insured people more than $200,000 out of pocket.
What should you do?
Check with your local council that the building regulations have not changed. Ask the council if you are in a flood or fire prone area.
Every 1-3 years:
Obtain a valuation on your property or at least speak to a builder about current rebuilding costs.
Some calculators that may assist:
The insurance market can at times, be a tough nut to crack, especially when it fluctuates from a soft insurance market to a hard one. When the hard market drops, we see insurers tighten underwriting criteria, coverages become more difficult to secure, premiums aren’t as easy to negotiate on and coverage when it isn’t expensive, can become completely unavailable.
Preparation is the key to success, and while you can prepare yourself for some rate increases in the next few years, it’s often better to take a more proactive approach.
The following three steps will help you minimize the impact of those stringent insurance rating criteria.
1 – Understand the Importance of an Insurance Broker during a hard market
Following advice will only get you so far if you don’t understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Insurance brokers during a hard market will become your saving grace. Their role is to fight your battles and continuously source competitive services to suit your needs.
In a hard market, it can feel like an insurer is attempting to block your every step with their stringent standards, so having an insurance broker that understands the changes and is prepared to seek out the best result for your business, can ensure your policy will be tailored to your needs and remove the burden from your own shoulders.
This not only makes the process smoother but allows you to focus on your business and do the job you know how to do best, saving you time and frustration.
2 – Develop a good relationship with your insurance broker
Teamwork makes the dream work and a great relationship with your insurance broker will only result in the best outcomes for your business. An insurance broker can only work to the best of their ability if they understand what you want and are hoping to achieve. If either you or your broker aren’t on the same page, it might be best to try another book.
Make sure that your insurance broker understands the impact of the hard market on your business and that they understand your actual business, the industry and its potential risks. A hard insurance market brings new clients to brokers, so take advantage of the competitive arena and make sure your broker has proven their capability to you, above all the rest.
With the right broker and a trustworthy partnership, you will be guaranteed to receive the best price, coverage and policy to secure your business’ future.
3 – Prepare the business for increased insurance costs
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Being aware of the potential for increased insurance costs isn’t the same as actually preparing for the occasion. Insurers need to be proactive and commence their renewal process early to ensure the best outcomes. Present risks in the best light and allow adequate time to address any surprises or consider strategies which may mitigate premium increases, such as increased deductibles.
It can often become a shock when the market turns and many find themselves mentally unprepared for the sudden shift. Pre-emptive action is better than reaction, so prepare your business early.
It’s understandable to start sweating at the mention of insurance premiums on the rise, but there’s plenty to start considering, planning and actioning now to prepare your business for the worst. Taking an active and strategic approach to managing your company’s risks and insurance claims will minimize the impact of a hard insurance market, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later.
I offer a 30-minute business review session. During that session I provide my advice on if and how I can help you minimize the impact of a hard insurance market. To find out more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0401 109 324.