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30 Aug 2018

NSW Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor Allan Fels has hit back at the Insurance Council of Australia’s call for a rethink of his role.

Insurance Council CEO Rob Whelan recently told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that information requirements imposed by the monitor are extensive and costly to meet. He also said insurers are paying for the monitor’s work – a claim Professor Fels has rejected.

“Insurers, in fact, have not been charged one cent of the monitor’s cost,” Professor Fels told the same inquiry last week. “They do not pay for us. Also, on this compliance issue, it is true we have been requiring insurers to provide us with the necessary data… b...

29 Aug 2018

About half of Australian households are exposed to faulty products, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns.

And at least 10 residents are injured every day using such items.

“The number of Australians being injured by unsafe products is far too high,” ACCC Deputy Chairman Delia Rickard said. “Ten injuries a day due to defective products is alarming, but we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg because many more consumers don’t report injuries to the product suppliers.”

The ACCC issued 613 product recalls involving more than 4.5 million items last financial year. There were 591 recalls in 2016/17, a spokesman told insuranceNE...

28 Aug 2018

Brokers have been urged to step up efforts to identify and report breaches of the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice.

The code’s compliance committee is concerned that its annual review shows 59% of code subscribers reported no breaches and 43% noted no client disputes last financial year.

“For the insurance broking industry, the code represents norms and expectations that exceed the bare regulatory minimum, challenging code subscribers to achieve a higher standard of service to clients,” committee Chairman Michael Gill said.

“Code subscribers that capture complaints and breaches are better placed to identify the root causes of any problems and to improve...

28 Aug 2018

PSC Insurance Group has posted a 39% rise in statutory after-tax net profit to $27.8 million for last financial year, underpinned by strong organic growth and contributions from acquisitions.

Underlying net profit grew 31% to $24.2 million and underlying revenue was 24% higher at $101.1 million.

“It has been another active and successful year for the group,” MD Paul Dwyer says in the report.

“The underlying earnings growth has again been due to a healthy balance between organic improvements and acquisition-based initiatives. We are well placed for [this year] and are confident we can continue to grow the group for all stakeholders.”

The Melbourne-based com...

26 Aug 2018

A director of building firm LU Simon broke the law by installing flammable cladding on the Lacrosse apartments in Melbourne, the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) has found.

The cladding contributed to a serious fire at the Docklands building in November 2014, which authorities believe could have resulted in deaths had weather conditions been different.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) confirmed the BPB found Jim Moschoyiannis, who joined LU Simon in 1983, breached the Building Act 1993 by installing non-compliant cladding.

“While the board has found Mr Moschoyiannis has breached the Act, it has not yet made a decision as to penalties,” a VBA spoke...

23 Aug 2018

QBE’s first-half profit grew 4% to $US358 million ($495 million) as it pushed through price rises and quit underperforming areas.

Gross written premium (GWP) increased 4% to $US7.9 billion ($10.9 billion), while the combined operating ratio for continuing operations improved to 95.4% from 96.8%.

QBE has agreed to sell the North American personal lines portfolio to Liberty Mutual, continuing an exit from businesses that generated an underwriting loss of more than $US200 million ($276.7 million) last calendar year.

CEO Pat Regan, who took over in January, says further benefits will flow as QBE improves underwriting and risk selection, and continues its deta...

23 Aug 2018

Three general insurers are among Australia’s 10 most generous corporate donors, according to a new report.

IAG ranks fourth on the overall list of the top 50 listed companies, and leads the financial services category.

The inaugural GivingLarge Report, released today, finds $867 million was invested in community causes by 39 companies in 2016/17.

The list, compiled by Melbourne civics group Strive Philanthropy, says nine of the 10 most generous companies – including IAG, QBE and Suncorp – contributed 74% of the $867 million.

Wesfarmers ($72 million) and CSL ($52 million) led the way with cash donations, volunteer time and gifts in kind.

The top 10 are: Wesf...

21 Aug 2018

NSW firefighters have been tackling about 80 bushfires across the drought-afflicted state, and experts warn there could be worse to come.

Some areas have experienced the earliest total fire ban in a decade, and with the last major fires in April authorities have had just three months between seasons.

Damage to properties has so far been minimal, but the insurance industry is on alert.

“The drought brings heightened fire risk,” Insurance Council of Australia GM Policy Risk and Disaster Karl Sullivan told

“The vegetation has cured earlier, which brings about the opportunity for an early fire season.

“This was not unforeseen or unpredicte...

20 Aug 2018

Indian Ocean temperature patterns may worsen any southern Australian rainfall shortages caused by an El Nino climate event this year.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a 50% chance an El Nino will form, while three of six models suggest a short-lived positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) may develop.

“The ocean to the northwest of Australia remains cooler than normal, which is contributing to suppressed rainfall over southern and southeast Australia,” the bureau says.

“A positive IOD during spring typically reduces rainfall in central and southern Australia, and can exacerbate any El Nino-driven rainfall deficiencies.”

An El Nino is caused by Pacific Oc...

16 Aug 2018

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Two Elders Insurance brokers have been permanently banned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) after being convicted of fraud and theft.

Tony Bashford, of Talbingo in NSW, and Brody Glenn Jarman, of Yarrawonga in Victoria, were reported to police and ASIC after internal investigations by Elders and parent QBE.

A QBE spokesman told its protective services team uncovered fraudulent claims Bashford made without clients’ knowledge, keeping the payments for himself. He subsequently paid some funds back to the business.

Elders revoked Bashford’s licence as an authorised represen...

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