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17 Dec 2018

Law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has invited more councils to join a class action it filed last week against JLT.

The NSW Supreme Court action, supported by litigation funder Harbour, is led by Richmond Valley Council, while the law firm says six other local governments have also expressed interest.

But JLT says it will “vigorously defend” the action, which is open to councils provided with broking services from January 1 2009 to December 3 this year and which obtained cover through membership of the NSW mutual liability scheme.

Leo Demer, JLT’s Global Head Public Sector, says claims in the Quinn Emanuel action are “utter and absolute nonsense”.

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16 Dec 2018

Aviation-related claims are the biggest driver of insured losses in Australia, according to an Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) annual report released yesterday.

They make up 32% of the €1.6 billion ($2.5 billion) of claims paid by the industry over a five-year period from July 2013 to this year.

Events under this category include damage caused by collisions or crashes, faulty maintenance, travel issues, ground-handling incidents, over and under-shooting runways, emergency or forced landings and damage caused by bird strike.

Defective products and hailstorms shared second spot on 9%, and professional indemnity and directors’ and officers’ (D&O)...

13 Dec 2018

Insurance claims from last month’s California wildfires already are at $9 billion and expected to increase, the state’s insurance commissioner announced Wednesday.

About $7 billion in claims are from the Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California city of Paradise and killed at least 86 people, making it the deadliest US wildfire in at least a century. The rest is from the Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California.

Collectively, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 20,000 structures, with the vast majority in and around Paradise. On Tuesday, state and federal authorities estimated it will cost at least $3 billion just to clear debris.

“As the...

12 Dec 2018

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) is worried that brokers could be caught up in the Hayne royal commission’s final report detailing ways to reform the financial services sector.

CEO Dallas Booth says NIBA has already been in touch with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and other relevant government and regulatory bodies to make a case for brokers ahead of the report’s expected release in February.

“Insurance broking has not been mentioned at all during [the] royal commission in terms of misconduct, which is a fantastic outcome for our members right across Australia,” Mr Booth says in a video reviewing this year’s...

11 Dec 2018

Financial services providers, including general insurers, must improve complaints handling after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) highlighted problems with internal dispute resolution (IDR) processes.

Several obstacles stand in the way of consumers when they try to raise a complaint, ASIC-commissioned research found, and their experiences have marred their confidence in the system.

Fewer than half of complainants who had an unfavourable outcome received an explanation from the firm, and only 21% of complainants whose disputes were not resolved within the set timeframe had the process explained to them.

Left unchecked, the fallou...

10 Dec 2018

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has defended the state’s reformed workers’ compensation scheme following criticism from businesses.

The NSW Business Chamber last week called on Mr Perrottet to commission an urgent review of the system following employer complaints about poor practices since the reforms were introduced.

But today a spokesman for Mr Perrottet told insuranceNEWS.com.au the changes had brought huge improvements.

The old scheme “was failing injured workers, was predicted to be at least $4.1 billion in deficit, and businesses were facing premium rises of 28%”, the spokesman said.

“Today the most injured workers are receiving more support, busine...

6 Dec 2018

The NSW Business Chamber has called on the Treasurer to commission an urgent review of the state’s workers' compensation system following employer complaints about poor practices since reforms were introduced.

“The 2015 reform of the workers' compensation system in NSW was necessary, however the administration of this reform has left a lot to be desired,” chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said.

“We have reports of claims being approved without appropriate checks or investigations, lengthy delays and poor advice and support for both employers and employees.”

Workers' compensation roles are now split between the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), Ins...

5 Dec 2018

A plague of dodgy building products is increasingly putting lives at risk and forcing up insurance premiums, a Senate inquiry report warns.

The Economics References Committee published its final report into non-conforming building products late yesterday.

The committee had already released interim reports focusing on two of the most serious issues – imported materials containing asbestos and flammable building cladding.

The final report also addresses concerns with non-conforming electrical products, lighting, windows and glazing, plumbing, engineered wood products, and steel.

“The committee is extremely concerned by evidence to this inquiry that illustrat...

4 Dec 2018

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has made an official complaint against NSW Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor Allan Fels, accusing him of stepping outside his remit and failing to listen to industry concerns.

Professor Fels was engaged by the NSW Government to monitor insurance pricing after the removal of the emergency services levy on insurance – something that never happened following a last-minute deferral.

Despite the reform’s delay, Professor Fels has remained in the post, and relations with insurers have soured as he has used data to attack them on a range of issues, most recently a so-called “loyalty tax”.

Now he has widened his de...

3 Dec 2018

Insurance losses from the torrential rainfall that hit Sydney this week have risen to $13.5 million, while only a handful of claims have been received as a result of more than 100 fires in Queensland.

The Queensland fires are continuing to burn, and insurers are monitoring high-risk weather conditions that are forecast to arrive in the next few days.

The Insurance Council of Australia says about 2750 claims have been lodged from the Sydney storm, which caused flooding, power losses and transport disruptions as the city experienced its wettest November day since 1984.

“Most of those claims are for damage to roofs and also damage to motor vehicles and it is...

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