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Business News

Aussie small businesses at risk of underinsurance

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Aussie small businesses at risk of underinsurance

BIZCOVER

Australian small businesses are at risk of underinsurance, with a recent report showing that many SMEs have become complacent and have no protections in place if a negative event were to occur.

Only 43% of small businesses think they are fully covered from insurable business risks, according to the newly-released bonus chapter of the Vero SME Insurance Index 2022.

While this shows a level of understanding among small businesses about their cover levels, 34% said they have no plan if something bad were to happen, the survey found. Some others haven’t even thought about what might happen or simply choose to cross that bridge when they come to it.

“Small businesses seem to be generally aware that they may be underinsured however due to the additional cost of increasing coverage some may have made a choice to not look further into their cover due to price concerns,” says Jane Mason, Head of Product Channels and Risk at SME insurance platform BizCover,

“What’s worrying is that the dangers of underinsurance can leave the insured in a worse situation if underinsured or not insured at all.”

The conditions are set for an underinsurance crisis  

From floods, bushfires, and the Covid-19 pandemic to supply chain issues and the rising cost of living, Australian small businesses have had to contend with multiple problems in recent years.

This has had an impact on the revenue of many businesses, causing some to look for ways to save money.

Vero’s report suggests that SMEs with declining revenue are less likely to say that they are completely covered and are also less likely to have a plan in place for a negative situation.

“It’s tough out there. And unfortunately, some businesses put their insurance on the chopping block,” says Mason. “But what this also says is that the businesses who are more likely to be hit by underinsurance are already struggling.”

Exacerbating the issue is that rising inflation and major supply chain disruptions are pushing up the claims costs for insurance companies, which ultimately results in higher premiums across some types of insurance.

This can put businesses who are renewing their coverage at the same levels as the year before at risk, as the cost of equipment, stock or machinery has, in many cases, increased beyond what they were originally insured for.

“What was adequate cover a year ago may not be adequate cover now because of the rising cost of materials,” says Mason.

The risk of underinsurance  

For Aussie businesses, what all this means is that some could be left with a serious financial crisis by not having enough insurance to cover their loss.

For example, say you insure your business for $100k and a fire rips through your store destroying it. Once you factor in the cost to repair your business, the total bill comes out to $160k in damages. That’s $60k you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket.

Another way you can fall into the underinsurance trap is by triggering a underinsurance clause.

These clauses are designed to discourage businesses from purposely undervaluing their assets and are triggered by underinsuring usually by 20% under the true value.

Importantly, this occurs even if the damages fall within the insured amount.

So, in the above example, even if the damages were only $40k, your insurer will not cover that full amount if the clause is triggered despite you having $100k of cover.

“Many people may think that the insurer will cover it since the cost of the damages easily falls within the insured amount but that is sometimes not the case if the business is underinsured,” says Mason. “If you purchase below what your business’ true value is, you could become responsible for the share of the loss and not receive full payment for your claim.”

What can small businesses do?  

While the current situation is tough, there are some things Australian small business owners can do to avoid being underinsured.

Regularly scheduling some time to consider your exposure to risks could help avoid problems later down the track. This will allow you to consider what risks your business is exposed to and think about the possible scenarios that could happen if you weren’t protected in the event of a claim.

“It’s important to insure your business for an amount that is sufficient to cover not only the tangible assets, but the cost of repairs and any other variables that might leave you out of pocket,” says Mason. “After that, consider jumping online to compare quotes so you could then decide whether the price of the cover justifies the protection.”

While reviewing your cover at renewal is a great time to consider your options, you could check in at any point throughout the year.

And with inflation and the cost of claims rising, it’s become even more crucial to regularly keep track of the actual value of your building and business contents to avoid being left with inadequate cover if a claim were to arise.

*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.  © 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769   

 

Business News

SEVEN MEGATRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE NEXT 20 YEARS

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

SEVEN MEGATRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE NEXT 20 YEARS

A once-in-a-decade report from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, identifies seven global megatrends that hold the key to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
With an outlook to 2042, Our Future World revisits CSIRO’s ground-breaking 2012 report of the same name, exploring the geopolitical, economic, social, technological and environmental forces unfolding around the world, predicting their likely impact on Australia’s people, businesses and governments.
The seven global megatrends are: Adapting to climate change; Leaner, cleaner and greener; The escalating health imperative; Geopolitical shifts; Diving into digital; Increasingly autonomous and Unlocking the human dimension.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said megatrends help us to understand the challenges and massive opportunities that will shape our future.
“Australia is at a pivotal point. There is a tidal wave of disruption on the way, and it’s critical we take steps now to get ahead of it,” Dr Marshall said.
“From resource scarcity to drug resistant superbugs, disrupted global trade, and an increasingly unstable climate threatening our health and way of life – these are just some of the challenges we face.
“But these challenges also tell us where the most powerful innovation can be found, when we see a different future and leverage science to create it.
“Australia has the highest wind and solar capacity of any developed nation and a wealth of critical energy minerals – we can be a leader in feeding the world’s hunger for clean energy.
“The next wave of digital innovation will generate $10–15 trillion globally.
Australia can tap into this to transform existing jobs and create new jobs and wealth while leveraging Artificial Intelligence to solve some of our greatest challenges, like outthinking bushfires, accelerating vaccine development, predicting drought, or stabilising our energy grid.
“We have the opportunity now to use science to invent the kind of world we want to live in – but we have to act, and we have to do it together.
“Trust in science led Australia’s response to COVID-19, and science can help us lead a Team Australia response to the challenges ahead,” he said.
Our Future World report co-lead author Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said: “We analysed thousands of data points collected over decades.
“Some of the trends we identified have been widely discussed, while others are newer and directly related to our experiences during the pandemic.
“We are, for example, just beginning to understand the potential long-term impacts of the pandemic on mental health and chronic illness.
“We anticipate that while the pandemic sped up digital transformation, the real explosion in our capability is yet to come. In this environment, digital skills will become more valuable, but rather than replacing human intelligence, technologies like AI will assist us in doing our work better.”

Our Future World co-lead author Dr Claire Naughtin said: “Trust emerged as a central theme – trust in institutions, technology, supply chains and security will all be key issues over the coming two decades.
“Currently just under 70% of Australians do not trust AI systems but would be more willing to use these systems if appropriate ethical measures were in place.
“This latest update on the global megatrends gives us line of sight as to what has changed over the past decade and a view to the coming decades.
“Like aircraft engineers would use wind tunnels to test the robustness of new aircrafts, we can use these megatrends to develop, test and refine future strategies to ensure they are robust, whatever the future holds.”

Snapshot of the megatrends: 

  1. Adapting to climate change: with natural disasters expected to cost the Australian economy almost three times more in 2050 than in 2017, we can expect to be living in a more volatile climate, characterised by unprecedented weather events
  2. Leaner, cleaner and greener: an increased focus on potential solutions to our resource constraints through synthetic biology, alternative proteins, advanced recycling and the net-zero energy transition. By 2025, renewables are expected to surpass coal as the primary energy source.
  3. The escalating health imperative: the post-pandemic world has exacerbated existing health challenges posed by an ageing population and growing burden of chronic disease.  One in five Australians report high or very high levels of psychological distress and there is heightened risk of infectious diseases and pathogens resistant to modern antibiotics. There is now a burning platform to also respond to our health risks and improve health outcomes.
  4. Geopolitical shifts: an uncertain future, characterised by disrupted patterns of global trade, geopolitical tensions and growing investment in defence. While the global economy shrunk by 3.2% in 2020, global military spend reached an all-time high of $2.9 trillion and Australia saw a 13% increase in cybercrime reported relative to the previous year.
  5. Diving into digital: the pandemic-fuelled a boom in digitisation, with teleworking, telehealth, online shopping and digital currencies becoming mainstream. Forty percent of Australians now work remotely on a regular basis and the future demand for digital workers expected to increase by 79% from 2020 to 2025.
  6. Increasing autonomous: there has been an explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) discoveries and applications across practically all industry sectors over the past several years. Within the science domain the use of AI is rising with the number of peer-reviewed AI publications increasing nearly 12 times from 2000 to 2019.
  7. Unlocking the human dimension: a strong consumer and citizen push for decision makers to consider trust, transparency, fairness and environmental and social governance. While Australia saw a record level increase in public trust in institutions during the pandemic, this ‘trust bubble’ has since burst, with societal trust in business dropping by 7.9% and trust in government declining by 14.8% from 2020-21.

 

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Inflationary surges, rising costs and interest rates putting pressure on hospitality industry recovery

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Inflationary surges, rising costs and interest rates putting pressure on hospitality industry recovery

Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report

Inflationary surges, rising costs and interest rates putting pressure on hospitality industry recovery 

  • Hospitality sector confidence has fallen to +11, from +32 in January 2022, which is comparable to sentiment in the midst of 2020 COVID lockdowns (+9 August 2020)
  • 40% of restaurant owners said they felt positive about the future of the hospitality sector, which is down from 52% at the start of the year
  • At the core of the decrease in optimism is rising produce prices, inflation,  increasing salaries, rental costs, state of the economy and reduction in consumer spending.
  • 62% of restaurants say food delivery will play a greater role in their business operations moving forward
  • 60% are asking for government to provide wage subsidies, 51% want visa processing times fast tracked, 51% want a special hospitality sector visa established for international workers, and 48% are asking for investment to be increased to strengthen local food supply chains

MEDIA RELEASE

[26] JULY 2022

Impacts of inflation, rising interest rates and supply chain issues are putting marked pressure on the hospitality sector, with a 21 point drop in the net confidence score to +11, only six months after recording +32. There are signs of optimism returning over the next 12 months, with two thirds (66%) feeling positive about their business prospects in 12 months’ time, according to the latest Deliveroo HospoVitality Index Report.

The survey conducted by YouGov of more than 300 restaurant owners across Australia seeks to understand the level of confidence in their own business prospects, their views on how the industry is faring, the challenges they’re facing and the measures being put in place to help manage these, as well as getting a pulse check for their outlook of the next 12 months.

The July HospoVitality Index Report revealed that restaurant owners are making both necessary business decisions and demonstrating strong innovation and resourcefulness that will enable them to navigate – and prosper – through the business pressures over the next 12 months.

Three in ten owners are temporarily no longer taking an income (31%). A further third (34%) of owners reported feeling at financial risk and some have had to put business improvement plans on hold (31%). However, many are demonstrating the resourcefulness they showed during periods of lockdowns, by hyperlocalising their food and beverage supply chain (44%), many are offering promotions to attract customers (45%), relying more on delivery platforms (42%), along with making changes to their menu (40%)and some are even growing their own produce (8%).

There was a strong correlation between those impacted by inflationary pressures and the need to access finance. Over a third(38%) of those who said they were significantly impacted by inflation have sought out financing. Perhaps an indication of the continued impacts of lockdowns in Victoria, the data found there were more restaurant owners in Victoria who sought access to finance (41%), compared to NSW (32%) and QLD (28%).

As restaurants look to offset rising overhead costs, delivery has become a core part of managing these challenges, with more than six in ten (62%) saying delivery platforms would play an even bigger role than before – the highest score since the HospoVitality Index Report was established. This was higher amongst takeaway restaurants, with 68% saying delivery will be even more important. This is  a solid increase from January 2022, which recorded 49%.

In light of these challenges, the industry is calling for government support in its first six months, with 60% wanting wage subsidies to employ more staff, 51% want visa processing times fast tracked, 51% said they’d like a special hospitality sector visa established for international workers, and 48% are asking for incentives to strengthen local food supply chains.

Ed McManus, CEO Deliveroo Australia: “We saw great optimism across the Australian hospitality industry at the beginning of this year as the country moved forward post lockdowns. However, despite the unwavering resilience amongst restaurant owners, the impacts of rising costs and inflationary pressures, and difficulties with supply chain are being felt far and wide.

“Restaurants have already demonstrated their ability to innovate and adapt through challenging periods, and it’s incredible to see how they’re responding to these current pressures by localising their supply chain – and some even growing their own produce – it is clear this innovation has not slowed.

“The hospitality industry is at the heart of all that we do at Deliveroo, and we’re proud to be a partner in supporting restaurants in whatever way makes the most sense for them.  Australia is home to some of the world’s finest and most diverse restaurants and cuisines, and we will continue to work hand in glove with the industry to support it through another challenging period.”

Notes to Editor:

The prices of produce that I as an owner have noticed has significantly increased is oil and meat. These are the main products we use for our business, you add increased costs for labour too and everything has become very difficult” 

“So many items are regularly out of stock with suppliers that I don’t know where to start.”

“I’m no longer taking a salary and am having to take money out of the till to pay for my own petrol. Price increases has meant consumers are not eating out as much anymore.”

Methodology:

The data cited in this report was collected via an online survey administered by YouGov, the international research and data analytics group. The online survey was conducted between 23rd May until 16th June 2022.

The online survey was distributed to 13,000 Deliveroo restaurant partners across Australia. Emails were sent to partners to invite them to take part in the survey and provided each with a unique survey link.

Reminder emails were sent weekly. The final sample for the survey included 226 Deliveroo restaurant partners.

About Deliveroo 

Deliveroo is an award-winning delivery service founded in 2013 by William Shu and Greg Orlowski. Deliveroo works with over 170,000 best-loved restaurants and grocery partners, as well as over 190,000 riders to provide the best food delivery experience in the world.

Deliveroo is headquartered in London, with offices around the globe. Deliveroo operates across 11 markets, including Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and the United Kingdom.

Key Facts:

  • Hospitality sector confidence has fallen to +11, from +32 in January 2022, which is comparable to sentiment in the midst of 2020 COVID lockdowns (+9 August 2020)
  • 40% of restaurant owners said they felt positive about the future of the hospitality sector, which is down from 52% at the start of the year
  • At the core of the decrease in optimism is rising produce prices, inflation,  increasing salaries, rental costs, state of the economy and reduction in consumer spending.
  • 62% of restaurants say food delivery will play a greater role in their business operations moving forward
  • 60% are asking for government to provide wage subsidies, 51% want visa processing times fast tracked, 51% want a special hospitality sector visa established for international workers, and 48% are asking for investment to be increased to strengthen local food supply chains

 

 

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Delia Rickard joins AFCA board

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Delia Rickard joins AFCA board

AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY

Delia Rickard, who is joining the AFCA Board

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) today announced the appointment of outgoing ACCC Deputy Chair Ms Delia Rickard to its board. Her appointment, for three years, is effective from 1 August 2022.

“Ms Rickard brings to the board a wide range of skills from a distinguished public service career in consumer policy. She has a deep understanding of the current and emerging challenges facing consumers and financial firms,” AFCA Independent Chair Professor John Pollaers OAM said when announcing the appointment today.

“We will also benefit from her insight into financial inclusion, as we seek to ensure all Australians have access to our ombuds service.

“The AFCA Board is made up of an independent and expert group of Directors holding extensive financial services industry and consumer experience and brings a breadth of knowledge operating across multi-dimensional and highly complex industries. The Board is committed to ensuring that AFCA continues be an effective external dispute resolution scheme for financial services, with a focus on efficiency and customer service, and providing clear member and community value.

“Ms Rickard’s deep knowledge and expertise in the consumer space will ensure AFCA continues to deliver against these goals and keeps an essential focus on ensuring consumer accessibility and inclusion.”

Ms Rickard has been Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) since June 2012. She has extensive public service experience and a passion for consumer protection, and has worked in a variety of senior roles, primarily at the ACCC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). She is also an Associate Member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“Throughout her illustrious career, Ms Rickard has had a strong interest in financial services and the impact of the financial services industry on vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. She oversaw development of the highly regarded Moneysmart website at ASIC, and has been a member of numerous committees at the ACCC, including those on the consumer data right, enforcement and compliance, and product safety. And she also chaired the ACCC’s market study into the cost of insurance in Northern Australia,” Prof. Pollaers noted.

Ms Rickard is also a trustee of the Jan Pentland Foundation, which provides scholarships for those who want to work as financial counsellors, and is the Chair of Good Shepherd’s Advisory Committee on Financial Inclusion Action Plans.

Ms Rickard was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2011 for her contribution to consumer protection and financial services. She has also been awarded the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award and was recently announced as the inaugural winner of the Law Council of Australia’s Consumer Rights Award.

Ms Rickard said: “AFCA plays a vital role in protecting consumers and in helping the financial services sector deliver the best possible service to its customers. I look forward to contributing to an organisation with such a strong sense of purpose, one that is having a real impact for consumers and the financial services sector.”

 

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