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La Nina alert – prepare and plan for wild weather this summer

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The east coast of Australia is currently being pounded by severe weather and it’s something we’re just going to have to get used to according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

On October 11, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology released its outlook, upgrading the current weather conditions from La Niña ‘watch’ to La Niña ‘alert’. What this new alert status means is that the chance of a La Niña forming in the next few months has increased from 50% in September to 70%.

This early warning from the BOM is a great reminder to prepare for the inevitable severe weather conditions that are coming and to have plans in place to keep property and valuables protected.

What are the characteristics of La Niña?

  •  Increased rainfall across much of Australia
  • Cooler daytime temperatures (south of the tropics)
  • Warmer overnight temperatures
  • Shift in temperature extremes
  • Decreased frost risk
  • Greater tropical cyclone numbers
  • Earlier monsoon onset.

What can you do to be prepared and minimise risks?

November to March is nearly always one of the most volatile in terms of severe weather activity in Australia. As we approach the official summer months, take some time to consider what you’d need to do and how quickly you can respond if a severe weather warning like a flood, cyclone or severe rain takes place.

If you run a business, make sure your team knows where to go and what precautions to take should a severe weather event eventuate. The Australian Government’s Emergency Management team provides some helpful tips and advice on how to plan and prepare for a weather-related emergency.

In addition to your family, think about the other things that are important to you and how you would recover from their loss. Check your insurance is up to date, check any exemptions to cover and check whether the coverage you do have in place has enough ‘sum-insured’ to cover you should the worst-case scenario take place. A qualified insurance Adviser will be able to explain all the fine details of your insurance policy and point out any limitations or exemptions that may be in the fine print.

How can FIS help?

Insurance isn’t one size fits all and you want protection that suits your particular circumstances. FIS qualified Insurance Advisers don’t just place insurance – we assess your particular risks from all aspects to make sure you’re covered with insurance designed specifically for you and your individual needs. Call us today to find out how we can help.

Do I need Professional Indemnity Insurance?

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Professional Indemnity insurance, also known as PI insurance, provides insurance cover should any claims be brought against you by a client for errors or omissions in your professional service or advice.

In this increasingly litigious day and age, Professional Indemnity Insurance really is possibly one of the most important business insurances you can have. Indeed, Professional Indemnity Insurance can mean the difference between a business staying afloat and going under.

We would suggest that you consider Professional Indemnity Insurance if you:

• provide advice or offer a professional service
• handle data or any intellectual property
• are a professional, specialist or expert in your industry.

To provide some more clarity on this insurance, we’ve put together the following list of Professional Indemnity Claims that we’ve seen come through over recent years to illustrate just how vital this insurance can be for business professionals.

Professional Indemnity Insurance claims examples

General claims
• The losing or misplacing of confidential documents.
• Unintentionally sending an email to an unauthorised person, leading to a lawsuit for breach of confidentiality
• Using a copyrighted image or photo without having permission, rights to use or appropriate licence.

• Advising a client regarding their finances and taxes which results in the client becoming liable for costs with which they were not advised.
• Not performing a required audit.

Engineers and tradesmen
• Making an error in measurements that results in damage during or after construction and or additional costs to rebuild.
• Installing electrical equipment that is later found to be non-compliant with regulation, and in turn is required to be fixed/changed.

Estate agents
• A client claiming that their property was undersold after it is resold months later for 130% more of the previous price.

Interior designers
• Designing an office premises and the client suggesting that the layout was not in alignment with what had been agreed.

Marketing and Advertising professionals
• Designing a direct marketing campaign with brochures incorrectly addressed. The client claims damages for loss of potential revenue.
• Creating work using the wrong Branding/Pantone colour for a client’s logo, resulting in the client request for replacement work/collateral to be re-produced.

Quantity surveyor
• A surveyor forecasts the construction costs for a number of cafes at the start of each project. The client claims that the monthly and year-end costings and forecasts were inadequate and incorrect, making the contracts non-viable.

Safety consultants
• A person being injured after falling from builders’ scaffolding that a Safety consultant or Surveyor has permitted as fit for use.

Town planners
• Providing incorrect advice regarding the planning permission on a plot of land.

Travel agents
• Failing to arrange travel insurance for a client who falls ill while on holiday in another country, claiming expenses and medical bills.

If I get Professional Indemnity Insurance, do I also need to have Public Liability insurance?

We often get asked this question. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so the key difference between the two is that Public Liability insurance mainly covers you for bodily injury and property damage, while Professional Indemnity mainly covers you for professional service and advice provided to clients.

Another key difference between the two is that Professional Indemnity Insurance covers you for allegations made, regardless of when the professional service was provided. By contrast, a Public Liability insurance policy would cover you when the alleged incident occurs during the policy period, even if the claim is filed after the policy has expired.