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What are the top business risks for 2022?

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In the recently released Allianz Risk Barometer report, Cyber tops the list of business risks, as the greatest concern for companies in the year ahead.

Given the last few years with increased incidences of ransomware attacks, data breaches and other major IT outages, it’s perhaps not surprising Cyber is such a huge business risk.

Business interruption as a key risk comes in at a close second (42%), while Natural catastrophes rank third (25%), up from sixth in 2021. Climate change continues to climb to its highest-ever ranking of sixth (17%), while Pandemic outbreak has dropped to fourth (22%), no doubt thanks to the increasing popularity of vaccinations the world over.

While the annual global Business risk’s report suggests that Cyber takes the lead as a key business risk this year, the report also suggests that Business interruption will also be a key theme throughout 2022.

Here is a brief summary of the Allianz Risk Barometer’s top ten global business risks below and we outline some ways you can minimise some of your risks.

  1. Cyber Incidents

The main driver of Cyber reaching the number one position in the Allianz Risk Barometer report is due to the surge in ransomware attacks in 2021, which have included worrying trends such as ‘double extortion’ tactics, exploiting software vulnerabilities in supply chains, and the targeting of physical critical infrastructure.

With so many people working remotely, this in itself has also created opportunities for Cyber criminals to attack and create disruption.

Businesses need to take the threat of Cyber incidents seriously and put in place measures to minimise their cyber risk and consider other ways, including Cyber insurance, to minimise the impact of a potential Cyber incident.

  1. Business Interruption

While the research suggests the ongoing effects of Covid-19 and resulting disruptions are a great cause of concern for many businesses, the ‘most feared’ cause of business interruption are Cyber incidents. 2021 was a year that saw a rapid rise in ransomware attacks, as more companies shifted to working remotely, in turn creating gaps in IT security.

The ensuing business interruption for some businesses ill prepared or lacking in insurance coverage, resulted in a number having to close their doors due to the income lost and lack of finance to re-build.

Business insurances are one way to counter potential business risks and provide peace of mind that your business will still be able to operate if there is a disruption.

  1. Natural Catastrophes

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe the world over, so it is unsurprising that in 2021 insured catastrophe losses globally were well in excess of $100 billion – the fourth highest year on record.

In Australia, we had one natural disaster after another (bushfires and floods) while in the US, Hurricane Ida was one of the most costliest events of the year, such that ‘Natural Catastrophes’ jumped up three places in the 2022 Allianz report.

  1. Pandemic Outbreak

While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a concern for many people and businesses,  pandemic risk has actually dropped two positions in this year’s risk report compared with last year.

Many businesses have learned from 2020 and 2021 and put in place contingency plans and future preparations to mitigate the risks associated with the Pandemic (i.e. cloud-based technology to enable staff to work from home seamlessly).

  1. Changes in Legislation and Regulation

Legislation ‘never sleeps’ and despite many promises to reduce red tape, new rules and regulations continue to proliferate across all industries.

This year will be no exception, particularly in the areas of big tech and sustainability. Add to this the increased attention placed on environmental social and governance issues and this has resulted in new regulations leading to tougher disclosure and reporting rules for businesses.

  1. Climate Change

The risks of global warming and the pressure for businesses to act have all increased over the last 12 months. The Allianz Risk Barometer suggests that regulatory and legal risks associated with climate change are likely to increase in 2022, particularly for those businesses who haven’t yet begun looking for climate friendly and sustainable ways of doing business.

  1. Fire, Explosion

Allianz’s research reveals that between July 2013 and July 2018, the largest single cause of loss for businesses was fire/explosion (excluding wildfires), causing in excess of $15billion worth of damages during this period.

Interestingly, it’s not just the material damage of a Fire/Explosion that equates to the biggest losses – it’s more that a major fire or explosions can halt companies from operating and that such incidents are the most frequent drivers of Business Interruption claims.

Businesses should always have contingency plans in place should a Fire or explosion take place along with insurances to protect and safeguard them from additional business risks that come after the fire.

  1. Market Developments

Those surveyed for the Allianz Risk Barometer suggest that share market volatility is set to increase considerably in 2022 and that repercussions of the monetary turnaround are likely to be felt all around the world, with weaker emerging markets coming under strain.

While global growth is expected to remain relatively strong, with global output expected to increase by +4.1% in 2022, continued supply-demand imbalances could push inflation rates higher this year.

  1. Labour Shortages

Shortage of skilled labour is a new entry in the top 10 risks outlined by Allianz’s Global Risk report. ‘The great resignation’ is a phenomenon that has struck all around the world with managers trying to navigate and retain employees re-evaluating their careers and leaving their jobs in record numbers.

As a result, attracting and retaining skilled workers is becoming increasingly challenging with 69% of companies globally reporting talent shortages – that is the highest it has ever been in 15 years, according to a ManpowerGroup survey.

  1. Macroeconomic Development

Macroeconomic developments dropped down in the rankings for 2022. Allianz’s research confirms that 2021 was an extreme year on many fronts and that after the lockdowns, demand for goods and services exploded, overwhelming supply capacities and resulting in clogged supply chains, material and labour shortages, as well as rising prices.

What this means is that 2022 is unlikely to be much more stable, as Covid-19 is still not over and the constant changing between tightening and loosening restrictions may continue indefinitely. Supply chain tensions are likely to ease gradually, but a return to ‘normal’ trade flows will take time.

How we can help

Business risks can make or break a business. Understanding how to prepare for and mitigate risk is something we do every day for our clients. Contact us today for peace of mind that your business is adequately prepared for the future.

The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require advice that is tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact us directly for personalised insurance advice.

References

[1] Allianz, Allianz Global Risk Barometer, 2022

[2] Resilium Insurance Broking, The top global business risks of 2022. Could they affect you?

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.

Accountants
• 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.