Small business insurance Brisbane

Brisbane is home to a large and diverse range of small businesses.

From cafes in New Farm to manufacturers in Darra, and everything in between, Brisbane is home to a thriving small business community.

It’s important to protect these businesses, and one of the most effective ways of doing so is with insurance.

So what do you need to know about insuring your business?

Importance of insurance

As small business owners we all know just how much work it takes to build and maintain our businesses.

We put huge amounts of effort into growing our businesses and building up financial security for ourselves and our families.

We also understand the importance of protecting our businesses and doing everything we can to reduce the risk of things going wrong.

But there are certain things that our out of our control.  No matter how much care we take, there are some things which are going to happen regardless of what we do.

This could be anything from a car crashing through the front of your restaurant to the recent floods that ravaged parts of Brisbane in 2011 and 2013.

And this is where insurance comes in.

Insurance is there to help your small business when things go wrong.

Small businesses (and their owners) arguably have more to lose than any other business type when it comes to things going wrong.

If a big business suffers a major loss it might put a small dent in their quarterly profit, but the same loss could be catastrophic for a small business, sending it and its owner bankrupt.

It’s just not worth putting all of the blood, sweat and tears into a small business if there a chance that you could lose it all.

Especially if you lose it all to something which could have been covered by insurance.

Using an insurance broker

When considering small business insurance there are two main options.  You can go directly to an insurance company, or you can use an insurance broker.

Here in Brisbane there are plenty of options either way.  You could use a local insurance company such as Vero, or you could use a local insurance broker.

The better option for small business owners is generally to use an insurance broker.

Why is this?

Because an insurance broker has the skills and knowledge, not to mention the qualifications, to provide you with personalised advice on your business insurance needs.

By going to an insurance company directly you will be able to obtain quotes easily enough, but generally their call centre staff are unable to provide personal advice to you.

An insurance broker on the other hand can analyse your small business and come up with a set of recommendations that suit your own personal needs and objectives.

When choosing an insurance broker it’s important to choose one who knows your business.

Choosing a broker whose office is just down the road might be convenient, but if they have limited experience with your type of business it might not be a great match.

By using a broker who knows and understands your business and your industry you are giving yourself the best chance of obtaining the right coverage at the right price.

More information

For more information on small business insurance in Brisbane please speak with an insurance broker.

If you do not already have one you can try the ‘need a broker’ service offered by NIBA, which is the National Insurance Brokers Association.

We also have a range of articles on our website which you can read, however please remember that online guides and articles are no match for professional advice.

Queensland Public Liability Insurance

Wherever you operate in Queensland, chances are your business will require public liability insurance.

Public liability is a form of insurance which protects Queensland businesses from the financial costs of accidents and negligence which results in loss or damage to others.

Public Liability in Qld

Wherever you are in Australia public liability insurance is generally the same, however there are a few unique situations here in Queensland where the insurance requirements differ to other states.

One such example is electricians.  Here in Queensland any subcontractor or business owner applying for a Qld Electrical Contractors Licence must obtain a public liability policy which includes a special option known as consumer protection.

Licensed pool inspectors operating under the Qld guidelines must also hold a special form of professional indemnity insurance that has been designed specifically to meet the government regulations.

Is Public Liability Mandatory in Qld?

There are a few instances where public liability insurance required, such as those mentioned above, but generally public liability is entirely optional for business operating in Queensland.

Whilst the government may not mandate insurance requirements for everyone, many people such as tradesmen will find that the insurance has been made mandatory by many companies managing large building projects.

Regardless of whether or not you are told that you must have public liability insurance, there is little doubt that it’s a very good idea for any business to have adequate cover in place to protect them against things going wrong.

Queensland Insurance Quotes

Obtaining quotes for public liability insurance for businesses here in Queensland is a fairly straightforward process which can be done in a number different ways.

Traditionally many business owners and operators have gone directly to an insurance broker to obtain quotes on their business insurance.  This is still the most common option, however some of the insurance companies are now targeting clients directly and bypassing the brokers.

Despite this trend, most business owners still find it much easier to use an insurance broker who knows their industry and can obtain multiple quotes in a shorter period of time. Not to mention the benefits of good advice that an insurance broker can offer.

More Information

If your business is based in or operates in Queensland and you would like to find out more about public liability insurance please contact your insurance broker.

If you do not have an insurance broker you can find a local broker using this service offered by the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA).

Annual Insurance Reviews

There are plenty of questions to answer when taking out a new business insurance policy, but your responsibilities don’t end once the policy is in place.

If your business is like most other successful businesses, it will be continually evolving as you look at ways to improve it.

Whilst some businesses might not change a lot from year to year, others are changing rapidly from month to month, or even day to day!

For this reason it is important to keep your insurance broker or company in the loop to ensure that you and your business are properly protected.

Your Responsibilities

It’s easy to fall into the trap of only answering the questions when they are asked, but you are still required to update these details at each renewal and even in between renewals.

An ideal opportunity to review your business insurance needs it at renewal time, which will ensure that you are reviewing your cover at least annually.

It’s not simply a good idea to review your business and keep your broker updated.  It is in fact part of your duty of disclosure to ensure that your insurer knows about any relevant information which could affect their risk.

Areas for Review

There are many things which can change within a business over time, and some of the most common ones include changes to:

  • Business activities (both new activities and ceased activities)
  • Annual turnover / revenue
  • Staffing numbers
  • Use of subcontractors or labour hire
  • Working locations (particularly hazardous locations)

These aren’t the only changes that you need to make your insurer aware of, but they are certainly some of the more common changes which can impact upon your business insurance.

Whilst some of these changes may result in increased premiums, others can actually result in reduced premiums.

For example if your revenue and/or staff numbers have reduced, or you have ceased certain business activities, you may find that telling your insurer will result in a saving on your insurance.

Consequences

The consequences of not reviewing your business insurance can be extremely serious.

If you need to make a claim on your policy, and it is found that you have not notified the insurer of a relevant change to your business, you may find that the claim will be declined.

For example let’s say you’re an electrician and you have recently started a new contract working on a mine site, but you have not notified your insurer of this work.

If you need to make a claim for work you have done on the mine site, the insurer will most likely deny the claim because you have not disclosed this work to them.

If the claim was for a few thousand dollars you might be able to pay it out of your own savings, but if the claim is for a few hundred thousand, or even a few million, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble which can impact upon both your business and your family.

Reviewing Your Business Insurance

At each annual renewal you should speak with your insurance broker about you cover and whether or not it is still suitable for your needs.

In between renewals you should also inform your insurance broker (or the insurer directly if you do not have a broker) of any changes to your business which could affect your cover.

Whilst in some cases your premiums could increase after a review, it is much better to know that you are properly covered rather than taking the risk of being under-insured.

Why Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?

If you run a small business, or a big business for that matter, you’ve probably been told you need public liability insurance.

But why?  Why do you need it?

Depending on the size of your business, the cost of your public liability insurance could be anywhere from $400 a year to $40,000 a year – or more!

So it’s important to know why you need to have it.

Who Needs It?

First up let’s look at who needs this form of insurance.

Anyone who is self-employed or owns a business will most likely have a need for public liability.  This could include any of the following:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Contractor
  • Subcontractor
  • Pty Ltd Company

So virtually any type of business where you’re not directly employed by someone else.

This includes anyone from a sole trader handyman startup through to a nation-wide company turning over millions of dollars per year.

Whilst many businesses need public liability to protect themselves and their owners, for some businesses it is a mandatory requirement.

For example electrical contractors in Qld must hold a minimum of $5 million public liability in order to maintain their licence.  Without their licence, they cannot trade.

This is a government regulation, and there are many others in other states and for other industries.

Aside from government regulation, some companies have their own regulations for other businesses that they contract or subcontract work out to.

For example tradies undertaking subcontracting work for builders will often find that the builder requires all subcontractors on site to have their own public liability.

Or if you’re operating as a handyman doing property maintenance for real estate agencies, often the agencies will require that you provide evidence of your public liability insurance.

This is a good thing, as it protects you and your clients in the event that something goes wrong on the job.

What Does It Cover?

Now that we know who needs public liability, we need to know what it actually covers.

The policy is intended to respond in the event that your negligence results in property damage or personal injury to a third party.

In plain English, this basically means that you’ve stuffed up and someone else has been injured or had their property damaged.

Public Liability Claim

An example of a claim could be where you’re working in a client’s roof, and you take a misstep, putting your foot through the ceiling.

The policy would cover the cost of repairing and repainting the ceiling.  This would be considered a minor claim, but could still climb well into the thousands.

A more serious claim would generally involve personal injury.  An example could be where you’ve left materials in a walkway without any signage, and a member of the public has tripped over and suffered an injury.

If it’s found that you’ve been negligent, your policy would respond to a claim for damages from the injured person.

Essentially, public liability is what’s going to save you having to sell your family home or go bankrupt in the event that something serious happens on the job, and it’s proven to be your fault.

So Why Do I Need Public Liability Insurance?

This brings us back to the original question.  Why does my business need public liability?

You need it because if something goes wrong, and you’re a self-employed person or business owner, you’re the one who’s going to be financially liable.

Cost of Insurance

We could be talking a few grand, or a few million in the event of a serious injury or death.

Some businesses could swallow such a loss, but many would be sent bankrupt with catastrophic financial consequences.

From under $400 a year, depending on your business type, you could protect yourself and your business from such huge risks.

We have insurance brokers who can assist with quotes and more information.  Please click here to get started.

Subcontractor Insurance Guide

As a subcontractor there are several insurance types you will require, such as public liability insurance.

We’ve put together a guide on the various forms of subcontractor insurance available, which ones are required in Australia and a closer look at each in more detail.

We also look at exactly why a subcontractor needs insurance.  After all, why pay for something if you don’t even know why you need it!

If you’re just after a public liability quote please follow the link, or read on to check out the guide.

Why Subcontractors Need Insurance

As an employee you typically have a lot of protections in place.

If something goes wrong on the worksite and you cause damage or personal injury to a third party, it will generally be your employer who is responsible financially.

If you suffer an injury yourself you’ll be protected via your employer’s workers compensation, as well as sick leave.

But as a subcontractor you lose many, or all, of these protections depending on a few factors.

So just like your employer would have had, as a subcontractor you need to take out your own insurance to protect yourself.

The two most common forms of subcontractor insurance are public liability and income protection.

Subcontractor Public Liability Insurance

This is by far the most commonly required form of business insurance for subcontractors.

Public liability insurance will respond in the event that you cause property damage or personal injury to a third party.

Public Liability Claim

Some subcontractors believe they will be covered under the insurance of the company hiring them, but this is almost always not the case.

In some cases there may be shared liability.  For example you might be a carpenter subcontracting to a builder.  There is an incident on site, and a judge finds that the builder was 60% liable because they told you to do something a certain way, and you are 40% liable because you went along with it knowing the issues.

The builder’s public liability insurance would cover their 60% of the claim and the carpenter’s public liability insurance would cover the remaining 40%.  If you didn’t have your own insurance, you would have to cover the 40% out of your own pocket.

Because of the serious financial risks involved, most company using subcontractors will require that all subbies have their own public liability insurance in place, and will not be able to work until they have provided a copy of their certificate of currency.

The cost of subcontractors public liability insurance can be very low depending on the type of work you are undertaking.

For a standard trade for example, you might be looking at just $400 a year for the minimum cover.  At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re working on a mine site or oil rig your public liability insurance cost will be in the thousands.

Subcontractor Income Protection

As we mentioned earlier, as a subcontractor you won’t have access to sick leave via an employer, and depending on your business structure you might not have access to worker’s compensation.

This leaves you in a very precarious position should you be unable to work due to an injury or illness.

Thankfully income protection insurance can look after subcontractors in this even.

Income protection can cover up to 75% of your income for a period of time whilst you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.

Some companies using subcontractors will require that all subcontractors hold their own income protection insurance, such are the risks involved.

Others forms of business insurance

Whilst public liability and income protection are the only two forms of business insurance that are typically required by a subcontractor, there are other forms of insurance worth considering.

If you are a tradie for example, as a subcontractor you’ll most likely be providing your own tools and equipment.

Your gear won’t be covered by the insurance of the company using your services, so you’ll need to insure your tools yourself.

For more information and advice about what forms of subcontractor insurance you may require, we strongly recommend speaking with a qualified insurance broker.

Licence Requirements

As a subcontractor you’ll be required to hold your own licence for certain occupations or business activities.

For example if you’re a Queensland electrician you’ll have special public liability insurance requirements.  Likewise for plumbers in Victoria who also have unique requirements.

Electrical Subcontractors Insurance

Even if the companies you are subcontracting to don’t ask to see your public liability insurance cover, keep in mind that you might still need it for your licence.

The government runs a service by the name of ABLIS which allows you to check if you need a licence for your business.  Follow the link to the Australian Business Licence and Information Service.

Using Subcontractors

What if it’s the other way around, and you’re the one using subcontractors?

In this case your own business insurance requirements don’t change greatly, but it is vital that you let your insurance company or broker know that you are using subbies.

Typically the insurer will want to know how much of your revenue is paid to subcontractors, as they see this as part of the overall risk of your business.

Rightly or wrongly, they typically consider that a company that uses a higher percentage of subcontractors will have a higher risk of claiming.

So you need to ensure you inform your insurer of your use of subcontractors, and it’s also vital to ensure that each of the subcontractors you are using also have their own insurance in place.

More Information

For more information about subcontractors insurance requirements, or to get a quote, we recommend speaking with a suitably qualified insurance broker.

Please click here to request a quote or to have a broker contact you.

Remember that as a subcontractor you are responsible for many things that weren’t your problem as an employee.  Don’t leave these risks uninsured as you could be badly exposed if anything goes wrong.

Best of luck with your subcontracting work and stay safe!

Cleaners Insurance

With so many commercial and residential buildings in the Sydney CBD, it is no surprise that cleaners are in great demand in the city.

All cleaners working for property managers and real estate agents will generally be required to hold insurance before that can start work.

In this guide we will take a look at the forms of cover commonly required.

Public Liability Insurance

All cleaning contractors (those working under their own ABN) will require public liability insurance.

This form of cover protects you from the financial consequences of causing property damage or personal injury to others through your own negligence.

Common claims can include people slipping and injuring themselves where you have not placed appropriate warning signs on slippery surfaces.

Another common claim is where an inappropriate cleaning product has been negligently used and resulted in damage to property.

Although these events can constitute common claims, you still need to check your policy to ensure events such as these are covered.

When taking out public liability cover in NSW it is also important to tell the insurance company if you are undertaking any work in public spaces, as this can impact upon the cover you need.

Income Protection

It is far less common for income protection to be a mandatory form of insurance for cleaners, however it is still important for any cleaner working for themself.

As a self-employed or contract cleaner you will generally not be covered by worker’s compensation or sick leave, therefore the only way to protect your income is via income protection insurance.

Income protection can replace the majority of your income for a period of time if you are unable to work due to injury or illness, and in most cases it will cover you for events which occur at or away from work.

Quotes

To obtain a quote on your cleaners public liability insurance please contact your broker or preferred insurance company.

It’s also worth shopping around, as the quotes for cleaners insurance can vary greatly depending on who you go through.