Bank Holiday Closure Monday 4th August

Our office will be closed on Monday 4th August due to the Bank Holiday

We will re open Tuesday 5th August at 9.00am

WorkCover offers brokers good news for clients

A reduction in workers compensation premiums is imminent for thousands of small businesses but larger businesses have to wait and see to discover if they too will benefit.

From next week, about 200,000 NSW businesses across more than 400 industries will have their WorkCover premiums cut by between 5% and 7.5% Meanwhile, Victorian premiums are set to be cut by 2% from next month.

However, larger firms affected by Industry Claims Cost Rates (ICCR) will have to wait until Friday to find out how their premiums for the year will be set. It is understood the new ICCR will be materially different to those currently in use.

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth preivously lambasted WorkCover in a recent submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the scheme’s performance and says while the reductions are welcome, there is no transparency as to how they have been reached.

“There is no market operation under this process and it also doesn’t give the employer any amount of choice,” he says.

Instead, Booth has been lobbying the NSW Government to more closely model the system on the WA set-up, which operates as a intermediated market.

NSW Minister for Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet says the State Government’s reforms have returned WorkCover NSW to financial sustainability.

“The reforms have achieved the Government’s objective of providing more support for injured workers who are unable to work, and greater incentives to return to work for those injured workers with the capacity to do so,” he says.

“More injured workers are back at work as well.

“Safe Work Australia has reported that in 2012-13, NSW’s return to work rate improved by 3% to 88% – making it higher than the national average of 86%.”

New dash cam encourages safe driving

Uniden has extended its range of in-car vehicle recorders with the release of the iGO Cam 750. The so-called ‘crash cam’ was designed for drivers wanting to protect themselves from road-related
accidents and disputes, according to the manufacturer.

“New to the Uniden iGO Cam series is the inclusion of speed camera warnings built into the Crash Camera device. The speed camera warnings alert drivers of upcoming fixed speed cameras and red light cameras, reminding motorists to slow down,” Uniden said.

“The iGO Cam 750 is equipped with the latest in vehicle accident recording ‘black box’ technology. Built-in G-sensor and Collision Detection Mode ensures the camera identifies any changes in motion which will instantly trigger recording. In the event of an accident, this gives drivers the ability to analyse the direction of impact and view how it happened.”

Other new safety features include Lane Assist, providing drivers with visual and audible alerts when the vehicle is drifting over a lane while in motion.


No easy answer to western Sydney flood risk: report


Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley faces a serious, ongoing flood risk that has no simple or single solution, according to the first stage of a NSW Office of Water review.

“Infrastructure options can reduce but not eliminate the risk to life and property,” the report on Australia’s biggest flood risk says.

“Effective evacuation is the only measure that can guarantee to reduce the risk to life.”

The report says raising the Warragamba Dam by 15-23 metres is the most effective infrastructure option, but this needs further cost-benefit analysis.

A higher dam crest would reduce the frequency of large events and extend evacuation times, but it would not eliminate extreme flood risk.

Changes to the operation of dam gates and a five-metre cut to the full supply level should also be considered. These measures could be introduced sooner but would affect only minor to moderate floods, the report says.

“Significantly less cost-effective than raising the crest of Warragamba Dam wall are infrastructure options to enhance drainage of floodwater from the valley.”

The review finds limited potential for the use of levees, due to extreme flood depths, particularly in the Richmond-Windsor area.

Other recommendations focus on the evacuation capacity of transport infrastructure, ensuring integrated governance, improving flood data and modelling, recovery planning and community education and information accessibility.

The report calls for better policies and guidelines on land-use planning as population in the area increases.

The NSW Government has established a taskforce to lead the next stage of the review, which will further examine the recommendations.

Several weeks ago Suncorp CEO Personal Insurance and Insurance Council of Australia President Mark Milliner expressed concern about the continued building of houses in the dam flood area.

“There are 43,000-plus properties at the base of the dam that would be inundated if the dam failed – and yet we build more,” he said. “I am concerned when I hear local governments say development in high-flood-risk areas is ‘inevitable’.”

The NSW Government report says the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley has the potential to “fill like a bath”, given its large upstream catchments and narrow sandstone gorges that create natural choke points.

But previous surveys have shown residents often underestimate the risks.

Many evacuation routes feature low points that can be cut off before higher areas are inundated, potentially leading to isolated flood islands that could be submerged in extreme events, putting lives at risk.

“Large flood events could affect the entire regional and NSW economy by affecting transportation routes and utilities outside the flooded area,” the report says.

River levels reached 19.7 metres above mean sea level at Windsor during the valley’s record flood in 1867.

The report says a similar event now would cause about $4 billion in damage and require evacuation of about 45,000 people.

In a “worst possible” flood about 73,000 people would need to be evacuated and more than 20,000 homes would be at risk.

16th Steadfast Convention 2014-Melbourne


Steadfast Convention Logo 2014


Steadfast’s 16th Annual Convention will be held from 1-4 March 2014 (inclusive) at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) located on the banks of the Yarra on South Wharf – with fantastic views of the city skyline and the river. Nothing is too far away from the centre, with sports, arts and world class restaurants and the Crown Entertainment Complex. There will be an outstanding line-up of Australia’s premier speakers and business leaders who will share their experiences, knowledge and skills.

Our Convention, as always, is strongly supported by our loyal sponsors and exhibitors. Their continued support ensures Steadfast is able to provide a high quality, value-for-money event.


Insurers assess bushfire impact

Insurance companies are monitoring the impact of dozens of bushfires that swept across Victoria at the weekend, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

About 6000 firefighters tackled the worst conditions the state has faced since Black Saturday in February 2009.

An ICA spokesman told a catastrophe has not been declared but the council is working with the Country Fire Authority and other government agencies.

The council’s disaster hotline – 1800 734 621 – is operational.

At least 20 homes have been reported destroyed by the fires, which threatened Melbourne’s fringes in Warrandyte, Craigieburn and Gisborne.

A fire at Maiden Gully in Bendigo had the potential to be as devastating as those of February 2009, but was “pulled up” quickly.

Meanwhile, ICA and its members continue to monitor a potential cyclone developing in WA.

“Insurers have received very few claims from policyholders affected by ex-cyclones Dylan, Edna and Fletcher,” the spokesman said



Been involved in an accident and your not at fault.We can help you get an excess free hire car at no cost to you.

Photo: Been involved in an accident and your not at fault.We can help you get an excess free hire car at no cost to you.You dont even need to be insured with us.
If you are at fault we can get you reduced rates for your hire car.
Interested ? Call us now 02 9899 8155

Been involved in an accident and your not at fault.We can help you get an excess free hire car at no cost to you. You dont even need to be insured with us.

If you are at fault we can get you reduced rates for your hire car.

Interested ? Call us now 02 9899 8155


 CommBank Signals reveals what’s trending in spending across motoring. With 568 cars per 1000 population, costing Australians on average $3854 to run and maintain each year. Service station expenses are the number one cost for motorists across all states and territories. Australians spent a total of $7.2 billion on these expenses in the last financial year with their credit/debit card, equivalent to approximately $1,552 per person per year. Aussies spent $152 million on parking lots and garages last financial year2. Queenslanders pay the most per person to run and maintain their cars, around $4,108 per customer per year. Toll-paying NSW motorists spend on average $336 per annum on tolls.

Source: Commbank Signals

Steadfast earnings top IPO prediction

Steadfast has posted above-forecast earnings in its first profit report as an Australian Securities Exchange-listed company.

On a pro forma basis net profit for the year to June 30 was $28.1 million, exceeding the initial public offering (IPO) prospectus prediction of $27.2 million.

On a statutory basis the company posted a $13.4 million loss, including IPO costs. The prospectus flagged a loss before tax of $15.7 million.

Gross written premium placed by the 280 Steadfast brokers grew 10% to $4 billion, exceeding the 6% growth rate for Australian commercial gross earned premium, the company says.

“They give us scale that is difficult to replicate,” CEO Robert Kelly said. “This, together with our successful listing, places us in a very attractive position for new brokers wanting to join the Steadfast network.”

The company is “bedding down” its recent acquisitions and will be in a better position to consider further expansion later this year, he says.

Acquisition plans will focus on brokers, underwriting agencies and ancillary businesses that can help reduce costs.

In the broker sector future acquisitions may include businesses in the Steadfast network, the company says. There are also at least 300 non-aligned brokers in the Australian market.

Steadfast’s outlook for the current fiscal year is unchanged from prospectus forecasts, with revenue of $152 million and earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of $60.6 million.


Steadfast buys up, and the key party begins

The Steadfast prospectus, launched on Friday afternoon, has already filled a few newspaper pages, and will fill many more before its likely emergence in August as a listed entity with a mixture of broker ownership levels.

There’s a great deal of information in the prospectus, and finding the details that are of immediate interest to an insurance-oriented readership is challenging.

The prospectus exudes confidence in the future of the company, but is also required to nominate factors that might change its forecasts.

For example, what would happen if there are changes in the regulations governing the way general insurance brokers are paid?

While CEO Robert Kelly pointed out to a media briefing this morning that the commissions versus fees debate is focused on investments and financial planners, the prospectus admits revenue would be impacted if changes were forced on brokers.

“To the extent that Steadfast is unable to successfully manage the transition to a new remuneration model on equal or better terms, this may have an adverse impact on the revenue generated by Steadfast Network Brokers,” it says.

“This in turn could have an adverse impact on the revenue and earnings of Steadfast and its future profitability.”

The prospectus also warns any expansion of the Future of Financial Advice reforms, especially conflicted remuneration, into general insurance could impact on Steadfast

“Any changes required to the remuneration and business model of Steadfast Network Brokers may result in a material loss of revenue for the broker,” the prospectus says.

This would be a significant problem if the broker could not reduce fixed costs or pass them on to the customer.

“This may have a material adverse impact on Steadfast’s revenue, earnings and future profitability,” the prospectus warns.

Although the company has been keen to separate itself from last month’s float of iSelect, the share price of which has plummeted well below its initial price and stayed there, Steadfast is keen to be compared with rival broker group – and sharemarket darling – Austbrokers.

However, Austbrokers owns around half of each of its 46 member companies and the Steadfast ownership pattern is more varied.

As Mr Kelly noted this morning, some Steadfast member companies that have not sold a share into the company may well choose in the future to sell into another group, just as non-members may be acquired by Steadfast.

Rapid change in allegiances will become more apparent over the next year as brokers consider the sellers’ market that has developed. Mr Kelly makes no bones about Steadfast’s ongoing appetite for acquisitions of member and non-member companies, while Austbrokers, IBNA and even Insight – whose “small is good” model might suit smaller Steadfast members facing life in a hub – are also in the hunt.

As one CEO noted to today, the broker scene at present is “a bit like a key party, with plenty of surprises on who’s going home with who”.

The Steadfast prospectus demonstrates this by listing some previously unannounced acquisitions. For example, it will buy 100% of National Credit Insurance Brokers, a wholly owned subsidiary of QBE Insurance. It also now owns previously non-aligned Queensland broker PI Direct.

And it is also buying 49% of mid-sized Sydney broker – and IBNA member – Scott & Broad.

Austbrokers returned fire this morning by announcing it has bought a 50% share of a Steadfast member, Parramatta-based WRI Insurance Brokers. That deal brings Austbrokers’ tally of partner businesses to 46, and follows the acquisition last month of prominent Steadfast member InterRISK Australia. 

Below is the list of Steadfast purchases completed before the initial public offering (IPO) and those that have been agreed on for after the IPO is completed:

Pre-IPO acquisitions:

  • 100% of DMA Insurance Brokers and Wagland Salter & Associates, both in NSW 
  • 100% of Newmarket Insurance Brokers, SA
  • 17.9% of C&G Rothbury Group in New Zealand, (with another 12.1% to be bought post-IPO)
  • 80% of underwriting agency Sports Underwriting.

Post-IPO acquisitions:

The following lists are arranged in order of what the prospectus calls “materiality based on purchase consideration”:


  • National Credit Insurance Brokers, NSW
  • PI Direct, Qld
  • Saunders Higgins Insurance Brokers, Tas
  • ED’A Insurance Services, WA (but expected to contract to 49% over time)
  • Sawtell & Salisbury, Qld
  • Insurance Broking Queensland, Qld
  • Gallivan Magee & Associates, Vic
  • Masterman Insurance Brokers, Vic
  • Grand West, SA
  • Australian Underwriting Group (Cyclecover), Vic.

Controlling shareholding (50-99%):

  • Regional Insurance Brokers, Qld, 90% (may reduce to 74% over time)
  • Mega Capital, Vic, 80%
  • Brecknock Insurance Brokers, SA, 72.5%
  • GWS Network Insurance Brokers, Vic, 80%
  • CentreWest Insurance Brokers, WA, 80% (but expected to contract to 49% over time)
  • Professional Risk Placements, WA, 80%
  • Corporate Insurance Brokers, Qld, 80%
  • Logan Group Insurance Brokers, Tas, 80%
  • Queensland Insurance Brokers, Qld, 80%
  • Finserv Solutions, NSW, 50%.

49% of:

  • Indemnity Corporation, NSW (see news article)
  • Austcover, Qld
  • McKillops Insurance Brokers, Tas
  • Consolidated Insurance Agencies, Vic
  • Garaty Murnane Insurance Brokers, NSW
  • Pollard, Vic
  • Northern City Insurance Brokers, Qld
  • Fenton Green, Vic
  • Finn Foster, NSW (see news article)
  • NCA Insurance Services, Qld
  • King Insurance Brokers, Vic
  • RSM Insurance Brokers, Vic
  • Commercial Industrial Insurance Consultants, Vic
  • Gardner Insurance Brokers, Qld
  • Covercorp, Qld
  • Melbourne Insurance Brokers, Vic
  • Scott & Broad, NSW
  • Rose Stanton Insurance Brokers, NSW
  • Blackburn Insurance Brokers, Vic
  • MFP Insurance Brokers, SA
  • Southside Insurance Brokers, NSW
  • Finpac Insurance Advisors, Qld.

Less than 49%:

  • C&G Rothbury, NZ, total shareholding to be 30%
  • Phoenix Insurance Brokers, WA, 46%
  • Lanyon Partners, Vic, 45%
  • Johansen Insurance Brokers, Vic, 48%
  • Edgewise Insurance Brokers, Vic, 25%
  • ANCA Insurance Brokers, Tas, 44%
  • IPS Insurance Brokers, WA, 40%
  • Watkins Taylor Stone Insurance Brokers, NSW, 35%
  • Tudor Insurance Brokers, Tas, 48%
  • Armbro Insurance Brokers, Vic, 40%
  • Dunk Insurance, NSW, 25%
  • Optimus 1, Queensland, 25%
  • Paramount Insurance Brokers, Vic, 25%
  • Empire Insurance Services (trading as McLardy McShane) Vic, 37%
  • Armstrongs Insurance Brokers, Tas, 25%
  • Denboer & Associates, WA, 25%
  • Hervey Bay Maryborough Insurance Brokers, Qld, 47%.

Underwriting Agencies:

  • Miramar Underwriting Agency, NSW, 100%
  • Sterling Insurance, NSW, 39.5%
  • Altiora Insurance Solutions, NSW, 100%.

Ancillary businesses:

  • White Outsourcing, NSW, 87.5%
  • Meridian Lawyers, NSW, 25%.