Australian airports greatly exposed

Australian airports greatly exposed

AUSTRALIAN AIRPORTS, aircraft, passengers and workers are direly exposed to terrorist attacks and airport insurers face enormous exposure from the consequences.

This message was delivered to a conference of airport operators, airline executives and airline service providers by Roger Henning of Homeland Securities in Australia in Adelaide.

To airport insurers, Mr Henning posed questions starting with: “Is the insurance industry interested in learning how to better mitigate risk and eliminate reliance on entrenched stove pipe/silo security at the few Australian airports with security?

“Does a tick or verification suffice to confirm a security assessment and revised security audit have been implemented and recommendations actioned, in this changing industry?

“Are insurers complicit if no verification of mitigation strategies has been undertaken?

“Do insurers ever require peer secondary audits of airport security to confirm improvements have been made?

“Does any insurer enforce evacuation and crisis management exercises at Australian terminals?”

Mr Henning said that compliance only met minimum standards in comparing what was needed in Australia and what had caused terrorist attacks and consequent disaster such as at Moscow airport recently.

He said: “Spin, complacency, cost cutting, a policy of airports implementing only the bare minimum in AVSEC requirements and a lack of interest in security operations, is evident.”

Major airports were designated by the Australian Government as “places of mass gathering” – dangerous places – requiring much higher levels of security.

The replacement value of infrastructure at Australia’s major airports was more than $21 billion.

There were no bollards or fences to stop cars crashing inside terminals. Curb-side uniformed security was slack.

Hundreds of unknown, unlicensed, illegal taxi drivers were on airports daily and no one really knew who was travelling on e-tickets booked online.

The major breach in tarmac safety and security constituted a national security risk.

Tarmac risks to the safety and security of airport workers, airline crews, passengers and visitors is of great concern to the TWU and associated aviation industry unions.

source: John Heath – InsuranceNewsAustralia.com

Unprecedented legal aid by insurers

Australia’s General Insurance has made a first – a $250,000 donation to legal aid for insured flood victims – in Queensland.

Such a financial assist was not made even after the national financial screw-up by HIH, the hail storms in Sydney and Perth nor the Victorian bushfires in 2009.

In a significant gesture, the Insurance Council of Australia said it will provide $250,000 to Queensland Legal Aid to ensure the facility is able to provide appropriate assistance to policyholders affected by the flooding in Queensland.

Rob Whelan, ICA CEO broke the news just after Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten issued a media release trumpeting: “Insurance industry embraces consumer changes on flood insurance.”

Mr Shorten said the 3rd meeting between the Federal Government and the Board of ICA had “resulted in clear wins for consumers and agreement between the Gillard Government and the insurance industry for further discussions on reform of flood related insurance.

“The government agreed with the ICA to develop a mandatory definition of ‘flood’ to be incorporated into the Insurance Contracts Act” and a plain-English, 1-page summary statement to help ensure consumers are aware of what their insurance policies cover.

Mr Shorten’s and the ICA’s statements followed a report by an independent hydrologist panel appointed by ICA on behalf of the industry into the flooding of Toowoomba.

Mr Whelan cautioned that the industry understood that not all policyholders would be covered for the recent floods in Queensland.

If policyholders disagreed with the decision from their insurer they were able to access internal dispute resolution processes.

“The funding from the industry is aimed at providing additional resources for Queensland Legal Aid to assist policyholders,” Rob Whelan said.

source: John Heath – InsuranceNewsAustralia.com

13th National Steadfast Convention – Melbourne 2011

The 13th National Steadfast Convention will be held from 2nd – 5th April, 2011 in Melbourne.

Held at the award winning Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, it is sure to be Steadfast’s biggest and best Convention yet! Situated on the south bank of the Yarra River, the MCEC is the largest, most versatile and greenest convention and exhibition space in the Southern Hemisphere.

Once again, the 2011 program includes an outstanding line up of Australia’s premier speakers and business leaders who will share their experience, knowledge and skills

Ipswich flooded by rain and dam releases

The flooding of the south-east Queensland city of Ipswich in January this year was partially the result of water releases from the giant Wivenhoe Dam and the incessant heavy rain over 5 days on the district.

However, the performance of the dam during the January flood event is said to be more complex than simply assigning flood causation to “dam releases”.

This is a preliminary finding of the Insurance Council of Australia sponsored Hydrology Panel Report on Ipswich Local Government Area (LGA) in the panel’s multi-part examination of flooding in the Brisbane Catchment Area. It was released today.

The report names 4 factors that affected and exacerbated the nature of the flooding in the Ipswich City Area from January 9 to 14.

The factors were intense rainfall on catchments upstream of Wivenhoe and Somerset dams, a “wet” catchment area that caused large volumes of floodwater into Wivenhoe and Somerset, significant releases from Wivenhoe over January 11 and 12 and outflows from Lockyer Creek and Bremer River.

High tail water levels in the Brisbane River and tributary creeks led to backflows up piped drainage systems that led to waterway floodwaters of low-lying areas normally drained by the system.

This 153-page latest of 4 reports – after earlier Brisbane and Toowoomba hydrology reports – says: “It may be more appropriate to assign flood causation to ‘succeeding storm events over the catchment area of the dam (Wivenhoe), each characterised by exceptionally heavy rainfalls and massive surface runoff volumes’.”

Insurance industry personnel working in the insurance recovery and claim handling in the region will not yet have a definitive conclusion of the flood situation of the region.

source: John Heath – InsuranceNewsAustralia.com