CHRISTMAS OFFICE CLOSURE DATES and Claims contact numbers

Our office will be closed from 12:00PM on the 24/12/2021 and will re open at 9.00AM on Tuesday 4th January 2022.

For urgent claims please contact your insurer direct on the below phone numbers;

CGU – 132 480
QBE – 1800 023 387
ZURICH – 1800 611 372
IAL – 1300 559 019
NTI – 1800 684 669
GLOBAL – 02 9966 8820
AIG – 1300 121 251
HOLLARD – 02 9253 6600
VERO – 1300 888 073

For all other urgent enquiries 0459 140373

Claim handling set to be hot topic for AFCA this year

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) expects claim handling disputes are likely to be one of the top general insurance issues for this financial year as COVID-related impacts add to potential challenges.

Claims handling ranked third for general insurance complaints topics last financial year, but was close behind the top two issues.

“The year before that it was the most complained about issue, and we anticipate it is still going to be a very hot topic,” Senior Ombudsman Chris Liamos told the bi-annual member forum on Friday.

The expectation particularly reflects COVID and lockdown impacts that have caused challenges for insurers in dealing with claims, in combination with on-going pressures from natural disasters and significant events.

Mr Liamos says sourcing parts in the motor and home building areas has been difficult and following consultation with the industry and consumer stakeholders AFCA is finalising a fact sheet on home insurance claim delays and COVID.

Lead Ombudsman Insurance Emma Curtis said recent Datacube updates show a 15% rise in complaints about home building cover last financial year, a 13% rise for home contents, a 6% rise for motor and a 22% decline for travel.

“These figures indicate to us that natural disasters like significant bushfires, hailstorms and floods have driven home insurance claims,” she said. “And with families spending more time at home, insurers are probably also seeing more claims for accidental damage.”

The three most significant issues for home building insurance last year were claim denials due to exclusions or conditions, claim amounts, and delays.

Ms Curtis told the forum AFCA will move quickly to resolve business interruption disputes related to COVID-19 once the second industry test case on the issue is finalised.

The industry is hoping for a judgment this year in an expedited process, after the Full Court reserved an appeal decision earlier this month.

“AFCA is not a party to the test case, but we are ready to resolve the around 278 COVID-19 related business interruption insurance disputes once the outcome of the Federal Court appeal is known,” Ms Curtis said.

NSW CTP regulator aims to claw back ‘excess insurer profit’

The NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) says it will recover $91 million in excess profit from compulsory third party (CTP) insurers.

The state government’s 2017 CTP reforms gave SIRA powers to control the level of insurer profits under the transitional excess profits and losses (TEPL) mechanism.

CEO Adam Dent says he will activate the mechanism to recover “excess insurer profit” following a “rigorous assessment”.

“Over the last six months SIRA worked with insurers to assess the profitability of providing CTP insurance in NSW,” Mr Dent said.

“To bring savings back to the customer, SIRA decided to recover insurer profit above 10%.

“I have informed insurers of my decision to claw back almost $91 million, which means that in 2022 NSW motorists will enjoy an average saving of $19 on their Green Slip.”

The TEPL mechanism provides insurers with a 28-day cooling off period to appeal the decision. The cooling off period expires on November 29.

“To date insurers have not indicated an intention to appeal the decision,” Mr Dent said.

“A key feature of the 2017 reforms was introducing the power to recover profit, so insurers were aware of this possibility when they signed up to offer CTP insurance in the new scheme.

“With any new scheme, as claims experience develops, there will be greater certainty of costs and insurers will price premiums accordingly.”

The claw-back relates to profit on claims lodged in the first accident year of the new scheme – from 1 December 2017 to 31 December 2018.

SIRA will undertake a further assessment of insurer profits next year.

BI pandemic cover appeals begin in Full Court

The Full Court has this morning started hearing appeals related to business interruption claims triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic after initial Federal Court decisions mostly favoured insurers.

Justices Mark Moshinsky, Roger Derrington and Craig Colvin are hearing five matters arising from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) second test case as well as an appeal from The Star Entertainment Group against Chubb and other insurers.

The hearings this morning focused on The Star case, which Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop decided in favour of the insurers in a judgment handed down in August.

John Sheahan QC, appearing for The Star, argued against rejecting cover on the grounds of inconsistences between the approach to infectious diseases across different memorandum clause wordings.

“What’s, in our respectful submission, almost a path to madness is to try and make each of these things entirely consistent with each of the others,” he said.

Mr Sheahan says it’s “perfectly reasonable” that cover may be provided under a civil authority extension, but not elsewhere in a clause with a different focus.

“Precisely because the public policy response to a disease listed under the Biosecurity Act might be much more severe, it is taken out of the operation of a clause which is subject to very tight sub limits and temporal limits and left available if it rises to the level of a catastrophe,” he said.

Mr Sheahan also pointed out differences between the more complex policy for The Star compared to a standard form policy using some similar wording that is part of a matter involving Swiss Re in the ICA test case.

The ICA test case appeals involve QBE and Educational World Travel, Swiss Re and LCA Marrickville, IAG and Meridian Travel, IAG and The Taphouse Townsville and Chubb and Market Foods.

ICA has said policyholders have filed appeals and insurers have filed cross-appeals and notices of contention. Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot delivered her decision on a total of 10 cases last month.

Legal firm Herbert Smith Freehills has warned the ICA test case may not be finalised until this time next year given leave to appeal is likely to be sought from the High Court, no matter which side loses the current hearing.

Partner Mark Darwin and Senior Associate Travis Gooding say in an article on the firm’s website that the Federal Court outcome in favour of insurers was essentially due to one legal and one factual finding,

On the key legal issue, Justice Jagot found it would be incongruent to read prevention of access extensions as being applicable to actions in response to diseases, where the policy contains another clause specifically extending cover for diseases.

The Full Court has set aside this week and next Monday and Tuesday to hear the appeals.


In light of the ongoing and evolving situation with COVID-19 we advise changes to our regular operation.

Based on Government and Health Department recommendations to support the efforts in preventing further illness in our communities, we have closed our company office and have adopted a full remote approach.

Despite our physical office closure our team members remain fully available to assist, please feel free to reach out via phone or email.

Shaun Berkrey 0459 140373
Tony Silvester 0410 015999
Anna Leavey (Claims Manager) 0417 359087
Janelle Berkrey CTP’s 02 88244803

We thank you for your understanding during this challenging time and look forward to connecting with you.

Stay safe and well.

Christmas office closure dates and claims contact phone numbers

Our office will be closed from 12:00PM on the 24/12/2020 and will re open at 9.00AM on Monday 4th January 2021.

For urgent claims please contact your insurer direct on the below phone numbers;

CGU – 132 480
QBE – 1800 023 387
ZURICH – 1800 611 372
IAL – 1300 559 019
NTI – 1800 684 669
GLOBAL – 02 9966 8820
AIG – 1300 121 251
HOLLARD – 02 9253 6600
VERO – 1300 888 073

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 –

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 –

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 –