Insurance Law News: Australia’s Insurance Sector “Low Risk” | BPC Law Blog

With summer still ahead of us and Sydney and NSW already having begun to feel the full brunt of nature’s vengeful side, it’s nice to know that Australia’s general insurance industry is deemed as low risk. But why in a country that has been ravaged by floods, fires, earthquakes and cyclones all in the last decade is the insurance industry so optimistic? Let an insurance lawyer explain:

Insurance Lawyer

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The news of Australia’s insurance sector being deemed low risk comes from Standard and Poor’s (better known as S&P) research and investigation. The big reason behind this classification is that insurers have, in recent years, begun to effectively manage exposure to risks like floods and earthquakes in their available insurance policies. After the 2011 Brisbane floods, many residents were shocked to find their insurance didn’t cover that level of flooding, or any at all, and demand from these customers has had a nation-wide impact on how insurers and the general public approach natural disasters and the like in insurance policies.

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, so when natural disasters cause billions of dollars worth of damage it can be hard to understand how insurers still manage to make a profit and keep their insurance policies worthwhile and effective. What it all boils down to is rate increases which have been able to cover these higher claims and insurance costs, as well as things like product deductibles and cover being revised to still be appropriate for what the customer needs, without negatively affecting the insurance company.

At this point in time there is a positive view in regards to the Australian general insurance sector, thanks partly to the industry’s return on equity staying above 10% for the last five years, and financial and credit analysts predicting it to stay that way for some time. There’s also been nominal premium growth of four to seven per cent anticipated for the rest of this financial year, though the general insurance growth prospects have been rated neutral by S&P. This is because the insurance industry’s gross written premium as part of GDP (gross domestic product) has only been roughly two and a half per cent over the last five years. But why is the equity return so strong?

It’s all to do with a strong underwriting performance to provide enough support for equity returns to grow. S&P have predicted that for this financial year the net underwriting combined ratio for the entire Australian general insurance sector will be stable at 90 to 95%. Alongside this strong underwriting performance, return on equity is further supported by strong and stable investment returns, effective cost control of lifted profits, and cuts to insurer costs including consolidations, offshoring and IT improvements. So what does this all mean for you as a customer?

With a strong insurance sector, particularly one that has been rated as low risk by such a global insurance giant as S&P, it’s the best time for you to look into entering or updating your insurance, particularly in regards to natural disasters, as Australia’s catastrophe insurance programs are some of the largest worldwide. You really never know when you just might need it.

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Crazy Insurance Law Claims | BPC Law Blog

You might think that you know a Sydneysider who has crazy ideas of what they deserve because they’re such a great person or because they’ve done something good for someone else, but no matter how mad or silly you think this person is, they won’t be able to compare to some of the things insurance lawyers have had to help clients claim for, particularly under No Win No Pay schemes.

Insurance Law(image source: shutterstock)

Insurance law covers a lot of areas, and with that huge ground comes an enormous amount of claims. Here’s our top 10 most mental claims, successful and unsuccessful, that have come across the desks of insurance lawyers around the world:

1.      Monkey Madness: A couple travelled to Malaysia, looking for a little romantic time alone. It’s not exactly cool in Malaysia, so they left the windows of their chalet open while they spent the day out and about. Big mistake. They came back to find that a group of monkeys had seen the open windows as an open invitation to come in and ransack the place. The couple found their clothes and belongings all around the resort, and the nearby rainforest. Their insurance company covered them so they could have more than one change of clothes.

Insurance Law(image source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/c0/77/9c/c0779c7af74806a8d4162f33ded6e982.jpg)

2.      Maybe It’s Best If You Do Nothing: A man had to red-facedly fill out an insurance form after rear-ending the car in front of him (just enough to smash the taillights). He then reversed to get a better view of the damage, and managed to hit the car behind. Finally, he opened the door of his car to get out and knocked down a cyclist. Comedic gold as long as you’re not involved.

3.      A Little More Practice Needed: A woman was visiting a friend at home. As she opened the door of the garage to leave, she was struck in the shoulder with a dart. Her friend’s teenage son was playing darts, and the dartboard happened to be right next to the door. The woman successfully sued for negligence, and the friend’s insurance paid it out.

4.      Maybe Wear Gloves Next Time: A man travelling in Israel lost his wallet down a drain. To avoid having to get his insurance company or the police involved, the man stuck his hand down the drain to fish it out. However, what he ended up with was a sting from a venomous scorpion who lived there. It was his travel insurance that made sure he was treated properly.

Insurance Law(image source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/9e/2a/d9/9e2ad9e10e1bca0f02b0b85a23786681.jpg)

5.      Goats Really Will Eat Anything: In the Black Forest, a family were holidaying. Whether they meant to or not, they didn’t properly lock up their cabin. When they got back they found a goat happily munching away at the remains of their sandwiches, wallets, and passports. Unluckily for them, their insurance company found that they’d been negligent and rejected their claim.

6.      Careful Who You Date: In some foreign countries, it’s legal to have a pet monkey, but isn’t always a sensible idea as one poor woman found out. She was on a first date, and after they had dinner they went to her date’s house. Upon opening the door, they were confronted by the man’s pet monkey who then bit her hand and arm. No surprises there that her claim was successful, and there wasn’t a second date.

7.      Guns Don’t Just Hurt People: A man was driving with his shotgun in the passenger seat. When he got out of his ute, the man grabbed the gun. However, he lost his grip and the gun went off. The entire interior of the ute was extensively damaged thanks to the shotgun being loaded with buckshot. Thankfully, the man had very comprehensive car insurance and he was fully covered for shooting his own car.

8.      Maybe You’ve Got a Problem: At a bar in Greece, a woman ignored a loud buzzer and stayed waiting for her drink. That buzzer was actually a fire alarm and the woman managed to escape the blaze, but not before getting third degree burns, costing £300 of medical treatment. Lucky for her, she was covered.

Insurance Law(image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/US_Navy_030604-M-3856H-032_Firefighters_in_full_gear_fight_a_simulated_aircraft_fire_during_a_fire_fighting_training_exercise.jpg)

9.      Label It Next Time: In the States, a woman attended a children’s birthday party with her own child. At the party, everybody was served cordial. However, many of the children became quite ill from the drink, yet none of the adults had any reaction to the sugary drink. After a little bit of an investigation, it was discovered that the kids had been served the cordial intended for the adults – it had vodka in it. The children’s medical bills were covered by insurance luckily.

10.  That’s One Way to Wake Up: It’s not unusual for pet cats to take to sleeping on people, including people’s faces. A claimant was renting a room in a house with four cats. The cats weren’t allowed in the rented room, but obviously no one told one of the cats that. The claimant had a habit of sleeping with both their mouth open and their tongue sticking out. One morning they woke up to find a cat with its paw in their mouth. Understandably, the person was quite surprised and their sudden movement made the cat scratch their tongue. Strange as the incident was, the insurance claim for medical costs was paid out.