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Check out news and views in this quarter's CGU EDGE
A message from Brad Robson
Welcome to our first edition of CGU EDGE. A quarterly communication to keep you informed of what’s new at CGU, as well as share relevant news, views and insights.
In this edition, we report on our current response to COVID-19, as well as provide facts and figures from the severe weather events experienced since the beginning of the year. We also take you through our new Contract Works policies and introduce you to Daniel Whitehouse, Manager of CGU’s Construction and Engineering underwriting practice.
It was a sobering start to the decade as Australians and the rest of the world watched in disbelief as nearly 11 million hectares burned across Australia. The effects were palpable to everyone - from the hazardous air quality, the destruction of 2,400 homes and the devastation of lives lost.
Other weather events have also tested our resilience with several hail storms experienced in many regions in NSW, ACT and Victoria, and significant storms in QLD and WA.
During times like these, and as we all respond to COVID-19, it’s important we work together so we can continue making our people, partner’s and customer’s world a safer place. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you.
Executive Manager, Broker and Agency Solutions
It is a difficult and uncertain time as the COVID-19 VIRUS continues to spread and impact our communities. We’re doing everything we can to monitor this continuously evolving situation and update our response to ensure we keep our people, partners and customers safe.
All our business units are continuing to operate, we have strong business continuity plans in place to ensure that we can continue to support you and your customers during this time.
As previously advised external guests will not be able to visit our offices. All non-essential external face to face interactions including broker visitations, corporate events and conferences have ceased. Our use of technology such as video conferencing will increase to ensure we remain connected with you.
A number of steps have been taken specifically to address our claims service:
- Where possible our claims assessing processes have been revised to allow for more desktop and digital assessments minimising face to face interaction
- Our assessors will still be attending to critical inspections, subject to a sign off process. They will be utilising customer screening processes, social distancing and personal protective equipment wherever possible to minimise the risk to themselves, customers and partners
- We’re working collaboratively with our partner builders, repairers and Supply Chain to ensure we are supporting their response to customers. We’ll keep you updated of any changes to how our customers and suppliers interact
- We have engaged an ‘All hands on deck’ approach asking any IAG employee with claims experience to assist where possible
- Commenced recruitment onshore to increase our workforce to start supporting customers as soon as possible.
As a result of interruptions to our contact centre operations offshore, some of our Partners & Customers may currently experience longer than usual wait times to speak to one of our customer representatives. We’re working hard to restore our full services as quickly as possible. We know these delays are frustrating, and our team is working hard to minimise the impact to you.
We ask you to utilise the CGU Claims portal wherever possible to lodge new claims and obtain updates on those in progress.
- Users can access the claims portal once logged in to the broker portal
- Our guide is attached to assist in getting started using this facility and the video in this link may also be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezET11WBjHE&feature=youtu.be
During times like these it’s important we work together so we can continue to ensure the safety and well being of our people. With the increased attention to hygiene, limiting non-critical physical meetings, and the increased use of technology, we are here to continue to support you.
We continue to support all of our customers who have been impacted by recent weather events.
CGU has a dedicated Major Events Claims team who have extensive experience in working through large scale catastrophes. For updates on Bushfire related claims, you can access this team directly by calling 1300 230 615.
Figures at a glance…
The national cost of losses resulting from the bushfires is estimated to be more than $2.2 billion (ICA CAT196 update as of the 14th February).
- IAG has received over 11,464 bushfire claims nationally since 5 September
- Nearly 2,500 claims have been finalised
- 2,100 assessments have been allocated for damaged properties and 82% of these have been completed.
Bushfire Policy Response
Excess - Where a customer has multiple claims for bushfire damage, only one excess will apply across all claims. This also applies to single claims that have multiple excess. Only one excess will be applied, whichever is the highest.
Food spoilage - In most instances claims for spoiled food will be settled on verbal confirmation of the loss. It is recommended photos are taken of the food prior to it being disposed of if possible. Nil Excess will apply where no other loss has been incurred and these claims will be settled in cash.
Removal of Debris - Claim Settlement
For total loss settlements we will settle the fair and reasonable cost of removal of debris, in line with the policy coverage. Where an insured is entitled to this coverage under an additional benefit, we will pay this in addition to the Sum Insured, regardless of whether the client is eligible for or has sought assistance from, a government scheme.
We do continue to encourage clients to register with the appropriate scheme.
The policy entitlement will be determined based on a quote for the clearance of each insured site and will be subject to the relevant policy sub-limit. We will instruct our assessors and suppliers to support clients by providing these quotes and will also be happy to review a quote obtained by the insured.
Hail Storm Update
Over 23,900 motor claims have been lodged so far, predominantly from ACT.
Additionally, our Property Claims teams received over 11,700 property storm claims lodged across multiple states since the most significant storms hit. Over 6,200 of these have been allocated to our property repairers.
Our Specialist Hail Repairers together with our Motor Assessing teams have been busy supporting the setup of nine Specialist Hail Repairs (SHR) sites with triage already well underway. Four more sites will also be opened shortly, meaning we’ll soon have a total of nine SHR sites across Melbourne, Sydney and the ACT.
Claims and Work Volume
With all these events, there is a surge in claims lodgement and service calls and the volume can occasionally put a strain on the service levels especially during peak times. To support this, we are hiring more claims consultants and prioritising claims from our most vulnerable customers.
We urge customers to use our claims portal to lodge any new claims via our portal at: https://www.cgu.com.au/broker-claims and use your existing CGU Adviser Portal username and password to log in. Please contact your Account Partner to arrange access to the portal if required.
Our claims service is available and ready to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When making a claim on behalf of a customer, please provide as many details as possible, so we can triage claims depending on severity and organise immediate assistance to those most in need.
*Note: The estimates and numbers for the claims are correct at the time of writing
New Contract Works and Legal Liability Policies
With one of the largest Contract Works portfolios in the country, we see our fair share of claims and changes to the industry and through this, we also see the continuous evolution of the construction and insurance markets. As the risk exposures and the markets move, we want to make sure that our products keep abreast of these changes and continue to provide peace of mind to brokers and customers alike through our products.
This has led to our enhanced construction wordings which we are proud to share with you. Here are some of the benefits that you can expect:
60 days additional cover for residential building projects following construction period expiry
This benefit allows for delays between practical completion and project handover and is particularly relevant in New South Wales, where handover doesn’t occur until a certificate of occupancy is issued by the relevant authority following practical completion.
Drone Legal Liability Cover
Liability cover is now included for drones used in connection with the construction business. Results in a lower rebuild value than the original build cost incurred by the builder and a likely reduced sale value.
Vacant Land awaiting development – public liability extension
This benefit provides liability protection to the Named Insured for vacant land awaiting development. For more details regarding these and the other additional benefits in our construction products, download the Annual and Project Specific Contract works policies.
Alternatively, you can contact our teams to get more information.
NSW & ACT : UW.ConstructionAndEngineering.NSW.ACT@cgu.com.au
Broker learning and events
QLD Broker Bootcamps – The Risk Management Series
CGU was proud to bring you two Broker Bootcamps in early March. At these Bootcamps our Underwriters and Risk experts covered four key areas of focus, essential to helping our Broker Partners keep their clients’ insurance programs in shape:
- “What Keeps SME’s Awake at Night” presented by Chris Graves, National SME Underwriting Manager
- “Words on a Page…Don’t Save Lives” presented by Jodie Jeffrey, Northern Fleet Underwriting Manager
- “The Trusted Risk Adviser” presented by Sumedha (aka “Sumo”) Jayasinghe
- “Construction - The Key Risks, Exposures & Issues in the Media” presented by Patrick Dunn and Greg Muller.
One CPD point was allocated for each session, with the day broken up into concurrent sessions, or the entire day (collecting up to 4 CPD points).
Canberra Focused Underwriter Networking (FUN) Event
We took our FUN Event on the road in February, visiting brokers in Canberra with our new theme “Stories from the Front Line”. Over a 4 hour period, we covered updates from all product lines. 3 CPD Points were provided for this event..
Sydney Focused Underwriter Networking (FUN) Event
We opened registration for this event earlier in the year and were thrilled to get so many acceptances, so much so that we moved the event to the International Convention Centre (ICC).
Our speakers from the various product lines presented on “Stories from the Front Line” and were joined by underwriters and product managers from around the country.
- Professional Risks: “Challenge Accepted”
- Property: “Navigating a Hard Market”
- Liability: “The emerging risk hiding in plain sight”
- SME Packages: “When things go wrong”
- Construction and Engineering: “Into the Gaps”
- Motor Fleet: “Words on a page don’t save lives”
3 CPD points were provided for this event.
Due to the current response to COVID-19, all CGU events have been postponed for the immediate future. We know that there have also been a number of industry conferences and educational seminars cancelled of late, and that many brokers rely on these events to keep abreast of education as well as acquiring the requisite CPD points for the year.
In times like this, we believe that it’s important we continue to support brokers through on-going education which is why we are curating a series of Webinars so you can keep abreast wherever you’re working from. New Webinar content will focus on Business Resilience to help you and your clients manage these difficult times. Stay tuned and keep a lookout for these in your inbox very soon.
We would also love to hear your suggestions so please get in touch with us and let us know what subjects you think will be valuable and we will do our best to accommodate.
And finally, we were pleased to host many of our valuable partners at various events around the Country towards the end of last year. A great way to wrap up the year and as always, we thank you all for your support. Here’s just a snapshot of some of these events…
Fast five with Daniel Whitehouse
What is your role at CGU?
National Manager for Construction & Engineering (C&E) Underwriting. I manage our state-based underwriting teams where we are represented in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth made up of 23 specialist C&E Underwriters. I myself am based in Brisbane.
In my current role includes design and execution of our market strategy, refine our products and appetite and deliver on our financial goals. We are one of the largest Construction and Engineering insurers in the country and have the ability and capability to be involved in the insurance of risks across the full spectrum of the market, ranging from the very small to the very large. This always provides us with a wide and interesting variety of opportunities to consider as there are always new and varied projects flowing into the market.
Can you tell us a bit about your insurance journey?
I started my working life in the Air Force, where I completed a technical trade in telecommunications and electronics engineering. After almost 8 years in the military and working predominantly in Sydney, my wife and I decided it was time to move back to QLD to explore new opportunities where I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity in insurance present itself. I knew a little bit about insurance at the time as my wife had been working in the insurance industry for a number of years and from what I could tell based on her experience, it seemed like a good opportunity to pursue and 16 years later I am still here and enjoying the changes, challenges and rewards the industry has provided me during this time.
Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think 2020 holds for the Construction and Engineering sector?
In my view, over the next few years there will be a huge amount of change that will flow through the construction industry. A lot of this will be driven by the regulatory and industry response to the issues that have been widely publicised in the media such as building defects, non-conforming products and contractor injury. Based on what we are seeing already, and will be a significant amount of pressure from political and industry bodies to ensure that trust and quality in all aspects of the construction industry is restored.
We’re talking to the market about the refreshed C&E wording, what prompted that?
We pride ourselves on having some of the best products available in the market and to ensure we maintain our position, we periodically review our products to ensure that they meet or exceed the general level of coverage that is available in the market, still comply with common construction contractual requirements and to address emerging technologies and construction methodologies in the construction industry. It is also an opportunity to review some of the claims that we have had to identify any potential gaps in cover that we might wish to close, as well as responding to feedback from our customers with respect to clarifying anything that they may have found ambiguous or difficult to understand in our policy wordings.
What did you do over the Christmas holiday break?
Our family decided to stay relatively local to the Gold Coast and we spent a big chunk of our time off together surfing, wakeboarding, mountain biking and catching up with family and friends. Our main goal was to have a break from the rigour of our usually hectic work schedules by not having too much planned and doing whatever we felt like doing each day.