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Author: Rene Petrie

Supporting our Customers affected by the East Coast Severe Weather Event

As you are aware, a severe weather system has impacted South-East Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in significant damage in metro and rural areas. It has been declared an Insurance Catastrophe.

Our thoughts are with those who have been affected, including our own staff and their families.

The system will continue to deliver storm activity over the next few days, and we won’t know the full extent of the damage for some time.

Please stay up to date with the latest weather warnings. They are being issued frequently as the system continues to impact both states. Your safety is the number one priority.

We take this opportunity to reassure you that Austbrokers Comsure is ready to support you in your time of need. We understand how weather events such as these can have devastating impacts, so when you need help from us, we’ll be doing everything we can to make it easier for you.

We do anticipate a high volume of claims in the coming days. If you have been affected, please contact us as soon as practical. Claims will be triaged depending on the severity, and immediate assistance will be provided to those most in need requiring urgent make safe repairs.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

  • If you are in immediate danger, please contact 000.
  • If you require emergency assistance, please contact the SES on 132 500.
  • In the event that you need to make a claim, please contact Austbrokers Comsure on 1800 122 194 or your Adviser, as soon as practical.
  • Take all reasonable steps to mitigate your loss.
  • Take videos of how the storm impacted your home and/or business, so we can pass this onto Insurers for review.
  • Do not throw anything out before taking photos and videos of the damage, and any items affected. This includes perishable items.
  • If you require and can arrange critical “make safe” repairs, please keep any invoices for reimbursement.
  • If you require to have carpet removed as part of a make safe, please keep a portion of it for assessment purposes.
  • Do not authorise any building repairs until you receive the go ahead from your insurer.

It’s important to note that cover for this event will vary for each policy and each Insurer. All claims will be assessed on a case by case basis to determine your level of cover and determine the cause of the damage.

The Insurers’ first priority is community safety, and so we strongly encourage all those impacted by this severe weather and flooding event to ensure they do not undertake any activity themselves that may put their health and safety at risk. We strongly advise to avoid travel wherever possible and contact your energy provider or an electrician to check your electricity supply if your home or business has been flooded.

MAKING A CLAIM

 Please call Austbrokers Comsure on 1800 122 194, to speak with your Adviser and lodge a claim. Our call volumes will be high, so if you prefer to leave a message we can call you back.

Please take Incident/Claims Photos and email these through to claims@abcomsure.com.au.

Most importantly, please stay safe and be assured that Austbrokers Comsure Claims Specialists & Advisers are on stand-by 24/7 to assist you in the event you need to make a claim.

Merry Christmas from Austbrokers Comsure!

Season’s Greetings and Thank You

As the year draws to a close, the Austbrokers Comsure team would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your continued support in 2021.

Our office will be closing down over the Christmas period from Monday 27th of December 2021, and will reopen at 8.30am on Tuesday 4th January 2022.

We know matters can arise during this time, so if you have an emergency/urgent Insurance related matter, please phone 1800 122 194 and we will be happy to assist you.

It’s been a challenging year for so many, so to finish off the year we wanted to give back. In lieu of Christmas Cards and Gifts this year, Austbrokers Comsure has donated $1950 to The Smith Family. They are a fantastic organisation that make Christmas that little more enjoyable for those less fortunate than ourselves. Due to Covid restrictions, instead of their usual gift service, they are taking donations and providing gift vouchers to disadvantaged children this Christmas.

From the team at Austbrokers Comsure, we would like to wish you and your family the very best for a safe, joyous and relaxing festive season, and may 2022 bring good health, happiness and prosperity.

We look forward to working with you in the new year.

Log4j – Your Systems could be at risk!

Who is this relevant for?

Businesses should be discussing the following concerns with their IT providers to understand if they’re exposed. Immediate action is required to ensure you are no longer vulnerable.

What is Log4j?

Do you run computer systems, various software, countless apps, webcams, car navigation systems, medical devices etc. within your business? Log4j is a serious software weakness which is exposing billions of devices globally.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) have released an Advisory that recommends patching immediately. See the ACSC Advisory Article 2021-007 here.
Cyber criminals have discovered a security flaw to attack IT systems, and yours could be next!

Give me more information:

Log4j is a commonly used utility that has been incorporated into countless pieces of software because it is open source, meaning anyone can use it. The tool is used to log activity on computers and runs across many platforms.

The flaw is allowing Cyber Criminals to seize control of everything, from big industrial sized control systems, through to web servers and consumer electronics. If this happens to you, they can steal your valuable information and data, plant malware, erase crucial information and more.

Advice by The ACSC:

Australian organisations should apply latest patches immediately where Log4j2 is known to be used. Upgrade to the current release of Apache Log4j 2.16.0 to disable the vulnerable functionality. Internally developed or in-house software should also be checked for use of Log4j2 and either disable vulnerable functionality or upgrade to the latest software update.

Austbrokers Comsure would like to thank Austbrokers Cyber Pro for this latest update. We encourage you to share this article to those who you think could be vulnerable.

Austbrokers Comsure also has the ability to place Cyber Insurance cover for you personally or for those in business. If you wish to discuss this, please contact your Insurance Adviser on
1800 122 194.

AB Comsure Milestone Achievements

As we draw closer to the end of 2021, we want to recognise our employees who have reached a significant milestone with us this year! We thank you for your continued efforts and dedication to Austbrokers Comsure!

Anthony Stein – 10 years service
Christine Grant – 5 years service
Eloise Borrett – 20 years service
Gayle Herriman – 10 years service
Rochelle Turner – 5 years service
Stewart Harker – 35 years service

Brokers merge to become fifth largest in Austbrokers network

Brisbane firm Austbrokers Comsure and Sydney-based WRI Insurance Brokers are merging to become the Austbrokers network’s fifth biggest broker.

“We share many synergies with WRI in our commitment to customer service, product expertise, and ability to provide risk management advice, particularly for hard-to-place risks,” said Austbrokers Comsure managing director Ian Garbutt, who believes both camps’ skills and strengths are a “perfect match”.

“Together we can capitalise on the advantages a larger entity brings to client service, insurer relationships, claims management, marketing, and meeting compliance requirements.”

Austbrokers Comsure – which got its current identity when Queensland companies Bestmark, Citycover, and Comsure combined in July 2020 – has been part of the Austbrokers network since 1995; WRI, since 2013.

Merging the two will mean a workforce of more than 70 people, clients in excess of 20,000, and annual gross written premium of $120 million. In a release, it was highlighted that the move will make Austbrokers Comsure the largest and most experienced motor dealership brokerage in the country.

Robert Moir, who founded Parramatta-headquartered WRI four decades ago, will become chief broking officer of the wider business. His staff, meanwhile, will remain in their roles while enjoying greater training and advancement opportunities.

“This is a natural fit for both organisations, creating a stronger merged entity,” commented Moir. “The WRI team and our valued clients will benefit from the reduced operating costs and economies of scale this brings to our operations.”

Delighted to welcome WRI to Austbrokers Comsure is chair Bruno Cullen, who looks forward to further growing the business.

Meanwhile chief executive and managing director Mike Emmett had this to say: “We continue to work with Austbrokers members to accelerate their growth and scale so we can improve the quality and expertise available to our customers.

“We’re delighted by the merging of these very strong businesses to establish one of Austbrokers’ largest brokerages and Australia’s leading insurance adviser to the motor dealership industry.”

Austbrokers Comsure names new corporate team head

Brisbane-based Austbrokers Comsure has appointed Sandra van Zyl as Head of the Mid-market/Corporate team.

She was most recently Principal – VP Corporate Risk Advisory Services with Marsh & McLennan Companies, according to her LinkedIn account.

Ms van Zyl has 13 years’ experience in the Australian broking market and eight years prior to that in South Africa.

“We’re excited to have someone with such extensive experience and solid expertise in the corporate arena join our team,” MD Ian Garbutt said.

“[She] will assist larger, more complex clients with their insurance and risk requirements and we aim to greatly expand our reach into the corporate sector with her help.”

Austbrokers Comsure was created last year by combining three longstanding south-east Queensland-based insurance brokerages, Comsure, Bestmark and Citycover.

Former Broncos executive joins your Insurance Brokerage!

The merger of three long-standing south-east Queensland-based insurance brokerages – Comsure, Bestmark and Citycover – to form Austbrokers Comsure is progressing well and we have some great news to share with you.

Former Brisbane Broncos managing director, Bruno Cullen has joined the Austbrokers Comsure board of directors as chair. 

Mr Cullen was chair of Townsville-based Queensland Country Bank (formerly Queensland Country Credit Union) from 2006 until April 2020, when he stepped down from the chair but remained a director until November.

He chairs the registered training organisation Krause Health & Safety and was a director of private health insurer Queensland Country Health for 20 years.

From 2003 to 2011, Mr Cullen was managing director of the Brisbane Broncos Football Club and chaired the board of the Broncos Leagues Club from 2008 to 2014. He is also a former chair of the Queensland Academy of Sport.

Mr Cullen was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2020 Queens Birthday Honours List for his services to banking and credit unions, rugby league, and the community.

Ian Garbutt, Austbrokers Comsure Managing Director, says Mr Cullen brings “a wealth of corporate experience to Austbrokers Comsure”.

“He has been heavily involved in the merger of three credit unions and then the conversion of a credit union into the member-owned Queensland Country Bank. Bruno’s experience and lessons learnt during those processes are very relevent for our journey,” Mr Garbutt said.

“I am thrilled to have Bruno join Austbrokers Comsure, and his guidance will be invaluable as we continue to bring our three businesses together.”

Austbrokers Comsure is the largest Queensland brokerage in the Austbrokers network, which is a division of the ASX-listed AUB Group.

The combined Austbrokers Comsure team will continue working with you to provide security and claims management for you, your family, and your personal and business assets and liabilities.

Whatever your insurance needs, Austbrokers Comsure is always there for you.

Pandemic forces insurance rethink

A senior Brisbane-based insurance broker says the Covid-19 pandemic means insurance brokers need to work with their clients to rethink how insurance programs are structured.

Stephen Hamill, Director, Risk Management with Austbrokers Comsure Insurance Brokers, says the pandemic, coupled with other hazards, including climate change, has created circumstances in which brokers must help their clients navigate through a vastly altered business landscape.

“Global manufacturing markets and supply chains are under extreme pressure, so Australian businesses must understand their exposure to and reliance on international markets when considering business continuity planning,” Mr Hamill says in a new white paper, Navigating risk in a time of change.

“The availability of capital will be key to business expansion moving forward and financiers will factor in sustainable supply chains in lending criteria. That means many previous global options may be replaced with onshore options as a more reliable source of raw material.

“Business will want a predictive capability and accurate pricing of risk in business decisions. As cyber crime and social engineering become the new forms of highway robbery and piracy, it is essential to underpin confidence in the supply chain and future proof cyber-trading platforms.”

Mr Hamill says insurers are redefining risk appetites and acceptances in the changing environment.

Brokers need to work with their clients to implement effective risk management so they can source appropriate insurance coverage.

“When discussing clients’ risk management drivers, insurance brokers need to replicate language the client uses internally so they understand the context.”
Mr Hamill says brokers need to get clients thinking about their risk tolerance, questioning why they buy certain classes of insurance, and considering how risk mitigation can alter the impact of potential perils facing their businesses.

“Brokers need to assist clients to collate data and use risk management tools to develop risk registers for the exposures clients want to transfer to an insurer,” Mr Hamill said.

He said clients also needed to consider:

  • Management liability implications of Covid-19-related losses that underwriters will not cover.
  • Business interruption reviews for profit centres that may have altered or closed.
  • Supply contracts with onerous contractual conditions, including tight time frames with no extension of time relief or inadequate force majeure clauses.
  • Asset value reviews – will stock levels shrink or inflate post Covid-19?
  • Technology liability – global interconnectivity is a threat as well as an opportunity.

The white paper – available here – details how risk management can enable brokers to better present their clients’ risks to underwriters.

About Austbrokers Comsure

Austbrokers Comsure (AB Comsure) was formed in 2020 when three south-east Queensland-based brokerages – Comsure, Bestmark and Citycover – combined their skills and strengths.

Each brokerage has a long-standing reputation in the insurance community for quality customer service, risk management advice and claims management. Comsure was launched in 1974, Citycover in 1972, and Bestmark in 1984.
AB Comsure is now the largest Queensland brokerage in the Austbrokers network. Austbrokers is part of AUB Group, an ASX-listed company.

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