CHOICE membership

Professional Insurance - Resources to Find Providers

@TheBGG have folded on insurances and will pay the $8k on 4 cars that are not commericial but business, fleet insurer required 11 vehicles minimum. 2 vehicles 100% business only and 2 by owners who pay FBT and use the vehicles 80/20 business and to and from home. So that is over.
@Karl_Sullivan this morning we are denied PI insurance from one of your NIBA 3 who provide this insurance (our original broker). The other two say they are still trying, but no response. Now this is our other global company… This is horrible to me. Ten years with Broker 1, never denied cover.

33 years of continuous insurance, globally patented technology, never denied cover.

NOTHING TO DO WITH GEOTECHNICAL OR STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING

the best pipeline inspection tool as reflected by us being in the US Standards for Water Main Condition Assessment,

funded by the EU in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney, QUU, Sydney Water, etc.

Partnerships with the Gas Technology Institute resulting in leaps forward for energy companies in US,

American Water and Wastewater Association Committee Member,

Director BSc (Hons) Geophysicist, and BSc Geologist, customers like London Underground, Exelon, Australian Water Aurthorities, global licencees, etc. etc.

We have been denied insurances by Dual because we undertake Non-Destructive Testing on infrastructure - think bridges / tunnels. Evidently ticking that box excludes us?

We don’t construct, build or excavate - we rarely go to site even. Licensees and Strategic partners are trained by us (remotely now) and they upload the scanning data and we analyse their pipe data - any flaws. We do not advise on life expectancy. That is part of a model and not determined by us. 33 continuous years of insurance, no claims, no accidents. Broker MIDAS has given up.

Please tell me if there is any chance of you helping to pull us out of this one.

I reached out about all the insurances about to expire and took heed that EOFY is busiest time of year for brokers. Nine days later I need an answer of any sort please. Paula.

Engineers Australia and being member of Geomechanics Society, does not mean EngInsure (Whitbread) can cover us. Basically, the Managing Director is not an Engineer technically, but could be a Fellow / even Chartered, which was offered to him some years ago. because of his year’s of experience.

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Paula,

This is quite a challenging situation you have described. As a consumer, retired professional, and sometimes self employed consultant it is disappointing you have not had a satisfactory outcome.

I do wonder if Choice which is a consumer organisation is in the best position to assist a small business.

There is the Small Business Council of Australia. There are a number of professional bodies at least one of which it would seem likely your business would be a member of. You mention several, but it is unclear what the messaging is due to the format you have chosen.

Your Frustration is self evident.

There are numerous other small geotechnical service providers. Or are you an equipment supplier? Who do your competitors or business partners insure through would seem a logical alternative to look for a solution?

P.S.
I’m a little confused between what has been described as the business in the opening post for this topic,

and the most recent post which seems to refer to non destructive testing of piping and some type of agency.

Yes, it’s challenging if insurance has been ongoing for the previous decade and renewal or a new provider cannot be sourced.

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Sorry @mark-m, I realise my frustration confuses things. New to this forum and probably overwhelmed.

The first business ‘Rock Solid Earth’ which primarily relates to Geological Mapping in truth, has always been advertised as Geotechnical Engineering because that is what the industry recognises. We employ two graduate (Hons) Engineers that are qualified to call themselves Geotechnical Engineers. The Director is not and Engineer, but has the opportunity to be Chartered or become Fellow because of his work at the top end of this industry. He was one of the founding members of the Foundations and Footing Society formed in 1991 - for the pursuit of excellence in the field. I have been in touch with all peers and Mirimar Berkley and others are the brokers. Some have been pulled back from $5m cover to $1m in February for example. For example. By law you need to map the ground on the site where the proposed structure is planned. The client is telling us what they need to build, for example test that there is 200mm clay at this depth, because that is what is required to design the footings. We might find fill, in which case this site will be classified (according to Australian Standards) as P - a problem site. We provide a technical report advising what we have found and the structural engineer / architect make decisions on that advice. It is not law however for Geotechs to hold Professional Indemnity insurance, and so our biggest competitors are individuals who may not even have a relevant degree. When we do the Erosion Overlays or Slope Stabilities we wear the extra cost of a Chartered Engineer to sign off. We are trusted by many construction companies, but the requirement is minimum $1m cover and the latest approach was from previous work we undertook with Hume City Council who want $20m, but are prepared to negotiate, because we are known for our integrity.

Perhaps the real confusion is me bringing in the second company Rock Solid Group, which is a global pipeline inspection company 100% based in Australia and also denied insurance this morning.

Thank you for reaching out.

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An excellent point although some of us have relevant experience to provide advice and opinion.

While a bit of money, if you are able have you considered having to self-insure through establishing an escrow account? Considering the premiums you might be up against it seems your break even should not be many years, unless you are sued and lose. Not an expert by any means, but is it possible to eg mortgage real estate or significant equipment your companies may own, and put the amount into such escrow and write off the interest as a cost of business?

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Have you sat down with each broker and fully explained the company structure, the work it does, its risks and liabilities?

I wonder if insurance is being declined through lack of understanding or clarity over that functions the/each business performs.

A broker won’t necessary understand this without time taken to fully explain. The the broker doesn’t understand, it makes it difficult for them to ‘sell’ the business to underwriters for insurance cover.

Also ask what information is needed by the underwriters to assess the business risks. Such should occur after the brokers initially approach underwriters for a quote, and once the underwriters have a general idea about the business.

This may be difficult for service based industries as often engagement of services requires evidence of insurance cover (e.g $20M professional and indemnity insurances). This is particularly the case for big business, public companies and government. Without evidence, often service offer will be declined.

Options are options. Some impossible, others difficult, some may be doable given the choices and resources.

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Hi @Paula,

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has launched an inquiry to investigate the practices of the insurance industry that impact small businesses and consider whether small business insurance products are fit for purpose.

It may be worth your while completing the Inquiry survey here:

https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/current-inquiries/insurance-inquiry

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