Guild Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

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  • Understanding employment law

    Employment related disputes are an increasing trend in claims reported to Guild Insurance.  These claims indicate that some employers may not be fully aware of their workplace rights and obligations and the laws governing them as an employer.  This can have serious consequences for businesses; there are a number of legal avenues available to employees if they feel they have been treated unfairly and there can be serious repercussions for the employer.

    Examples of what can go wrong...

    • An employee lodged a complaint with Fair Work Australia claiming she was expected to attend meetings outside of work hours and was not paid for these. Her employer claimed attendance was optional and that’s why she wasn’t paid.
    • An employee resigned and the employer did not pay all of the outstanding wages and leave entitlements. The employer stated this was because of the unprofessional conduct and behaviour of the employee whilst leaving. A complaint was lodged with Fair Work Australia.
    • An employed staff member undertook a course of further study. During this period his salary was dropped to a trainee salary.The employee disputed this and claimed back pay.

    Reducing employment complaints

    • Be sure you understand that as an employer you have legal workplace obligations you must adhere to. There are laws regarding matters such as salaries and awards, leave entitlements and terminating employment. Employers can’t simply do as they please, no matter how their employee behaves. And not knowing the law is no excuse for not following it.
    • Make yourself aware of the employment laws you need to follow. The following two websites contain a great deal of easy to follow information to assist employers, and employees, understand their obligations.

    www.fairwork.gov.au
    www.fwc.gov.au

    • And using the link below you can learn about the National Employment Standards (NES) which are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees.

      https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment-standards

    • Whilst preventing complaints is the ideal goal, employers need to accept that despite their best efforts, complaints may still occur. This is when a business needs to think about how they’ll manage those complaints. Employment Practices Liability insurance exists to provide support to businesses when they’re faced with an employment related complaint or allegation. For further information about Guild Insurance’s Employment Practices Liability insurance and how this could be of benefit to you, please contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213.
    Download PDF here
  • Have you prepared for a bushfire?

    We hear it all the time – a disaster has ruined lives and businesses.

    Too often people unfortunately seek comfort in the belief that ‘it could never happen to me’.  Yet claims reported to Guild Insurance tell us otherwise.  They remind us that businesses suffer losses every day.

    Some business owners have unrealistic expectations about how they’ll cope if the unthinkable happens.  Businesses are often surprised at just how much they’re impacted when a disaster occurs.  This is why planning for a disaster is vital.  Once something happens, the time to prepare has gone.

    All businesses need to be realistic about what can happen and be proactive in putting risk management strategies in place.

    Matters to consider when preparing for a bushfire

    • Understand your risk of a bushfire based on location and current weather warnings
    • Know the safest route out of your local area
    • Understand bushfire danger ratings and what they mean
    • Follow and adhere to bushfire warnings when issued
    • Have a plan, and rehearse it, for what to do in the event there is a bushfire.This plan includes but isn’t limited to:
      • Being ready and willing to leave early before you see signs of fire, allowing for how fast fires can travel
      • An evacuation plan which needs to consider not only staff but any clients or other visitors who may be on the premises
      • An emergency items kit which is packed at all times and includes all emergency contact phone numbers, mobile phone chargers and a first aid kit
      • Shelter options in the event you’re unable to leave
    • Be sure all staff are involved in preparing the business for a bushfire
    • Understand what you’re insured for in the event of a fire; contact your insurer if this needs updating

    Bushfire preparation resources

    Each state’s country or rural fire services have a range of resources to assist business and individuals prepare for and cope with a bushfire.  Utilise these resources to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be.

    ACT – esa.act.gov.au/actrfs

    NSW – rfs.nsw.gov.au

    NT – securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/bushfires

    QLD – ruralfire.qld.gov.au

    SA – cfs.sa.gov.au

    TAS – fire.tas.gov.au

    VIC – cfa.vic.gov.au

    WA – dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/bushfire


    Download PDF here

     

     

  • Have you prepared for a cyclone?

    We hear it all the time – a disaster has ruined lives and businesses.

    Too often people unfortunately seek comfort in the belief that ‘it could never happen to me’.  Yet claims reported to Guild Insurance tell us otherwise.  They remind us that businesses suffer losses every day.

    Some business owners have unrealistic expectations about how they’ll cope if the unthinkable happens.  Businesses are often surprised at just how much they’re impacted when a disaster occurs.  This is why planning for a disaster is vital.  Once something happens, the time to prepare has gone.

    All businesses need to be realistic about what can happen and be proactive in putting risk management strategies in place.

    Matters to consider when preparing for a cyclone

    • Understand your risk of a cyclone based on location and current weather warnings
    • Find out if your building has been built to cyclone standards and make modifications where possible
    • Know the safest route out of your local area
    • Where possible, secure loose items such as outdoor furniture
    • Follow and adhere to cyclone warnings when issued
    • Have a plan, and rehearse it, for what to do in the event there is a cyclone. This plan includes but isn’t limited to:
      • Being ready and willing to leave early
      • An evacuation plan which needs to consider not only staff but any clients or other visitors who may be on the premises
      • An emergency items kit which is packed at all times and includes all emergency contact phone numbers, mobile phone chargers and a first aid kit
    • Be sure all staff are involved in preparing the business for a cyclone
    • Understand what you’re insured for in the event of a cyclone; contact your insurer if this needs updating

    Cyclone preparation resources

    The following resources are available to assist individuals and businesses prepare for and cope with a cyclone.  Utilise these resources to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be.

    NT – securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/cyclones

    QLD – getready.qld.gov.au/natural-disasters/cyclones

    WA – dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/cyclone

    Bureau of Meteorology - bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/checklist.shtml

    Download PDF here

business

  • When a break-in occurs

    A break-in or burglary at work can have far reaching effects.   

    While it’s always better to prevent incidents from happening in the first place, everyone should know what to do if the unexpected does occur. 

    STEP 1:   STAY SAFE AND PRESERVE THE SCENE

    • DO dial 000 to report the incident to Police.
    • DON’T enter the premises if there are signs a break-in may have occurred – e.g. open or damaged windows or doors etc. An intruder may still be inside.  In the event you enter the premise before you realise a break-in has occurred, leave immediately if damage to buildings, equipment or infrastructure makes the area unsafe –e.g. broken glass, water damage, upturned equipment etc.
    • DO promptly contact your manager or business owner to report the incident.
    • DO preserve the ‘evidence’ until Police arrive. Take care not to disturb the crime scene. Make a note of anything you’ve touched and inform the Police when they arrive. This will also assist a Guild Claim Assessor, should one be appointed.
    • DO seek advice from Police before re-opening the premises for usual trading.
    • DO provide support for any staff, contractors or visitors who may be impacted or distressed by the incident.

    STEP 2:   DOCUMENT AND REPORT

    • DO make note of what items, if any, have been stolen or damaged. Again, be careful not to disturb the crime scene.
    • DO ensure you have the identifying details of any stolen equipment readily available e.g. serial number, engraved markings, photos, receipts etc.
    • DO contact Guild Insurance on 1800 810 213 to report the incident over the phone – there are no claim forms to complete.Have your insurance policy details handy. Guild can also arrange any glass repairs for you.
    • DO take photographs of the scene and any damage before beginning the clean-up, or making any temporary repairs.

    STEP 3:   REVIEW WHAT HAPPENED AND APPLY LEARNINGS

    • DO review the effectiveness of your security measures and promptly address any weaknesses. How did the intruder enter the premises? How easy was it to access items of value?
    • DO take this opportunity to review your response to this break-in. Did the staff involved know what to do and did they do it?
    • DO review your policies and procedures so that they reflect these actions and include them in your staff training. Everyone needs to be supported in knowing how to respond.
    • DO take this opportunity to check that your equipment register is accurate and up to date.

    Download PDF here

  • Employee dishonesty

    Someone breaking into your premises or stealing goods at knife point is an obvious threat to any business.  But as claims reported to Guild Insurance show, they’re not the only crimes occurring. 

    Case 1

    A trusted employee was away on leave when her replacement noticed some anomalies in payments made to contractors.  A number of invoices simply didn’t match up.  Although the business name was the same, the layout of the invoice and the style of the font were different.  There were also instances of two invoices for the same amount.

    Further investigation revealed different bank accounts for the same contractor. The police were notified when it was discovered that the employee had been using company funds to pay her personal bills of over $40,000.

    Case 2

    An employee was discovered stealing stock from the business in which she’d worked for many years. Subsequent investigation revealed she then sold the stock through an online business. 

    She went to considerable lengths to systematically steal from her employer by using her unrestricted access to the building to install spyware and remote login software on a number of computers.  It’s alleged she used this software to login into the computer systems from her home and make unauthorized changes to business records.  She was also found to have falsified other documents, such as logbooks and transaction receipts.

    Case 3

    A trusted employee used the Point of Sale (POS) system to divert the proceeds of sales back to her own credit card.  In an effort to cover her tracks, she would report that some credit card receipts had been inadvertently misplaced during busy periods.  Because she had volunteered the information, no one thought to investigate further.

    To make things worse, while the business did have CCTV directed towards the service counter, recordings were not retained. Footage was taped over every 24 hours.

    While people are alert to the threat of crimes by strangers, many underestimate the risk of theft by employees. When it comes to security, successful businesses take steps to address both.

    Employee dishonesty, or fraud, can be hard to manage as it’s less obvious than a burglary or robbery.  People who commit these crimes make a conscious effort to deceive the business by concealing their activities.  They avoid detection by making sure everything seems normal on the surface, while they are systematically stealing cash, stock or other items.  Unfortunately, by the time the theft has been identified, some businesses have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Three things are widely recognised as giving rise to fraudulent activity.

    1. Pressure – mounting debts or other financial pressures in a person’s life can motivate them to do things they wouldn’t normally do, such as steal from their employer.
    2. Opportunity – a work place that doesn’t have systems and processes to protect against dishonest behaviour presents an ideal opportunity for fraud.
    3. Rationalisation – individuals can easily justify their actions with beliefs such as ‘It’s just a loan, I’ll pay it back as soon as I can’ or ‘I deserve something extra, no-one appreciates how hard I work’.

    While it can be difficult for employers to reduce the financial pressure employees’ face, all businesses can take steps to reduce the opportunities for fraudulent activity.

    Protecting your business against dishonesty

    1. Don’t think it won’t happen to you

      It’s tempting to believe that your people and your business are different to those in the case examples.  After all, you’ve invested so much in developing a culture of trust. 

      While trust is important in any working relationship, it doesn’t protect against fraud.  People who commit fraud often conceal their activities by appearing reliable and trustworthy.  That way, supervisors are less likely to keep a close eye on what they’re doing. 

    2. Protect against fraud with systems and processes

      There are many things businesses can do to reduce the risk.  Work with your accountant to ensure you have the right measures in place. For instance:

      • Make sure reconciliation of financial transactions is incorporated into daily work practices.E.g. checking that sales totals match with cash and EFTPOS receipts.Similarly, always reconciling bank statements against the figures recorded in the business’ financial records.

         

      • ‘Separation of duties’ is essential for combatting these crimes.It’s about putting the right checks and balances in place so that no one person has complete control over a single process.E.g.

         

        While Kate is responsible for paying suppliers, she is unable to enter the supplier’s details in the computer system.  That way, she can’t divert payment to another bank account by altering the supplier’s details. 

        Similarly, while Tran is responsible for entering supplier details into the system, he cannot access or execute the payment process. 

      • Step by step procedures for key business practices, such as accounts payable, are a must. Good procedures help people to know what’s expected of them while providing a baseline for monitoring business performance.

      • Commit to good recruitment practices including background checks for new employees.

    3. Lead the way – zero tolerance to fraud

      The right work place culture is essential.  Owners, managers and supervisors must role-model desired behaviours and have a visible presence in the business.  If they’re not vigilant, no one else will be.

      • Following fraud prevention procedures should be non-negotiable. Periodically audit compliance – don’t wait for a problem.
      • Often other people in the business know that dishonest behaviour is occurring. Establish an appropriate ‘whistle blower’ mechanism for staff to report any concerns. And ensure employees have access to adequate support programs.
      • And of course, be on the lookout for suspicious or irregular activity such as:
        • invoice price differs from the amount approved for purchase
        • lost receipts for credit card transactions
        • negative inventory entries
        • unauthorised bad debt write-offs
        • excessive employee overtime
        • unexplained access to buildings or systems

           

    4. Regularly review all security measures
    • Increasingly employees need keys, access codes and IT system logins.But unless businesses are vigilant in managing these, security may be compromised rather than strengthened. Don’t ever use generic logins or access codes.
    • Invest in reputable security software (firewall, antivirus, antispyware etc).Access the Australian Government’s STAY SMART ONLINE website for a free ‘alert service’, self-assessment tools and practical tips.
    • Finally, cash should only be held overnight if an appropriate safe is available.

    Download PDF here

  • Have you prepared for a flood?

    We hear it all the time – a disaster has ruined lives and businesses.

    Too often people unfortunately seek comfort in the belief that ‘it could never happen to me’.  Yet claims reported to Guild Insurance tell us otherwise.  They remind us that businesses suffer losses every day.

    Some business owners have unrealistic expectations about how they’ll cope if the unthinkable happens.  Businesses are often surprised at just how much they’re impacted when a disaster occurs.  This is why planning for a disaster is vital.  Once something happens, the time to prepare has gone.

    All businesses need to be realistic about what can happen and be proactive in putting risk management strategies in place.

    Matters to consider when preparing for a flood

    • Understand your risk of flooding based on location and current weather warnings
    • Know the safest route out of your local area
    • Follow and adhere to flood warnings when issued
    • Have a plan, and rehearse it, for what to do in the event there is a flood.This plan includes but isn’t limited to:
      • What equipment and stock can be stored off the floor or on upper levels of a building to minimise loss
      • Which objects can be secured so they’re less likely to be washed away
      • An evacuation plan which needs to consider not only staff but any clients or other visitors who may be on the premises
      • An emergency items kit which is packed at all times and includes all emergency contact phone numbers, mobile phone chargers and a first aid kit
    • Be sure all staff are involved in preparing the business for a flood
    • Understand what you’re insured for in the event of a flood; contact your insurer if this needs updating

    Flood preparation resources

    All states have a range of resources to assist business and individuals prepare for and cope with a flood.  Utilise these resources to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be.

    ACT – esa.act.gov.au/community-information/storms-and-floods

    NSW – ses.nsw.gov.au/disaster-tabs-header/flood

    NT – securent.nt.gov.au/prepare-for-an-emergency/flooding

    QLD – getready.qld.gov.au/natural-disasters/flood

    SA – ses.sa.gov.au/site/community_safety/floodsafe/flood_information.jsp

    TAS – alert.tas.gov.au/prepare/pages/Flood.aspx

    VIC – ses.vic.gov.au/get-ready/floodsafe

    WA – dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/flood/Pages/prepareforflooding.aspx

    Download PDF here

Guild Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Why Guild Insurance?

For over 55 years, our customers have continued to be central to everything we do.

Better protection through experience.