The following Insurance Guidelines have been put together by ClubsNSW Learning & Development Specialist Debbie Organ to assist clubs in compiling, submitting and following up insurance claims relating to the recent bushfires. All enquiries pertaining to insurance can be directed to Debbie or ClubsNSW Executive Manager Corporate Services, Brandon Punter.
- Locate your insurance policy and review. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot locate it, your insurance broker should have a copy.
The insurance document sets out your terms and conditions and limitations/exclusions. There will also be a separate document, known as the “schedule’, which shows the insurance details specific to your club. It will include additional terms and conditions and exclusions relevant to your club. The schedule will list the limit of your insurance, and what your insurance covers (despite what is written in the standard terms and conditions, only the areas shown as ‘covered’ on the schedule are insured).
- Refer to policy wording - for larger clubs this is Industrial Special Risks (ISR) which should include all-encompassing insurance, including loss of profits and business interruption. For smaller clubs, it will be referred to as Business Insurance. Please note, every insurance policy is different, and understanding the terms and conditions is critical.
Whilst every policy and every insurance negotiation is specific to the club, there is a misunderstanding in some cases as to what Business Interruption Insurance is. It is fair to assume, for example, for those clubs who could not trade during the bushfires, they may be entitled to claim for Business Interruption Insurance. However, in many cases, Business Interruption Insurance is only applicable when there is either full or partial physical loss, being destruction or damage to the physical property (being the club buildings).
Only by reviewing your agreement, will you be able to ascertain if you are eligible for Business Interruption Insurance Is some cases, Business Interruption Insurance will apply to the club, despite no physical damage to the club property, if the interference with the business was a consequence of damage to property in the vicinity of the club. If this damage to associated property, roads, or items such as power outage due to substation destroyed, it may be that club has a justifiable claim for loss of net trade, stock etc for the time the club was effected.
- Provide a detailed incident report. Keep a log of events, calls, costs, repairs and interruptions to business. Details of how the fires affected the club, staff and community, details of road closures, and any other relevant details such as the club being used as an evacuation centre, or refuge.
Photos are a fast and simple way to begin documenting losses and they serve as reference of the damage. Take photos before and after any immediate repairs (especially electrical wiring etc) that are needed to be made. Photograph damaged equipment, but don’t throw the equipment out until the insurance assessor has confirmed they do not need to inspect.
- Email your initial report and photos to your broker or insurer. Provide this report to your insurance company or broker irrespective of whether there was physical damage to the club. In cases where Business Interruption Insurance is technically not covered under your policy (due to non-physical damage to property), it is possible that insurers will honour some or all of your Business Interruption Claim as a sign of ‘good faith’. Again, check what inclusions are claimable, but it may include items such as: loss of net profit, any increased emergency staff costs, emergency repair costs, loss of stock, damage to equipment, professional specialist fees etc.
- For partial or major fire damage to Club buildings and property, once the loss detail is provided to Insurer they will appoint an external assessor to inspect the damaged premises. Do what you can to secure the site, and protect from further damage, theft or vandalism.
- Be patient – with the volume of claims there may be a delay with the assessor contacting the Club to arrange inspection/carry out inspection.
- For partially damaged clubs, ensure the operating business and takings are adequately secured.
- Make necessary repairs. The fire insurance claim may take time to resolve, so make any temporary repairs to mitigate further damage and to make the building safe. Be sure to retain all documentation of the materials used, costs, contractors required etc. However, don’t begin any permanent repairs until you have received approval from your insurer.
- For clubs whose buildings/property are not damaged but there is a loss of trade due to power outage, specify when submitting claim what caused the outage (eg. substation destroyed by fire) and the days lost and estimated net trading loss (including any stock lost).
- Ask your insurer for an up-front initial payment to assist cash flow – some may provide or will wait until assessor provides report on completion of site inspection.
- Get preliminary quotes for repairs from at least 2 providers (3 for larger jobs). Although you may have a preferred contractor after a fire, getting quotes from different suppliers can help you find the right contractor for the job as well as give you an estimate of what your insurance claim will be.
- Monitor the progress of your insurance claim.
- Seek specialist advice if there is a dispute with your insurer. Insurers are bound by the General Insurance Code of Practice. You can obtain a copy of the code or report any unfair behaviour to the Insurance Council of Australia.
- Check if there are any other emergency funding avenues you may be entitled to (Government/Council assistance etc).