News Matrix Insurance Group

Month: September 2020

Buying from Insurance Brokers vs. Going Direct: What’s the Difference?
Buying from Insurance Brokers vs. Going Direct: What’s the Difference?

Posted on September 24, 2020 | by Jullian | Posted in Insurance

In this day and age of DIY culture, more and more consumers are buying insurance policies directly from an insurance company. And why not? It’s convenient, it saves money, and it’s less time-consuming compared to other options out there. If you know exactly what your needs are, then going direct is the way to go. But not everyone is keen on direct-buy insurance, especially those who are new to dealing with these sorts of arrangements.

This is where an insurance broker comes in. Everyone’s insurance needs will vary, and the job of insurance brokers is to secure the best policies for their clients. They offer professional and unbiased advice to help their clients make an informed insurance purchase. If you find yourself choosing between these two options, then don’t worry.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the benefits of using an insurance broker in Perth vs. buying directly from an insurance company to see which option is most suited for you.

Why use an insurance broker?

An insurance broker acts as a middle-man between their clients and insurance companies. Basically, they do the cross-comparison shopping to secure ample coverage for their clients based on their needs. Insurance brokers may specialise on a specific type of insurance (.e.g. life insurance or health insurance) or have extensive knowledge about insurance products across various industries. Brokers are licensed and governed by state regulations.

Insurance brokers earn money through sales commissions by selling a policy from the insurance carrier (which amounts to a percentage of their client’s premium). This costs the insurance company more to sell you insurance through a broker, which can affect the price they charge.

Benefits of using an insurance broker

Insurance brokers work for you by carefully analysing your options and help you acquire the most optimal insurance in a timely and stress-free manner. Their expertise ensures you are matched with the ideal policy to meet your specific needs. Most brokers are familiar with the policies of more than one company and they bring this expertise to use to filter out the right terms, coverage, and conditions.

Insurance can be pretty complex, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the jargon used in the industry. Most consumers end up buying policies they don’t need simply because they don’t have enough knowledge about insurance (which leads to more expensive premiums). There’ no substitute for genuine expertise and years of experience in the insurance field and brokers are well-versed in that regard.

What to consider before using an insurance broker

Insurance brokers get paid by the insurance company for selling you a policy. This means the final cost of an insurance policy can be much higher than a direct-buy policy. If the insurance is the same rate year after year, your policy requires payment of the commission repeatedly — and if the price goes up, the commission may go up, as well. Some brokers don’t handle claims. For that, you’d still need to go through the insurance company’s claims team. Make sure to discuss this with your broker for full disclosure.

What Is Direct-buy Insurance?

As the name suggests, direct-buy insurance is the act of buying a policy directly from an insurance company.o directly to the company’s website to buy a policy. There’s no middle-man to negotiate the purchase as it’s just between you and the insurance company itself. You’ll form a relationship with the insurance company which is a big deal to people who care about brands and reputation. This relationship starts when you apply for the policy and can continue throughout the policy’s lifespan and beyond.

Some direct-buy insurance companies are aiming for a more tech-savvy approach to cater to the new generations. Along with the standard live customer service teams and claims groups, you might encounter features like live chat, instant (same-day) downloadable policies, custom dashboards, and more. Insurance brokers might also have online platforms for you to buy insurance, but they are not the insurance company paying your claims.

Benefits of direct-buy insurance

One of the main benefits of going direct is that you’ll find lower prices on your premiums. This can be attributed to the insurance company not having to pay an insurance broker a sales commission. You also avoid some of the fees that brokers charge when they represent you. Since you’re the one buying the policy, you won’t have to deal with sales pressure and you can comfortably make choices all on your own.

Buying directly from an insurance company is usually fast and easy. Depending on the company, you may even be able to get last-minute coverage.

What to Consider About Direct-Buy Insurance

Direct-buy insurance is recommended for those who understand their needs and know which policies to purchase. When shopping around, try to obtain quotes from various insurance companies to compare prices. Buyers who have more complex insurance requirements may need to have a policy customized, and it may take time and experience to explore those options on your own.

Thermal Imaging: How to Use it to Protect Your Business from Electrical Faults
Thermal Imaging: How to Use it to Protect Your Business from Electrical Faults

Posted on September 15, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

We’ve all heard that old adage, “prevention is better than cure”. And when it comes to protecting your business from electrical faults, it’s surely an adage worth paying attention to. Faulty electrical equipment is one of the leading causes of workplace fires in Australia and it can have a devastating impact on your business. From being unable to operate to potentially losing specialised equipment, minimising electrical faults is crucial to protecting your business from huge financial losses.

This is where thermal imaging comes in. In this article, we’ll discuss what thermal imaging is all about and how you can use it to prevent electrical faults inside your establishment.

Why use thermal imaging

Thermal imaging is one of the most cost-effective ways of managing electrical faults. It ensures there are no hidden faults underneath a switchboard, distribution board or any heat-emitting device for that matter. It could save a company from a whole lot of trouble, not to mention a whole lot of money as well. Over the years, the cost of thermal imaging has decreased significantly, making it even more accessible to businesses of all sizes.  This can prove to be a huge difference-maker in terms of spotting an issue in advance or overlooking a serious problem that could come with catastrophic consequences.

By using thermal imaging in your switchboards and other pieces of electrical equipment, you can detect anomalies in the hot spots early on address them immediately before they turn into a major issue. When a piece of equipment fails, you face significant downtime along with the additional repair/replacement costs. If there are dangerous conditions within the switchboard, it could catch fire or induce or induce an electric shock to employees in close proximity, and that could otherwise be fatal.

How does thermal imaging work

Thermal imaging is conducted by an infra-red camera that scans electrical equipment and captures different levels of infrared light. This then tracks the heat emitted by the scanned equipment and detects its surface temperature. 

A thermal imaging scan of the equipment is produced. These can identify areas of the equipment that are working properly, those that require careful monitoring, and those that require immediate maintenance.

The imaging scans can then be used as part of an agreed maintenance schedule. By identifying equipment and infrastructure that are at risk of electrical faults, it’s much easier to implement an improvement plan that’s safe, accurate, and timely.

Not only does thermal imaging mitigate business interruptions, but it also circumnavigates a whole host of other problems that could prove financially devastating if left unaddressed.

How often should you conduct thermal imaging?

How often a specific business needs thermal imaging depends on a number of factors such as the type of equipment used and the amount of load the system is under. Since each business is unique, there are no set of standards regarding the frequency of thermal imaging.

For example, in a regular office building, we suggest conducting thermal imaging scans every one to three years, taking into account the size of the building and the nature of the business. A manufacturing site, on the other hand, has much high power drain on the electrical systems, which makes thermal imaging necessary at least annually. If it’s a mining site, potentially every week if possible.

Ideally, you should be balancing the load you’re putting onto the system. It helps to know the equipment you’re using as well to limit the risk of something going completely haywire. This is especially important if you’re renting your business. For businesses that rent their premises, it’s a good idea to know where the responsibility for system maintenance and thermal imaging falls. While the building’s electrical system is usually the building owner’s responsibility, the load that’s placed on it (along with the equipment used) is mostly down to the tenant. If you’re unsure about this, make sure to clarify with your landlord.

In such an instance, it’s safe not to assume. If there’s not an agreement in place, there needs to be a conversation. Sometimes the tenant pays, sometimes the building owner, sometimes it’s split between the two.

Using thermal imaging for your business

Using thermal imaging requires experience and expertise. It’s wise to leave this to professionals that are well-versed in using a thermographic camera. These individuals know how to conduct, scan analysis and can recommend the ideal corrective action to limit potential electrical faults.

Commercial electrical contractors sometimes offer thermal imaging as an additional service – and if not, they should be able to recommend an accredited professional to their clients. Once you’ve found the right people to hire, the first thing you should do is acquire a baseline assessment. What this does is identify immediate problems and be a point of reference to compare future scans with. It can also provide significant comfort to you, as a business owner, that you’ve got full visibility on the electrical risk of your business.

8 Risk Management Tips that Every Food Business Should Know
8 Risk Management Tips that Every Food Business Should Know

Posted on September 01, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

When it comes to running a food business, preparing for the worst is critical to its success. From food spoilage and kitchen fires to liquor liability lawsuits and allergic reactions, a single incident can quickly turn around your fortunes and even force you to close your doors for good. That’s why it’s important for businesses to conduct a restaurant risk analysis first to identify potential issues and address them early on.

In this article, we’ll be discussing 7 of the best risk management tips that will keep your employees safe, protect the nature of your business, and ensure the success of your food business by limiting the chances of incidents from occurring.

1. Proper staff training

Your staff is the driving force of your food business and having a competent team of employees can really make a huge difference. It all starts with proper staff training and certification. Your staff should be well-versed at handling day-to-day operations and demonstrate both skill and knowledge in the following areas.

  • Work safety – Protect your employees by conducting regular training sessions on using kitchen tools, equipment, and the like. Your staff should wear the right uniform for work along with the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for their line of duty.
  • Food sanitation –  Walk your employees through the proper food safety protocol such as knowing how to store, handle, and prepare food. Hygiene is a top priority when running a food business so make sure your staff are knowledgeable about food safety and sanitation.
  • Customer service –  One of the hallmarks of a great food business is excellent customer service. Employees who interact with customers should know how to address their concerns in a friendly and professional manner.
  • Alcohol service – If your business serves, sells, or furnishes alcohol, you could be held liable for incidents involving an intoxicated guest. Make sure your employees are trained in proper alcohol service, especially when dealing with an intoxicated guest.

2. Take advantage of technology

Food businesses today should take advantage of technology to mitigate potential privacy risks. For example, if you store sensitive customer information like credit card numbers, it should be in your best interest to protect those data at all costs. Keep phishing, malware, and viruses at bay with the appropriate software and firewall. Add password protection and encryption to your WiFi to secure your customers from hackers.

3. Maintain the facilities

To reduce the odds of property damage, be sure to maintain the facilities of your restaurant. First and foremost, the kitchen should always be clean and hygienic. Conduct regular inspection to ensure the interior and exterior of your establishment are in good working order. A well-maintained restaurant will not only draw in more customers but will also be safer for you and your staff to operate in.

4.  Meet health and safety codes

Meeting health codes is a must for any food business and your staff should know how to follow them to the tee. Regulations vary by state and country which is why you want to review them and have your staff walk through the health codes. Employee hygiene, food storage, and proper equipment use are just some of the ways to reduce cross-contamination in the kitchen.

5. Acquire the right licensing

You will be required to obtain the right licensing before your food business is up and running. Some of the things you’ll need to obtain are:

  • Business license. In most counties, your business must have a commercial license in order to legally operate so securing a business licence should be one of your main priorities.
  • Foodservice license. If your restaurant or bar passes health inspections, your local health department will issue you a food service license.
  • Liquor license. You will need a liquor license in order to sell or serve alcoholic beverages at your place of business. Some states may even require your servers to carry permits before they can legally serve the public.

6. Disclose dietary information and potential allergens

According to the Australian Consumer Law, failure to list a potential allergen in a meal is considered a breach and you may end up dealing with a case in your hands. Keep your customers safe and disclose any dietary information and potential allergens in your restaurant’s menu.  For example, if you offer gluten-, dairy-, or meat-free dishes, make sure to highlight these offerings on your menus to assist customers with dietary restrictions.

If possible, list nutritional details about your food items on the menu, in a separate handout, or on your website. This is especially helpful if you have low-calorie options you want to feature for health-conscious guests.

7. Preparing for forced closure

Running a food business is about the constant balance between income and expenses. When an incident such as a fire, natural disaster, or a global health pandemic leads to an unforeseen closure, the loss of income can prove devastating. This is where business interruption insurance comes in. Business interruption insurance provides protection against forced closures associated with a property insurance claim.

Having the right insurance policies is an important part of any restaurant’s risk management plan. It helps you prepare for unexpected incidents and weather financial storms stemming from serious accidents and lawsuits. To learn more about which type of insurance your business needs, contact Matrix Insurance today and we’ll attend to your needs as soon as possible.

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