News Matrix Insurance Group

Category: Insurance

What You Need to Know About Cabinet Maker Insurance
What You Need to Know About Cabinet Maker Insurance

Posted on May 14, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

Having an eye for detail is important if you wish to create masterful woodwork. Along with proper skills and training, it takes years of experience to become a professional cabinet maker. But even the greatest cabinet-makers are prone to experiencing a few hiccups here and there and the risks that come from this type of work can spell disaster if not managed properly. From damaging a client’s property to having your tools nicked or stolen, a lot can go wrong when you’re in the cabinet-making industry.

This is where cabinet maker insurance comes into play. By obtaining the right type of insurance, you can protect yourself from financial losses that come from sudden mishaps or unfortunate events. This article will cover everything you need to know about cabinet maker insurance to help secure your business from financial hardships.

Why you need cabinet maker insurance

Being in the cabinet-making business is very challenging. You help customers select the right hardware, talk to suppliers in sourcing the best base materials, and even create custom cabinet designs on your own. Working as a cabinet maker can be very rewarding, but only if you have the right insurance in place. If you don’t have the right type of insurance, you can potentially face financial difficulties down the road.

For example, if a customer accidentally slips while inside your business premises or your sign gets damaged by a rough storm, you’ll have to reach for your pockets and pay for any expenses as a result (i.e. medical bills or repairs). But if you have the appropriate types and amounts of insurance, you don’t have to worry about paying for anything as the insurance will cover it for you. Here are several types of insurance that cabinet makers may need:

General liability insurance

General liability insurance protects cabinet makers from common pitfalls and hazards. Say a customer walks into the cabinet making area and they get injured accidentally. As a business owner, it is your legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for your customers and if you fail in that responsibility, you can be held financially liable. General liability coverage safeguards you from such instances and absorbs any expenses or claims by customers who get injured while at the business site. Liability will also cover ant damage/ or injury caused at your clients premises

Worker’s compensation insurance

If you employ staff as cabinet makers, you are required to provide worker’s compensation insurance. This type of insurance covers any medical costs for employees who get injured on the job. Not only does it take off the financial burden of rehabilitation to your shoulders, but it also ensures that your employees receive proper, timely medical services to continue providing for their families. The coverage can also be arranged in a way that covers travelling employees on behalf of your business.

Business Insurance

A business insurance provides the same protection as general liability insurance, but with the added benefit of protecting your physical assets. 

Designed to cover repairs and/or replacements for property damage resulting in storms, floods, or other natural disasters. You can also configure this policy to safeguard you from financial losses brought about by theft or lost items. Business insurance is crucial to your business as any significant damage to buildings, structures, and property can cause business interruption and loss of profit. 

Motor Vehicle insurance

Having your business motor vehicle’s insured can protect both you, your  employees and the other parties involved in a accident – you can choose from comprehensive, third party fire and theft and third party only

How Foodservice Businesses Can Mitigate the Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic
How Foodservice Businesses Can Mitigate the Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted on May 05, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the foodservice industry across the world, many Australian hospitality owners are facing unique challenges they’ve never seen before. Businesses owners in this industry are advised to monitor their last income statement to determine which areas felt the most impact. If the sales drop, how will that trickle down to the expenses? While labour and food costs can be adjusted, rent and insurance cannot.

Restaurant and cafe owners usually focus on pushing out food and beverages and what menu works best for their customers. But now is the time for owners to make crucial adjustments and become ‘numbers people’ in hopes of riding out the storm. Thankfully, this unprecedented downturn in business can be minimized by practising a few practical tips which we’ll discuss down below.

Approaching your staff

  • Before you let go of your staff, you have to establish a solid plan. Who will be the first to let go? And what will you owe them afterwards? Letting go of permanent staff members means there’s a possibility for redundancy payments. We suggest doing your own research to help manage your expectations when letting staff go.
  • Communicate with your staff in an open manner. With all of the attention-grabbing headlines today, being the bearer of bad news can be a tough pill to swallow. Despite this, your staff is expecting you to be fair before they get shown the door. Create an internal communication system like a WhatsApp or a Facebook chat group to discuss things openly with your staff.
  • Be prompt with the statements needed to give your staff the benefits that will help them support themselves without work. It’s important to have a good understanding of how this works as Newstart Allowance has been replaced with Jobseeker Payment as the main income support payment for individuals between ages 22 and pension age.
  • Not all staff have a clear understanding of the financial workings of the business. As a business owner, you owe them transparency by explaining to them your income statement. It won’t be pretty, but at least they get to view things from your perspective.
  • Insist on unwell staff to stay at home. Some staff may want to work while sick, but that is not okay given the current circumstances. Many will be casual which equates to no work, no pay.

Improving customer service

  • Take advantage of home delivery options whether it be food pickup thru your online ordering page or by using third-party systems (if the margins permit such costs). Adding a takeaway option is critical to keep your business afloat during this pandemic.
  • Consider upgrading your delivery platform. Customers are seeking ‘no contact’ payments like hygienic packaging and touch payments. Observe how big operators like McDonald’s make adjustments to their pickup and delivery space and try to emulate their practices as best as you can.
  • Maintain the highest level of food safety and hygiene throughout the entire kitchen. Assure your customers on your hygiene efforts to maintain their trust in your services.
  • Invest in better staff training. Improved cleaning, hygiene, and customer services translate into long-term benefits that go well beyond the pandemic.
  • Place a concerted effort to your admin and office systems. You can’t afford to waste time and efficiency at a time of crisis. Think about moving tasks online that still require paper and conduct payrolls, orders, and social media activities remotely.
  • Improve communication with your customers. Take advantage of various social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to build interest and let everyone know about your offerings. An interesting newsletter each week is a welcome addition considering that most people look towards cafes and restaurants for food comfort.
  • Maintain a warm and friendly service. Positive interactions establish deeper connections with customers, especially during a pandemic where people are surrounded by attention-grabbing headlines.

Other factors worth considering

  • Discuss the delivery and food availability with your suppliers. Chances are they’re having their own staffing issues to deal with, meaning your orders will be down and the entire supply chain may be affected as well.
  • Ask your accountant on how they can negotiate tax and bills payments with the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Have your lawyer talk to your landlord about rent payments. Paying full rent at a loss of revenue can hurt your business. Try to share your figures and seek what arrangements you can come to terms with to help soften the blow of the pandemic.
  • Learn about government support payments. These funds are being announced regularly which makes it crucial to know which ones relate to your business.
  • Talk to your creditors. They most likely have their own problems as well, but that doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to negotiate. Find out which of your creditors are tolerant and which ones you can negotiate with.
  • Check for cancellation terms on your function booking agreements. Evaluate the strictness of these agreements, see what you can possibly enforce, and make adjustments when necessary.

With the coronavirus pandemic threatening hospitality businesses, taking swift action is critical to reducing its impact. These practical tips can help you make better decisions on how to handle your staff, provide efficient customer service, and deal with other aspects of your business to help keep the operations running. Should you have any additional issues relating to insurance it is always advisable to speak directly with a hospitality insurance expert in Australia.

Who Pays the Bills When a Hotel is Placed Under Quarantine?
Who Pays the Bills When a Hotel is Placed Under Quarantine?

Posted on April 16, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

With the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry has found itself in a complete standstill. Hotels with guests that tested positive for COVID-19 are under lockdown and impenetrable barriers have been placed to help contain the spread of the virus. With seemingly no end to the pandemic in sight, there’s a good chance that the lockdown will be extended until the number of cases starts dropping significantly.

Hotel owners and operators are already feeling the loss of revenue. Factor in the corresponding guest costs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and you have business owners who find themselves in a very difficult situation. The question is, who will pick up the tabs as a result of the pandemic? And how can hotel owners recover from such a financially devastating situation? Let’s take a look at some of the answers to find out.

Business interruption insurance coverage

For the majority of hotel owners and operators, business interruption insurance will be one of their main focal points. Most people will take out policies along with standard property damage insurance. Such policies usually cover loss of revenue resulting from business interruptions and are subject to other liability caps. However, recovery under these types of policies will mostly depend on the insured showing that the business interruption is due to physical damage or loss of property.

Some insurance products like event cancellation may appear relevant, but often these products are subject to exclusions in regards to communicable diseases. Liability policies like public liability insurances and employer’s liability will only be applicable if the insured has been negligent in following proper health and safety procedures and caused injury/harm to an employee or third party.

Some policies also have express exclusions regarding communicable or infectious diseases. This means that it’s very likely that the COVID-19 pandemic is not covered under most standard policies. In reality, most hotel owners may not have adequate coverage for the business interruptions brought about by COVID-19, which is why we recommend discussing the coverage with your insurance broker before the losses start to pile up.

Government assistance

Many industries across the globe are lobbying their governments to soften the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic through emergency assistance funds. In countries like France and Singapore, such funds are being combined with rental waivers and property tax rebates to lessen the impact of flagging demand in the hospitality industry.

Still, the pandemic is currently in its initial stages and because there’s a limit to government assistance, hotel associations in affected jurisdictions should focus on seeking priority of payout for quarantined hotels. We recommend hotel owners and operators to confirm if the emergency assistance funds will be forbidden from those who possess business interruption insurance.

Responsibility between the hotel owner and operator

If proper insurance coverage or government assistance are lacking, the costs are likely to be shouldered by either the hotel owner or the operator. It’s unlikely that a hotel operator will be directly responsible for shouldering the costs, except for when the operator provides guarantees in regards to the hotel’s performance. Typically, it’s the owner’s responsibility to foot the bill in terms of cost-related hotel operations.

The hotel management agreement should allow the costs to be incurred (even if not budgeted) and to constitute operating expenses. Such agreements often include broad language to incur expenses by the hotel operator which they deem necessary or reasonable to run the business.  The coronavirus quarantine is a government directive and therefore, the hotel operator should be within their contractual obligations to incur costs due to the quarantine as operating expenses, even if the costs were not approved in the annual budget.

From a hotel operator’s point of view, it would be beneficial for the costs to be shouldered by the owner instead of the hotel’s operating expenses. But unless the government decides to stipulate a legal obligation for the hotel owner to shoulder the costs, it’s considered outside of their responsibility. It is always beneficial to understand your current position by speaking with an expert who specialises in hotel insurance throughout Australia.

Guest responsibility

In some jurisdictions, especially those that lack customer protection legislation, the hotel guests are likely to pay for the costs as a result of the quarantine. However, the hotel owner and operator may assume responsibility in light of reputational repercussions for asking guests for payments due to a government-imposed quarantine. Any hotel guest that finds themselves under hotel quarantine should check their booking terms, whether directly or through a travel agent, to clarify future costs as the lockdown progresses.

Serving up a Schooner of the Best Insurance Plan for the Hospitality Industry
Serving up a Schooner of the Best Insurance Plan for the Hospitality Industry

Posted on March 18, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

Few insurance brokerages in Perth are as dynamic and reliable as Matrix Insurance. Based in Perth, WA, the insurance firm caters to clients across Australia and its co-founder/managing director, Oliver Whittingham, knows that a personalized service is key to meeting their client’s needs. An integral part of Matrix’s business is providing general insurance advice for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). By having access to more insurers and underwriters in this market, means that Matrix is in a prime position to find the right policies with a competitive premium.

Aside from serving their SME client base, Matrix also collaborates with a unique audience that entails an interesting story. The brokerage also works with hotels and pubs to meet their insurance requirements. But instead of connecting with establishments in popular beach spots or CBDs, Matrix caters to clients in rural and regional parts of Australia, with most establishments boasting a rich history.

The question is, how did Whittingham and Matrix get into brokering for the hospitality industry? He shares that his previous work experience led to his fascination. “While working in London for five years, one of my key areas of focus was the late-night leisure industry; nightclubs, bars, taverns and venues. I really enjoyed the buzz of the hospitality industry and it was an area of insurance I could really relate to.”

Upon returning to Australia in 2008, Whittingham observed that the insurance for hospitality establishments, especially the smaller ones in regional places, needed major improvements. He explained, “It was obvious there wasn’t enough choice for publicans, and they felt that the big corporates didn’t really ‘get’ their business and that cover wasn’t tailored to their specific business needs. Protecting these hotels to ensure they’re covered correctly is very rewarding – they’re part of the fabric of our great Australian culture.”

And indeed they are. The Australian pub has no equal, serving as both a rowdy watering hole and an enjoyable meeting place. Essentially, it’s become the living room that all Aussies are welcome to. It’s these reasons that Matrix and Whittingham are keen to deliver the industry’s insurance requirements at a very high quality.

Whittingham explains the unique insurance challenges of hotels and pubs. Things such as construction, the geographical location of establishments away from resources, those who are located in bushfire-prone areas, building age, subpar building quality and maintenance, and presence of asbestos make it difficult to create a one-size-fits all policy.

He says, “Hotels and pubs such as these certainly do face unique challenges when it comes to insurance. Most hotels and pubs are placed into the Lloyd’s of London market. Each venue is different from one another and each face different challenges, so it demonstrates to Lloyd’s markets that each one needs to be looked at and underwritten on its own merit and risk profile.”

Underinsurance is also a real issue for these establishments. While it’s a challenging topic to discuss with publicans, Whittingham believes that having adequate insurance coverage is very, very important. “It is critical to ensure asset values reflect reasonable replacement values to ensure policies will respond when relied on,” Whittingham explained. “The help of Google maps, satellite imagery and building replacement calculators is significant, but with the rising cost of insurance premiums in the property sector and heavy taxes and emergency levies in some states this presents an ongoing challenge.”

Insurers are closely monitoring at the replacement values of hotels and pubs. Sometimes, they’ll even request for professional building valuations and resist quoting when they feel an establishment is underinsured. One piece of advice publicans should heed is to ensure the replacement value reflects that of the structure they currently have.

Matrix works closely with each of their clients. They’ve gone to meet-ups with hotels and pubs across regional Australia and they’re well aware of each establishment’s rich history. Whittingham said, “Many of the hotels that we insure are over 120 years old and hold many stories and memories – they are a real community hub and meeting place for locals, tourists and passers-by. Many of the older ones hold a Heritage listing, which preserves the look and feel of the hotel and town.

Plenty of Aussies can relate to how somehow the beer taste better the move remote the pub. And for Whittingham, he feels exactly the same. “One thing is for sure, the more remote the pub, the better the beer seems to taste after a long drive. I’m still working on convincing my family and friends that when I’m off on another country pub road trip that I am actually working!”..

A Guide to Managing Insurance Better for Businesses
A Guide to Managing Insurance Better for Businesses

Posted on March 18, 2020 | by | Posted in Insurance

Having insurance is essential for any business. It is not the sexiest of topics, but it’s important for entrepreneurs to know how to manage the risks in the industry they’re in. Few people love insurance. Yes, it’s needed, respected, and appreciated, but most people discuss the stress of making claims and the rising insurance premiums rather than its potential benefit. Some people find themselves under-insured, while others find their insurance broker in Perth a life saviour.

In this article, we’ll be discussing how you can manage your insurance so that when claiming time comes, things will work much more smoothly.

Updating policies

One of the most common mistakes people make is that they don’t review their policies on a regular basis. If your personal and business policies aren’t up to date, then you might encounter a few problems in the future. In terms of reassessing insurance policies, a minimum of once a year will suffice. You don’t want to renew on the same levels each year or stay at the value of your policy. For example, let’s say you bought plenty of new equipment the past year and all of them are worth $7 million which was estimated at $6 million previously.

While it sounds crazy to forget a million dollars, it happens more frequently than you think. People just renew their policies without even thinking about it. If you have insufficient coverage, you won’t be able to claim for your full loss.

Overinsurance is just as real as underinsurance. Occasionally, some people will downsize but forget notifying their insurer. We all hate paying extra for insurance because there’s no real benefit, but sometimes people forget updating the values in their policy and they still have reasonably high values that haven’t been reassessed. 

Whenever there’s a slight change in your business activity, make sure to consult your broker. Even a slight change in your operations can sometimes be enough to breach your policy and you may not even be aware of it.

Protecting your business

There’s more to insurance than just protecting your buildings and equipment. Loss of profit insurance can protect you from losing income while you’re unable to operate. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have loss of profit insurance or, their cover has been based on their accounting gross profit when it should be their insurance gross profit.

Every business should have this type of policy because in the unfortunate event that your property burns, the insurance company will pay you millions for the physical part you’ve insured. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. Usually, it takes three to eight months before it is completely paid. Your lost income is paid weekly or monthly while the claim is being sorted. You can also insure your staff’s payroll and you have the option of insuring only your full-time staff or include your casual staff members as well.

Some businesses tend to protect the full-timers only so as to avoid losing quality staff to the competition. If you have payroll insurance, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, your staff might not wait until you operate again and force them to find another job.

Making claims

Making insurance claims isn’t anyone’s cup of tea. Most of us prefer to rather not make one at all. But at some point, you will have to submit a formal request to your insurance company. But before you do, make sure to compile as much information about your business as possible, especially the physical aspects like buildings, machinery, equipment, stock, and materials. The more information you have, the better.

We strongly suggest keeping backups of receipts and those sorts of things. With cloud storage available, it’s much easier to backup important documents than ever. You don’t need to provide hard copies as most insurance companies are all electric. But you may notice that some of the older companies still use traditional filing cabinets and aren’t as sophisticated with tech as other insurers. It’s still worth going through your papers and scanning them just in case you need them.

When things go haywire

It’s not all the time that insurers are helpful. Whether it’s an honest error or a less-than-ideal staff, claims can sometimes take forever to get sorted or get knocked back for reasons that are seemingly spurious. In times like this though, there is an option available and that is to hire a broker. The benefit here is that a broker has thousands of policies with a particular company to which they can leverage that and say, “you guys need to pay this”. Of course they won’t fuss with losing one client, but if they deal with the broker and they’re not cooperative, they might end up losing business as well as millions of dollars worth of premiums.

Taking the time to manage your insurance will help save you plenty of stress and headaches in the long run. Hopefully with these tips, you can optimize your insurance policies and give you peace of mind while running your business.

Request a FREE Quote