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Reviewing risk is essential

17 January 2017

By John Robertson, Realcover Chief Operating Officer

The end of the calendar year is always a good time to review how well you have performed in the previous year and plan for the next.
However, the focus shouldn’t be solely on performance. It’s also the perfect time to review your insurance needs as well, and assess if anything has changed that could impact your business.

This year the real estate industry has seen the introduction of many significant legislative changes, including those relating to swimming pools and the new foreign resident CGT withholding tax regime. All of these have impacted the way the industry works and agencies have had to adapt the way they run their business.

Open to risk

Changes that you’ve made to your own business can also have an impact. This could be as a result of growth or reduction in size, staff turnover, or a change in the scope of services you offer.

If your turnover increases or you alter the type of services you provide, it will often have a knock-on effect for your insurances. That’s why it’s important to review your business to determine the level of protection needed – if you don’t, it could leave you open to risk.

If you move your business into areas that are higher risk, the level and type of cover you have may no longer be adequate for your needs and your policy may need to be updated. However if you don’t tell your insurer and your policy isn’t amended, if a claim is made against you it could mean you find yourself open to risks that you’re not protected against.

That’s why it’s important to regularly review your business and the risks you are exposed to, and assess the impact on your insurance. This is true for all insurances, not just professional indemnity insurance.

In the know

You might not always be aware of how often you should review your insurance or what affect particular changes to your business will have. That’s why you need to talk to your insurer and ask them questions to find out what you need to do.

It’s critical that your insurer understands your business, the risks you face and what you’re up against. This is where an insurer with knowledge and experience in real estate is crucial, as they will understand your needs and any changes to your coverage that are needed.

What to consider when reviewing your insurance

  1. Identifying risks. This is the first step an agency should take to assess the levels of risk and the best ways to manage and mitigate them
  2. Mitigating risks. Once the risks have been identified, you need to find the solution to make sure they can be mitigated. This could be by using disclaimers on documentation, putting in place well documented and tested procedures, or carrying out a regular audit
  3. Managing risk. It is crucial to have a policy in place detailing how you manage risk, because this is the best defence to protect your business from litigation
  4. Training staff. Your staff need to be aware of how to avoid risk and the best way to do this is to make sure they know the legislation
  5. Real estate knowledge. Does your insurer understand real estate? This is crucial if they are to offer you the best protection.

Let Realcover protect your business with professional indemnity insurance designed with your needs in mind. When it is time to renew your policy, contact Realcover on 1800 990 312 for a quote. REINSW members are eligible for a substantial discount off Realcover’s standard professional indemnity insurance premium (excluding charges).