Protect your business against the impact of cyber crime

In recent years there have been many reports of major cyber-attacks on a number of organisations across the globe.

There are many types of malicious software that are designed to corrupt data and breach privacy, and business owners and managers are responsible for doing all they can to maintain their systems to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Privacy legislation introduced in March 2014 contains penalties of $340,000 for individuals and $1.7 million for companies that fail to meet their obligations and breach legislation.

These recent incidents and penalties for non-compliance highlight the importance of being vigilant regardless of what software or platform you are using. The following are good practices to keep in place to maintain the integrity of your system and data:

•    Ensure software updates are enabled.
•    Make sure you have installed virus protection software and that it is active.
•    Avoid opening emails from unknown sources.
•    Do not open email attachments from senders you do not know.
•    Backup your data regularly.

Cyber and Privacy Protection Insurance can help protect businesses from the financial impact of a cyber-attack or a privacy breach. Cyber Insurance offers a broad cover for wide variety of risks resulting from the use of technology including your use of the internet, email, intranet, extranet or your website. Some policy inclusions are listed below:

  • Business Interruption – Reimbursement of loss of profits, and necessary expenses incurred to maintain operation of the business as a result of the interruption.
  • Fines and Penalties – Reimbursement of fines and penalties as a result of breaching the privacy act.
  • Breach of privacy - Cover against breach of confidence and infringement of your customers’ rights to privacy.
  • Damage to your network or website - If you are hacked and your data is deleted or stolen, or if your network , system or website is damaged, insurer will pay the repair or replacement expenses.
  • Transmission of a virus – Cover for inadvertent transmission of a computer virus.
  • Third Party Liability - If you have mistakenly infringed someone’s copyright or published a defamatory statement on your website or in your email, including defamatory statements regarding your client or business competitor, the insurer will indemnify you against the sums you have to pay as compensation, including the cost of fines and penalties as a result of breaching the privacy act.
  •  Cyber Extortion - A hacker may threaten to damage your website in return for a ransom. Insurer will indemnify you against the ransom paid.

In summary, Cyber insurance can't protect your organisation from cyber crime, but it can keep your business on stable financial footing should a significant security event occur.

For more information on how you can insure your business against cyber crime please contact our expert on 1300 242 136.

If you are a member of SPASA Victoria please contact our SPASA Victoria account manager, Sarah Gardiner-Smith on (03) 8586 9363 or email 

Manufacturing: Cutting your current costs

The Australian manufacturing industry landscape is regularly changing. Currently, businesses are grappling with high running costs, rising labour and energy costs, energy policy uncertainty; all major factors that can impact your bottom line and your success within a highly competitive, global market.

As business owners and managers, you are forced to keep up with being innovative and adaptable, to secure your business and to ensure its viability over the short and long-term.  There will always be threats to your business, unfortunately there are some things you can’t control. As a SEMMA member, you can be assured that your association is doing everything possible to influence the larger and high impact running costs of your business. Their valuable lobbying towards electricity companies, and involving relevant councils and local government, provides you with a level of comfort that you are not alone and that  and that SEMMA is supporting you, and the future of your business.

If we shift our focus to the smaller costs that can provide an immediate impact to your bottom line, you may be able to regain some of your expense control. Let’s talk about the 3 C’s. Cutting current costs can have an immediate, positive impact on your bottom line whilst also letting you gain greater control of your business and ensuring its long-term sustainability.  But where to start? There are smaller costs that you can review, to ensure you are only spending what you need to. Think about the following areas within your business:

Computer security and program maintenance. Are you paying someone to monitor your computer security? Security monitoring, finding the right antivirus and security software and protecting your privacy are all things that businesses need to consider, especially with cyber-crime at an all-time high in Australia.

Do you engage in website SEO, and other ways to get your business noticed? Are your advertising costs effective and reaching the right audience? There may be things you could be doing differently and more effectively, with less effort and less expenditure.

Consider your employees and current benefits payable. Are you getting them the best deal for their life cover, income protection and other insurances? What if you switched to a group cover instead of individual covers? Buying cover in bulk for organisations can help reduce the costs of insurance, whilst ensuring you are taking care of your people.

And what about your business insurance program? Do you monitor your insurances as your business grows and evolves? Do you make changes to your insurance cover throughout your policy period, as your business situation changes?  

A major area of expenditure for businesses is Workers Compensation Insurance. You are required to have this by law and need to ensure you remain compliant. Keeping up with ever changing rules and regulations can be time consuming and stressful. You can have your Workers Compensation reviewed to ensure you are paying the right amount. A review can provide you with peace of mind knowing that you are providing your employees with adequate cover, whilst also protecting one of your biggest assets, your business. Furthermore, you may have matters brought to your attention that otherwise would have gone unnoticed; like paying too much, or being classified incorrectly, resulting in years of over payments that you would never get back if you didn’t have a review conducted.

It’s all about understanding your industry and your business, and examining how your policies and premiums are structured to find those opportunities to cut current costs.  At AB Phillips, we have the experience, technical knowledge and resources to assist you to do just that. We work closely with SEMMA and understand your specific needs, which helps us, help you.

As part of our ongoing commitment to SEMMA members, AB Phillips offers a complimentary Workers Compensation Premium Analysis to help get you started with cutting your current costs. We review your Workers Comp policies, compliance and payments to confirm you are adequately covered and also classified appropriately to ensure correct premiums and no over-payments. We offer this to you at no cost, and if we find a problem and obtain a refund, we simply take a portion of the refund as a fee. No problems found, no fee!

Recently, we supported a client with approximately 70 staff in the manufacturing industry who had a Workers Compensation Insurance premium of $777k p.a. and 15 open claims prior to working with AB Phillips.  After just 12 months of working with our team, they managed to reduce their Workers Compensation Insurance premium to $476k p.a. and reduce their open and ongoing claims down to just 3.

The additional money saved enabled our customer to spend on growing and developing their business. Savings such as these could also provide a buffer for future cost increases that may be out of your control.

At AB Phillips, we’re not just Insurance brokers. That means we take a holistic view of your entire business to make sure you are saving in all aspects.

Here’s how it works:

  • Review: We conduct a thorough analysis of your business to determine risks and exposures, what you need to insure and what level of cover is appropriate.
  • Assessment: Based on our review, we will negotiate a specific insurance program that will give you the protection you need at the best possible price. Our broad network enables us to negotiate exclusive arrangements with underwriters that often can’t be obtained anywhere else.
  • Recommendation: We will prepare a detailed insurance program recommendation and quote for your review.  We will also discuss any other areas of our business that may be relevant and provide you with a service your business requires or should consider.
  • Implementation: We will work with you to refine the proposal and implement the insurance program and any other service you have decided to implement.
  • Ongoing advice and support: We will conduct annual reviews of your program to ensure it continues to meet your business’ evolving needs. We will assist with the management of any claims, by acting as your advocate to get the best possible outcome. We also touch base throughout the year, to ensure that if anything has changed we can add / deduct these things from your insurance program – ensuring you only pay for what you need.

There will always be external, and internal, contributing factors to costs associated in managing a business.  You may not be able to juggle and compare the costs given your busy role and environment, so leave some of the work to AB Phillips. We have years of experience and industry insight and are happy to talk to you about your individual situation. We know that every business is different, so let’s talk about how we can help yours.

Call your SEMMA industry expert today.

Nigel Symss : SEMMA Industry expert
P: 03 8586 9399 E:  M: 0411 368 666

What are the key differences between an employee and a contractor?

The Fair Work Act, the Australian Taxation Office and other legislation places controls on the engagement of both contractors and employees.   

To correctly determine whether a worker is an employee or contractor, the whole working arrangement needs to be examined. For example, a worker is not automatically a contractor just because they have an ABN or specialist skills or you only need them during busy periods.

Here are some common indicators that may contribute to determining whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor:


Some laws apply to both the employment and independent contract relationships

Often there is confusion (or incorrect assumption) in regards to what laws apply to employees and or contractors. It is important to understand that there is legislation that apply to both.


A relationship of employment gives rise to several obligations for an employer, including yet not limited to:

  • the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) - this is the major employment legislation that covers most employees (excepting for some state government employees covered under relevant state employment legislation);
  • workers compensation insurance to cover injury to workers;
  • compliance with work, health and safety laws;
  • long service leave, annual leave and parental leave;
  • compliance with unfair, unlawful dismissal and adverse action laws;
  • compliance with Federal Modern and State Awards;
  • payment of PAYE/income tax, payroll tax, fringe benefits and superannuation; and
  • compliance with anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws.


The independent contractor relationship is typically governed by the contract between the organisation and the independent contractor and is not covered by employment laws.

Independent contractors need to manage their own business and typically procure their own insurance for potential negligence and also income protection.

In the past, independent contractors were in the spotlight with the potential for exploitation and unfair contracts. This resulted in the introduction of the Independent Contractors Act 2006 (Cth). This is subsequently supplemented further by the sham contracting provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009(Cth).

Laws that relate to both Employees and Contractors

The following relate to both Employees and Contractors. For example, yet not limited to:

  • work, health and safety;
  • anti-discrimination;
  • anti-bullying;
  • adverse action claims
  • workers compensation (in some cases); and
  • superannuation (in some cases)

What are sham contracts?

Sham contracting arrangements happen where an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement. This is usually done for the purposes of avoiding responsibility for employee entitlements.

The Fair Work Act contains sham contracting provisions and employers cannot:

  • misrepresent an employment relationship or a proposed employment arrangement as an independent contracting arrangement
  • dismiss or threaten to dismiss an employee for the purpose of engaging them as an independent contractor
  • make knowingly false statements to encourage or influence an employee to become an independent contractor.

Risks: what if you get it wrong?

Organisations must take steps to become aware of the differences between an employment relationship and an independent contractor relationship.  Failing to do so risks exposure to sham contracting and other breaches. 

The employment relationship is more heavily regulated than a contractor relationship. This often results in breaching laws by incorrectly classifying an individual as a contractor when at law they are in fact an employee.

If you incorrectly classify an individual as an employee or contractor, you may be liable for:

  • superannuation charges, where you have failed to make superannuation contributions for the benefit of the individual either because they are an employee at common law or because they are an ‘employee’ under the extended definition in the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (Cth).
  • additional payroll tax (including penalties and interest) where you have incorrectly claimed contractor exemptions on payments made to employees (for which there are no exemptions available).
  • back pay under a modern award or even an enterprise agreement, where you have incorrectly classified an individual as a contractor. Most non-management employees are covered by a modern award and will have entitlements under the award to a minimum wage, overtime, penalty rates, allowances and leave loading. As well as liability for back pay, there are penalties for breaching modern awards.
  • unpaid annual and long service leave, where you have incorrectly classified an individual as a contractor. All employees are entitled to paid annual leave, and may be entitled to long service leave upon reaching the required number of years’ service.
  • compensation for unfair dismissal or for other prohibited conduct. Many employees have access to an unfair dismissal regime, and to other remedies where their employer acts to the detriment of the employee. For example, under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), an employer must not take adverse action against an employee because the employee makes a complaint about safety matters affecting the employee’s employment.
  • Fair Work Ombudsman Penalties: Fair Work Inspectors can seek the imposition of penalties for contraventions of sham contracting arrangements. The courts may impose a maximum penalty of $51,000 per contravention.

Case study from the Federal Court

Metro Northern Enterprises engaged consultants to sell kitchenware products claimed that the consultants were contractors. The consultants would approach members of the public at public venues, such as shopping centres, and invite them to enter a competition where they could win products.

The consultants then contacted the individuals and performed demonstrations of the products with a view to selling them. The consultants had signed contracts calling them ‘independent agents’ expressly stating they were not employees.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took legal action against Metro Northern Enterprises in the Federal Circuit Court which found them to be employees as their arrangement of work was not consistent with them being independent contractors.

For example, the company exercised control in a broad sense over the manner in which they did their work. The consultants had little independent control over how they did their work, particularly the demonstrations and when they could perform these duties. They were an integral part of the company’s business and were unable to delegate their work. They were not engaged for attain a result or a product; they were engaged for their labour in following the steps that would produce a result, clear description of an employee.

The company was liable under the sham contracting provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and was also liable for employee entitlements that should have been paid to the “consultants” under the relevant modern award.


It is important that when an organisation is engaging workers that consideration is given to the appropriate method of engagement ie: employee or contractor. As indicated in this article, there are many factors to consider. Managing this process correctly will assist to mitigating potential risk to the business and also shows consideration to ensuring the individual being engaged is being on-boarded under the appropriate terms and conditions.

Needing advice and help?

If you would like assistance with dealing with the engagement of contractors and employees and ensuring the correct arrangements are put in place, the team of advisors at hranywhere (a company of ABPhillips) can assist you with practical advice and support. 

Please contact hranywhere, part of AB Phillips Pty Ltd, Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm AEST by phone on 1300 208 828 or by email 


Please note that the above information is provided as comment and should not be relied on as a substitute for detailed professional advice from hranywhere or professional legal or financial advice on any particular matter. Where you would like additional information and support about the content in this document please contact hranywhere.

Do you know how to SWM?

Or are you still paddling in the deep end of safety compliance?

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that outlines the high-risk construction work activities to be carried out at a workplace; the hazards that may arise from these activities; and the measures to put in place to control the risks identified. It is a documented approach to risk mitigation and may be the difference between working safely and/or causing serious injury to yourself or others.

A process of consultation combined with an assessment of work tasks before you begin work in any construction activity is vital to ensure everyone's safety. Often upon investigation following an incident or accident involving construction, it is identified that either an SWMS was available but not communicated or signed off; or the SWMS was signed off however not communicated.

At AB Phillips, we want to ensure that our clients understand not only their legal, but also their moral health and safety roles and responsibilities.

We can help you SWM. Get in touch with us today on 1300 242 136 or email


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The importance of Cyber and Privacy Insurance

In recent times there have been wide spread reports of major cyber-attacks on a number of organisations across the globe.

The malicious software responsible for these recent attacks is known as ‘ransom-ware’ and is transmitted by email. The ‘ransom-ware’ activates when an email attachment is opened after which it proceeds to take over the user’s computer, encrypting the data (documents and spreadsheets) and then demanding a fee (ransom) to unlock it.

These recent incidents have affected only Windows operating systems, however they highlight the importance of being vigilant regardless of what software or platform you are using. The following are good practices to keep in place to maintain the integrity of your system and data:

  • Ensure software updates are enabled.
  • Make sure you have installed virus protection software and that it is active.
  • Avoid opening emails from unknown sources.
  • Do not open email attachments from senders you do not know.
  • Backup your data regularly.

There are many types of malicious software that are designed to corrupt data and breach privacy, and business owners and managers are responsible for doing all they can to maintain their systems to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Privacy legislation introduced in March 2014 contains penalties of $340,000 for individuals and $1.7 million for companies that fail to meet their obligations and breach legislation.

Cyber and Privacy Protection Insurance can help protect businesses from the financial impact of a cyber-attack or a privacy breach. Cyber Insurance offers a broad cover for wide variety of risks resulting from the use of technology. Features may include:

  • Cover for your civil liability resulting from data breaches

  • Contractual fines coverage, including credit card company and PCI fines, arising from privacy breaches

  • Cover for your own costs to notify individuals in the event of a privacy breach where required by law and the cost of actions taken to mitigate a larger liability claim

  • System repair and restoration cover in the event of accidental damage to data, including a computer virus or hack attack

  • Cover for your lost revenue arising from system downtime after a computer virus or hack attack

  • Electronic fraud coverage

  • Cover for your liability arising from a breach of statutory ecommerce duties

  • Media liability cover for electronic content, including intellectual property rights infringement and defamation

  • Give you cover you for claims made anywhere in the world as standard

  • An experienced claims panel will react quickly and locally, from privacy breach notification to electronic fraud investigation

  • If your brand is at risk, they will hire PR consultants to manage the impact.

For more information on how you can insure your business against cyber crime please contact AB Phillips on 1300 242 136 or email

Tax Tips for Small Businesses

As a small business, you may be eligible for income tax concessions.  From 1 July 2016, the turnover threshold for these concessions is:

  • $5 million for the Small business income tax offset
  • $10 million for all other income tax concessions.

The turnover threshold up to 30 June 2016 was $2 million for all these concessions.


Small businesses can immediately deduct the business portion of most assets that cost less than $20,000 each if they were purchased:

  • from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, and your turnover is less than $10 million
  • from 7.30pm on 12 May 2015 to 30 June 2016, and your turnover is less than $2 million.

This deduction can be used for each asset that costs less than $20,000, whether new or second-hand. You claim the deduction through your tax return, in the year the asset was first used or installed ready for use. Please note: In the Budget 2017, the Government announced an extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off threshold to 30 June 2018 – the threshold currently reduces to $1,000 from 1 July 2017.


From the 2016–17 income year, the small business company tax rate has been reduced to 27.5%. This lower rate now applies to small businesses with an aggregated turnover less than $10 million that are:

  • companies
  • corporate unit trusts
  • public trading trusts.

The company tax rate will remain at 30% for all other companies that are not small business entities.



The small business income tax offset (also known as the unincorporated small business tax discount) can reduce the tax you pay by up to $1,000 each year. The offset is:

  • 8% for the 2016–17 income year onwards
  • 5% for the 2015–16 income year.

The offset will increase to 10% in 2024–25, to 13% in 2025–26, and to 16% in 2026–27.

To be eligible for the offset, you must be carrying on a small business as a sole trader or have a share of net small business income from a partnership or trust. The small business must have an aggregated turnover less than:

  • $5 million for the 2016–17 income year onwards
  • $2 million for the 2015–16 income year.


You can claim an immediate deduction for prepaid expenses where the payment covers a period of 12 months or less that ends in the next income year.


Pay your super guarantee for your staff before 30 June to get the tax deduction in this financial year.
The super isn’t due until 28th July however if you pay this before year end you will get the deduction in this financial year.

Discuss with your staff salary sacrifice arrangements going forward. From 1 July 2017, the maximum concessional super contribution will be $25,000 per annum including super guarantee. All current arrangements in place will need to be reviewed. Staff will need to advise you of their intentions going forward to salary sacrifice from 1 July.

From 1 July 2017, staff may wish to contribute the additional superannuation themselves to their fund and claim a tax deduction at the end of the financial year.  This is a new option available and the limit is up to the new concessional cap of $25,000.

From 1 July 2017, the 10% maximum earnings condition will be removed. This means most people under 75 years old will be able to claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions (including those aged 65 to 74 who meet the work test).

Make additional concessional contributions (if possible) to super up to your aged based limit before 30 June as the threshold decreases to $25,000 for everyone from 1 July.



Call Rowena Thiele today on 1300 242 136 for a confidential chat.

AB Phillips announces the launch of People Matters AdviceLine

AB Phillips are excited to announce the launch of People Matters Adviceline, a dedicated 'people advisory service' that provides practical and compliant HR, Safety & Wellbeing and Workers Compensation advisory support to businesses.

All businesses that employ staff, no matter what size or industry, have Human Resource, Safety & Wellbeing and Workers Compensation needs and obligations. However not all businesses that employ staff have the need for, or ability to, employ in-house experts in these areas. That's why we created People Matters Adviceline. Read more here

Why is Life Insurance so important?

Life is full of unforeseen circumstances which can affect your plans. Life insurance may help you to meet your financial goals and obligations if you lose your ability to earn an income.

Life insurance helps alleviate the financial burden your family may be left with after your death. Usually paid as a lump sum, your dependants may use this money to assist with medical costs, funeral expenses or help secure their financial future.

The cost depends on the amount of cover (age, gender and smoking status are also determining factors) you choose.

The level of cover you have should be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains suitable.

To make a decision on how much cover you require, you should consider the following:

  • your children’s school fees
  • services you would require if you were unable to care for your children, such as a nanny
  • how much your dependants would require to meet their day‑to‑day living expenses, and
  • current liabilities, such as your mortgage.

Life insurance forms a critical part of the financial planning process, providing financial security for you and your family. A sound financial plan will encompass both wealth creation and wealth protection.

Read more here>

Protecting your business against extreme weather

Australia is a land of extreme weather, and whilst there is nothing we can do to stop it occurring, we can control the extent to which we are impacted by it.  Where business is concerned, controlling the level of damage that a business suffers as a result of extreme weather, and the speed at which it recovers depends entirely upon the directors and management. Regardless of the size of the business there are some fundamental strategies that should be implemented to increase business resilience to the impact of extremes in weather.

Step 1: Identify your critical business functions

What are the functions that your business must maintain in order to operate? Identify the financial and operation impact of losing these functions. Are there any regulatory or compliance dependencies? How long could your business survive without these functions in operation?
Once you’ve identified the critical business functions, list all the assets and resources required (infrastructure, machinery, vehicles, staff etc). Maintain this inventory and adjust it as your business changes.

 Step 2: Identify risks

Every business is exposed to risk – some risks are inherent to all businesses, whilst others may be unique to a particular business. The first step towards mitigating risk is to identify where your business may be exposed and what would be required to protect the business if it were. In the case of extreme weather, now that you’ve identified your critical business functions, identify the weather hazards that each of these could be exposed to – hail damage, fire, storm/cyclone, floods & stormwater.

Identifying risks requires knowledge of the business and the industry it operates in, and an understanding of what constitutes a risk. Look for an insurance broker with expertise in your industry to ensure you get the right advice.

Step 3: Find the right insurance

Once you know what you want to protect and the risks they are exposed to, you need to find the appropriate insurance to cover them. Business insurance is a highly competitive area with many products and insurers in the market. If your risks are straightforward then an off-the-shelf product may suffice, however more complex businesses may require a tailored solution. If this applies to your business, look for an insurance broker with specialist knowledge and a large network that can tailor an insurance program specifically to meet your needs. Some things you may need to consider are:

  • The costs associated with business interruption – loss of income, cash flow, stock, personnel, supply issues, utilities, accessibility issues
  • Asset repair and replacement costs
  • Policy exclusions and requirements

Step 4: Compile a Disaster Recovery Plan

Develop a Business Continuity Plan to help you maintain your critical business functions in the event of a weather disaster. While you may not be able to offer a solution to every problem that occurs as a result of extreme weather, you may be able to mitigate the impact they have (ie. loss of electricity or water supply could be temporarily overcome through an alternate source). Part of this process is nominating a key person to be responsible for ensuring the Business Continuity Plan is actioned. Larger businesses may benefit from nominating a committee.

Step 5: Invest in up-to-date infrastructure and machinery

Standards and technology change over time resulting in improvements to infrastructure and machinery and making them less vulnerable to damage from extreme weather.  While not all businesses can afford to stay at the forefront of technology, where practical, businesses should look for modern and cost effective solutions for ensuring that roofs, walls, windows, interiors are built from hazard resistant material in a manner sympathetic with known risks in the area, including where applicable, flood barriers, hail and wind resistant roofs and windows, robust fire protection consistent with the risk and operations being carried out in the building.

Step 6: Maintain, maintain, maintain!
There are lots of things you can do as part of your regular maintenance program that will help you in the event of extreme weather. Things like gutter cleaning, sprinkler testing, roof repairs, staff training, flood levies etc.  Not only is maintenance important to the function of your business, the validity of your insurance policy may depend upon it.

If you’ve followed these steps you are now in a good position to protect your business from the impact of extreme weather. Remember to stay in the loop with local weather authorities as knowing what’s coming will give you a big advantage and enable you to do any last minute preparation required (ie. sandbagging against flood, window shutters etc.)

If you’d like assistance with any aspect of risk mitigation please contact AB Phillips on 1300 242 136 or email 


Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended as general only and does not consider your personal and financial circumstances. Please consider if it is appropriate for your business or contact AB Phillips for more information.





5 great reasons to love your broker!

A Valentines Day message from the team at AB Phillips
  1. Brokers do the legwork for you
    Not many people have the time or knowledge to source comparative quotes and review policy wording to find the product that best meets their needs. That’s what brokers are for. They read the fine print so that you don’t have to.
  2. It’s all about you (yes, it’s personal)
    A good broker knows how to get personal in a professional sense. They need to ask personal questions, but it’s about knowing the right questions to ask to understand your unique situation. Good brokers are usually personable people with a knack for relating to others – in fact, many people use the same broker for decades because of the value they place on the relationship they have built with them, based on trust and confidence.
  3. Brokers are experts in their field
    Brokers are required by law to undertake specific education in order to get their accreditation and keep it. This means they are always up-to-date with changes to legislation and regulation. They also need to stay abreast of the many different products on the market, and know the pros and cons of each. 
  4. Brokers have networks they can leverage to get you a better deal
    Brokers can usually get you a better deal by leveraging the relationships and networks they have in place. They often have access to policies, rates and terms that aren't available in the open market, and can also tailor policies specifically to clients' needs. It's this bespoke service that gives brokers an edge.
  5. Brokers are responsible
    By law, brokers are required to carry professional indemnity insurance to cover them in the event of professional negligence. This means that so long as you provide complete disclosure to your broker, you can rest assured that if something goes wrong due to an error on their part, you'll be covered. So you can relax.

Protecting your home and contents from total financial loss by bushfire

You don’t need to live in the country and rural areas to be at risk of bushfires. Coastal areas with dry scrubland and long grass are also at bushfire risk. With predictions of a hot, dry summer ahead it’s important that households in fire zones prepare for a high risk of bushfire this season.

How can I protect my home and contents from bushfire?

  • Familiarise yourself with the advice of your local fire authority, and have a bushfire plan in place. Your plan should include simple steps on how to reduce your bushfire risk (ie. trim grass, shrubs leaves and clear gutters) and how and when you will leave your home if you are under threat.

  • Make sure you have adequate insurance cover to avoid severe financial loss in the event your home or contents are destroyed by bushfire. This means understanding the ‘fine print’ on your insurance policy (PDS) and reviewing your ‘sum insured’ amounts so that they match the current value of your assets. Also note any ‘exclusions’ and make sure your properly understand what they mean as these could result in you being uncovered.

  • Consider what you would do if your vehicle was damaged by fire. Will your insurer provide an interim replacement vehicle if required?

    Take steps now to prepare for any insurance claims you may need to make

  • Prepare an inventory of your contents. List your items and describe them in as much detail as possible (brand, make, model etc) and take photos.

  • Use an online building and contents calculator to determine the approximate value of your assets, and help you ensure you have the right amount of insurance cover.

  • If you are concerned about the potential total loss of your property, speak to a reputable builder and get a quote for the cost of a complete rebuild. Once you have this, speak to your insurer and make sure your sum insured covers this cost.

    What to do if bushfire strikes and you need to make a claim

  • Contact your insurance company or broker as soon as possible after the event.

  • If possible take photographs of damaged items to show your insurer as evidence for your claim, and prepare an inventory.

  • Don’t undertake any major repairs without speaking to your insurer.

  • Provide your insurer with as much information as possible about your claim – remember they are there to help you.


    For further information on how to prepare and act if your home is threatened by a bushfire, contact the relevant fire services authority in your state or territory.

    For more information visit

Starting a business? Here's Four Important Steps Towards Success

So you’ve got a great idea and now you want to turn it into a reality.  Before you start, there are a number of things you need to know that will help you achieve success and give you flexibility down the track.

1. Get an Accountant
The decisions you make when first registering your business are important and can have long term tax implications. For this reason it’s important to utilise the services of a good accountant right from the beginning. An accountant with expertise in small business can provide invaluable advice on how to structure your business tax effectively for the short and long term, saving you a lot of money and unnecessary complications down the track. They can also advise you on Superannuation (including Self Managed Super Funds) and your obligations if you employ staff.

2. Make sure you have the right Business Insurance

Business Insurance can be a complex area. As a business owner, it’s not only your physical assets you need to protect, but your livelihood. It’s often a good idea to use the expertise of a broker who can help you determine the best approach for your business and negotiate a better deal on your behalf. You also need to consider the claims process, as if you need to lodge a claim this can be time consuming and confusing. Look for a broker that offers an in-house claims service to make this process simpler.

3.  Understand the basics around Workers Compensation
If you employ staff you need Workers Compensation Insurance. The amount of premium you pay will depend upon your Workcover classification, so it’s important to get it right to avoid overpaying and/or non-compliance. There are a number of advisory services that can help you with this and provide ongoing advice in this highly regulated and legislated area.

4. Consider how you will manage your HR requirements
Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of in-house HR practitioners to advise and provide support on HR matters such as recruitment, training, dispute resolutions and payroll. However these are things that can often weigh small businesses down if they are left to other staff to manage. Consider using a HR advisory and support service -  whether it be the monthly payroll, ad-hoc recruitment, or just over-the-phone advice when required.

Understanding and implementing these fundamentals will get you off to a great start and place you in good stead for business success.


We're getting behind Jobs At Home Day!

Friday 9 December is Jobs at Home Day, and AB Phillips is honoured to support this important WorkSafe Victoria initiative.

Jobs at Home Day recognises the importance of safety at work by celebrating the jobs we do at home. Whether it’s ‘Chief Dog Walker’ or ‘Head Chef’, we all have important jobs at home that no one else can do as well as we can. Sadly, it’s these jobs that suffer the most when we get injured at work. 

You can show your support for workplace safety by ordering a free, personalised badge for yourself or someone special at

Plus, everyone who orders or receives a badge will go in the draw to win one of five $1,000 Coles Group and Myer gift cards.

Wearing the badges on the official Jobs at Home Day on Friday 9 December is a great way of celebrating the jobs we do at home and recognising workplace safety. It also shows we’re talking about ways to make our own workplace as safe as possible. Your safety and wellbeing is top priority and we encourage you to think about the importance of your personal safety whenever you’re at work. Remember, the most important reason for being safe at work isn’t at work at all. 

Don’t forget to wear your badge to work on Friday 9 December!

10 reasons why you should review your General Insurance

  1. You could be underinsured
    Industry research has revealed that the vast majority of Australian businesses are underinsured, particularly in the areas of Property, Business Interruption and Cyber Insurance. The best way to ensure that your business insurance is adequate is to have your business properly assessed by a qualified Insurance Valuer. A professional valuation takes the responsibility and risk away from Company Directors and ensures there will be no gap to cover in the event of a claim. Part of the valuation process should be to compile an asset register and maintain it going forward. This will allow you to respond to a loss quickly and with minimal impact to your business.
  2. Reviewing your General Insurance could result in big savings
    Greater competition in the insurance market means that insurance premiums are currently on the decline. An analysis of over 200,000 business insurance policies placed by the AUB network has shown that the price of an average Business Pack policy fell by 2%, with certain types of policies down 7%, in the last quarter of the 2014 financial year. This provides an opportunity for business owners to take advantage of the competitive market to upgrade their insurance without incurring the additional expense. It’s also a good time to get a comparative quote on your insurance to ensure your Insurance Broker is passing on any potential savings.
  3. Your business could be eligible for a Workers Compensation Premium refund
    In 2011, the Victorian WorkCover Authority moved to a national industry classification system based on the Australian New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC). During this process, a number of businesses have been classified incorrectly and are paying more premium than they should. Reviewing your industry classification on a regular basis is essential as your business activities could also have changed since taking out a policy. If you have been classified incorrectly you could be entitled to a refund for up to four years of overpayments. You may not know that you can have an independent consultant working for you to conduct a review of your Workers Compensation program (including your premium and claims) and they can develop strategies to reduce the impact of Workers Compensation to your business, and improve the safety of your workplace.

  4. A safer workplace means lower insurance premiums
    Less incidents = less claims = lower premiums. It’s a simple equation that often gets lost amongst the complexities of running a business. By implementing some simple, well executed risk mitigation strategies you can go a long way towards improving your workplace safety culture and reducing the impact of insurance claims. Some strategies might include:
  5. Cyber attack is on the rise
    Any organisation that stores sensitive or personal data is responsible for ensuring this information is adequately protected. A report published by the Centre for Internet Safety states that 65% of SME’s, in general, do not adequately protect their organisations’ sensitive or confidential business information by encryption or DPL technologies.In addition to this, there is a common misconception that only online businesses or larger companies are targets for cyber criminals. In fact, more than 20% of Australian businesses experienced cyber crime in 2012 (CERT Australia), and 40% of all attacks were directed at SME’s (Symantec).
    Most general business insurance policies do not cover your business in the event of a cyber attack. What if your businesses IT systems were hacked? What protection do you have in place and how would you recover from this? If your business is not keeping pace then you could be leaving yourself exposed and liable for any data breaches that may occur.

  6. Business mismanagement could result in hefty lawsuits
    While lawsuits against Company Directors are a relatively common occurrence, few businesses have insurance to protect against this type of risk. It is not uncommon for businesses to have a Professional Indemnity (PI) policy in place and believe that their employees and their business will be fully protected. However, what many people don't realise is that a PI policy will only protect your business against claims made by third parties including negligent acts, errors or omissions you have whilst providing professional advice. It does not protect Directors, Officers and Employees for mismanagement which has caused loss to others.  This is where you need to have a Management Liability policy in place. A Management Liability policy will cover the legal liability of all employees and the business entity for action taken against them as a result of wrongful acts committed whilst they perform their duties. It covers the Business, its Directors, Officers and Employees against a range of employment related claims such as wrongful dismissal, misrepresentation, wrongful failure to employ or promote, and theft by employee. To protect your business against liability incurred through mismanagement you need to take out Management Liability Insurance.  This will protect your business against claims for a breach or improper conduct against those responsible for managing it. 
  7. One of the most important insurance policies is often overlooked.
    Business Interruption (BI) policies have one of the worst, if not the very highest, incidence of under insurance of all the classes of general insurance. This is concerning given that every year 1 in 500 businesses will experience a severe disaster, and 43% of businesses that experience disasters never re-open and 29% close within 2 years (LMI Group, McGladrey and Pullen). Failing to adjust the value of your BI insurance policy in line with the evolution of your business can have disastrous consequences in the event of a loss. Ensure your Insurance Broker is re-evaluating your financial position annually so that you are properly covered.
  8. Making a claim should be simple and straightforward.
    How are your claims currently being managed? Are you happy? Business Insurance is a complex area and the claims process can be a long drawn-out jargon minefield, but it doesn’t have to be. A good Claims Manager should have an excellent understanding of your business and the insurance products you have purchased. Armed with this knowledge they will be able to leverage off their strong relationships with Underwriters to deliver you (the client) the best possible outcome in an efficient manner. If you are not currently receiving this level of service from your Insurance Broker, it might be time to find a new one.
  9. Your business is responsible for its environmental impact
    Business owners, operators and property owners can all be held responsible for pollution or other environmental damage emanating from the premises they own or operate. Government Agencies are able to impose significant fines and penalties, including jail or prison terms, to any business which causes pollution or other environmental damage as a result of the activities of their business and/or property. The exposure relates to all businesses and not just those which store, handle or deal in chemicals or hazardous substances.
    Whilst storage of chemicals and/or hazardous substances can lead to damage of land and create environmental damage loss, there is also an exposure for any business which suffers a fire as this can lead to significant environmental damage to both the property itself and can also cause substantial damage away from the situation as a result of run off water applied by the fire brigade.
    Fortunately some insurance companies offer Environmental Insurance policies which are designed to respond to pollution and environmental damage arising from the insured’s properties and associated business activities. Importantly these policies include cover for sudden and gradual pollution, including clean-up costs which are not covered by Public Liability policies or other forms of insurance.

  10. Does your Insurance Program come with expert guidance and advice?
    Policy wordings and schedules are legal contracts. These should be carefully reviewed when you purchase insurance as they will be the focus of what insurers refer back to when a claim occurs. Like all industries some products and services are better than others.
    Ensure your Insurance Broker has policy wordings that have been carefully reviewed and negotiated with underwriters. However, it’s important to remember, that even with market leading policy wordings, the quality of the advice you receive from your Insurance Broker is still critical when signing up to your business insurance program.

In conclusion, Insurance is a method of protection as part of a Total Risk Management Solution. We recommend you discuss with your Insurance Broker the tangible Risk Management you can undertake to better protect your business from adverse circumstances and litigation. The advice you receive will place you in good stead to ensure your business is fully protected. If you don’t feel confident with the advice you’re currently receiving, then maybe it’s time to consider a comparison with another advisor.


Management Liability Insurance for Associations and Not-For-Profits

Liability Insurance protects the individuals and the company / entity (i.e. Company, Association or Non-for-Profit) in relation to the exposures associated with managing a company / entity (i.e. your liability for mismanagement).  Without adequate protection you could risk losing, not only the company / entity, but also your personal assets. This insurance protects you personally and therefore your wealth and lifestyle.  The legal costs to defend allegations of wrongful acts alone can be financially crippling for companies / entities and individuals.

Many Associations and Non-For-Profits are exposed in this area as often Insurance Brokers do not properly understand Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Insurance and therefore do not properly outline the risks and craft the policies to suit. In addition, many Associations and Non-For-Profits are not aware of how much personal exposure the CEO, staff, board, committee members, technical committees and volunteers can be liable for.

Do you know?

  • The potential for the severity of loss grows as revenue and stature in the company / entity increases. The bigger the company / entity, the bigger the claims tend to be.
  • Not only can directors, be held personal liable (exposing personal wealth) but also managers, employees, board members, committee members, technical committees and volunteer committee members.
  • As the regulatory environment changes, directors are often unaware of their full responsibilities at law.
  • Directors and Board are responsible for the risk management of their company. ASIC has been on the front foot, putting directors and boards on notice.
  • A companies / entities reputation and credibility can be damaged if they are investigated, not to mention the ongoing legal costs to defend claims.

 In the current economic climate, associations / non-profits  have seen an increase in: 

  • Business failures
  • Regulatory investigations
  • Employment practices claims
  • Employee theft
  • Regulatory actions

Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Liability Insurance Cover can give you peace of mind that if your business is involved in an incident of this type you will be protected.

What does Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Liability Insurance Cover?

  • Damages and claimant costs awarded against you
  • Defence (i.e. legal) costs
  • Investigation costs
  • Civil fines & pecuniary penalties.

Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Liability Insurance is a packaged product which covers a range of different risks and liabilities. Some examples of claims that can be covered by Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Liability Insurance include: 

  • Fraud/Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
  • Insolvent Trading
  • Bullying/Harassment
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Theft by Employeeor Contractor/Consultant
  • Occupational Health and Safety Penalties
  • EPA and Pecuniary Penalties  
  • Wrongful Act/Fraud
  • Shareholder Dispute

    For more information on Management (Association and Non-For-Profit) Liability Insurance please call AB Phillips on 03 8586 9333 or email


Protect your business against product recalls

Your business is responsible for any product that you import, manufacture, sell, supply or distribute. You can therefore be held liable for any defect or other condition that renders the product unsafe and results in injury, death or damage.

Generally, all businesses that manufacture or import products will have Public & Products Liability Insurance.  However the cover will generally only extend as far as bodily injury or property damage that arises from the legal liabilities of your products.  It does not extend to recall any products that may or will imminently cause bodily injury or death in the future if your products are not recalled.

Product recalls are on the rise as ever increasing consumer protection and new regulations come into play. It does not take much of a defect to fail to meet various legislation and Australian Standards.

When a recall is declared by a government agency or a retailer, the manufacturer has to pay the cost of taking the product off the showroom floor or from purchasers/consumers and bringing it back to their premises for fixing, modifying or disposal.  In the case of a furniture recall, the faulty products are often large and bulky and could cost from $250 to $1000 per store to recall. Often the most cost effective solutions for the supplier/manufacturer is disposal. In addition there are costs incurred resupplying new products to retailers.


Product Recall Insurance can cover the costs associated with recalling a product from the market due to a defect, a malicious product tamper and/or product extortion.  The policy can extend to cover business interruption and costs associated with crisis management and public relations consultants to guide Insured's through the first critical weeks of a recall. 



A bunk bed manufacturer has identified a defect in one of its products that presents a safety risk and non-compliance with Australian Standards, and is required to recall the product. The recall presents a number of challenges to the manufacturer:

  • The product has been distributed to more than 100 retailers nationally. All beds in these stores will need to be removed and replaced with non-faulty products.
  • The product has been on sale in retail stores for more than 12 months and sold more than 1000 units. All end purchasers need to be traced, products returned and customers compensated.
  •  Several businesses have purchased the bunk beds and will potentially incur loss of business income as a result of the recall, which the manufacturer is liable for.
  • Any future injuries that occur due to the defective product are the manufacturer’s liability.
  • The manufacturer faces increases in its future Public and Products Liability Insurance premiums.  If a number of injuries occur it could dramatically increase the excess per claim and overall cost to manufacturer.
  • The manufacturer’s reputation is at stake and could result in loss of trust and customer loyalty. To mitigate this they have hired a professional PR firm to manage the messaging.

Thankfully, the manufacturer has Product Recall Insurance, which not only covers the financial impact of the recall, but enables the process to be executed in the most efficient and effective way possible to minimise damage to its brand and customer experience.

For any further information about Products Liability Insurance and Product Recall Insurance, please contact AB Phillips on 1300 242 136 or email 

Does your business need a Code of Conduct?


A code of conduct is an ideal way to realise desired employee behaviours and performance and to supplement business policies. It is a set of expectations and responsibilities of, or proper practices for an individual or organisation.

The code of conduct includes, for example, detail on compliance with laws and regulations such as harassment and discrimination in the workplace, conflicts of interest, confidentiality and security matters, fairness and equity, contact with the public and media, values of the business and guidelines on general behaviour just to name a few topics.

Some benefits of a code of conduct include:

  • Having agreed ways of behaving and performing across the whole organisation;
  • The overall company performance is more closely aligned with the company’s business and strategic objectives;
  • All employees are fully aware of expectations of their behaviour leading to good company culture and typically personally sign the document for filing on their employee file;
  • A solid framework is in place for employees to refer to when dealing with issues or difficult decisions; The principles of the organisation values are strongly pronounced and deals with what the company stands for;
  • A code of conduct enables your organisation to stand out from similar companies and show what your company values and believes in.

A code of conduct applies to all employees, permanent and casual, and to contractors working within your organisation. When a new person joins your company they can quickly learn the expectations from the code of conduct and, as employees and contractors would normally be asked to sign off these standards, you know they agree with them and you manage these standards consistently.

For more information on codes of conduct and how to implement one in your business please contact the AB Phillips HR team on 1300 242 136 or email


Simple, flexible and very sensible finance solutions

With hundreds of different loan products on the market, most people don’t have the time or the expertise to determine the best option for their situation, both now and into the future. That’s why the majority of consumers turn to a Finance and Mortgage Specialist when they’re looking for a property loan or to refinance an existing loan.  Simply put, Mortgage Specialists match people to the most suitable loan, and then manage the process through to settlement. And it’s all at no cost to you, as the bank pays for this service.

AB Phillips Finance and Mortgage Specialists can compare more than 300 loan products provided by 30 lenders to determine the best loan for each client’s circumstances.  Our Certified Mortgage Consultants are experts in:

  • Investment property loans
  • Residential property loans
  • Commercial property loans (non-specialised)
  • Leasing
  • Self-managed superfund loans

For clients looking to refinance existing loan(s) we can review your current loan arrangement to determine how you could save money to reach your financial goals sooner. We are currently offering our clients a super low mortgage interest rate that could save you tens of thousands of dollars and cut years off the life of your loan.


“Thank you to the Finance & Mortgage Team at AB Phillips for all your hard work and professionalism in organising the refinance of my current property and the purchase of my second property off the plan. Your knowledge of the process, along with your support and guidance along the way was invaluable and your personal service and willingness to deal directly with my conveyancer made the process so much easier”. Nora B.


For more information on AB Phillips Finance and Mortgage products and services give us a call on 1300 242 136 or email

Expert Workers Compensation Advice with AdviceLine

Do you know?

  • Any business that employs staff must have a Workers Compensation program 
  • Workers Compensation can be the highest insurance cost to business if not managed correctly
  • Many Australian businesses are incorrectly classified and paying the wrong amount of Workers Compensation premium.

Navigating through the Workers Compensation minefield can be time consuming, unnerving and costly to your business. Just when you think you’re on top of it, legislation changes or a workplace incident occurs that you’re not sure how to manage.

That’s why the Workers Compensation experts at AB Phillips offer clients a free service called AdviceLine.


AdviceLine is a national Workers Compensation Advisory Service that business operators can contact to field questions, get expert advice or step-by-step guidance through issues relating to Workers Compensation. Use it to find out how to manage an incident once it’s happened, or as a proactive tool to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring.

AdviceLine is administered by highly experienced Workers Compensation experts – not just call centre operators. It’s free to AB Phillips clients and it could save your business a lot of time and money. All you need to do is register with AB Phillips and then it’s yours to access whenever you want.

To find out how to register for AdviceLine contact our Workers Compensation team on 1300 242 136 or email

Defend your data against cyber attack

Cyber crime is the fastest growing crime in the world with professional criminal syndicates targeting vulnerable small to medium sized businesses. It is estimated by the Australian government that more than 700,000 Australian businesses have experienced cyber crime, making Australia now the fifth most targeted country for cyber-attacks.  40% of all cyber-attacks target vulnerable small to medium businesses, as they often don’t have the resources to invest adequately in security.

Broadly speaking, SME's tend to have weaker network security and invest less in IT infrastructure. They also tend to be less educated on cyber risks - 42% of cyber incidents are due to simple mistakes such as losing a smartphone or sending an email to the wrong person (Symantec 2015 Internet Security Threat Report Vol 20.)

New Privacy legislation was introduced from March 2014 with penalties of $340,000 for individuals and $1.7 million for companies breaching legislation.

Cyber cover can help protect businesses from the financial impact of a cyber attack or privacy breach. Cyber Insurance offers a broad cover for wide variety of risks resulting from the use of technology. Features may include:

  • Cover for your civil liability resulting from data breaches
  • Contractual fines coverage, including credit card company and PCI fines, arising from privacy breaches
  • Cover for your own costs to notify individuals in the event of a privacy breach where required by law and the cost of actions taken to mitigate a larger liability claim
  • System repair and restoration cover in the event of accidental damage to data, including a computer virus or hack attack
  • Cover for your lost revenue arising from system downtime after a computer virus or hack attack
  • Electronic fraud coverage
  • Cover for your liability arising from a breach of statutory ecommerce duties
  • Media liability cover for electronic content, including intellectual property rights infringement and defamation
  • Give you cover you for claims made anywhere in the world as standard
  • An experienced claims panel will react quickly and locally, from privacy breach notification to electronic fraud investigation
  • If your brand is at risk, they will hire PR consultants to manage the impact.

For more information on how you can protect your business against cyber crime please contact AB Phillips on 03 8586 9333 or email