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The year 2011 will be remembered for natural disasters – Brisbane floods, North Queensland Cyclones, Christchurch earthquake and the Japanese tsunami.

Unfortunately, many people only found out after the devastating events that insurance did not cover them. The Brisbane floods revealed many homes in riverside suburbs were effectively uninsured.

Humans also create damage to our surrounds – the English riots caused millions of dollars damage to shops, cars and homes, while the recent oil spill off the coast of New Zealand created environmental damage. Insurance again plays a part.

Closer to home, if you are an employer, principal contractor, or home, car or boat owner, you are also at risk of causing damage to an individual’s health and well being, as well as property damage. Once again insurance plays an important role.

We are all familiar with compulsory third party insurance for our cars – without it your car is not registered and is not permitted on the road. CTP insurance protects you from claims against your assets. Few of us could personally pay out a claim.

CTP insurance therefore ensures the injured person can receive payment from an insurer who has the resources to pay out a claim. However, what about other forms of transport?

Boats do not have the same requirement for CTP insurance. Persons on other vessels and those performing underwater activities are at risk. Unless the owner obtains insurance, all are exposed.

Home and contents insurance sometimes extends to asset stored within it which cause personal and property damage away from the home – for example, damage by bikes, toys and even kites.

However, home insurance is not exhaustive – as a homeowner you may still be exposed if damage occurs to persons or other property on your land. Invited persons may not be covered by your policy.

As an employer or principal contractor, you must also be conscious of ensuring safe worksites and that your staff or casuals are protected by appropriate insurance, usually through WorkCover.

Recent courts cases arising from assaults to employees and an injury from seemingly routine workplace practices reminds the employer of the need for robust procedures and risk assessments.

Everything we do in life caries a risk. Such risks cannot always be eliminated. Ensuring you have the right kind of insurance will assist in mitigating your exposure and protecting your assets.

Check your insurance cover. If unsure, consult your insurer, or seek legal advice.


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