Citycover Blog

7 Common Christmas Scams to avoid.

Article provided by Know Risk.

In the future, when we’re scooting around on our hoverboards (it’s closer than you think) we’ll think back to [2017] as the year cyber crime went to the next level. Traditionally, it was the domain of shonky “lawyers” working on behalf of a wealthy, long-lost African relative who just wanted to send you millions of dollars out of the kindness of their heart, and of course, just needed your bank account details. Simple. However, these days there are many ways cyber-criminals can scam you into giving them your hard-earned dollars, particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

So here are the seven most common scams you need to watch out for this Christmas

1. Not so charitable

In Australia, the holiday season is often our most tragic, with the threat of bushfires and tropical storms never too far away. As Christmas is the time of giving, we’re always first to put our hands in our pockets and donate to those affected by disasters. Sadly, cyber-criminals like to seize on these moments and often trick us into donating to fake charities with cleverly designed email and social media campaigns that mirror legitimate ones and tug at our heart strings.

If you’re going to donate to a charity, do it through the charity’s official website or over the phone using their official phone number, that way you know your money is going to the right cause.

2. Spreading joy and junk

For the non-traditionalists, the digital e-card is a great way to offer your season’s greetings without having to lick any stamps. While there are plenty of well-known e-card websites, there are also plenty of fake Christmas e-cards that will be sent around by unknown senders. If you receive a digital Christmas card, be sure to check the sender before opening it and if the card asks you to click on a link or download software, don’t.

3. Hook, line and sinker

While phishing emails like those from our wealthy Nigerian relatives are a year-round occurrence, they certainly become more prevalent during the holiday season. The creators of these emails are much smarter than they used to be and may look to cash in on our desire for bargains. Instead of a plain word email, they design legitimate-looking emails promising deals, discounts and sales from trusted sources like the banks or retail outlets like JB Hi-Fi or Target.

With so many of us buying our gifts online and relying on shipping, targeted phishing emails pretending to be from Australia Post or couriers like FedEx often contain malicious links created to look legitimate.

When keeping track of your deliveries, go to the courier’s website and use the tracking code supplied by the shop you bought from rather than clicking on a link in any email. Sure, it may take you an extra moment but it’s certainly safer.

4. There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Social media is great. We get to look at reams of poorly taken photos of other people’s dinner and pass judgment on their holiday snaps. But one thing that has been popping up on social media sites is the “too good to be true” deal.

Be honest with yourself. Would you expect David Jones to be handing out Armani suits at 95% off or Harvey Norman to give away PlayStation 4s for $50? Not likely. Remember the adage that if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. As you’re scouring the web for this year’s must-have item, keep your eyes peeled for dodgy competitions on social media or links sent through an email and bogus gift cards.

5. Not so ‘appy days

With new smartphones or tablets on many people’s Christmas wish lists, there’s desire to get our hands on the latest apps. As with most things technology-based, cybercriminals have cottoned on and are increasingly releasing malicious apps used to steal data.

Before downloading any new apps, make sure you read the reviews first and take note of what permissions the app asks for. For parents, make sure your iTunes or Google Play passwords are kept away from your kids, in case they become tempted to download a new version of the Flapping Bird game.

6. Don’t be left stranded

Christmas time means school holidays, and many of us yearn to take a well-earned break and spend Christmas overseas. Unfortunately, travelling during this time of year is much more expensive than other times, something those pesky cybercriminals are well aware of. Looking to cash in on our need to get away, many cyber crooks will promote fake travel deals across email, social networks and legitimate-appearing websites.

In what is a double-whammy, these sites will not only take your money but clicking on malicious links will often install spyware. As we’ve said before if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, so when booking any travel plans, do so through a reputable website or travel agent. Use these tips on making sure the legitimate looking site you’ve been directed to is genuine.

7. The gift that keeps on stealing

Christmas means giving, and many companies will be giving away gift baskets as a thank you for doing business with them. Branded USBs are very popular these days and while very useful, make sure you know the company that has sent you the gift. Many USBs are pre-loaded with malware designed to steal your data once inserted into your PC.

If in doubt, throw it out.

Congratulations Tenaya and Leo!

L>R: Tenaya & Kale Townsend (Citycover Insurance Adviser)

We would like to say a big thank you to all of our clients who referred a new client to Citycover last month. It is without doubt the most rewarding moment for one of our Insurance Advisers to be valued enough to be referred onto a colleague, family member or a friend.

Our new Referral promotion, is drawn monthly, and the entrants of our referral competition go into the draw to win a $500 gift card.

We wish to congratulate our valued client Tenaya and Leo on the win of this prize and we cannot thank them enough for passing on our details. 

When the weather heats up, so does crime!

As we enter into the summer months and the festive season, it is timely to remind home and car owners to keep their property and vehicles well secured at all times.

This time of year often leads to an increase in break and enter offences as people leave their doors and windows open to take advantage of the breeze.

Most offences are opportunistic – through unlocked doors or windows, with minimal effort, even when residents are at home. Even if you live in an apartment this will not deter some offenders who will scale balconies to gain access where they can.

Some basic measures can be taken to reduce the chances of you being a victim. Something as simple as securing doors and windows, even if you are at home will help.

Some other measures to lock out burglars include;

Home:

    • Fit security screen doors and quality deadlocks on external doors
    • Fit windows with secure locks, and do not leave keys in window locks
    • Get to know your neighbours
    • Ensure trees and shrubs are trimmed to allow visibility to your property
    • Always take your door key with you
    • Install perimeter security lighting such as sensor lights around your property
    • Report any suspicious activity

Vehicle:

    • Always lock your vehicle and fully close windows
    • Remove any personal belongings or keep out of sight
    • Park your vehicle in a well-lit and high visibility area
    • Remove keys from ignition, even if you are only leaving the vehicle unattended for a minute
    • Don’t leave vehicle keys lying around on tables, bedside tables or key hooks within your home- keep them out of sight
    • Consider taking your vehicle keys with you if you head out
    • Consider steering wheel locks, ignition shields and car alarms to help secure your car

To discuss your home and vehicle insurance with your Citycover Adviser, contact us today on (07) 3270 1500.

Article supplied by the Queensland Police.

Many professionals are failing to protect their biggest asset – themselves.

With years of education behind them, and years of earning potential in front of them, professional people are very valuable commodities. So why are so few protecting themselves with insurance?

As a business professional, You’ve worked hard to give yourself a good income, and it plays a big role in your current lifestyle and that of your family. So why wouldn’t you ensure that you have adequate life cover in case something happens to you? Whilst many Australians take out health insurance to protect against immediate needs such as hospital stays, they don’t consider the longer-term needs covered by life insurance. Long-term debilitation could have a major impact on your financial security. But sadly, 30% of Australians say they would wait for something to happen before they purchased life insurance.

Certainly, consumer sentiment around life insurance has been trudged through negative terrain. In a report published in 2015 by Asteron Life titled, Consumer Insights into an evolving life insurance Marketplace1, many of us risk going uninsured because we don’t recognise the value in being insured. Others don’t trust insurers. This adds up to 47% of Australians saying they would never buy life insurance. 1

It’s interesting to note the generational differences when it comes to insurance needs. Gen X is more likely to have life insurance cover greater than $1 million. This can be linked to the fact they are entering their 40s, which is typically a higher-risk age due to dependent children and greater debt levels.

16% of Baby Boomers didn’t know what amount of cover they had – indicating they are less concerned with insurance. Like Gen Y, they are less likely to have big financial responsibilities because many Baby Boomers have paid off their mortgages and their children have left home. 1

Those aged 40+ with dependants and a higher mortgage typically have more reasons to be insured. This is evidenced by the fact that people in this age group tend to have more insurance cover than others, with 92% having home and contents and 70% with life insurance. These percentages are much higher than the rest of the population. 1

Insurance is extremely important to this group because they have higher financial risks. As a result, they are more knowledgeable about life insurance and are more active in taking up cover outside of super. They also experience more emotional reward for being insured – with 46% saying life cover gives them peace of mind in knowing their family will be looked after. This contrasts with other population groups who have less knowledge and are more likely to feel indifferent to life cover. 1

Life insurance isn’t just about protecting your family financially if you die. It’s about protecting your lifestyle if you get sick or injured. So, if you can’t work for a while – or ever again – you have a financial back-up plan.

There will always be strong reasons to include life insurance as a critical part of your plan for life.

To find out more about life insurance options, call your Citycover Insurance Adviser on [07 3270 1500].

_________________________________

1 Adviser Insights; Consumer insights into an evolving life insurance marketplace; (2015); Asteron Life (Part of the Suncorp Group)

Managing Risks in Commercial Kitchens/Cafe’s/Restaurants

Each year a large number of fires occur in commercial kitchens, many of which result in extensive damage to property and business interruption to the income. It may also cause injury or loss of life.

Managing these risks are crucial whether you are insured or not. Not only can you destroy your business, but the landlord’s building if leasing, or neighbouring buildings causing you to be liable if you have not taken responsibility for making your kitchen safe.

Ultimate protection comes from being insured for Fire, Business Interruption and Public/Products Liability. But premiums vary according to how the risk is presented.

As a result, Insurers are extremely fussy about these types of risks, whether they will accept them or not depends on the following:

  • Type of Building, its age and construction
  • Type of cooking equipment that is being used
  • Fire Prevention and Housekeeping

There is a need to identify the risks of Ignition:

All cooking equipment represents a potential source of ignition and will vary with each type. Such equipment includes gas-fired equipment with an immediate source of flame, deep fat frying apparatus, as well as various electric equipment such as toasters, fryers and griddles. Trigger points can be in a number of forms including:

  • Oil/fat and food products
  • Combustible materials adjacent to exhaust ducts
  • The power supply to the apparatus e.g. gas supply

Air is supplied in large quantities by the inlets of the ventilation system, and the extract ducts act as chimneys, increasing the intensity of the fire.

The primary risks of fire in a kitchen:

  • Flames, sparks or hot gases from cooking can ignite combustible deposits inside extract ducts
  • Superheated oils leading to spontaneous ignition
  • Fan-motor failure or overheating caused by hardened grease, when restarting in seasonal catering establishments or non-24 hour operations
  • Working thermostats not working correctly, and the absence of a second high level safety thermostat
  • Individual equipment not switched off, especially on cessation of business
  • Metal extract ducts are good conductors of heat and can ignite nearby building materials or litter
  • Catalytic converters decompose grease, but operating at 1000 °C are a potential source of ignition
  • Solid fuel cooking equipment (such as barbecues)
  • Tandoori ovens without igniters/pilot lights lit by burning pieces of paper/absence of flame failure or safety shut off device
  • Gas torches used to brown some dishes
  • Cooking equipment which is left unattended during operation

Additional risk factors:

  • Lack of a competent person on site
  • Human error
  • Faulty or non-tested electrical appliances
  • Design aspects of the extract ventilation, such as length of ducts, length of horizontal ducts, type of fan, type and number of duct access panels
  • Cleaning contracts may only cover hoods and easily accessible visible areas e.g. those areas inside the ducting which are only within arm’s reach
  • Combustible food debris trapped in the grease filter
  • Remnants of paper napkins and other combustible waste oddments which may have been inadvertently left in cooker hoods or inside the extraction ducting etc.
  • Level of competence of cleaning contractor
  • Poor siting or failure of fire suppression system
  • Extract ducts are often completely inaccessible e.g. some duct systems may be routed inside masonry chimney breasts in older buildings
  • Unsuitable ductwork for kitchen environment
  • Lack of knowledge about the extract ventilation
  • Poor cleaning maintenance practice may compromise fire protection cladding or fire rated access panels on ducts
  • Insufficient number of access doors in ductwork to enable effective inspection and cleaning

Important Housekeeping & Maintenance:

  • All portable electrical appliances in use within kitchens should be inspected, tested and tagged on an annual basis by a competent person.
  • At the cessation of the working day all cooking equipment should be turned off and, if possible, isolated. The lids to the deep fat fryers should be replaced.
  • Kitchen staff should be adequately trained to deal with a fire or other emergency occurring therein, with this being repeated at six monthly intervals.
  • Housekeeping and cleanliness should be of the highest order in kitchens with waste food and waste/used packaging materials removed at regular intervals to lidded metal containers sited in the open, a safe distance from the building.
  • Smoking should not be permitted in or close to this area.
  • Waste cooking oils should be stored outside of the kitchen in a designated area in the open preferably, which if accessible to the public should be secure. The waste oil should be held in suitable secure containers and removed promptly.

What are the Insurers requirements?

Fire Protection and Maintenance Conditions

It is often a requirement under most insurance policies that you comply to the following conditions when it comes to cooking risks and the use of deep fryers or woks:

    (a) At least one fully charged 4.5kg dry powder extinguisher is installed and mounted in the cooking area
    (b) At least one fire blanket of approved design is situated in the cooking area
    (c) All exhaust duct filters are cleaned weekly or filters replaced fortnightly
    (d) All exhaust flues (ducting) are cleaned by a professional contractor once every 6 months
    (e) Each deep frying unit is fitted with an effective automatic thermostatic cut-off switch
    (f) All fire extinguishment and control devices be maintained in efficient working order with annual maintenance by professional contractor(s).

In Conclusion:

The equipment, fire prevention and housekeeping and maintenance practices should not be taken lightly. Managing these risks are essential to reduce the chance of a loss and an interruption not just to your business, but also your neighbours.

Insurance is a great way to transfer the risk away, but factors affecting the premiums are based on the probability of a loss and the more we can seek to reduce the chance of a loss, the cheaper the premiums for all the good risks.

Prevention is better than a cure and this can start with selecting an appropriate building to carry out such activities, selecting the best available equipment, setting it up safely and then follow a high standard housekeeping culture within the business.

If you would like to speak to your Citycover Insurance Adviser regarding your business insurance, contact us on (07) 3270 1500.

Citycover supports the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation

Champions Luncheon Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mark Sandow (Citycover Managing Director), Jonathan Hobson (Citycover Insurance Adviser), Sally Pearson (Australian Olympic Gold Medallist and World Champion), Micheal Hornby (CEO Prince Charles Hospital Foundation)

Giving back to the community is amongst one of Citycover’s most important and valuable things we do each year, it’s a huge part of our culture and our company.

Citycover is a Better Business Partner with the Common Good Au charity. Citycover is so honoured and proud to be supporting Medical Researchers at the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. We are supporting and providing funding towards vital medical research and discoveries each and every week, that will improve and change the lives of people in our local community.

Above is a photo of Mark Sandow our Managing Director and Jonathan Hobson (Citycover Insurance Adviser), at their launch of the Better Business Partners Program last month.

Some of our team had the opportunity to visit Prince Charles Hospital and meet with the researchers. What they do each and every day is quite frankly incredible – on behalf of all of us at Citycover, we thank you for what you do. It really is fantastic to give back to such an amazing cause.


Have you thought about protecting your income?

What if there was no income coming in? How long could you keep your household and your family’s lifestyle secure without earning an income?

According to a recent study, for every home lost through fire, there are 3 homes lost through death, and an astounding 48 homes lost through disablement. That is a very sobering thought!

According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 20% of mortgage defaults are due to ‘illness or an accident in a household’.

Income Protection insurance is an important product to help you provide for yourself and your family in the event of illness, injury or disability. It can no longer be an afterthought. Protecting your home is important to you, so don’t forget to protect those people within it too.

In a series of customer stories recently presented by Austbrokers Life Solutions, one story stood out to everyone here at Citycover. The story was about a Husband, Father and Aussie Larrakin who was recently diagnosed with a melanoma.

As you can understand, this hit him and his family really hard. However, due to the recommendation he received from his Life Insurance Adviser, he was able to come out the other side with a smile on his face, due to the on-going income he was able to receive when he was unable to work.

Stories like this put a smile on our face too. At Citycover, everything we do, we believe will enrich our business partners, their families and staff lives by allowing them to live life with confidence knowing their physical, financial and personal risks are looked after by someone who cares.

A staggering 90% of us will end up with an injury or illness in our lifetime, which will cause us to cease working. This put’s the importance of having Income Protection into perspective.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and we do have a range of Life Insurance and Income Protection Solutions available, including:

  • Death Cover up to $2m
  • Income Protection cover protecting up to $20k per month
  • Income Protection benefit periods of 1 & 5 years, or up to age 70
  • Serious illness, otherwise known as critical illness or trauma cover up to $350k
  • Kids cover

You can mix and match cover to suit you, all in one simple policy.

The application process is quick and simple. If you have any questions, please contact your Insurance Adviser at Citycover on (07) 3270 1500.

Find some alarming statistics here provided by Zurich Australia.

Congratulations Leonie!


L>R: Leonie & Daneille Crawford (Citycover’s Head of Sales & Service)

We would like to say a big thank you to all of our clients who referred a new client to Citycover last month. It is without doubt the most rewarding moment for one of our Insurance Advisers to be valued enough to be referred onto a colleague, family member or a friend.

Our new Referral promotion, is drawn monthly, and the entrants of our referral competition go into the draw to win a $500 gift card.

We wish to congratulate our valued client Leonie on the win of this prize and we cannot thank Leonie enough for passing on our details.

NBN will impact some security systems. Are you ready?

Information shared from Chubb Insurance Australia Limited.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is currently being rolled out throughout Australia with a progressive implementation planned.

The NBN utilises a range of technologies for broadband communication and for the majority of Australia, a fixed line connection operating over the existing copper network, in conjunction with new fibre optic technology, will be used. NBN is the wholesaler of this new network – once available you have a choice of phone and internet providers known as Retail Service Providers (RSPs) to select a plan that meets your needs.

What changes with the introduction of the NBN?
The NBN changes communications technology to a digital data platform and this will impact upon devices currently used on the copper network, such as telephone landlines, monitored security alarm systems, monitored medical alarms, and lift emergency phones. Changes to the current copper line technology mean such devices may not be compatible with the NBN.

What does this mean for you?
The NBN may have an adverse impact upon existing devices within your home. In particular, devices used for monitoring of security alarms, lifts and medical alarms may require updating to ensure they will function when required in an emergency.

What do you need to do?

For monitored security alarms:

  • Contact your alarm service provider to review the current technology used and update equipment that is not compatible with the NBN;
  • Discuss the type of NBN service plan required to operate with your security alarm system;
  • Consider moving the monitoring of your security alarm system to alternative technology, such as the mobile network (3G/4G, also known as GPRS).

For lift emergency phone lines and monitored medical alarms:

  • Register your lift emergency phone service with the NBN by providing the correct Full National Number (FNN)
  • Register your monitored medical alarm with NBN
  • Contact your service provider to migrate to an NBN-compatible solution.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Citycover Adviser on (07) 3270 1500 for further advice.

Why small business owners are losing sleep.

Information supplied by Vero Insurance.

Citycover’s panel of Insurers from time to time, provide us with fascinating insights for our client base. SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) is a significant segment for our business & we thought the following article may be of interest to you.

The information below is provided by VERO, a major Insurer for Citycover in this SME space. They simply get SME businesses & what an SME does day in & day out. This makes our job at Citycover easier especially when we handle claims for our valued & important SME clients.

“Anyone who runs their own business will be familiar with the disturbing fact that from time to time, your sleep will be interrupted. Staring at the ceiling at 3:00 am is rarely a pleasant experience, especially as the night time darkness always seems to emphasise the severity of our problems while robbing us of possible solutions.

Vero’s research reveals that while a significant percentage of small to medium business owners (SMEs) worry that a catastrophe might interrupt their ability to trade, a much smaller number are covered against such an eventuality. Over 30% of SMEs are concerned about a disaster robbing them of their revenue stream for an extended period while a similar percentage fear equipment failures could negatively impact their business. Yet 80% of these business owners say they are not covered for either of these insurable events. How can so many people rationalise their failure to protect themselves against acknowledged fears?

There are several possible – if not credible – explanations for this. Something inside us tells us that disasters only ever happen to other people. Everyone fears a plane crash, but that doesn’t stop them flying. Others dread visiting the dentist, but a severe tooth ache can rapidly change their minds.
Psychologists have spent some time studying this human ability to separate emotions like fear from the rational response to it. As Harvard University psychology consultant David Ropeik puts it, “the fears don’t match the facts”. He explains that our reactions to risks are instant while it takes more time for us to form our rational responses.

The ‘fight or flight’ centre of the brain – the Amygdala – reacts immediately to a threat. It then sends messages to the pre-frontal cortex where cognitive responses are formed. The reasoning brain can then say ‘now we know what the threat is, let’s work out what we should do about it.’ In other words, our brains are hard wired to fear instantly (causing us to stare at the ceiling in the middle of the night) and think later (motivating us to act).

Unfortunately, there is another cause for failing to cover insurable risks. A perception that the cost of insuring against a business catastrophe can be a prohibitive barrier. Once again, when the logical brain takes over, it will tell you that compared to the ultimate price of going out of business, the premiums seem very reasonable indeed.

A case in point is the subject of a video case study on a fire that severely impacted a workshop in Victoria. The business owner was horrified to discover that the business couldn’t continue to run until a complete rebuild was completed. Please contact your Adviser at Citycover is you would like a copy of the video.
His broker had included Vero business interruption insurance in his package. An immediate payment was made to him and he was trading from rented premises nearby within two weeks. Today, the business is back up and running in its rebuilt premises.

The lessons from this sobering tale could help all SMEs sleep better at night.”

Thank you to VERO for this content, a great insight & hopefully it will help others sleep better at night.

If our Insurance Advisers can assist you with additional insurance coverage, or should you just want to ensure cover is in place, please do not hesitate to contact us on
(07) 3270-1500.