With the online insurance market a popular way of obtaining cover, the role of an Insurance Broker may appear less relevant than in previous years. However when it comes to Strata Insurance, it is quite the opposite.
Complex legislation and the intricate, highly involved nature of managing Strata Insurance and strata claims, has meant the role of an insurance broker is more valuable than ever for strata managers.
As a strata manager, your role is vast and varied, with responsibilities ranging from organising and maintaining insurance, to ensuring legislative compliance for your Owners' Corporations (OC) Committees.
In Australia's highly litigious society, it is becoming increasingly important to engage professional advice to ensure your OC Committees have appropriate insurance in place to protect themselves against risk exposures associated with Strata properties.
With multiple complex tasks and legal requirements to keep track of, many Strata Managers use the services of a professional Strata Insurance broker to help alleviate the hefty workload and significant legal responsibility associated with managing Strata Insurance for your clients.
Direct Insurer V Insurance Broker
As the direct Strata Insurance market becomes more established, some Strata Managers are choosing to forego the use of an insurance broker to navigate the complex Strata Insurance and claims processes themselves.
While we acknowledge there may be some benefits when it comes to initial cost, it is important to understand the significant risks and challenges you and your OC may come up against without the professional advice of a qualified Strata Insurance specialist.
To help explain the benefits both you and your OC clients stand to gain by utilising a specialist strata insurance broker, we have developed a simple overview below.
Using a Whitbread Broker
Using a Direct Insurer
Personal Advice tailored to your clients' specific circumstances
As qualified specialist strata insurance brokers, we can provide ‘personal advice’ – advice which takes into account the specific circumstances and needs of your clients. This will ensure that the most affordable and suitable policy is obtained.
General Advice only
Direct insurers cannot provide you with ‘personal advice’. Legally, insurance companies can only provide ‘general advice’ or factual information on their own products, which do not take your clients’ specific needs and circumstances into consideration.
Your own dedicated insurance broker
With a dedicated account manager, you can contact the same insurance broker every time you need advice or assistance. Through developing a strong relationship, we can better understand not only your needs as a Strata Manager, but the needs of your clients as well.
Multiple points of contact
If your direct insurer uses a call centre to handle enquiries, there is no guarantee you will be able to speak to the same person when you need assistance. The ‘general advice’ you receive could potentially differ from person to person as well.
Multiple quotes, comparisons & professional recommendations
As standard practice for all states, our brokers will source multiple quotes from a variety of insurers at policy inception and upon renewal, detailing the differences in cover and benefits on offer. A number of the policies we offer are not available to the general public.
You must source multiple quotes, and formulate policy comparisons
A direct insurer will only discuss the benefits of the policy they provide, there are no comparisons to their competitor’s products. You will need to source this information yourself by doing extra work to obtain additional policy options. Note: there are legal requirements regarding how many different insurance quotes must be provided upon policy renewal each year.
Claims management service
Whitbread have an internal specialist strata insurance claims team. Our claims consultants act as an advocate to ensure your clients receive the best possible outcome via mediation, and when required, escalation to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). This takes claims handling off your to-do-list.
You must manage your clients' claims
In the event of a claim, you will need to deal directly with the insurer. Without professional guidance or a broker’s technical policy knowledge or negotiation experience, it can be difficult to achieve the best outcome for your clients.
Whitbread are experts in Strata Insurance
With over 40 years' of experience, Whitbread are specialists in arranging Strata Insurance solutions and claims management for Residential and Commercial Strata properties.
Our depth of knowledge and experience gives us a unique insight into Strata risks, enabling us to provide leading advice and service to benefit you and your clients.
Our primary objectives are to;
- Arrange the right insurance coverage for your clients – as a broker, we are qualified to provide professional advice and make insurance recommendations based on your OC clients’ specific circumstances. Note: Personal advice is not accessible through the direct insurance market.
- Reach the best possible outcome for your clients in a claim – our dedicated claims consultants manage and drive the claims process from start to finish, ensuring all parties involved in the settlement of the claim are collaborating effectively.
- Keep you informed of regulatory changes – frequent regulatory changes in the Strata Insurance industry may affect your roles and legal responsibilities as a Strata Manager. Whitbread always aim to keep you informed.
The benefits of engaging a Whitbread Strata Insurance Broker
1. Specialist Insurance Advice & Service
Professional Insurance Recommendations
- Upon policy inception and at renewal, Whitbread approach the insurance market on behalf of your clients to provide multiple quote options. We also negotiate with insurers to achieve the best premiums and tailored coverage suitable your clients’ specific circumstances. Comparatively a direct insurer can only provide quotes for their own insurance product.
- Whitbread insurance advisors have years of training and experience. Our strata specialists are equipped to explain technical details, compare different policies, make recommendations, and bring light to any special risks or issues you need to be aware of.
- Whitbread assign dedicated account managers to your strata property portfolio, ensuring you can speak with the same broker each time you call. If preferred, we can also arrange face-to-face meetings to engage with Strata Managers on more personal terms.
- Our brokers undergo continuous professional development to ensure they are up-to-date with new products and emerging risk exposures.
- Whitbread’s strata brokers will do the heavy lifting when it comes to insurance. Our team can minimise the workload for strata managers when it comes to insurance, while also ensuring your OC clients have the best possible insurance protection in place.
2. Claims Management & Consulting
Whitbread have a specialist strata claims team to manage your clients’ claims from start to finish. This can help reduce overheads for your strata management business, removing the need for you to employ your own claims manager(s).
On your behalf our team:
- Harness their expertise to negotiate with insurers, assessors and repairers, to efficiently reach the best possible claim outcome.
- Advocate for you – as advisors, we are not influenced by external demands. Our goal is to reach the best outcome for your clients, and your clients only.
- Provide updates and information keeping you informed on progression of the claim.
- Utilise in-depth technical policy knowledge when negotiating with insurers to achieve the best possible claim settlement.
- Escalate insurer claim denials where suitable, pushing for a favourable outcome via the relevant insurer’s internal disputes resolution team.
3. We keep you informed & educated
Empowering our clients to grow professionally through knowledge sharing is key to Whitbread’s ethos.
We regularly publish insight articles on all things Strata Insurance to help keep you informed and on the front foot when speaking with your clients. Topics range from legislative changes to advice on claims and complex Strata Insurance issues. Click here to access our catalogue of insurance articles.
4. Not just Strata Insurance
Whitbread have a commercial insurance team who specialise in formulating business insurance solutions to protect against key risk exposures experienced by strata management firms.
Having worked in this space for many years, our business insurance specialists have an in-depth knowledge of the risks you face, as well as emerging risks, and can provide advice to help you make quality decisions when it comes to insuring your business.
For more information on Strata Insurance and the benefit of engaging a Whitbread Strata Insurance broker for your clients, please get in touch:
P: 1300 424 627
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of personal advice. Please contact Whitbread Associates Pty Ltd ABN 69 005 490 228 License Number: 229092 trading as Whitbread Insurance Brokers for further information or refer to our website.