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Why You Should Talk To An Insurance Broker?

Going direct to an Insurer may sometimes seem cheaper but this is rarely the case.

Would you fight a legal dispute without a solicitor? Would you lodge your company’s tax return without an accountant?

Would you use an unqualified person to cut down a tree? So why would you insure direct?

Insurance is complex – there are a myriad of policies on the market and by using a broker you can relax – we will do all the homework for you.

We are able to offer broad and tailored policy wordings for all your personal, commercial and industrial insurance requirements. As your professional insurance partner we can analyse your individual situation and needs and provide a professional tailored plan especially for you.

We know the Insurance Market and have the expertise and ability to negotiate competitive premiums and broad policy terms and conditions on your behalf. In many cases Brokers have access to enhanced wordings and greater benefits in your insurance policies. EG we can cover under your Home Insurance contents, including jewellery, up to $10,000 any one item at no additional charge.

With our experience we will ensure that your claims are negotiated and managed to best advantage with us doing all of the work to get you back to work quicker.

We also provide advice on how to make the most of your insurance budget and will explain your policy and any special conditions that you may need to be aware of.

Whether its business, home or motor insurance, Fitzpatrick & Co provides advice and assistance to make sure you are properly protected.

For more information or assistance with any of your insurance needs please contact Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs, at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1634 or email [email protected] Fitzpatrick & Co. have been insuring in the Horticulture and Arboriculture industries for more than 20 years.

January 15, 2020 / by / in , ,
Strategies To Attract New Clients

Determining how to attract new clients and diversify a client base is an issue that businesses both large and small typically must contemplate at various stages of their development, with marketing and innovation two key factors when it comes to seizing the initiative.

Sometimes it may simply be a matter of getting your name out there, however, for full effect this will need to be done so in a targeted manner, while innovation can take many forms, including modifying business operations, from minor tweaks through to major changes.

A big budget may not necessarily be the sole factor required to attract new clients, but rather a willingness to thoroughly assess all possibilities, along with a preparedness to adopt a flexible approach and to implement strategically thought-out changes step by step.

Marketing: knowing your customers

Of course, knowing your customers is a fundamentally good business practice, and can act as a springboard for the development and implementation of business planning.

This sort of knowledge commonly falls under the banner of market research, and may well help to identify areas of your business that will benefit from further attention – while using this knowledge as the basis for a marketing plan can help to formally articulate strategies and goals.

As advised via the business.gov.au website, marketing can help to “reach your target audience, boost your customer base and ultimately increase your bottom line”.

Putting together a marketing plan can provide a range of benefits, with business. gov.au noting that it helps business to:

  • Identify a target market and develop an understanding of how a product or service meets client needs
  • Identify competitors and what targeted customers think about their strengths and weaknesses Position a brand, products and services so that a targeted market views a business as better than, or different from, the competition
  • Set specific, measurable goals, along with time frames for marketing activities
  • Develop a strategy to reach a target audience, including the messages, channels and tools to be used

On this last point, it is certainly worthwhile looking into how a website and social media platforms can be utilised to build a business presence and potentially target new customers.

Further information on how to put together a marketing plan can be found at the www.business.gov.au website

Innovation: Implementing Changes

Innovation is a very broad concept and can be applied across many facets of business operations – and, in seeking to expand and improve your range of services and in turn grow your client base, it is worthwhile canvassing a range of ideas.

It may simply be a matter of analysing your business processes and considering different measures to make these processes more efficient, which may potentially range from implementing new work procedures to adopting new technology. By way of example, businesses that have been proactive in integrating digital technologies are likely not only reaping the benefits of more accurate and efficient operations, but are also better positioned to adopt future technology developments.

From the introduction of new processes, to the development of new products and services, adopting an innovative approach could potentially help grow your client base – and being responsive to what is happening at both an industry-specific and broader level can help businesses maintain a competitive edge.

Our next instalment in this series will look at the benefits provided by ongoing training and development for both employers and staff.

January 1, 2020 / by / in , ,
Time To Refinance

Is It Time To Refinance Your Home Loan?

Fitzpatrick Financial Services would like to share a number of common reasons why mortgage holders refinance their home loans.

  1. Accessing Equity

If you have a financing requirement (i.e. renovations, car, machinery), then cashing out equity held in your property could be something to consider

  1. Property Value Has Risen

If your property’s value has risen, your equity will have also increased. Lenders may now be willing to offer you lower rates.

  1. Improved Business Performance

Higher income may make you a lower-risk borrower, which could mean you can access better deals.

  1. Consolidating Other Debts

You might want to check whether it could be cheaper to consolidate high-interest debts (i.e. personal loans and credit cards) into your home loan to save interest and reduce your overall repayments.

  1. Fixed-Rate Period Is Ending

Upon expiry, your fixed rate may roll onto a variable interest rate that isn’t competitive. This may be the perfect time to review your home loan.

  1. Interest-Only Period Ending

Are you prepared for a significant increase in your repayments? If you are ready to revert to principal and interest repayments, most lenders will offer lower rates.

Must-Knows About Refinancing

Refinancing Costs Money

You will need to assess the potential savings versus the cost of switching lenders to make the best decision for you. Due to strong competition in the market, many lenders offer incentives to refinance to them, such as a cash-back offer, which may help offset some (or all) of the switching costs.

You Don’t Need To Do This Alone

Negotiating loan terms is difficult if you don’t know all the ins and outs of lending. Consider seeking expert help from a mortgage broker before making any decisions. The team at the associate company Fitzpatrick Financial Services specialise in all areas of lending, including refinancing.

If you suspect it’s time to refinance your loan, don’t hesitate to contact Tim Sheehan at Fitzpatrick Financial Services on (03) 8544 1600

For more information email at [email protected]  or visit www.fitzpatrick.com.au.

November 27, 2019 / by / in , , , ,
Growing Business

What insurance cover does a growing business need?

One of the drawbacks to owning a growing business is having more at stake. An expanding business is likely to be having dealings with an ever-increasing number of individuals, getting involved in a wider range of commercial activities, even expanding into new locations.

A growing business usually requires a growing workforce. With more equipment and larger premises come more expensive rent payments. In such circumstances, any revenue-disrupting interruption to its activities can soon escalate into a cashflow crisis.

In short, the cover that was sufficient when you were a sole trader or running a small start-up isn’t likely to be adequate once you’re heading up a thriving enterprise. The end of the financial year is a great time to think about how your business has changed over the last 12 months and review your insurance policies. If you’re pressed for time or simply want the reassurance of an expert opinion, one of our friendly brokers can assist you.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

When it comes time to make your first employee hire, you’ll be legally required to take out workers’ compensation insurance. You should consider taking out a form of back-up workers’ compensation insurance called employers’ liability insurance. This is because it’s possible for an employee to suffer an illness or injury that is job-related yet not covered under a standard workers’ compensation policy (employers’ liability insurance can cover for these type of choice, you could have employers’ liability insurance as an additional benefit if you want your employees to have better cover in the event of an employee suffering a misfortune.

Business Interruption Insurance

The more your business grows, the larger its fixed costs are likely to be and the more expensive an interruption to its smooth functioning will become. A suburban café may only be out of pocket a few hundred dollars if a blackout means it has to shut down for the afternoon.

If an unfortunate event means you need to shut up business, your revenue will be typically impacted during the shutdown period. Nonetheless, you’ll probably continue to face the usual wage, rent and other business costs. Business interruption insurance can provide a pay-out to cover you for those costs, as well as make up for lost sales.

Cyber Insurance

In the digital age, an IT issue can be as devastating as any fire, flood or storm. The two threats businesses, especially smaller ones with limited IT budgets, most need to worry about are ransomware attacks and data theft.

A ransomware attack results in a business’s files being encrypted. Important data is rendered inaccessible, which can make it difficult or impossible for a business to keep operating – until a ransom is paid to return things to normal. It’s estimated that, globally, ransomware inflicted US$5 ($A6.5 billion) of damage in 2017.

Governments in Australia and elsewhere are tightening privacy regulations and stiffening financial penalties for data breaches. If a malicious actor overcomes your cyber security and captures your customers’ personal data, the consequences can be more serious than brand damage. You could find yourself being investigated by the government regulator and being sued by your customers. Cyber insurance can help cover financial losses arising from a cyber security breach.

For assistance with any of your insurance needs contact Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1600 or email [email protected]

October 24, 2019 / by / in , ,
A True Story

Why Life Insurance and Income Protection are important – a real-life example.

We would like to share a true-life insurance claims story and the importance of having the right people and the right cover for your needs.

Tania and her husband Marty approached Fitzpatrick & Co. unsure what they needed but were concerned about protecting their family in case of ill health.

Our adviser reviewed their current life situation, gave them options and helped them implement the policies that they selected.

Less than 12 months later Tania was diagnosed with a severe brain tumor. We have recently been successful in securing the payment of Tania’s Total & Permanent Disability payment and she continues to receive her monthly income protection payments. The below is a letter received from Tania this week:

“When I met you to discuss our insurance needs, I never ever thought

I would need income protection or Total and permanent disability cover as I lead a healthy lifestyle. I remember you talking to me about the risk that my family could face if I was out of action as I was a working mum. I decided to take your advice and take out the insurance policies, but little did I know that within 12 months I would be diagnosed with a  malignant tumor in my head. I now need years of rehabilitation, am unable to ever return to work and our world has been turned upside down. The Life, total and permanent disability and income protection policies you put together for me changed our lives forever. Marty remembers when he called you to tell you what happened to me and you got onto the claims process immediately.

We had a lot of forms to complete and you came to our home and sat with me one morning to go through it all. I am so grateful for the numerous phone calls over six months between the insurer and you so that you could minimize my involvement, as I was unable to comprehend the information. We truly understand and appreciate the time you put into our claim.

We can’t believe that we have now paid off our mortgage thanks to these policies. In addition, Marty can go to work and continue to run his business while I get the necessary medical attention and care that I need. My income protection policy allows me to contribute to our family and medical needs. Your advice, guidance and assistance with the payment of the policies covered all our issues and

removed all financial stress. I m very grateful that we took your advice and that we had Fitzpatrick & Co. looking after us.”

Life Insurance and any insurance is a vital aspect of not just your life but your business. The above story shows the real-life reason why having the right cover and people are so important.

For assistance with any of your insurance needs please contact Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1634 or email [email protected]. Fitzpatrick & Co have specialized in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for more than 30 years, providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. We are there when you need help.

August 27, 2019 / by / in , ,
Tools Of The Trade

I have a liability policy. Does this cover my tools? No!

Tools of Trade cover is a separate policy that provides in most policies Australia Wide cover for all your Tools.

If any of your tools got stolen can your business still run? Or if your entire toolbox was stolen how much would it cost you to replace all of the items in it, including many of the items that you have built up over many years? Tools of Trade cover can provide cover for these items and not leave you out of pocket or unable to work without these items.

Insurers don’t need an individual list of items but will need a value for them, and some may require you to specify items if they are over a certain value – around $2500 depending on the value of the item. They will cover any item regardless of sum insured, but need to know what they are covering so they can ensure you are adequately protected and can receive the right sum insured in the event of a claim.

It is important to check your policy on a Tools of Trade policy as sometimes the cover can be limited by either location or theft exclusions. For example, if a tool was stolen from a non-locked vehicle, toolbox, shed or back of a ute, it may not be covered depending on the policy. Can you afford to run your business without your tools? Or will the small cost of Tools of Trade insurance provide adequate protection to keep you running in a frustrating time when your tools have been stolen?

Fitzpatrick & Co hs specialised in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for more than 30 years, providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. They are there when your industry needs you.

For assistance with any of your insurance needs please contact Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1634 or email [email protected]

June 26, 2019 / by / in ,
Self-Managed Super Fund

Are you and your Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) protected from the latest changes?

Running your business and setting up a Self-Managed Super Fund can be a great way to plan ahead for your retirement or to protect your current assets from any penalties.

Recently, the Government introduced Section 166 into the SIS Act 1993 (rules of SMSF). This was to give the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) more IMMEDIATE power to penalise trustees of SMSF’s if their fund was found to have breached under this Section of the (SIS Act 1993).

Currently the ATO have recognised17 common breaches that have a penalty attached.

As you may be aware, SMSF regulations are very complex and change all the time and if the ATO find you (trustee of the fund) have breached these regulations, they can now simply impose a penalty of up to $12,600 per breach (called a Trustee Administrative Penalty) per trustee paid DIRECTLY out of your pocket! (It CANNOT be paid out or your SMSF).

In a recent presentation from Dana Fleming, Assistant Commissioner ATO, Ms Fleming stated: “…. trustees are ultimately responsible and liable for the maintenance of their SMSF and cannot shift the blame to their professional advisers for contraventions.” “…. trustees may face significant penalties if they don’t comply with the regulatory obligations and requirements that come with running an SMSF. If you don’t run your SMSF properly, we may impose a penalty.”

The ATO wants SMSF Trustees to be more compliance conscious, and to enforce this, it is expected that the ATO will further significantly increase its audit activity on SMSFs over the coming years.

The ATO has issued over $3.3 million in trustee penalties already! Don’t let it be you! We have a solution that can assist in this area! Every day matters. Contact our office today.

Fitzpatrick & Co has specialised in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for more than 30 years providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. We are there when your industry needs you.

For questions about your current policies, or how we can tailor an insurance package for you please contact Mick Le Grand at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1600 or email http://[email protected]

April 19, 2019 / by / in
Are You Covered?

Many Australians, especially those who own businesses, discover they don’t have the cover they need in the worst possible circumstances.

Insurance is one of those subjects that many people glaze over. So, just to test how knowledgeable you are about this important but unsexy topic, see how many of the following questions you can answer.

  • What type of insurance can provide cover if a natural disaster results in my business having to shut down for a period of time?
  • What type of insurance can provide cover if a client takes legal action against me?
  • What type of insurance can provide a payout to cover costs relating to everything from a broken window to a tax audit to a light-fingered employee?
  • What type of insurance is legally required if you employ staff? What is the penalty for failing to take out this insurance?

Answers

  • Business interruption insurance
  • Professional Indemnity insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • It varies from state to state but you’ll typically be at risk of jail time if an employee has been injured (or worse) NSW imposes a ‘double avoided penalty’ equivalent to double the amount you should have paid in workers’ compensation premiums

If you failed to get all (or any) of the answers right, you can take solace in being a typical Aussie. One in ten businesses don’t take out Business Insurance cover.

Australia is one of the most under insured nations in the developed world (under insurance is when an individual or business has no or inadequate insurance to cover their legal liabilities, or the cost of loss or damage to their assets).

There are two under insurance traps – not having any insurance at all and not having sufficient insurance. The perils of the first are self-evident. Many business owners only find out about the downsides of the second after they try to make a claim.

It is natural for any business to try and save money, and it is important to ensure you are not paying for things you are not covered. But it is more important to have the right cover and not just take the first policy you are quoted or see. Ask questions, challenge the insurer or broker and ask about what you want to know or what you want covered.

A number of under insurance claims come from clients who buy online without consultation with an insurance professional. Whilst some of these policies are good and can save you time, you need to ensure you are buying a policy that is right for you, and not just to save a few dollars, because in the end those dollars that you thought you have saved, may end up costing you your business.

Talking to your broker or insurer is also important to ensure you have the right cover. What was covered and relevant five years ago, may not be the same today. Particularly if your business has changed or grown, or you have employees doing different things. All is relevant to your insurance policy and ensuring you are not under insured.

Insurance has also changed significantly in the last few years and cover you thought you had may have changed, or their may be better policies out there for you or for your business.

How A Broker Can Help

The good news is that it’s possible to arrange the appropriate cover for your business without devoting countless hours to learning about the finer points of insurance. You can outsource the task to an expert who deals with business like yours on a daily basis. They can tailor a competitively priced policy to protect against the major risks your business faces.

For any questions or more information please contact Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs, at Fitzpatrick & Co. Insurance Brokers – [email protected] or call (3) 8544 1634. Fitzpatrick are Horticulture and Arborculture specialists who have been supporting these industries for over 20 years.

February 11, 2019 / by / in
It’s Time – Words| LEN McKeown

Business is rapidly changing every day in Arboriculture. With new equipment, new ideas and greater knowledge our industry continues to grow and develop.

Having some adaptability is needed if, as business owners, we are to keep up with the pace of change. Depending on the size of the business, the owner takes on more tasks and the need to delegate more to staff increases. If your company continues to grow, your time becomes more precious and the pressure to hire more staff and improve your processes becomes critical for your success.

As a business owner myself I have been through and still continue to go through daily changes. I knew that I could do better and the need to develop the TreeHQ software became apparent. I found someone capable to work with and who could turn my ideas into a reality that would be worthwhile to my business, but also other arborists and their businesses.

Each step and component of TreeHQ was created as I thought about the need in our business and the benefit this could have for myself and others. TreeHQ has filled a void in my business and I am glad that I started the journey of its creation.

When I think about why I created TreeHQ and why it is needed the answer remains unchanged. As business evolves the need for TreeHQ remains the same. This system gives me the flexibility to grow with my company.

Ask yourself why improve your business systems, why look to improve things?

TreeHQ gives you the ability to create more time in your business, it allows you to have better communication with staff and clients, creates a database, invoices and tracks workflow. It has Google map integration and the ability to insert new quotes or inquiries on the spot.

It has changed my business personally through the ability to have video as a way of informing my staff what to do and capture visually and audibly the words of the client. This can remove the ambiguity of ‘he said, she said’ and to capture any previous damage on a site.

All this can be operated from your smart devices by you or your staff. Your workflows are literally in the palm of your hand making your job easier.

TreeHQ has become much more than software that runs my business. It’s become a way to give something back to an industry I love and enjoy. The ability to help others improve their businesses excites me. We are a team of people invested in better business practice for an industry which we are all a part of. I am hoping you will see a worthwhile investment for your business. So please give us a call, and we will do whatever is needed to help you in the transition on a better way of doing things using TreeHQ.

For a limited time, we are offering to build clients a free website. Please note terms and conditions apply.

For more details contact our office at 1300 106 033, send an email at [email protected] or visit www.treehq.co

February 1, 2019 / by / in , ,
Run Off Cover

I’ve closed my business; do I still need insurance cover?

Most Public and Products liability policies only provide cover against liability for damage to property or injury to person where the occurrence (damage/injury) happens during the currency of the policy. Therefore, any damage/injury that occurs after your policy expires may not be insured, unless you have taken out a replacement policy or run off cover.

If you are a sole trader, partnership or a registered company and you cease to trade you may need to maintain liability cover for goods or services that you provided in the past against any claim that may arise in the future. This cover is called Run Off cover and is available to ensure protection against future liabilities even though the business has ceased trading.

We strongly recommend that you arrange Run Off Cover, especially if you’re a sole trader or partnership or the company continues to exist and has ongoing net assets. The last thing you want in your retirement or when no longer working for yourself is a large bill that a liability policy would have responded to if an incident has occurred.

Please contact Fitzpatrick & Co to discuss your situation and to arrange a competitive quote to ensure continued protection against unexpected liabilities.

Fitzpatrick & Co have specialised in the horticulture and arboriculture industry for more than 30 years providing assistance and financial support to companies, associations and events. We are there when your industry needs you.

For more information call Mick Le Grand, Director of Programs at Fitzpatrick & Co. on (03) 8544 1634 or email [email protected]

November 21, 2018 / by / in