Significant changes incoming for NSW & VIC compensation schemes

Employers and businesses who operate in New South Wales and Victoria need to be aware of some quite significant changes across both schemes in the lead up to this 30 June 2024.

In NSW the Nominal Insurer scheme (icare) continues to evolve off the feedback given by employers, broker partners and injured workers alike.

In 2018 we saw what effectively became a single-claims provider scheme commence.

The ‘Authorised Provider’ model was the first step in July 2020 in rewinding the single-provider model, offering choice of claims provider to the largest customers within the scheme.

This coming 30th June 2024, the Medium sized employers (Average Performance Premium of $200,000 to $500,000) will now also have choice of claims provider.

What this means is employers with a policy of this size will qualify to have their Workers Compensation claims managed by any of the following NSW scheme agents and will be required to stipulate at renewal who they would like this to be:

  • EML
  • QBE Insurance
  • Allianz Insurance
  • GIO Insurance
  • Gallaher Bassett, or
  • DXC (formally known as Xchanging)

The Workers Compensation Risk team at Warren Saunders Insurance Brokers work closely with all these providers and are here to help if you need any advice/ recommendations or support in this area.  Please just reach out to your WSIB representative.

In VIC, legislation which has passed through Parliament will see changes to entitlements for mental or psychological injuries. The changes will see claims being made for incidents or events that are “typical and reasonably expected to occur” in the course of employment be more heavily scrutinised and more likely be declined at eligibility review. Claims arising through interpersonal conflict whose being claimed as bullying or harassment are one example of claims more likely to be rejected than accepted under the changes.

Another significant change to the Act which has also been passed is the entitlement to long-term tail claims, whose eligibility criteria for ongoing benefits beyond 2.5 years has increased. This could make it harder for injured workers with long term injury and illness to seek benefits under the Victorian workers compensation laws, however WSIB would expect the interpretation of these laws to be much clearer over the course of time once the new legislation is tested through appeals processes in the future.

Should you have any questions in regard to the above updates, or anything specific to your Workers Compensation program, do not hesitate to contact us here at WSIB at or (02) 9587 3500.

Are you properly protecting your home from water damage? See these tips

While most homeowners focus on protecting their homes against theft and fire through locking devices, alarm systems and smoke detectors, they tend to ignore another major threat to their homes – internal water leak damage. Homeowners of a property with a history of water damage could face difficulty obtaining insurance, or experience higher premiums.

To minimise the chance of internal water leak damage, here are some proactive steps you can take to protect your home. 

1. Checking the quality of your flexi-hoses

The easiest way to avoid a devasting water damage loss is to physically inspect your flexi hoses and look for signs of corrosion. Burst hoses can cause floods, which is why it is important to regularly inspect them, especially when you plan to be away for extended holidays.

Flexi-hoses can be found under the sinks in your kitchen, butler’s pantry, bar, laundry and bathrooms. If any hoses are showing signs of leakage or corrosion, they need to be replaced immediately. A corroded hose will ultimately burst, which has the potential to flood your home. Replacement flexi-hoses should be of a superior quality and have Australian Standard certification S 3499:2022. These hoses can be installed by a licensed plumber. 

2. Turn off your water while away from your home

A great way to ensure your home remains free of water damage while you are away, is to turn off the water supply at each wet area. Simply locate the stop taps under your sinks or hand basins and turn them off. This straightforward action eliminates the possibility of a water leak caused by an appliance while you’re on vacation. You can also turn off water supply at stop taps located on your plumbed refrigerators, water filters, and washing machines. 

3. Inspect your plumbing

Regular inspections by a licensed plumber to check the valves on your sinks, showers, and toilets, to ensure they are in good working order, can help identify potential issues. 

Plumbing supply systems are the number one cause of non-weather-related losses. That means your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room, and the pipes that connect them to the water supply, warrant a bit more attention. A qualified plumber can inspect your plumbing water lines and waste line for leaks, damage or corrosion. 

4. Check air conditioning units

A water leak from an air conditioner means you will need to address repairs and assess the water damage done to your home. A major air conditioner leak can affect everything from ceilings, walls, floorboards and can damage, walls, and induce mould growth.

Air conditioner leaks are often caused by dirty unit filters, cracked pipes, clogged condensate lines or broken condensate pumps. Investing in routine inspections to identify water leaks or changing your filter regularly to prevent the unit from overworking, can help prevent leaks before they start.  

If you do experience water damage, it is important to have the right insurance coverage that will cover your home and valuables sufficiently while giving you the support and resources to get back on your feet. 

Contact Warren Saunders Insurance Brokers at or (02) 9587 3500 for your insurance solutions.

Source: Chubb 
Tips for protecting your home’s interior from water damage | Chubb

How does your cyber security match up?

One of the primary risk management issues currently being faced by many of our clients is cyber security particularly in respect of personally identifiable information (PII) and privacy. The legislative landscape around PII and privacy has been subject to rapid and significant reform in recent years. The last update to privacy legislation in 2022 significantly increased penalties for repeated or serious breaches of privacy legislation by companies.

The Enforcement Act (2022)

The most significant reform from the 2022 update was to the Enforcement Act and increased the maximum penalties applicable for serious or repeated breaches to the following:

Whichever is the greater of:

  • AU$50 million;
  • If the court can determine the value of the benefit that the body corporate, and any related body corporate, have obtained directly or indirectly and that is reasonably attributable to the conduct constituting the contravention—three times the value of that benefit; and
  • If the court cannot determine the value of that benefit—30% of the adjusted turnover of the body corporate during the breach turnover period for the contravention.

Proposed Privacy Act Reform (2024/5)

The proposed Privacy Act reform currently passing through Federal parliament will likely be passed later this year and enacted early 2025. This reform represents the most significant Privacy Act reform since the Act was passed in 1988. Some of the proposed reforms are outlined below.

  • Broadening the scope of personal information likely include technical (e.g. IP addresses) and inferred information.
  • Enhanced privacy protections for such employees can be implemented within the Privacy Act.
  • Introduction of a new ‘fair and reasonable in the circumstances test’ to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
  • Requirement that organisations determine and record the primary and secondary purposes for collecting, using and disclosing personal information.
  • A new direct right of action for individuals. Individuals (including a group) who have suffered loss or damage as a result of an interference of privacy would be allowed to directly claim against entities holding their information. This opens up potential class actions by groups who have had their privacy breached against the company that held their information.
  • Requirement to establish, disclose and periodically review retention periods for personal information.
  • 72-hour notification requirement in the event of an eligible data breach
  • Introduce a new ‘mid-tier penalties’ for interferences with privacy that are not otherwise serious, and a ‘low level’ penalties for specific administrative breaches.

Cyber & Privacy Outlook update

For a comprehensive review of current and upcoming legislation in the areas of Cyber and Privacy, we refer to the Albrecht Burrows 2024 Cyber and Privacy Outlook update for 2024. For Directors & Officers of an organisation, the most pertinent sections of the update are the “The Privacy Act”, “Director’s Duties and Cybersecurity” and “Third Party Liability for cyber and privacy”.

Tailored Assessment

If you are interested in understanding more about the risks associated with the handling of personal information and what these changes mean for your business, please contact our office on (02) 9587 3500 and we can help put you in a position which is informed and prepared for these upcoming changes.




Reviewing your Return to Work Programs

As we enter into the festive season many businesses are starting to wind down operations and deservedly so after another busy year. However, Saunders Safety & Training have received a record number of enquiries pertaining to Return to Work Programs and just like the summer weather, things are heating up!

A Return-to-Work Program is a NSW specific Policy setting out an organisations commitment to supporting a staff member through their recovery from injury or illness resulting from a workplace incident. It needs to clearly set out who within an organisation is delegated authority to support your people, how those people are equally supported by other internal and external stakeholders, and how sensitive information is stored and used in the future prevention and management of workplace injury.

Most employers are legally required under the various pieces of Legislation & Guidelines to hold a compliant Return to Work Program, show evidence of consultation with the workforce (and potentially the industry union), and update the program at least every two years.

The increasing number of enquiries coming through Saunders Safety & Training for assistance in this space is reactive to audits and inspections undertaken by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) and unfortunately many of these enquiries are coming with Performance Improvement Notices (PIN) and financial penalties to the company.

As we head into the holiday season, it is a timely reminder safety in the workplace never stops and nor does the attention of the safety regulator. We strongly encourage all employers to review their policies and where needed and reach out to Saunders Safety & Training on (02) 9958 9009. We have the capability to deliver these policies and education to prevent financial and reputations damage to the organisation.

Safeguarding employees financial wellbeing, even when they are not at work

Safeguarding employees financial well being, even when they are not at work

For employers, ensuring the financial stability of your employees is paramount, especially when unexpected circumstances, such as injuries or illnesses, arise. While workers’ compensation is a must have, 75% of Australians who were injured suffered the injury outside of work1. This highlights the importance of addressing broader health challenges that can impact your team.

Causes of injury;


Additionally, over 2.6 million Australians aged under 65 are living with physical disabilities2, including conditions like cancer, stroke, heart disease and depression, that in many cases will not be covered by Workers’ Compensation. So, how can individuals manage their living expenses if they’re injured outside of work or fall ill beyond their leave entitlements?

While the Australian Government provide a disability support pension, this is often a fraction of what employment earnings were and may reduce or not be eligible due to assets or income tests. 

Businesses have a unique opportunity to support their employees by establishing a Group Salary Continuance (income protection) plan, which can replace up to 75% of an employee’s income if they are unable to work due to sickness, accident, or injury—potentially for the entirety of their working lives if needed.

Benefits for employees:

  • Income Security: Cover living expenses and mortgage payments during illness or injury when leave is exhausted.
  • Long-term Support: Monthly payments can potentially continue up to age 65 if the employee cannot return to work.
  • Flexibility: Partial payments can apply if an employee is able to return to work on restricted hours.
  • Multiple Claims: Ability to claim on the policy multiple times for the same or different issues.
  • Inclusive Coverage: Provides cover that individuals may not obtain individually due to existing health conditions.


Benefits for Businesses:

  • Community Values: Demonstrate a commitment to community and family by supporting employees during challenging times.
  • Employer of Choice: Gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Cost-Effective: Group policies are often more affordable than individual policies, providing significant cost savings for both the employee and the business, which generally is cheaper then the equivalent pay increase.
  • Automatic Acceptance: Ensure access to coverage for those with family or medical history challenges, offering them protection they might not find elsewhere.


This is specialist cover through our partnership with Tempus Wealth, offering expertise and support for both your business and employees.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us on (02) 9587 3500 or emailing to explore how Group Salary Continuance can benefit your team.

  1. AIHW (2008) Australia’s Health 2008, Cat. no. AUS 99, Canberra
  2. accessed on 30 August 2012.


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Fires caused by lithium batteries are on the rise.

In recent years, there has been a concerning increase in fires caused by lithium batteries. These incidents not only pose a danger to lives and businesses but also highlight the need for greater awareness and precautions when it comes to these common power sources. 

Causes of Lithium Battery Fires

  • Overcharging and Overheating: Overcharging a lithium battery can lead to thermal runaway, causing the battery to heat up uncontrollably and potentially ignite.
  • Physical Damage: Even minor damage to a lithium battery, like punctures or crushing, can compromise the battery’s integrity and increase the risk of a fire.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Faulty manufacturing can result in defective lithium batteries that are more prone to overheating and fires.
  • Poor Quality Chargers and Cables: Using subpar charging equipment can lead to overcharging and overheating of lithium batteries.

Minimising Risks

  • Use Genuine Chargers and Cables: Always use chargers and cables provided by the device manufacturer or reputable third-party accessories to ensure compatibility and safety.
  • Avoid Overcharging: Unplug devices once they are fully charged to prevent overcharging. Many modern devices have built-in mechanisms to prevent overcharging, but it’s still a good practice to unplug them when not in use.
  • Handle with Care: Protect lithium batteries from physical damage. Avoid dropping, puncturing, or subjecting them to excessive pressure.
  • Store Safely: Store spare lithium batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and flammable materials. Avoid storing them at extreme temperatures.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on product recalls and safety advisories related to lithium batteries. Manufacturers may issue recalls for potentially hazardous batteries.
  • Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the signs of a potentially problematic lithium battery, such as excessive heat, swelling, or unusual odors. If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device and seek professional help.

The rise in fires caused by lithium batteries is a growing concern in our increasingly digital and mobile world. However, by taking simple precautions and staying informed about the potential risks, businesses can significantly reduce the likelihood of a lithium battery-related fire. It is essential for business owners and employees to prioritise safety and work together to minimise these risks in our workplaces.

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Are you managing your asbestos risk in accordance with current legislation?

For a long time, there has been much attention placed on the very dangerous and ill affects Asbestos exposure can have on an individual. What we know is that Asbestos was very heavily used in building construction between the 1940’s to 1990’s primarily due to its high levels of heat resistance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later when we identified that those Asbestos fibres can become trapped within the human respiratory system, leading to an increased risk of cancer, especially Mesothelioma which is defined as: cancer within the lining of the lung.

As a result of the increased awareness and research around the effects of Asbestos on the individual; legislation now exists to maximise safety of workers within a workplace. The Work Health & Safety Act (2011) and the Work Health & Safety Regulation (2017) talks extensively to the need for a “person with management or control of a workplace” to develop, maintain and update an Asbestos Register. This is also a legal requirement, should that building have been constructed prior to 01 January 2004. There are significant financial and reputational risks associated should this legal requirement not be met, including prohibition and prosecution notices from the state or territory SafeWork Regulator. The only way to be certain as to whether any material contains Asbestos (and specifically what type) is to have the material tested in a laboratory. These tests should be completed by an accredited facility (known as a National Association of Testing Authority (NATA) facility).

Saunders Safety & Training can assist with the development or review of any Asbestos Register and its subsequent Management Plan through our partnership with licensed professionals who understand these risks and how to manage them. We have completed a number of projects aimed at helping property owners and officers of a business understand their risk, and developing out a management plan, or in some instances removal and remediation of a site, to reduce operational stress. Testing and management of Asbestos can be a fairly inexpensive and efficient process to manage when property owners and officers of a company are proactive in this risk mitigation space. There are also subsequent benefits to regular testing, including: better success and rates for Property Insurance lines.

Contact us today if you need more information or would like to discuss your specific situation in greater detail. Alternatively, visit our Saunders Safety and Training website for further information by clicking the link below.

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How to prepare your business for an El Nino Summer

All the data points to a hotter than-average summer, which means Aussie businesses should prepare for extreme weather during the warmer months.

Here are some steps you can take to help prepare your small business, in case droughts and floods affect your area.

The Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI) indicate conditions are ripe for a destructive bushfire season across Australia this summer, following a dry winter and a rise in extreme temperatures.

According to the index, the frequency of extreme high temperatures was above average in northern and eastern parts of the country in autumn, but lower than average in the south and west.

Rade Musulin, lead collator of the Australian Actuaries Climate Index, says with Australia’s transition to an El Niño alert phase in late May, there is a strong likelihood rainfall will continue to decline and a significant dry period may begin.

“More dry weather, along with the record amounts of vegetation growth from three years of consistent wet weather, means the conditions are primed for potentially high bushfire risk in the summers ahead,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology currently estimates there’s a 70 per cent chance of an El Niño system developing. This weather pattern is synonymous with low rainfall and bushfires.

Prepare your business for bushfire season

While El Niño events, bushfires and drought are tough conditions for small businesses to manage, there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks.

1. Develop a comprehensive emergency plan

Create a detailed emergency plan tailored to the threat of bushfires and floods. This plan should outline evacuation procedures, communication protocols, designated assembly points and responsibilities for each employee during an emergency.

2. Make sure your insurance cover is up to date

Review your current insurance policies to ensure they provide adequate coverage for potential damages caused by El Niño-induced events. Speak with an insurance broker, who can discuss your options and the best cover for your specific business needs. 

3. Create off-site data backup and storage

Protect crucial business data and documents by regularly backing them up and storing them off-site or on secure cloud-based platforms. This will minimise the risk of data loss during extreme weather events.

4. Train staff to respond to emergency situations

Hold regular training sessions to educate employees about the emergency plan and the steps they should take during bushfires or floods.

5. Maintain landscaping and clear surroundings

Regularly maintain any garden around your business premises, trim trees and remove dry foliage. Similarly, ensure proper drainage to prevent flooding.

6. Check your communication channels

Make sure you have access to multiple communication channels to stay up to date on weather and evacuation orders. Use social media, emergency alert systems and reliable news sources so you know what’s happening, as it happens.

7. Develop a business continuity plan

Create a business continuity plan that outlines the steps to follow to resume operations after a disaster. This plan should address immediate recovery needs, temporary business relocation and any potential supply chain disruptions.

8. Do regular drills

Organise periodic drills to test the effectiveness of your emergency plan. Identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments based on the outcomes of these exercises.

Preparing for a dry summer 

El Niño-induced bushfires and floods can pose significant challenges to small businesses.

But with careful preparation and planning, businesses can increase their chances of minimising losses and bouncing back after a disaster. The key lies in being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to disaster preparedness. 

If you have any questions with regards to your cover and ensuring you are adequately protected this Summer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on (02) 9587 3500 or emailing Alternatively you can visit our contact page by clicking below.

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Ten steps to help prevent a cyber attack in your business

The latest cybercrime statistics make for sobering reading, with a 75 per cent rise in ransomware attacks in the 2021/2022 financial year and up to 200,000 vulnerable routers in Australian homes and small businesses.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) most recent annual report states medium-sized businesses with between 20 and 199 employees are the most at risk of attack, with the average cost of an attack for a business of this size being $88,407.

While the risk of cyberattack remains high, there any many preventative measures businesses can put in place to reduce the risk of attack and, should one happen, reduce its severity.

1. Make a plan 

Your approach to cyber security should have a clearly articulated strategy that’s regularly revisited. This should guide the actions taken by the business to ensure it adopts the latest cyber risk mitigation techniques. ACSC recommends adopting eight security controls to help prevent attacks. This framework is useful for directing a business’s actions around cyber security. 

The controls include taking away unnecessary network administration privileges from employees who don’t need them and putting in place multi-factor authentication for access the network. These are described in more detail below.

2. Secure the business’ internet connections

Make sure all the points at which the business connects to the public internet, such as remote desktop applications, file sharing software and webmail are secure and not vulnerable to penetration by hackers. It pays to work alongside an experienced IT professional through this step.

3. Safeguard all devices

All the common tools your team uses to connect back to the business such as their laptops, tablets and smart phones also need to be secured to ensure they are not a back door through which criminals can enter a business and exploit its weaknesses.

4. Configure automatic updates for software

The business should be fully protected for viruses and spam through the protections of a suite of leading anti-virus anti-spam (AVAS) software solutions and intrusion detection systems. Make sure any patches and updates are automatically installed so you’re protected from emerging threats.

5. Automate back ups

Like software updates, data should be automatically and regularly backed up offsite to a system of servers not connected to the business. That way, if criminals do infiltrate the system, they cannot access back-ups through it and delete them. This means in the event of an attack, the business can be up and running in no time, having accessed the most recent back-up. These systems should also be regularly tested, well before an attack occurs.

6. Implement multi-factor authentication

It should be nearly impossible for criminals to get into a system if it has the right protocols in place. These can include, but are not limited to, multi-factor authentication and mandatory regular password updates. As a minimum, passwords should include a mix of lettering, numbers, symbols and cases. Passphrases are even better than passwords, as they can be harder to crack yet easier to remember.

7. Audit third parties

Criminals can gain access to your system through external parties such as suppliers if they can access your systems remotely. Regularly audit their cyber security protocols to identify and fix and insecurities through which hackers and scammers could access your business.

8. Train staff quarterly

Cyber security training should be a routine aspect of staff professional development. At least each quarter, train staff about the latest threats and run simulations to identify staff who are at risk of opening phishing emails.

9. Respond immediately to threats 

Make sure to put protocols in place, so in the event of an attack, you can lockdown the system and stop criminals misusing it further.

10. Put in place a cyber insurance policy

Cyber policies can help businesses recover from an attack by paying for associated costs and helping to mitigate the effects.