As if small businesses are not doing it tough already, there is a growing trend of insurance companies refusing to provide cover to small businesses, or charging sky-high prices for protection. Indeed I recently met with the Manager of Huon River Jet Boats, Mr John Allport, who has been advised by his liability insurance underwriters that they are no longer prepared to offer cover. Neither are the thirty-five other underwriters his broker has approached since. This is simply not good enough. Without adequate insurance a number of companies, including Huon River Jet Boats, may be forced to close permanently.
Functioning small businesses, and those in the tourism industry in particular, will be essential for Tasmania’s economic recovery post-COVID. Governments must step up and create a safe environment for small businesses to work in, including by ensuring they are able to access effective and affordable insurance. To that end I have lobbied the Tasmanian Premier to support the establishment of something akin to New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation. A copy of the relevant letter is attached.
Fortunately the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into the impacts of insurance policies on small businesses, and whether insurance products offered to small businesses are fit-for-purpose. Small businesses that have faced difficulties with insurance companies are encouraged to tell their story by completing the survey at: https://www.asbfeo.gov.au/current-inquiries/insurance-inquiry