I need to preface this Article by stating that my comments below are not advice to you directly. These are my General thoughts having been in this Industry over an extended period of time. Your Property Insurance should be considered directly by yourself, based on your individual Body Corporate needs, and referencing the Individual policy, Product disclosure statement and Financial Services guides provided by your Insurers.
I have dealt with numerous Insurers over the years, some Good and some less so (in my opinion). My dealings with these Policies have ranged from Companies which I have many years of successful dealing and other Companies who are not really suited to be Body Corporate Insurers. By this, I simply mean that Body Corporate Insurance is not their niche. Let’s be honest, Body Corporate is a niche Industry with specific needs which differ greatly to the Standard House Insurance Policy. Numerous Household name Insurance Companies simply don’t offer a Policy to address your body corporate needs and in some instances do not meet your legal obligations in regards to the group’s Insurance.
Please note that I am not here to spruik any specific Insurer, as Managers, this is not what we do. Our responsibility is to remind our Members of their Insurance needs & obligations. As such, I urge Owners to read their Policies, especially when comparing Insurance offers. Please ensure that the Policy you are considering meets your needs and provides the best possible outcome for all the Members of the group. No Policy comparison will be “apples for apples” an exact match for another in terms of coverage. But that’s ok, provided as a group, you are not simply reading the dreaded bottom line – the premium. Some other considerations should be What is the excess? What additional covers are in place? In the event of a claim, what will or will not be covered (remember that each Policy may have different exclusions on their cover – how do these affect your possible claims)? Are we meeting our legal obligations in this State? Are we near a Flood prone area? Can we take out cover for this? I acknowledge the Premium is important to all Owners, but it is only one factor when considering a Policy. Read your PDS & FSG, go through the Policy details, and if you are still not sure then ASK
* Ask Your Strata Manager if the group is meeting their Obligations to have certain covers in place (not levels of cover).
* Ask your Manager for a copy of the Strata or Community Titles Handbook in S.A, – gather your own information about the Covers required.
* Contact the Insurer directly and seek advice on their policy details.
I would like to point out that each Act is different and you may be responsible to Insure only Common Property or to Insure the whole Building. In either event, it is your responsibility to make sure each building is insured to protect every Unit Owner in the event of a total loss. It may never happen (and I hope it never does), but you are protecting everyone in your group from the risk. Don’t place yourselves in a situation where you are under Insured.
When placing cover, consider – When was the last time our group had an Insurance review? the last time we increased cover? When did we last have a Insurance Valuer advise us (note this is not a Selling Agents appraisal)? Has Building costs increased since our last review? For many groups, this is the largest recurrent expenditure that the group will fund Annually – so please give it the attention it deserves, review it, discuss it and protect yourself and one another.