Insurance companies agree that the most common reason for home owners being caught short when disaster strikes is not that they have no insurance at all but that what they have is inadequate. City council’s like home owners have historically been caught out in ever increasing ways. Queensland Councils have provided several examples of this over the last 20 years. In Queensland floods, cyclones, erosion, public liabilities, fraud and commercial litigation have cost rate payers Millions.
When it comes to commercial and public policies the use of risk assessors is paramount to creating appropriate policies, however generally the risk assessors work for the Insurance companies. This sounds like a conflict of interest and according to the most council’s and financial institutions it is.
Third party risk assessment is expensive but provides public safety plans to minimize risk and when working in conjunction with elected members can provide a list of requirements for agenda items.
Some council’s have the following requirements for idea’s –
Is this Idea Progressive?
Is the idea necessary?
Has a basic risk assessment been carried out on the idea with both positive and negative scenarios presented?
Is the idea affordable or profitable?
(Not all idea’s are profitable but some are affordable and necessary.)
In the Northern Territory there is a large amount of risk placed on natural disaster relief and Mutual Liability with the government. One of the least common forms of insurance policies relates to fraud awareness and Business continuity plans.
“Under insurance is an insidious thing, once people take out home and contents insurance they tend to think they’re covered. They file their policy away and don’t look at it from one year to the next. It’s a bit like thinking you’re healthy and not bothering to have regular medical check ups. This is exactly the same with local governments."
"One of the most common increases for council insurance is due to Crime statistics. Although the police are controlled by another part of government the benefit or loss is directly related to Council and the effect can cost thousands."
City council insurance Policies in particular should be updated and revised once a year, especially if the council has announced any major projects or taken part in any additional public events or has made significant purchases.
One of the substantial benefits of the previous Territory Owned insurance office was the fiduciary duty to the NT government and therefore to local government as well. The Loss of such an entity has left the City of Darwin in the hands of an insurance company whose fiduciary duty I to it’s shareholders and not the City of Darwin.
Whether for your home or in local government it pays to do your homework and compare benefits and costs of several insurance companies before committing to any particular company or policy.
Just as a home owners can have building insurance with a choice of indemnity or new for old. So do Local governments have policies that may include legal liability and litigation insurance.
Although this is not a sexy topic it is important to remember that the Darwin City Council represents the needs of the rate payers and constituents of the Darwin Area. If The Council minimizes risk it not only saves ratepayers money but also increases its value. It pays to have those in council who have a background in risk assessments and safety and security enhancement.
Remember if you want a responsible and conscientious representative for you in the Darwin City Council please share your voice and vote for Sam Wilks this coming 26th August 2017.
Written and Authorized by Sam Wilks. The views included may not be those of others mentioned in the article but are those of Sam Wilks. If you have other idea’s feel free to comment below. Idea’s and differing opinion is recognition of a free and just democratic society. A Society I am happy to live in. Please however try not to be abusive or discriminative, you may be. But if I feel that your opinion may be harmful or is reported as being harmful, I will delete it.