FINANCIAL SERVICES GUIDE
This Financial Services Guide (FSG) contains important information about our relationship with you, including details of our services, charges and your rights. This guide sets out information about things you need to know in relation to insurance matters, including how any complaints you may have will be dealt with. It is designed to assist you in deciding whether to use any of those services, and contains details about:
• How we can be contacted
• Who we are
• Who are Retail / Wholesale clients
• The services that we offer you
• How we will look after your insurance needs
• Fees for our services
• Terms of payment
• Duty of disclosure
• Interests of other parties
• Waiver of rights
• Standard covers
• Unusual terms
• Cooling-off notice
• Conflict of interest
• Our internal and external dispute resolution procedures and how you can access them
We assume that unless you tell us otherwise, you accept the terms that are set out in this guide. If there are any changes to these terms we will provide you with a Letter of Engagement, which together with this guide, will record the basis of our relationship. Depending upon the services you require you may also receive other documents from us when arranging, renewing, amending or advising you about your insurances, including:
Statement of Advice (SoA)
Provides a summary of your relevant personal circumstance as ascertained after making the required inquiries, a generic description of the classes of insurance and the insurance policies considered and investigated and a concise statement of the reasons why the advice was considered appropriate, including the advantages and disadvantages if the advice is acted upon.
Records of Advice
Records of Advice must be kept for seven (7) years from the date that personal advice is provided to a retail client. This enables us to demonstrate that we complied with the best interests’ duty and the advice given to the client was appropriate.
General Advice (GA)
Provides general advice about a financial product that is not personal.
Product Disclosure Statement(s) (PDS)
Sets out the essential features of an insurance policy as well as other information about the policy. PDSs are required to be prepared by the product issuer, i.e. the insurer, or by a person authorised by the product issuer to prepare the PDS on the product issuer’s behalf.
Confirm the details of the transactions we have arranged on your behalf.
If you require more information or have any questions about any insurance or any information contained in this guide, please do not hesitate to contact us.
HOW WE CAN BE CONTACTED
We can be contacted by telephone, facsimile, e-mail, letter or in person (if an appointment has been arranged).
Physical Address: 16 Star Crescent, Hallam, Victoria 3803, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 2191, Fountain Gate, Victoria 3805, Australia
Telephone: (03) 8790 5701
Facsimile: (03) 8790 5702
Trading Hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
WHO WE ARE
White Group (VIC) Pty Ltd ABN 60 116 978 253 trading as WHITE Insurance Brokers and WHITE Financial & Credit Solutions holds an Australian Financial Services Licence No 295436 and an Australian Credit Licence No 295436 under the Corporations Act 2001 to provide General Insurance Broking services.
We are licensed to:
• Provide financial product advice for general insurance products
• Deal in a financial product by, applying for, acquiring, varying or disposing of a financial product on behalf of another person in respect of general insurance products
• Deal with retail and wholesale clients.
White Insurance Brokers is a member of the Insurance Brokers Network Australia and subscribes to the General Insurance Brokers Code of Practice and the Financial Ombudsman Service, Member No 14236.
We hold a Professional Indemnity Policy for $5 million with $15 million aggregate cover.
WHO ARE RETAIL / WHOLESALE CLIENTS
A person will be considered a retail client if any of the following situations apply to them:
• The client is an individual or has purchased the insurance product for use in connection with a small business.
• A small business is a business which employs less than 20 people (other than businesses that manufacture goods, where the limit is 100 people).
• The client has purchased a general insurance contract which has been designated as a retail product. The following contracts have been designated as retail:
• Motor vehicle;
• Home building;
• Home contents;
• Sickness and accident;
• Consumer credit;
• Personal and domestic property;
• Medical indemnity;
• and any other kind of insurance prescribed in the regulations
Personal Property includes
• Caravan or mobile home (including an onsite mobile home);
• Marine pleasure craft (excluding insurance where the Marine Insurance Act 1909 applies)
• Domestic pet; and
• Mobile phones.
All other clients are wholesale (including workers compensation, CTP, marine insurance (other than pleasure craft) and statutory insurance relating to residential construction work).
THE SERVICES THAT WE OFFER YOU
As an insurance broker we act for and on behalf of you in providing sound advice based upon your needs. We offer a range of services to assist you with your risk management process by sourcing and arranging suitable insurance contracts to protect your assets. We can advise you and arrange general insurance retail products as listed above as well as with business, commercial and corporate insurance tailored to your needs.
We can assist you with:
• Reviewing and advising on your insurance needs.
• Arranging and renewing your insurance coverage.
• Arranging premium funding if required.
• Assisting with insurance claims.
To enable us to provide advice which is appropriate to your circumstances, we will need you to provide us with complete information about the risk(s) to be insured, your situation and your needs and objectives. You should also tell us about any relevant changes as they occur.
HOW WE WILL LOOK AFTER YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS
You can provide us with instructions by telephone, facsimile, e-mail, and letter or in person (if an appointment has been arranged).
Contact us as soon as possible if you need cover for a risk or property that is not insured. If you need immediate cover, we can usually obtain an interim contract of insurance (which is generally valid for a month or less). To arrange this, we will need details of the property or risk and all other information which you need to disclose to the insurer.
We will then send you a proposal for completion. You will need to fully complete, sign and return it to us as soon as possible and before the interim cover expires.
We will send the original insurance contract documents as soon as they are issued correctly by your insurer. As these are legal documents, you should keep them in a safe place.
We will give you at least 14 days notice of expiry of any insurance contract which we arranged or last renewed for you.
Unless you tell us otherwise, we will automatically renew your insurance to ensure you continue to be covered. At that time we will send you an offer to renew the insurance contract and invoice you for the cost of renewal. For commercial insurances we will renew the insurance after we have considered whether it meets your needs.
If you wish to change the details of cover or there is a change to your circumstances, please contact us as soon as you receive the renewal invoice. This will allow us to assess the appropriateness of your insurance and whether you require further advice from us.
In some circumstances we may be able to arrange for the insurer to cover you temporarily before payment is received, but we cannot guarantee this.
We will also advise you at least 14 days in advance of expiry of any insurance contract should an insurer not wish to offer renewal
If you arranged or renewed insurance directly with an insurer or through another broker, we will not be responsible for notifying you of expiry or arranging renewal.
You should carefully monitor and review that your insurance contract adequately meets your requirements to cover your assets and/or business activities. If you wish to vary any cover, e.g. by increasing the sum insured or adding other property, please provide us with details of the changes you require and any other information you need to disclose to the insurer. We will provide written confirmation when the insurer has accepted the variation to cover. Any adjustments to premium will be advised to you in the form of an invoice.
We will receive your claims notifications, assist and advise you regarding the scope of cover and pass the information to the insurer. If a loss adjustor is appointed we shall, with your permission, pass on your contact details and co-ordinate meetings. In the case of a major loss, we can attend the initial meeting with the loss adjustor if you wish us to. We will promptly forward to you all claims documentation, insurance company settlement cheques and other information If you have a large deductible or wish to claim directly from a third party, we can assist by providing you with our claims management service.
FEES FOR OUR SERVICES
You are entitled to know how and what we will charge for our services and what other benefits we may receive.
Our Remuneration and Charges
Fees and commission are our main source of income and cover the cost of providing services to you, including any distribution functions we perform for the insurer such as marketing, annual renewal marketing and underwriting. We may be paid in a number of ways, which vary according to the service you require and our arrangements with the relevant insurer. We are paid in the following ways:
Payment by the Insurer
We may be paid commission by the relevant insurers when we arrange insurances on your behalf. As a general rule, the insurer will pay us an amount based on a percentage of the base premium. The commission depends on the type of policy and ranges from 0% to 24% plus GST of the basic premium excluding all underwriting levies, statutory charges such as fire services levy, GST and stamp duty
Payment by the Client
We may also charge a broker fee to cover the administration and processing costs related to arranging your insurance cover. We will provide you with specific information about the basis and amount you will be charged before or at the time we arrange your insurance. Depending upon the product arranged and the time we spend placing the business our fees are as follows:
• For personal insurance our fees generally range between $20 and $100.
• For business, commercial and corporate insurance our fees generally range between $50 and $5000.
• When we do not receive commission from the insurer (known as a nett placement) we will charge a fee at a minimum of 5% of the total premium payable.
Our charges include GST. Some of our charges may be tax deductible. If we hold your money in trust pending payment to the insurer, we also receive any interest earned.
If we refer you for Financial Planning, Superannuation, Life, Disability or Trauma insurance or other financial services that we are not able to provide under our AFS Licence, we may receive a referral commission of between 0% and 25%.
How our Employees, Consultants and Referrers are Paid
Our employees and Consultants are usually paid in two ways – salary, and a bonus or incentives which are based on a number of factors including achievement of company goals.
If a person has referred you to us, we may pay them between 0 to 50% of our remuneration. This will not increase the amount you pay us.
Insurance Brokers Network Australia
We are a shareholder and member of Insurance Brokers Network Australia whom are associated with the AIMS Partnership. They have exclusive arrangements with some insurers and agents where they receive up to 1.5% commission on the premiums placed by us with those insurers or agents. These payments are used to operate IBNA. Depending upon the operating costs of IBNA, including the costs of member services provided to us and other members and the amount of total business we place with the participating insurers or agents in any financial year, we may receive some of the commission as an over-rider or rebate. We may also receive shares and/or dividends.
As an IBNA member, we can access services including operating and compliance tools, advice and assistance from professional bodies, group insurance arrangements, product comparison and placement support, claims support and purchasing arrangements. These member services are either funded or subsidised by Insight or available exclusively to members for a fee. Additional information on IBNA is available from their website:
TERMS OF PAYMENT
We will invoice you for the premium, statutory charges (stamp duty, fire services levy, GST) and any fee we charge for arranging your insurance. You must pay us by the due date shown on the invoice or, in the case of a renewal, before the expiry date of the contract of insurance.
If you do not pay the premium on time, we are required to notify the insurer. The insurer has the right to cancel the contract of insurance and you will not be insured. The insurer may also charge a short term premium for the time on risk.
Credit Card Fees
If you pay by credit card we may charge you a credit card (incl. arrangement & handling) fee, which is always disclosed and shown separately on our invoices to you, they are non refundable. This fee reimburses us for the bank interest, extra charges/costs and internal time generated for credit card use.
Premium funding enables you to pay your premiums by instalments. The premium funder charges fees and interest.
We can arrange premium funding on your behalf if you require it. We may receive a commission of up to 6% based on a percentage of the premium from the premium funder for doing so. We will advise you the basis and amount of any such payment.
We cannot cancel a contract of insurance without written instructions from a person(s) who is authorised to represent each of the parties who are named as an insured in the contract of insurance. We also cannot cancel any contract of insurance which is subject to the Marine Insurance Act 1909. If a contract of insurance is cancelled before expiry of the period of insurance, we will refund the net premium we receive from your insurer but not our fees or commission for arranging the insurance.
DUTY OF DISCLOSURE
Most insurance products are underwritten by the insurer before accepting the application for insurance. The insurer considers and, in some cases, makes enquiries into the subject of the insurance.
You have a duty, under the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, to disclose matters that you know to be relevant to the insurer’s decision to accept the risk or that a reasonable person could be expected to know to be relevant to the insurer, except for matters:
• That diminish the risk;
• That are of common knowledge;
• That the insurer knows or in the ordinary course of the insurer’s business ought to know;
• As to which compliance with the duty of disclosure is waived by the insurer;
If the non-disclosure is fraudulent, the insurer can cancel the policy and refuse to pay any claim. If it is “innocent” then the insurer may reduce the amount of any claim to the amount that would have been paid had the disclosure been made
You must also notify your insurer of any significant changes which occur during the period of insurance. If you do not, your insurances may be inadequate to fully cover you.
We will assist you to do this and to ensure that your contract of insurance is altered to reflect those changes.
Sums Insured – Average and Co-Insurance
Some insurance contracts require you to bear a proportion of each loss or claim if the sum insured is inadequate to cover the amount of the loss. These provisions are called ‘average’ or ‘co-insurance’ clauses.
If you do not want to bear a proportion of any loss, when you arrange or renew your contract of insurance, you must ensure that the amount for which you insure is adequate to cover the full potential of any loss. If you insure on a new for old basis, the sum insured must be sufficient to cover the new replacement cost of the property.
INTERESTS OF OTHER PARTIES
Some insurance contracts do not cover the interest in the insured property or risk of any one other than the person named in the contract. Common examples are where property is jointly owned or subject to finance but the contract only names one owner or does not name the financier.
Please tell us about everyone who has an interest in the property insured so that we can ensure that they are noted on your contract of insurance.
WAIVER OF RIGHTS
Some insurance contracts seek to limit or exclude claims where the insured person has limited their rights to recover a loss from the person who was responsible for it, e.g. by signing an agreement which disclaims or limits the liability of the other party.
Please tell us about any contracts of this type which you have or propose to enter into.
The Regulations in the Insurance Contracts Act set out standard terms for the cover which is provided by motor vehicle, home buildings, home contents, sickness and accident, consumer credit and travel insurance (including a minimum amount of insurance).
If an insurer wants to alter these terms or offer less than the minimum amount of insurance they must clearly inform you in writing that they have done so. They can do this by providing you with a Product Disclosure Statement or a copy of the insurance contract.
If an insurer wants to rely on a term in a contract of insurance which is not usually included in contracts that provide similar cover, they must clearly inform you in writing of that term. Again, they may do so by providing you with a copy of the insurance contract
If you decide that you do not require this contract of insurance, you have 14 days (or longer if the insurer allows it) from either the date you receive confirmation of this insurance contract and the date 5 days after the date the insurance contract was arranged whichever occurs earlier, to change your mind. You must tell in writing the insurer that you wish to return the insurance contract and have the premium repaid.
If you do so the insurance contract will be terminated from the time you notified the insurer. The insurer may retain its reasonable administration and transaction costs and a short-term premium. You cannot return the contract of insurance if it has already expired or if you have made a claim under it.
We are committed to protecting your privacy. We use the information you provide to advise about and assist with your insurance needs. We only provide your information to the companies with whom you choose to deal (and their representatives). We do not trade, rent or sell your information.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
As a business we have relationships with and receive income from various third parties as detailed in this FSG. To ensure that any conflicts arising from such relationships or income do not impair the level of advice and service that we provide to you we have implemented a Conflict of Interest Policy.
Our formal documented approach to receiving income and other benefits from third parties is that we will ensure that you receive the most appropriate product or service that we have access to, whilst being mindful that as a business we must receive an adequate income to provide the services and facilities that you would expect from a professional insurance broker.
We will separately and specifically disclose any conflict situations where we believe that the conflict is potentially impairing our advice or service to you.
COMPLAINTS AND DISPUTES
If you are not fully satisfied with our services or have a concern about a particular issue please contact our Complaints Manager who will endeavour to resolve the matter within 10 business days. If you are still not satisfied then you can have the matter referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service, to whom we subscribe.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is a consumer service designed to handle complaints and help resolve problems between insurance brokers and other insurance intermediaries (e.g. underwriting agencies) financial services providers (other than insurance companies) and their clients. The FOS referees decision is binding on us, but not on you.
FOS is able to handle complaints and disputes against insurance intermediaries regarding:
• Retail client policies unless the amount involved exceeds $100,000;
• Small business policies where the amount involved is less than $100,000. Where the amount at issue is more than these limits, it can handle the dispute if the insurance broker and its professional indemnity insurer agree to waive the limit.
Further information about the FOS is freely available from our office or you may contact,
Financial Ombudsman Service
GPO Box 3, Melbourne, Vic 3001
Phone: 1300 780 808* – Phone: 03 9613 7366 – Fax: 03 9613 6399
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.fos.org.au
* 9am – 5pm AEST. Calls will be charged for the cost of a local call from landlines. Calls from mobile phones will be charged at the applicable rate from your carrier.