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H&S reforms raise concerns

15 Nov 2016

New Zealand SMEs are grappling with greater potential liabilities under new health and safety rules and emerging risks, NZI EGM Business Travis Atkinson says.

Health and safety regulations tightened when new legislation took effect in April, aiming to reduce the nation’s workplace injury and death toll 25% by 2020.

“It puts significant added responsibilities onto companies and directors and we have seen some examples of new penalties and prosecutions under the act,” Mr Atkinson told

“Customers’ views on the risks associated with workplace safety have heightened significantly.”

Mr Atkinson says liability insurance is a growing area of importance for SMEs. In cyber cover, interest is at an early stage, but there is increasing risk awareness.

“Cyber is emerging. Loss of online connectivity is a really relevant factor in most businesses today and I don’t think that is going to go away.”

NZI’s SME research has found a wide gap between awareness of online risks and the extent to which customers feel they are insured for them.

Mr Atkinson told the Insurance Council of New Zealand annual conference last week that brokers have a key role as risks to business come increasingly from liability areas.

“Business is much more complex in many areas and quality advice by good brokers will always have a part to play,” he said.

Meanwhile, NZI has noted premium gains in personal lines and some commercial segments amid a robust economy and some claims inflation.

“We are seeing property values rising, we are seeing export numbers rising and new vehicle sales are through the roof,” Mr Atkinson said.

 - insuranceNEWS

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