Insurance Law

Insurance Law

Author: Peter Dovolil, Special Counsel

In a recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, the court considered the duty owed by a cleaning contractor, specifically in circumstances where findings were made that a spillage was present as a cleaner passed the incident area.

The claim was for personal injury allegedly suffered by Mr Al Kammessey as a result of a slip and fall whilst a patron at the Westfield Liverpool Shopping Centre. The defendant (appellant on appeal) was the insurer for Atlantic Cleaning and Security Pty Ltd, who was substituted into the proceedings as Atlantic had entered liquidation. The incident was captured by CCTV footage and there is no dispute the plaintiff (respondent on appeal) fell as alleged. Whilst the decision contains a significant discussion regarding the dispute which arose in the key facts to be determined, the reason by which the key facts were found is not relevant to the significance of the decision.

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On June 12, 2018, the Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) released an update on Hurricane Irma claims data received by insurers. The total number of reported Hurricane Irma claims has reached 978,767 with losses totaling an estimated $9,701,252,056.

Of those claims, OIR reports that 823,733 are for residential properties and 58,544 for commercial properties. Miami-Dade County, Florida’s most populated county, continues to suffer the largest percentage of claims at 125,636. Collier County comes in next with 88,934 reported claims.

Read more: Irma by the Numbers: The Claim Count Continues to Grow

Authors: Rebecca Stevens, Partner and Tamara Baldwin, Solcitor


The New South Wales District Court finds in favour of the owners and operators of a white water raft course on that basis that there was no negligence and the injury was sustained as a result of the materialisation of an obvious risk.

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Authors: Glenn Biggs, Partner and Sarah Berkman, Solicitor

The recent decision of The Thistle Company of Australia Pty Ltd v Bretz & Anor [2018] QCA 6 concerns an appeal by the Thistle Company of Australia, who was the owner / operator of a service station, to overturn a decision of the District Court of Queensland in favour of the plaintiff, Mr Bretz, for injuries sustained whilst on their premises. 

Read more: Service station liable for failure to distinguish elevated platform

Authors: Stephen White, Partner and Rebecca Wilson, Solicitor

It’s official!  Labour hire workers are at greater risk of being injured at work than ordinary employees.1 Workers’ compensation premiums for labour hire employees are also higher than premiums for employees generally.2 Anecdotally at least, so are public liability premiums and deductibles for businesses who regularly use labour hire staff.

None of these issues will come as a surprise to casualty underwriters or corporate users of labour hire providers.

In response to these and other issues affecting the labour hire industry, the Queensland Parliament has enacted the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (Act), which will come into effect on 16 April 2018.  This newsletter examines the scope and reach of the new laws, possible effects on claims frequency and whether there are opportunities for casualty underwriters and corporate users of labour hire services to take advantage of the new legislation to more clearly evaluate the likelihood of injuries and claims.
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