If you’re running a business and have people in key positions who you rely on to help you steer the company, you want to be sure they’re protected if they suffer an injury at work or become ill. But if you operate in Queensland, workers’ compensation actually excludes senior managers, and in Western Australia it’s optional and doesn’t include non-working partners or trustees. Fortunately there’s an alternative available.
This exclusion, based on the ruling that people in decision-making roles don’t meet the definition of a worker, applies to Queensland businesses because workers’ compensation is administered separately by our state and territory governments. In other parts of Australia business owners are also excluded and need to make their own insurance arrangements for cover if they are injured or become sick.
Who excluded decision makers are
- Sole traders
- Partners in a partnership-based business
This represents a serious gap in your insurance protection. People in these positions are usually critical to your business operations and their wellbeing is aligned to the success of your enterprise.
Directors and senior manager of companies come in different forms and occupations: their work may be clerical or they may be on the tools in an active role. Understanding that they are different when it comes to personal accident insurance is imperative if your business is located in Queensland.
If they suffer an injury, become ill or are disabled, or die the negative impacts range from loss of income, and the effect on their family, to needing surgery, retraining or rehabilitation, modification to their home and vehicle, right through to funeral expenses.
WorkCover Queensland offers an accident insurance policy for work-related injury for business owners, contractors, directors, partners or trustees. However, this cover doesn’t normally extend to injuries or illness that don’t occur at (or travelling to and from) work so it can only partially fill the gap in your protection.
You or your key people will still be exposed to the impacts and expenses of not being able to fulfil your usual role and responsibilities if your injury or illness aren’t directly linked to your workplace. The impact of an injury or illness not only affects the day to day running of businesses, but also families and their finances.
Directors’ group personal accident and sickness insurance
Broader cover is available in the form of directors’ group personal accident and sickness insurance which offers two options
- cover for injury only (during work hours)
- cover for injury and sickness (cover for both, at any time).
The only eligibility requirement is being excluded under your state’s workers’ compensation scheme; pre-existing conditions don’t debar you from obtaining cover and directors’ group personal accident and sickness insurance provides comprehensive benefits.
These include the cover being effective from the time you take out the policy and the flexibility to nominate the amount you require to replace your weekly income, as well as who else in your business should be covered.
“Small businesses can struggle with cash flow, especially in the current conditions. Having income protection gives piece of mind that if you or one of your key people are injured during work hours or outside of work there’s a safety net to access.”
Jane Sullivan, Principal Consultant, Gallagher
In addition to being able to be customised to suit your individual business, directors’ group personal accident and sickness insurance provides cover for health issues arising from all kinds of situations, making it a broader alternative for Queensland business owners for protecting themselves and the people they rely on.
Talk to an insurance broker to find out how directors’ group personal accident and sickness insurance can help you to protect yourself and your key people.
To the extent that any material in this document may be considered advice, it does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and review any relevant Product Disclosure Statement and policy wording before taking out an insurance policy.