Almost 2 years after the first COVID-19 lockdown in Australia, there are ongoing impacts for all businesses, and SME’s in the construction industry are no different, presently facing risks in a number of key areas:
1. Business interruption (including supply chain disruption)
2. Health and workplace injuries
3. Cyber incidents (e.g. cyber-crime)
Business Interruption – Supply Chain Disruption
A number of factors such as lockdowns, workplace restrictions, border closures and natural disasters has caused issues in the production and manufacturing of building materials. These issues have had knock on effects by creating stronger demand for materials, largely due to Government stimulus to support the economy throughout the pandemic
Given the essential and critical nature of some areas of construction activity, builders, developers and manufacturers in the construction industry are dealing with the reality of trying to reduce the industry’s vulnerability to domestic supply chain issues and their own bottom lines.
Many business are not in a position to make sweeping changes, fortunately, there are ways that SME’s can seek to manage the risks of supply chain delays and material shortages. For example, ordering materials earlier than normal, which may provide certainty in receiving the materials for the job.
Health and Workplace injury
Workplace injury can have a significant impact on the person involved, the rest of the team and business more broadly.
Statistics show that workplace injury rates are down in Australia. However, it is still almost double that of places like the US.
It is in employers’ interests to reduce incidences, not only to keep workers safe but also in terms of cost savings. Paid time off work for the injured employee costs businesses in a number of ways:
For example, continuing to pay the injured worker‘s wages during their recovery and reduction in productivity or hiring a temporary replacement, not to mention the paperwork and administration headaches. This can include documenting the incident to filling out claims forms, taking time and adding indirect cost to the business.
Cyber threats escalated in 2021 and this negative trend has continued, yet most SME’s severely underestimate cyber security vulnerability.
SMEs are estimated to account for 96% of all businesses in Australia and approximately 40% of all cyber-crime targets. You wouldn’t gamble on these odds so you shouldn’t risk your business future by leaving yourself open to an attack.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to security breaches, creating a greater attack surface for cyber criminals.
There are steps you can take to avoid becoming a cyber-crime victim. Some simple tips that are within your control:
- Avoid clicking on links or attachments from unknown contacts
- Be careful when downloading apps, software, videos or games as Malware can be hidden in any of these downloads or messages, giving cyber criminals access to your system, enabling everything from denial of service ransom demands to identity theft or draining your bank accounts.
If you don’t understand, the extent of how a cyber attack could damage your business it’s difficult for you to effectively protect yourself against either the immediate effects or wider fallout.
Having standalone cyber insurance means you can respond to a cyber-attack quickly, calling in the professionals in the knowledge that the cost of their services, and the associated expenses involved in restoration, remediation and reputational damage limitation will be covered.
How can we help?
The team at imar and Gallagher are available to offer assistance. Our team of experts can help you in a variety of ways with Product information and benefits suitable for you and your business or putting you in touch with imar’s parent company, Gallagher who have a team of experts in safety, prevention, workers compensation, education, and training to help to reduce claims costs, workplace injury frequency and facilitate return of injured workers safely to their workplace.
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.