16. Insurance

16.1 Introduction

Comcover provides insurance and risk management services to FMA Act agencies and Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act entities. Comcover is managed by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

Commonwealth government policy requires the department to manage, where practicable, its insurable risks through the Commonwealth's self-managed fund, Comcover. For details of the department's policy with Comcover refer to FMM Chapter 16.9.

As the insured party the department has a duty to:

The scope of Comcover is very broad and will cover the majority of the risks of legal liability faced by the department. Nonetheless, the department should consider its identifiable risks in light of the terms of the Comcover Manual and Schedule of Cover (refer to Chapter 16.6 and Chapter 16.9 for further details) prior to determining that it requires no further insurance. Commercial cover must also be taken out where, at an overseas post, it is a requirement of the local regulations that a particular type of insurance is held with local insurers.

Where an injury occurs to a person and is caused by a DFAT official acting in the course of their duty and DFAT is proven liable; then the Comcover policy will respond within the terms and conditions of the Comcover Policy applicable at that time.

Comcover will respond to claims made against the department by contractors and other persons for personal injury in circumstances where it can be shown that the department was at fault and was liable.

16.2 Comcover

Instructions

  1. All correspondence with Comcover is to be undertaken by PGS. Division Heads and Finance Managers should therefore ensure that all related matters are referred to the Comcover Liaison Officer in PGS. Issues involving Commonwealth owned property should also be referred to Overseas Property Office.
  2. The Comcover Liaison Officer in PGS is responsible for ensuring that the department maintains an adequate level of insurance coverage with the department's insurer, Comcover.
  3. The Comcover Liaison Officer is also responsible for providing information and assistance with all issues relating to Comcover, including the management of claims and the annual Comcover Insurance Survey.

Procedure

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Division Heads and Finance Managers
Comcover Liaison Officer

16.3 Comcover Claims

Instructions

  1. Division Heads and Finance Managers are to ensure that any event, accident, legal development, loss or incident that might subsequently give rise to a claim is reported to the Comcover Liaison Officer by completing the appropriate claim form. All relevant Comcover claim forms are available in Satin Low under Templates>Forms.
  2. To determine whether an event, incident, etc may give rise to a claim refer to the Comcover Schedule of Cover provided at Attachment 16.7. PGS can provide additional guidance if required.
  3. If there is another party involved, then:
    • A departmental official must not admit liability or fault, or make any statements to possible claimants or witnesses to the event, or take any action, which could be construed as an admission of liability, even if it may appear that the employee is at fault
    • All conversations with third parties or their legal representatives should be recorded in writing
    • Any correspondence, summons, written claims or demands should be sent immediately to the Comcover Liaison Officer
    • Officials should not discuss the incident/accident with the other party.

Motor vehicle claims

  1. Overseas motor vehicle repairs should be undertaken as soon as possible. Where a claim is for motor vehicle repairs overseas it is recommended that where possible, post obtain two quotations from local suppliers, then contract the best ‘value for money’ repair company to carry out the repairs immediately. It is the post’s responsibility to send the final invoice for repairs and the completed and signed claim form to the Comcover Liaison Officer, PGS with the total value converted from local currency to Australian dollars. To calculate an accurate conversion use the Oanda currency converter site (www.oanda.com) and the date of the final invoice.

Baggage/Personal Effects claims

  1. Where a claim is for lost or damaged baggage overseas belonging to a traveller (see Definitions), if the loss is directly a result of the Airline, a claim must be made against the Airline responsible in the first instance. Where the airline is NOT responsible a Comcover Claim form together with proof of purchase (in the form of a receipt or credit card statement or if this is not possible a statutory declaration) plus a quotation for the replacement of the lost or damaged goods should be forwarded to the Comcover Liaison Officer.
  2. Should the Airline be responsible for the loss or damage but not adequately reimburse the traveller satisfactorily, documentary evidence of the attempt to recover from the airline must accompany the Comcover Claim form (stating any reimbursed amount). This, together with proof of purchase (in the form of a receipt or credit card statement or if this is not possible a statutory declaration), plus a quotation for the replacement of the lost or damaged goods should then be forwarded to the Comcover Liaison Officer.

Property-in-transit/in-store within Australia claims

  1. DFAT officials should submit claims for damage to personal effects while in transit within Australia or in store at the department’s expense through Comcover.
  2. To claim through Comcover the appropriate Comcover Domestic Property-in-transit/in-store claim form (refer to Satin Low Templates > Forms) must be filled out and returned with the following supporting documentation:
    • Photographs (preferably digital) of damaged item(s).
    • A copy of the original inventory of items in store with the damaged item(s) highlighted (if possible).
    • Original purchase receipt(s) or bank/credit card statement with the purchase price of damaged item(s) highlighted. Where this is not possible, a Statutory Declaration (attached below) that stipulates the original purchase price of the damaged item(s) should be provided.
    • Replacement invoice(s) of the damaged item(s) or repair invoice(s) of the item(s) whichever is cheaper. Please note Comcover may request proof that an item is in fact irreparable or that to repair an item is more costly than buying a replacement item.
  3. Claims should be lodged electronically to Comcover.Liaison@dfat.gov.au

Medical claims while on Official Travel outside Home Country or Country of Assignment

  1. To claim for the cost of medical expenses and medical emergencies incurred while on official short term travel (less than 180 consecutive days) outside Home Country or Country of Assignment, complete the Official Travel Overseas claim form (Medical Expenses) (refer to Satin Low Templates > Forms) and attach to the medical receipts. This policy has an AUD 250 excess. The first AUD250 must be claimed via the travel acquittal process on the traveller’s return to Australia/post, and reimbursed directly by their work unit. For the remaining amount over AUD 250 a Comcover medical claim form (as detailed above) must be lodged.

Other claims

  1. No action (eg repairs, replacement, payments) should be taken in respect of an event, accident, legal development, loss or incident (with the exception of motor vehicles or urgent property repairs required to minimise further damage) unless the department has received Comcover's approval to proceed.

Procedure

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Division Heads and Finance Managers
Comcover Liaison Officer

16.4 Reporting Events to Comcover

Instructions

  1. Division Heads and Finance Managers must report any event, accident, legal development, loss or incident that falls below a prescribed excess (ie for which a claim was not made) to the Comcover Liaison Officer.
  2. The Comcover Liaison Officer is responsible for lodging reports on losses below member excess limits to the Comcover Member Services Manager at the frequency required by Comcover.
  3. The Comcover Liaison Officer is responsible for ensuring that the department abides by its duty of disclosure to Comcover, including through ensuring that Comcover is advised of any details of additional risks as and when they become evident.

Procedure

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

Division Heads and Finance Managers
Comcover Liaison Officer

16.5 Comcover - Certificate of Currency

Instructions

  1. A departmental official may request a Certificate of Currency that certifies the department's Comcover policy provides appropriate cover for a specific situation (eg lease of a public venue or property, loan of artworks, etc) for a particular period. Such requests should be directed to the Comcover Liaison Officer.
  2. The Comcover Liaison Officer is to facilitate the provision by Comcover of Certificates of Currency on request.

Procedure

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

16.6 Commercial Insurance

Instructions

  1. Where Comcover is unable to provide a specific class of cover, an adequate level of commercial cover may be obtained, with the prior approval of Comcover, by the Division Head or Finance Manager.
  2. For insurable risks that are covered by policies arranged locally including where local conditions/laws require the cover, posts should keep details of policies on file.
  3. Where commercial insurance policies are renewed, posts should keep details of policies on file for future reference as well as details of claims made against such policies. It is also strongly recommended that when looking to renew policies that the Comcover Liaison Officer be contacted to check whether Comcover is able to provide the cover required.

Social clubs, recreational facilities and commissaries

  1. Comcover will cover claims arising from all of DFAT’s day-to-day ‘normal’ activities and operations. The definition of ‘normal’ are those activities which DFAT engages in on a regular basis, including the activities of recreational facilities, commissaries and social clubs. However, when the activities are dangerous or outside the normal scope of business, the club should take commercial insurance at its expense with the Commonwealth as benefactor.

Procedure

Responsibility

Frequency/Conditions

Action

16.7 Comcover Schedule of Cover

The department is covered only for the following classes of cover:

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