From Tiffany’s desk ....
I am very excited that we have reached the significant milestone of 20 years of Comcover operations and, importantly, what has been achieved in that time.
I look forward to celebrating Comcover’s achievements with you. In this issue, we look back at how Comcover was established and the path we have taken to get to where we are.
You may not know:
- Comcover has 167 Fund Members. These are Commonwealth entities ranging from fewer than 10 to almost 100,000 employees.
- We protect Commonwealth assets valued at $89 billion, including Parliament House, buildings and exhibits in the Commonwealth arts portfolio, and Australian embassies worldwide.
- Over the past 20 years, Comcover has managed more than 51,000 claims, which is an average of about 2,500 claims annually.
- Comcover is responsible, as policy owner, for the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy – a key component of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
At our biennial conference on 30 November at the Canberra Convention Centre we will have the opportunity to look forward and consider new and emerging issues for the Fund and celebrate the success of this year’s recipients in the Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.
The Comcover conference is a great opportunity to hear from high-quality speakers who will present on risk, insurance and legal topics. It also enables you to network with other risk and insurance experts.
We are making final touches to the day’s agenda and will communicate the agenda and registration details soon, but please hold the date in your calendar.
Last week we celebrated with the award recipients in this year’s Comcover Awards for Excellence in Risk Management. I thank all entities that submitted nominations and congratulate all participants.
The nominations received demonstrated innovative and challenging ways a diverse range of entities managed risk. Some nominations received highly commended and honourable mentions. See page 6 to learn more.
I would like to make special mention of and congratulate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs which won the Risk Initiative category for managing the Sir John Monash Centre Project. The centre, next to the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux on the site of the Western Front in France, commemorates Australian service personnel who served in the First World War and was opened just before Anzac Day this year.
We will showcase several Award recipients at the conference and I look forward to sharing these stories with you. They offer a great opportunity to understand and appreciate how challenging it is to successfully integrate risk management into business operations and the benefits gained by doing so.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Comcover Connect and I look forward to seeing you at our conference on 30 November.
Risk and Claims Branch Department of Finance
P: (02) 6215 2593
Comcover celebrates 20 years
During the 1990s the Australian Public Service was undergoing major reform.
Several internal operational reviews recommended a greater focus on transparency, accountability, and effective management of risk.
In response to the reviews’ recommendations, the joint Management Advisory Board-Management Improvement Advisory Committee Report No 22 issued Guidelines for Managing Risk in the Australian Public Service. The guidelines identified the need for Australian Government entities to systematically manage risks and provided a generic risk management framework including guidance on implementing effective management systems.
Soon after the guidelines’ release, the government reviewed its non-insurance policy for government entities. The policy had been in place since 1909 on the basis it was unnecessary and uneconomic for the government to commercially insure.
The policy had argued the Commonwealth’s unique nature, in terms of its size, nature of risk, and financial resources, meant it could bear any losses without recourse to commercial insurance.
The non-insurance policy review found entities’ risk management performance was deficient in several areas, including identifying risk exposures and recording losses. It also found the current arrangements:
- failed to help entities identify and appropriately cost inherent risks in their business operations
- failed to provide effective tools to enable entities to treat risk
- had limited accountability when risks were realised.
Significant losses supplemented
Although entities were expected to meet losses to the maximum extent possible from existing appropriations, in reality most significant losses were supplemented by the budget. The non-insurance policy arrangements were ad hoc and did not encourage entities to actively manage risks.
The review confirmed a substantial change in the risk management culture was required and a decision was made to identify a replacement scheme.
A project was launched to examine the viability of three alternatives:
- a strengthened non-insurance arrangement
- commercial insurance
- self-insurance through a managed fund.
The project examined state and overseas government and private sector practices. It concluded a managed fund would offer the most comprehensive, cost-effective approach to managing the government’s risk exposures.
A managed fund could:
- spread the impact of risks within the Commonwealth
- support entities to address risk management as a way to reduce the cost of insurable risk
- facilitate consistent handling and litigation of claims against and by the Commonwealth
- minimise individual premium fluctuations that occur with commercial insurance
- enable development of risk management expertise and capability
- facilitate transparency and accountability in business operations.
Comcover was launched on 1 July 1998 as a branch of the Business Services Group within the Department of Finance.
Some of Comcover’s specialist operational tasks are outsourced to private sector providers. The partnership arrangements enable Comcover to deliver services with the help of claims management, insurance, risk management, and actuarial experts.
When Comcover started, a Comcover Advisory Council was established to provide independent advice and stewardship to ensure Comcover met its originating objectives. The council continued to provide oversight until 2014.
Eligible entities gradually transitioned to the Comcover Fund with the Department of Defence, the last eligible entity, joining on 1 July 2001.
The total number of Fund Members has varied over the years, impacted by individual governments and subsequent machinery-of-government changes. Currently there are 167 Fund Members.
Cover offered by Comcover has evolved and adapted to reflect the increasing complexity of programs and services delivered by government entities. Cover is provided for diverse property assets, including offices, laboratories, abattoirs, art galleries, hotels and nuclear reactors.
Comcover has also provided cover for special projects, exhibitions and one-off events. For example, cover was provided to transport the Menin Gate Lions back to Ypres in Belgium as part of the First World War commemorations.
Cover has been responsive to Fund Members’ changing needs. For example, expatriate medical expenses cover was brought into the Fund in 2008 and extended in 2016 to enable entities to elect to cover treatment of expatriates’ pre-existing conditions.
Before Comcover, entities were responsible for managing their own claims and any resultant litigation. That led to inconsistent approaches to dealing with similar issues and was a burden for entities without appropriately skilled staff.
Centralising claims management has resulted in more efficient management through establishing a consistent approach. It also enabled development of claims management expertise while ensuring compliance with governance requirements, such as the Legal Services Directions.
Comcover has effectively managed claim costs, including legal costs, resulting in savings for the Australian Government. Comcover has developed its own legal service provider arrangement, establishing the Comcover Legal Services Parcelling Arrangement in 2013.
Risk management initiatives
The need to improve risk management across the Commonwealth was a primary driver in establishing the Fund. Comcover has worked consistently to help entities build expertise and capability by providing access to risk consultancy services, self-assessment benchmarking programs, education programs, and guidance material.
In 2008, Comcover launched the Better Practice Guide to Risk Management. Developed in consultation with entities, the guide was the first in a range of initiatives to promote better risk management.
The better practice guide was replaced in 2016 with the Guide to Implementing the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. That guide was developed following the release of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy (the Policy) to assist entities to align their risk frameworks with the Policy. The Policy supports the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act (2013), which requires accountable authorities to establish and maintain appropriate systems and internal controls for risk oversight and management.
Comcover recognises that entities can learn from each other’s experience and has implemented initiatives to promote information sharing.
Comcover supports several risk management forums that provide support and networking opportunities, and promote the exchange of ideas and experiences.
Another Comcover initiative was the Risk Management Awards for Excellence, launched in 2003. The awards recognise exceptional and inspiring examples of risk management. The awards program demonstrates how essential risk management is to Australian Government entities’ success and how a risk-based approach to program delivery can have significant impacts outside entities.
An important element of risk framework implementation and monitoring is understanding how well-embedded, effective processes and practices enable resources to be focused where they are most needed. Comcover launched a self-assessment benchmarking program in 2001 to assist entities to better understand their risk management capabilities.
The benchmarking program supports development of improved risk management practices by enabling Fund Members to assess their risk management capabilities. The benchmarking program has developed into an effective self-assessment tool enabling entities to assess their risk management maturity against the Policy’s nine elements and reflect the need for risk frameworks to be ‘fit for purpose’.
The environment in which Comcover operates has changed significantly over the last 20 years through advances in technology and an increase in the complexity of programs and services delivered by Commonwealth entities.
Recognising that the way people interact has changed and the expectation that interactions and information exchanges should be ‘real time’, Comcover has devoted considerable resources to developing a range of online tools.
The education program has moved from face-to-face sessions covering six risk and insurance topics to a blended-learning model incorporating traditional classroom-style learning with flexible online courses.
The Comcover Learning Centre, a cloud-based online learning system, has significantly changed the way course content is delivered and significantly increased the number of people who can benefit from Comcover’s education program. The education program team won an Australia Day Award in 2017 in the category of ‘develop self, develop others’.
Comcover also has implemented the Comcover Launchpad to enable Fund Members to access their entity’s claims, risk management and policy information through special applications and analytical tools. Other online tools, such as TravelTracker, provided as part of the overseas medical and travel assistance scheme, assist entities to provide services to internal stakeholders.
Its been an interesting 20 years and likely the next 20 will be just as challenging.
Comcover will continue to find ways to improve its range of services to support entities building their risk management expertise and capabilities.
Improve judgement to mitigate unfair dismissal claims, allegations
by Bede Gahan, Special Counsel, Minter Ellison
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has reinstated a bus driver who was sacked by the ACT Government after an altercation with a utility driver.
Mr Thomas had been driving buses with the ACT bus network, ACTION, for more than eight years. At the start of his employment, he had received induction training on how to deal with incidents involving aggressive members of the public.
On 11 May 2016, Mr Thomas pulled out from a bus stop, following which a utility driver beeped his horn and gave Mr Thomas a rude hand gesture. Mr Thomas responded with the same gesture. That was not appreciated by the utility driver who braked suddenly in front of the bus, causing Mr Thomas to perform an emergency stop.
Mr Thomas got out of the bus and took pictures of the utility on his mobile telephone. The driver took exception and knocked Mr Thomas’s phone out of his hands. A short scuffle ensued. Mr Thomas knocked the utility driver’s mirror off the side of his vehicle, before getting back on the bus.
ACTION was not happy with Mr Thomas’s conduct. He was dismissed for the finger gesture, getting out of the bus, fighting, and damaging the utility’s mirror. ACTION’s view was that Mr Thomas escalated, rather than de-escalated, the situation between him and the utility driver.
But FWC Deputy President Kovacic thought dismissing Mr Thomas was harsh and ordered his reinstatement with no order to restore his lost pay.
Judgement in unfair dismissal cases
Was it poor judgement to sack Mr Thomas? When ACTION sacked him, it may have felt secure in the knowledge plenty of FWC decisions have upheld dismissal of employees for incivility, violence and property damage.
‘Judgement’ is frequently seen as something you either ‘have or don’t have’, but that is not the case. You can go a long way to mitigating legal risks in unfair dismissal cases by exercising better judgement.
1. Understand that conflict has many causes and escalation points
Mr Thomas’s brief, unfriendly interaction with the utility driver was a classic case of conflict. As with all conflict, if you look too hard from one point of view, you will likely find examples where the other side is at fault.
In this case, ACTION built its case around Mr Thomas escalating the situation by using the hand gesture and exiting the bus. When seeking to construct a narrative about a particular conflict, we tend to punctuate that narrative in a way that confirms the side of the story we want to believe. We also tend to tell the story in a way that depicts the other side as mean spirited, morally repugnant or incompetent, and (importantly) at fault.
In this case, did the conflict start when the utility driver beeped his horn and gestured? Or did the conflict start when the utility driver felt Mr Thomas had not respected the utility driver’s safety on the road by pulling out in front of him? In reality, it is difficult to say. That is why basing an argument around who is at fault in a conflict, or who started it, or who escalated it, is fraught – it is always open for someone else to take a different point of view.
2. Understand who you are dealing with
Mr Thomas had an eight-year, unblemished record of driving buses for ACTION. For a brief moment, under stress, he obscenely gestured to another person, involved himself in a physical scuffle, and broke another vehicle’s mirror. He was not, on the evidence, a bad employee generally.
Accordingly, when ACTION submitted to FWC that it had lost confidence in Mr Thomas’s ability to perform his duties, the statement looked motivated by a need to justify the decision to terminate his employment. It was an argument intended to bolster the unfair dismissal case. When viewed objectively, however, it had little basis in reality.
ACTION sought to suggest Mr Thomas was equipped to deal with the situation that confronted him because he had undergone training in responding to aggression and deescalating conflict. However, the training occurred in 2008 as part of his induction training, a time when new employees are often overloaded with new information.
We know learning and being able to apply new skills requires frequent opportunities to practice skills learned during training sessions. That enables employees to try out what new skills work for them and get feedback on their application. If the training is intended to apply to situations that infrequently arise, follow-up training with role plays are useful so employees can model the desired behaviours. That never occurred in this case.
3. Show some empathic understanding
Driving a public bus is hard work. Passenger aggression and road rage are real, every-day risks. Bus drivers have little control in avoiding or protecting themselves from aggressive passengers or commuters.
Sometimes, when focusing narrowly on a single employee’s case, it is possible to get so caught up in ‘disciplining the troops’ that you lose sight of the main game – a productive, happy, healthy workplace. From an organisational perspective, is sacking a well-regarded bus driver for one indiscretion after eight years of service sending an appropriate message to other bus drivers or might a more empathetic response be appropriate?
That is not to suggest Mr Thomas did not engage in misconduct. Deputy President Kovacic concluded there was a valid reason for terminating Mr Thomas’s employment. But the termination was harsh in the circumstances. That is where judgement is involved.
The key question is how ACTION could have responded to the misconduct. One option, which it exercised, was to sack the driver, and there were plenty of FWC authorities to support that position. However, analysing unfair dismissal cases only gets you so far. There are also non-legal factors to consider when deciding your organisation’s response to misconduct, and which will assist you mitigate legal risk.
While we frequently say good decisions are a matter of judgement, many factors help exercise ‘good’ judgement. In ACTION’s case, key factors were a better understanding of the dynamics of conflict and the nature of the employee, and some empathy for his situation.
Thomas v ACT Government – Transport Canberra and City Services t/a ACTION  FWC 6167 (22 November 2017)
Congratulations to the 2018 Awards for Excellence in Risk Management recipients.
Risk initiative category
Winner Department of Veterans’ Affairs – The John Monash Centre Project
Highly commended Australian Maritime Safety Authority – Dynamic separation
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Risk return resource allocation
Honourable mention Administrative Appeals Tribunal - Amalgamation of the Commonwealth merits review bodies
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Automatic entry processing for commodities
Enterprise-wide risk management category
Highly commended Department of the Environment and Energy
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Honourable mention The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
The Awards are an important way to raise the profile and significance of risk management across the Commonwealth by supporting and sharing promotion of best practice risk management.
Fund Members need to formally declare all expatriates, including partners and dependants, with Comcover before their deployment dates to ensure staff and their families are appropriately covered when they leave.
Declarations are made through the Expatriates Schedule in the Comcover Gateway on the Comcover Launchpad.
If an entity inadvertently forgets to make a declaration before an expatiate’s departure, a comment should be added to the expatriate record when the declaration is made. Changes to expatriates’ circumstances should also be captured in the Expatriates Schedule. For example, if an existing deployment is extended, update the existing record with the new expected finish date rather than adding a new entry.
If you have questions about adding expatriates in the Comcover Gateway, please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager on 1800 651 540 (option 3).
A key theme of the Independent Review of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the review) is the need to instil a more positive risk culture in entities.
Developing a positive risk culture is one of the most challenging elements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy and risk management practice in general. It has consistently been identified as one of the lowest performing elements in Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Program.
So why is a positive risk culture so hard to achieve?
Building and changing any culture takes time. The review says policy and guidance alone is not enough; cultural change requires widespread behavioural change at every level. That requires leaders to demonstrate positive risk behaviours in their daily actions and decision-making. Those behaviours will set the tone for risk-taking in their entities and will, over time, spread these values across the organisation.
Comcover’s information sheets Developing a Positive Risk Culture and Guide to Implementing the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy provide useful guidance on how to improve risk culture, including:
• Establishing a network of risk champions across the entity who can encourage positive risk behaviours through their role, personal experience and/or reputation.
• Rewarding and recognising positive risk management behaviour publicly and through performance management processes.
• Treating instances where a risk is realised as an opportunity to review, learn and improve management of similar risks.
• Focusing on changing attitudes and behaviours rather than just implementing new policies and procedures.
The information sheets also provide an outline for implementing cultural change programs.
These and other resources for developing a more positive risk culture are available in the Comcover Learning Centre and on the Department of Finance website.
A full list of resources, including advice circulars,
Comcover Connect newsletters, information sheets, and FAQs, is on the Department of Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/comcover/ policy/resources.html.
Read the review at www.finance.gov.au/pgpa-independent-review.
2018 risk management benchmarking results
The current iteration of Comcover’s benchmarking program has just completed its fourth year.
Participating entities can access their executive reports and benchmarking survey results, and use the information to inform how successfully risk management has been integrated into their business operations.
The Fund’s average overall risk management maturity is again Integrated with 77% of the Fund achieving either Integrated or Advanced levels. The maturity has continued to increase on prior years within the Integrated state, demonstrating a consistent overall increase in risk management capability across the Commonwealth for each of the program’s four years (see table below).
The increase in the Fund’s average maturity can be attributed to increases in the average maturity of all nine elements of the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy. All elements in 2018 also achieved their highest average maturity score in the program’s four years. That is a very positive result and indicates entities are continually working to improve their risk maturity.
The 2018 survey results indicate that again the highest scoring elements across the population are those linked to establishing and implementing risk management fundamentals.
Risk culture, managing shared risks, and maintaining risk management capability were again among the most challenging elements for entities to manage.
However, it was pleasing that those elements had the largest percentage increase in maturity of the elements in the 2018 survey and also the largest percentage increase over the program’s four years. In particular, Element 7: Understanding and managing shared risk, achieved the largest increase in average maturity of all elements, moving from Systematic to Integrated on the maturity scale.
The top four sources of risk identified by participants remained unchanged from 2017 with entities again selecting service and/or program delivery; people; financial; and stakeholder management. Risk categories for the top four emerging sources of risk also were unchanged with financial, technology, strategic, and service and/or program delivery nominated by entities.
Every year at the end of the program, a key findings report is prepared that provides insight into how entities are performing on a ‘whole-of-fund’ basis. The 2018 Key Findings Report is available on the Department of Finance website at www.finance.gov.au/comcover/risk-services/benchmarking-program.
Comcover will continue to use the benchmarking program’s key findings to inform and drive education activities and develop resource material.
If you have any questions about the benchmarking program please contact Comcover’s Risk Management Team on 1800 651 540 (option 4).
All Comcover Fund Members can access TravelTracker, International SOS’s overseas travel itinerary tracking and communication tool.
• support travellers and expatriates by preparing and educating them with pre-trip advisory emails
• support managers by alerting them when travellers are potentially impacted by incidents
• enable direct communication with travellers when incidents occur.
How it works:
• International SOS sets up a direct feed from the Commonwealth’s travel booking provider QBT to a Fund Member’s TravelTracker application so all domestic and international itinerary information is available.
• TravelTracker sends pre-trip advisory emails to all international travellers.
• TravelTracker enables Fund Members to search via location, traveller, flight, train or hotel.
• TravelTracker enables Fund Members to see travellers’ locations with details appearing on a dashboard.
Travellers can use the ‘check-in’ capability on the International SOS Assistance app and their details appear on the map under the ‘check-in’ tab on the dashboard. That ensures Fund Members are aware when travellers have arrived safely at their destinations.
• When an incident occurs overseas, TravelTracker provides proactive alerts about travellers in the area and those about to arrive or leave the area of the incident.
TravelTracker has a built-in communication tool enabling Fund Members to communicate directly with travellers when incidents occur via email, text or text to speech. It can be done via a broadcast message or a two-way message so travellers can respond.
To learn more about TravelTracker and how it supports travellers, contact Ellen McSweeney at International SOS, firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMSA risk initiative
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) won the risk initiative category at the 2014 Comcover Risk Management Awards for Excellence for its leadership in improving shipping practices. Comcover Connect spoke to Alex Schultz-Altmann, Manager, Ship Inspection and Registration, for an update on AMSA’s ongoing work on mineral ore cargo safety.
Building effective communication and engagement strategies has helped the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) become a world leader in saving lives at sea.
At the 2014 Comcover Risk Management Awards for Excellence, AMSA won the risk initiative category for its use of a strategic risk management approach to improving shipping practices globally for mineral cargoes.
The approach began with iron ore and has since expanded to bauxite and coal.
Interviewed for the December 2015 issue of Comcover Connect, Alex Schultz-Altmann, AMSA’s Manager, Ship Inspection and Registration (Ship Safety), said there had been a common assumption iron ore was a ‘group C’ cargo, which meant it was not a risky cargo. The assumption was wrong, but it was a complex process to dispel the myth.
Mr Schultz-Altmann and his team worked with industry to develop a ‘real-world test’ that could be calibrated against large-scale, detailed laboratory testing to determine the threshold moisture level (TML) and safe benchmarks to carry iron ore.
The AMSA team convinced members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) iron ore was a group A cargo (with a moisture risk) rather than a group C cargo (no risk). It was no mean feat to achieve a complex, global agreement.
Comcover Connect again spoke to Mr Schultz-Altmann for an update on AMSA’s ongoing work on mineral ore cargo safety.
He said achieving success with iron ore was ‘an intense effort’ but there remained ‘unanswered questions about how some [other] cargoes behave in the presence of moisture’.
Many cargoes ‘liquefy’ when the cargo has too much moisture, and movement and vibration may cause liquefaction of the entire cargo. The cargo can then move, causing a bulk carrier to list or overturn.
Rather than liquefaction, bauxite is subject to dynamic separation. Vibration causes cargo at the bottom of the hold to compress and forces moisture in the cargo to the top. A slurry of water and fine particles forms on the cargo’s surface. The wave action of the slurry warps the ship’s motion and can eventually cause a build up of cargo on one side of the ship. That creates potential for a sudden shift of the cargo as the wave action undermines it, causing the ship to list or capsize.
‘If you get 21 per cent moisture in a cargo of 6,000 tons, that’s a lot of water rampaging from side to side in the hold,’ Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
The AMSA team was convinced it was right on the bauxite risks, and had backing from industry, including Rio Tinto principal engineer Dr Tim Evans, who chaired a Global Bauxite Working Group that provided peer-reviewed science on the behaviour of bauxite cargoes during shipping to IMO.
However, Mr Schultz-Altmann said there was ‘a lot of push back from some quarters’.
AMSA’s communication strategy to demonstrate the danger involved building a scale model of a ship to show how bauxite cargoes could become unstable.
A simple video of the model in action was ‘a light bulb moment’ for sceptics at a meeting of IMO’s carriage of containers and cargo (CCC) subcommittee.
AMSA had been asked to progress its work on bauxite cargoes to the CCC subcommittee after the 1 January 2015 loss of the carrier Bulk Jupiter off the Vietnamese coast while transporting 46,400 tons of bauxite from Malaysia to China. Only one of the 19 crew was rescued.
Mr Schultz-Altmann said dynamic separation was the likely culprit. While most Australian-mined bauxite had little potential for moisture problems, that was not the case for shipments from some other nations.
‘In Australia, we wash bauxite before shipping it, and it is free draining as a result. Other bauxite ores do not lend themselves to washing or are not washed. Consequently those cargoes will not free drain.’
Mr Schultz-Altmann said some IMO member nations’ representatives ‘struggled to understand’ the concept of dynamic separation.
The model was the lynchpin. ‘It was amazing to see master mariners suddenly "get it",’ Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
Having the science independently peer reviewed by the Imperial College in London was another. ‘We worked through the confusion and misunderstandings and got it resolved,’ he said.
AMSA had already promoted its real-world test that could be calibrated against large-scale, detailed laboratory testing to determine the TML and safe benchmarks to carry iron ore. The outcome of that research was a modification of the same test to suit bauxite cargoes.
AMSA is now involved in an education campaign so ships’ masters know what to do if they identify ships’ ‘wobbling, shuddering or listing to one side’. By monitoring the early warning signs, masters can check holds to see if moisture is present. If so, they can reduce the ship’s motion, seek advice, and consider finding a refuge port.
Mr Schultz-Altmann said maritime insurers, known as protection & indemnity (P&I) clubs, were assisting, appreciating the potential to lower insurance premiums. ‘P&I clubs are using our video as a training tool,’ he said.
In the past, ship owners and their insurers had assumed structural problems caused most sinkings but it was now understood that cargo movement could be responsible.
Miners and the shipping industry were introducing moisture management plans and preventing risk through TML testing. ‘The test is critically important.’
Mr Schultz-Altmann said Australia had a mature approach and very accurate monitoring of moisture levels and the impact of rain on stockpiles because of the nation’s reliance on mineral exports.
Australian Trade Commission figures show iron ore exports were worth almost $63 billion in 2016-17 and accounted for nearly 17 per cent of total goods and services exported. Coal exports were worth more than $54 billion and accounted for 14.5 per cent of total exports. Aluminium ores and concentrates, including bauxite, were the eight largest export category.
Concurrent with its bauxite program, AMSA has been working on coal shipments since 2016.
The iron ore approach provided the framework for AMSA’s strategies for safely shipping bauxite and coal. "We now understand what to look for," Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
The approach has seen a ‘fundamental change’ in global attitudes by demonstrating science-based knowledge of various cargoes’ properties.
Mr Schultz-Altmann said AMSA’s depth of experience meant other nations were more willing to listen than in the past. ‘We’ve been consultative in our approach.’
‘The work we have done will save lives at sea,’ he told Comcover Connect.
Lessons learnt by AMSA that could be useful for other entities included understanding others’ positions and having empathy to engage with them. ‘We used science and teamwork to get people engaged and take them along for the ride,’ Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
Risk management standard updated
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has revised ISO 31000, Risk management – Guidelines.
The latest version, ISO 31000: 2018, was released in February 2018 and aims to help organisations use risk management principles to improve planning and make better decisions.
Comcover’s risk advisory partner Deloitte has developed the diagram below to explain what the ISO31000: 2018 update means for organisations.
Comcover Statement of Cover 2018-19
The Comcover Statement of Cover 2018-19 came into effect on 1 July 2018.
The key change from the 2017-18 Statement of Cover is an update to section 12 ‘Motor Vehicle’. The change clarifies arrangements for repairing and replacing motor vehicles leased by Fund Members under the Australian Government fleet management and leasing arrangements.
The Statement of Cover also included some other minor changes, primarily to clarify the scope of coverage. A summary of all amendments to the Statement of Cover is detailed in Information Bulletin No 48.
The Statement of Cover 2018-19 and the Information Bulletin are on the Department of Finance website at www.finance.gov.au/comcover/insurance and in the Comcover Gateway on the Comcover Launchpad.
Events calendar 2018
22 October | Comcover renewal questionnaire 2019-20 opens
24 October | Executive pathway – SES risk management professional development program – Not all super heroes wear capes: A strategic perspective to managing risk
25 October | Specialist pathway – Embedding risk management: Engaging, influencing and applying risk management in the Commonwealth (day 1)
30 and 31 October | Generalist pathway – Practical risk management: More than just ticking boxes
31 Oct- 2 Nov | RMIA Annual Conference 2018, Gold Coast
6 November | Specialist pathway – Embedding risk management: Engaging, influencing and applying risk management in the Commonwealth (day 2)
21 November | Executive pathway – SES risk management professional development program – Not all super heroes wear capes: A strategic perspective to managing risk.
27 and 28 November | Generalist pathway – Practical risk management: More than just ticking boxes
30 November | Comcover renewal questionnaire 2019-20 closes
30 November | Comcover Biennial Conference
|5 December | Specialist pathway – Embedding risk management: Engaging, influencing and applying risk management in the Commonwealth (day 2)|
ANAO audit reports
ANAO provides audit and assurance services on a wide range of issues impacting on Commonwealth entities.
The ANAO reports offer findings that may be applied in a business context to benefit Fund Members.
ANAO publishes two reports a year examining entities’ financial accounting and reporting. The first for 2017-18, Interim Report on Key Financial Controls of Major Entities - Report No 47 2017-18, was released on 14 June. It focuses on key internal controls of several large entities.
A key aspect of the report is how entities identify and manage risks for financial statements. The audit found all entities reviewed had risk management processes in place but there had been an increase in minor findings, compared to the two prior financial years. One explanation for the increase was a need for entities to focus greater attention on ensuring their risk management frameworks remain current and keep pace with changes to requirements, processes and procedures.
The audit findings highlight the need for a continual emphasis on risk management’s iterative nature and how new knowledge, experience and analysis should lead to ongoing reviews of entities’ frameworks and systems.
The interim report is on ANAO’s website at: https://www.anao. gov.au/work/financial-statement-audit/interim-report-key-financial-controls-major-entities.
If you would like guidance on improving your risk management framework, please contact Comcover’s Risk Management Team on 1800 651 540 (option 4).
Statement of Cover – professional indemnity
Officials employed by Fund Members should always strive to provide advice and services that are accurate and complete. Professional indemnity cover protects Fund Members against claims for alleged negligence or breach of the duty of care arising from an act, error or omission in providing professional advice or delivering services.
The cover is available to employees conducting their official duties in good faith. The cover also extends to external individuals entities may have engaged to assist with their operations, including members of committees and voluntary workers.
Claims that fall under professional indemnity cover may include claims where officers are said to have acted inappropriately in the delivery of professional services. Examples can vary from negligent misstatement to discrimination to sexual harassment.
The cover is designed to pay costs incurred from defending the claim, and cover payment of damages, legal costs and other reasonably incurred expenses.
Policy exclusions apply. For example, Comcover will not cover fees or expenses, including defence costs, incurred without Comcover’s prior written consent. A full list of policy exclusions applying to the cover is in section 12 (6) of the Statement of Cover 2018-19.
Liability limits and associated excesses are detailed in Fund Members’ Schedules of Cover, available in the Comcover Gateway on the Comcover Launchpad, www.comcoverlaunchpad.com.au
The Comcover Statement of Cover 2018-19 is available on the Finance website, www.finance.gov.au/comcover/insurance.
If you have questions about professional indemnity cover, please contact your Comcover Relationship Manager on 1800 651 540 (option 3).
To learn more about how to access Comcover’s services, email email@example.com or call 1800 651 540.