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AFTA@Work Newsletter - February What to do when you need to make an Insurance Claim

We have compiled a list of broad guidelines for you and your business to help you through the process of dealing with an incident or loss as situations may occur that you have not encountered before.

To help you know where to start, below are some practical tips/guidelines that you can follow once an incident arises, which may give rise to a claim.

Property Damage: Practical Tips

  • If the loss involves theft or loss of property, the police must be advised and a police report obtained.
  • If the loss involves water damage to carpet, immediately telephone a carpet firm to have the carpet dried, stretched and/or lifted. If the carpet has shrunk to the extent that it cannot be re-laid, obtain two quotes for its replacement. 
  • Obtain at least two quotes regarding the loss, retain colour photographs evidencing the damage and take any reasonable steps to minimise any further loss. 
  • For any claims exceeding $3,000, a loss adjuster may be appointed by your insurer. 
  • Report claim to your insurance broker as soon as practicable to enable prompt lodgement of the claim with your insurer.

Motor Accidents: Practical Tips
What to do if you need to submit an insurance claim
  • If an accident occurs, exchange names, addresses, registration numbers and obtain the third party's insurance company details.
  • Note the location of the accident, time, date, road and weather conditions, including names and addresses of any witnesses. 
  • The police should be advised if appropriate and required by law. 
  • Retain details of the police station, reporting officer as well as police event number. 
  • If the loss involves a third party, do not admit liability for the loss. 
  • Report to insurer as soon as practicable.

Liability: Practical Tips

  • Complete a detailed incident report containing the third party's name, date and time of loss as well as a full description of the loss. Include any relevant photographs and supporting documentation detailing the loss.
  • Do not give an interview or make any statements to a loss adjuster or other person investigating any incident unless such person is acting on behalf of your insurer. 
  • Do not reply to any letters of demand (other than an acknowledgment of receipt of the correspondence) and/or to any Court proceedings. Forward same immediately to your insurance broker for provision to your insurer. 
  • A claim for damages involving a child may be made after many years after the incident, keep incident reports and records in a safe place. 
  • Do not admit liability regarding the incident that may give rise to a claim against you.

Should any circumstances arise which may result in a claim, you must immediately notify your insurance broker as any delay in notifying the insurer may result in your insurer refusing to accept your claim.

Professional Negligence Claims: Practical Tips

What to do when you need to submit an insurance claimAs a Travel Agent or Travel Wholesaler, you are a specialist in your field. As a consequence, the law requires that you exercise the required skill to an appropriate level expected from such Professionals. Your liability arises when there is a failure to provide this level of skill which could result in an award for damages being given to a third party who suffers the loss. Professional Indemnity Insurance will pay for the damages awarded against the Insured plus any costs or expenses incurred in defending the claim (subject always to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the actual policy).

One very important point to remember about your Professional Indemnity Policy is that it is on a “Claims Made” basis. This means that you must have a policy in place when a claim is made and not when the failure occurred. Sometimes there can be a large gap in time between when the actual or alleged failure occurred and when the claim is first brought against you.

Practical Tips – To avoid an Incident before it happens
  • Put all your communications in writing – your terms and conditions, details of what your client has instructed you to do etc. It is hard to argue when the facts are written and documented.

  • Communication with colleagues – numerous claims arise when two consultants are involved on one travel program. Each thought the other consultant had addressed the matter which ultimately led to a claim. Document all actions on the same sheet of paper for all to see.

  • Don’t assume – don’t assume that because one passenger is travelling on a specific passport / visa that their partner will be doing the same.

  • Staff Training - ensure that all staff follow standard procedures and that your less experienced staff are supported and educated.

  • Checklists and audits – before finalising a booking, a simple process of double checking even the most basic details such as ticketing dates, deadlines for deposits, confirmation from suppliers, issuing of your terms and conditions to clients - all of these little things can save you from complicated situations that could potentially cost you thousands in time and money.

Practical Tips – When an incident does occur
  • It is imperative that you inform your Insurance Broker as soon as you become aware of a circumstance that may lead to a claim.

  • Make detailed notes of any conversations with parties involved while they are fresh in your mind.

  • DO NOT admit liability or reply to any letters of demand (other than an acknowledgement of receipt of the correspondence). Forward any such documents immediately to your Insurance Broker for provision to your Insurer.

  • You should always seek advice from your Insurer prior to engaging the services of a solicitor (it is likely that if you have a situation that is covered by the policy they may appoint Lawyers on your behalf).

Remember, should any circumstances arise which may result in a claim, you must immediately notify your insurance broker as any delay in notifying the insurer may result in your insurer refusing to accept your claim.

If you would like further information, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Special Programs Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers

General Advice Warning – the information in the above article is intended as a guide only and should not be relied upon without consulting your relevant insurance policy wording and conditions or conversely seeking professional advice from either your insurance broker or insurer regarding a claim or potential loss. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in a denial of a claim or potential loss or a reduction in settlement of a claim or potential loss.