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QLD Is Personal Accident Insurance Mandatory for Sole Trader?

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by Peter wade, 25 July 2016.

  1. Peter wade

    Peter wade Member

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    As a Sole Trader with an ABN, I started with a certain company that contracts parcel delivery from Auspost. They insisted that I have personal accident insurance and have set this up for me through the post office, (POAAL) and have deducted the amount from my first invoice week. Is having personal accident insurance mandatory for a sole trader or have I been coerced out of $360 that wasn't entirely needed?

    I'm fully aware that personal accident insurance is a good thing etc etc, but should I really have been told that I can't commence work without it?
     
  2. @thelawbundle

    @thelawbundle Well-Known Member

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    Hi Peter,

    It sounds like you may have entered into an independent contractor agreement with this company, is that the case?

    If so, there may be an insurance clause in that contract which obliges you to have personal accident insurance (and which gives the company the authority to get it on your behalf and deduct that cost from your income if you haven't provided evidence of your cover by a certain date (for example)). This isn't uncommon.

    If you haven't signed any contract, or agreed to anything like I've described above, then you could clarify with the company the reason why they have obtained the cover on your behalf (and docked your pay).

    You will be in a better position to judge whether or not this is something that you want to do (having regard to the benefits of the cover).

    Best of luck.
     
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  3. Peter wade

    Peter wade Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply.

    As it happens, no, I didn't sign a contract as I (was) on a relief basis until a full-time position became available. I use the term "was" because 10 days of this job was more than I bargained for.

    This leads to another reason for checking as to wether i really needed to get this insurance,
    as I'll be chasing a refund after coughing up $360 for just 10 days use. I was told during induction that I would need to get insurance, but never took it as an immediate necessity until he reminded me at the begining of last week that I needed it straight away and offered to sort it for me.

    I'm totally convinced my name was just added to his company policy and he earned a good slice of pie from me accepting his offer. It's because of my thinking on this that i had doubts as to the whole concept of actually needing it.

    What other benefit would he get by me having personal accident insurance? Sorry if I sound dumb to the subject, but I'm new to self-employment and also to Australia, so I'm not too clued up on the whole protocol of things.
     
  4. @thelawbundle

    @thelawbundle Well-Known Member

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    Hi Peter,

    I'd only be speculating as to what benefit he might get by signing you up for the cover (if indeed he did sign you up, and did gain a benefit).

    Perhaps if you had an accident - his insurance policy may not have covered that (and probably came with a much cheaper premium because of that) - so he needed you to have the insurance to safeguard him in case you had an accident and the injured third party made a claim against him or the company because they were better targets to sue in terms of their assets. As I say, that's just pure speculation.

    Without you having a contract it will be difficult for you to find a legal basis to get your $360 back (given that you have verbally agreed to him getting the policy on your behalf). If you have any trouble doing this, I recommend that you at least try to obtain evidence of the insurance policy from the company. This could be useful for two reasons:

    1) if he has taken out a policy, it should be valid for 12 months or so - you might be able to use this in your next self-employment role;

    2) if he cannot produce any evidence of the cover, you'll have more of an argument as to why you should be refunded the money. You can talk to your local community legal centre or QPILCH about this further (they will give you a free face to face or phone legal consult - just google "community legal centres Queensland" ) - as you might find that you have grounds for a "minor civil dispute" in QCAT if you agreed for him to buy cover of a certain length (e.g. 12 months) and he just took your money without getting the cover.

    As I say, it's probably best you talk this option through with one of those services because you're likely to need quite a bit of advice before considering this option, because the facts are quite novel (and you would need to invest a lot of time and effort).

    In terms of going forward - it sounds like you might want to try self-employment again in the future (I did too when I arrived in Australia from overseas). A good resource I'd recommend is the " Fair Work Australia" website - they should have some good resources on the rights of independent contractors - you will want to read up as much as you can on your rights and obligations as an independent contractor in Australia (they are treated a lot differently to employees here).

    I understand that there some peak bodies for independent contractors that you can join - although they are also likely to have great resources for you on their website.

    Good luck with your Aussie adventure.
     
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  5. Peter wade

    Peter wade Member

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    Again, thanks for the plethora of information. plenty to chew on.

    Looks like I need to chase up a few things before I start shouting too loudly.

    You're a star.

    Cheers.
     

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