18Apr

What You Should Know About the Revised Compensation Items Under the Employee’s Compensation Ordinance in Hong Kong

A Resolution was passed at the Legislative Council meeting last March 17th, 2021 to change the levels of compensation of nine (9) compensation articles under the Employee’s Compensation Ordinance. This is a compulsory provision and all employers must comply.

Employers will have additional liability starting April 15, 2021.

What you should know:

> Your insurance provider will have to charge an additional premium estimated at around 2% of the initial cost up to the end of your Employee Compensation Insurance policy.

> Additional gross premium will be acquired.

> Additional gross premium less than HK$200 will be waived

> Employees’ Compensation Insurance Levies & Premium Levy (if applicable) will be charged on top of additional gross premium

Items under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance

The increased levels of compensation will enhance the protection for employees injured at work or sufferers of occupational diseases as well as family members of deceased employees or persons who die of work injuries or occupational diseases.

For more information about how the new ordinance will affect your current policies, get in touch with us today.

25Mar

Infographic: The Cybersecurity Shortage

The projected loss from cyber attacks worldwide is forecasted to be in the trillions in 2021. With many companies shifting to virtual offices – some even permanently – malware, phising, and other forms of data breaches will most likely increase. However, data shows that there’s an alarming gap between the need for tighter cybersecurity and the number of organizations that understand its importance.

The infographic below provides impactful statistics and proposals to shorten the gap.

Sources:

https://www.varonis.com/blog/cybersecurity-skills-shortage/

https://www.protectwise.com/post/survey-suggests-younger-generations-including-females-may-fill-the-cybersecurity-talent-gap/

https://www.varonis.com/blog/cybersecurity-statistics/

5Mar

Understanding the Risks of Managing an e-Commerce Business and the Insurance You Need

E-commerce has had a huge impact in Asia even throughout the pandemic. People have been able to buy and purchase products overseas sans a physical store. The requirement of having a brick-and-mortar store has taken a backseat for many small business owners as well as large retail corporations.

And as is the case with anything emerging, the industry’s growth brings with it new risks that may not have existed a decade ago.

The fact that the e-commerce industry is growing at an incredibly fast pace is yet another reason for online retailers to make sure that they are protected from the many risks that can come with such rapid growth. According to recent studies, e-commerce sales increased to $4.058 trillion in 2020 and made up more than 14% of total worldwide spending.

Covid-19 has played a crucial part in this growth with lockdown and physical restrictions that encourage consumers to shop online.

So what are the risks involved?

1. Cybersecurity – e-commerce is one of the most targeted industries of cyber attacks, with 32.4% of all cyberattacks targeting this industry. Ecommerce stores are known to hold highly sensitive information such as a  buyers’ credit card information and home address.

Online shopping sites are liable for these types of breaches which can result in millions of dollars worth of lawsuits, especially for large companies. Having the right cyber insurance is a must-have.

2. Product Liability – Any product or service can malfunction and result in some form of injury or accident. Defective products or the lack of hazard warnings are grounds for legal liability even if you’re not the direct manufacturer. Online retailers have to remember that as long as you are part of the distribution chain, you may be deemed responsible.

Some companies have been opting to get insurance called Technology Errors & Omissions Insurance. This type of insurance combines product liability and cyber insurance, therefore addressing incidents involving physical injuries caused by a product, and the unauthorized disclosure of proprietary information, respectively.

Aside from product liability insurance, it’s recommended that companies purchase D&O insurance to have an added cover for directors, officers, and other decision-makers in the company in case of lawsuits.

3. Intellectual Property Issues – Copied designs and the use of copyrighted material (even if one does it unknowingly) can lead to legal problems for e-retailers. In fact, an e-commerce store can face liability related to a third party’s ad that’s seen on its website. A general liability insurance can cover these issues.

If your business keeps and receives shipped goods in a warehouse via a third-party provider, or if you ship your products directly to customers and other distributors, then cargo insurance may also be something to consider. This insurance covers your business from loss of inventory while in storage or shipping.

Need more information about the insurance you need for your e-commerce business? Get in touch with us today.

 

17Feb

4 Financial Lessons from Covid 19

This year has challenged businesses and our personal finances. Job loss and diminished profits will affect the next couple of years (maybe more for some) and recovery is crucial. Of course, this is not the first economic downturn we’ve faced but it’s certainly significant because it’s on a global scale. 

Furthermore, the changes brought about by the pandemic not only affected people’s finances but there’s also the factor of lifestyle and the general way of how everyone “normally” went about their lives.

Now that we’ve watched this year play out and its end just around the corner, what can we do to position ourselves in a more crisis-ready strategy for our finances?

Here are the financial lessons we’ve learned from Covid 19:

HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLAN

Have a comprehensive financial goal.

These plans should include:

– Long term and short term financial goals
– Milestones
– Contingency plans

It’s not enough to be able to pay our bills and run a business. Not losing money every month may give the misconception of stability but it’s important to have set goals to work towards a higher level of security.

Be specific about goals such as having both health and life insurance in place before the age of 35 to avoid higher premiums. 

Another example would be finding the solution for events like losing 15%, 30%, or 50% of your income. (Hint: Loss of Income insurance may help)

It’s these specific goals that prevent us from being too anxious about sudden events such as this pandemic. Financial goals provide us with better foresight of where the gaps are so we can fill them as quickly as possible.

HAVE 3 TO 6 MONTHS’ WORTH OF EMERGENCY FUND

Save up 3 to 6 months worth of income

Save up money that’s worth three to six months before paying off debt. Having this safety net allows us to support ourself during uncertain times like job loss or low sales in business.

Once you start doing this, it’s also good to add two months each year to get to a total of one year’s worth of emergency savings. That will come as a huge advantage when coupled with unemployment insurance because it can further extend to over a year.

FIND MULTIPLE INCOME SOURCES

This doesn’t necessarily mean having two fulltime jobs. But it can help to explore part-time gigs that will not require too much out of our mental bandwidth. Perhaps a hobby could also become profitable. Having an alternative stream of income can be helpful in case we lose employment.

This pandemic has given rise to plenty of virtual work and it’s an opportunity to find an additional source of money to reach our financial goals much faster. 

Putting money in low or medium-risk investments is also be worth exploring especially if there’s stagnant money in our savings account.

FINANCIAL STABILITY FIRST, DEBT PAYMENT SECOND

Be financially stable first before becoming debt free

Debt can be negotiable because institutions will have mitigation departments to allow debtors to find workarounds when unable to pay. Banks and other lending institutions also want to be paid back so foreclosure would be counter to them in many cases.

This is why gaining stability is more important to achieve first than paying off debts. A more productive way of looking at this is being debt-free is one of the tools in gaining stability. 

One may not have any debts now but if there’s no income coming in, that still puts that person in a stressful position. Having the money to pay for basic living expenses such as food, shelter and clothing are the top priority. 

These four lessons apply even during normal circumstances but more so now that we see how a global crisis highlights our financial blindspots. 

 

Need help with personal or business insurance in Hong Kong? We help expats find comprehensive plans for every need.

 

4Feb

Infographic: Three Examples of D&O Insurance Claims

We recently discussed the increased risks for directors and officers in the time of COVID in our last blog. We also shared questions that both companies and insurers should be asking while in the process of developing new products to answer the emerging needs attributed to the pandemic.

We recommend reading that blog to appreciate the value of purchasing a D&O policy or at least revisiting your current insurance plan to evaluate if it’s enough to protect your company for a possibly huge loss.

Below are examples of claims for D&O from three different types of business:

20Jan

The Increased Risks for Directors & Officers in the Time of Covid

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant financial and operational damages in various business sectors around the world.

Many companies have reported drops in revenue at the end of 2020 with foreseen losses continuing this year. Some have need to stop all commercial activities altogether, let go of employees and sell company assets in order to maintain cash flow.

In addition, many businesses have shared that they have received numerous requests for the renegotiation or termination of initial contracts with some requests leading to litigation given the shifts in some employee duties and tasks.

In this context, it is easy to picture conflicts involving directors and officers liability – for instance, with respect to their selection of loss-mitigation actions which may later result in a loss of revenue.

In such situations, it can be difficult to determine which damages were actually because of the company’s decision-makers or which were solely a consequence of the pandemic.

Insurance providers are facing the same challenges as their policyholders. In Asia, insurers have taken the steps to determine the new risks for managers and executives.

There’s increased risk for directors and officers  – thus the need for more comprehensive D&O Insurance policy because of the following:

Company directors may be held liable for losses when they cannot supply customer demand due to COVID-19. Threats of litigation over a supply chain disruption are quite possible for large losses.

Lay-offs, non-payment of disability pay, and loss of employee healthcare have been a reality for many companies. This opens directors and officers to lawsuits for wrongful termination or breach of contract on a massive scale.

In the event of essential businesses that require employees to come to work instead of working from home, decision-makers may also be liable when members of their operations staff get sick with the virus. This is especially a liability risk if the company is found negligent of observing proper health protocols.

Watch this 2-minute video to further understand the value of a D&O insurance policy:

In complicated situations such as the current pandemic, directors and officers are held to higher standards of diligence. Their jobs require careful calculations, planning and strategising. There should be a great consideration for the risks of fraud and other unlawful acts.

Thus, the expectation from managers increases simultaneously with the level of severity of a situation in which their decisions are regarded.

As 2021 progresses, more questions have arisen about the scope of a manger’s or director’s responsibilities. What’s certain is that last year’s events have forced companies to troubleshoot unique situations with plenty of uncertainty on how to do so.

 

11Jan

5 Changes in Travel with the Vaccine

Vaccine approval that came in the tail-end of 2020 has left travellers wondering what changes they should expect this year.

And as many countries ramp-up vaccinations, the world is once again left in the dark with the new strain of the virus that led to more shutdowns and closed borders.

Given the current situation, what changes can we expect?

VACCINATION PASSPORTS

Qantas Airlines stated in November that it will require proof of vaccination from their passengers once a vaccine is approved. This serves as an onset of what other airlines will do to ensure health and safety.

Many airlines are currently testing technology to streamline the health documentation process, including mobile health apps like CommonPassICC AOKpass and VeriFLY to ensure travellers can show their health data in a secure, verifiable way.

it is important to note, however, that until the vaccine is widely distributed, rigorous screening and quarantining will remain a key part of the travel experience — before and after travelling.

SOARING TRAVEL COSTS

Depending on the destination, foreign visitors will still be required to quarantine for periods ranging between 14 to 21 days. The new COVID strain has pushed many countries to require extended quarantine which means added cost for food, accommodation and other miscellaneous expenses.

The tourism industry has also adapted to travel bubbles in which a set of tourist destinations agree to accommodate a group of while keeping doors to new visitors closed. As a result, a person or group that’s planning to stay for only five days in a country will have to stay the same number of days with the batch they with whom they arrived. As such, one can incur additional expenses.

REDUCED CAPACITY & SHORTED ITINERARIES FOR CRUISES 

Most cruises will return sailing at a reduced capacity with limited routes. In the US, initial trips will be limited to 7 days, according to C.D.C. guidelines. Masks will be mandatory in all public areas including outdoor decks. Screening and testing will also be mandatory.

Even with intensified safety measures, several cruise lines in Europe and the Caribbean that sailed in recent months were ordered to cut trips short after reporting outbreaks.

BUSINESS TRAVEL UNLIKELY TO PICK-UP IN FIRST PART OF 2021

Travelling for business is not expected to recover soon with many businesses moving operations online. Majority of airline recovery will be from leisure travel during the first half of the year.

Frequent businesses flyers with points have also been assured that they’d still be able to use their points for future flights. What’s more likely to happen is that there will be an increase in value in how flier miles can be used in the first few quarters of 2021.

Finally, in relation to cruises and air travel, agencies and transportation providers are expected to roll out more flexible cancellation policies to last at least through 2022 or longer.

TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

An emphasis on travel insurance with repatriation and Covid-dedicated policies are also anticipated to emerge as Visa requirements. Expect insurance providers to offer new products that cater to these needs in the early part of 2021.

As it stands, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with international travel. Domestic holidays will prove to be the simpler and more cost-effective alternative for the lockdown-weary.

Need help with travel insurance? We help find the best policies for expats in Hong Kong.

16Nov

5 High-paying Jobs in Hong Kong for Expats

While many expats continue to work remotely during the pandemic, Hong Kong remains to be one of Asia’s thriving business hubs for foreigners. 

Borders remain closed to non-residents, however foreign workers can still enter Hong Kong once their work visas are approved. New arrivals will need to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

For those curious to know, here are 10 jobs that pay well for foreigners:

1. Chairpersons, Director and Team Managers

Top executive positions across all industries have the highest salaries, of course. These jobs are complex roles that require experience, knowledge and high-level skills to handle all the responsibilities. Salary can be up to HK$ 3,000,000 or higher.

2. Marketing Managers

Directors and positions in digital marketing, in particular, have great promise as a job in Hong Kong. Businesses see the need for digital presence and engagement with local and global audiences. Expats offer the type of perspective an international campaign needs.

3. E-commerce Expert

The use of online channels for sales has spiked over the last five years. This has also opened a bulk of job opportunities for foreigners with knowledge in the e-commerce industry–from creating sales funnels, email marketing, advertising, and market research.

4. Auditors and Accountants

An early career accountant with one to four years of experience is paid an average annual compensation of HK$259,700. Accountants perform financial calculations for companies in a wide variety of fields. 

On the other hand, an auditor with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of HK$265,000.

5. Chefs

Hong Kong has an immensely diverse food culture with world-class hotels that are in need of kitchen staff, sous and head chefs to manage a high-pressure environment. Some companies have multiple store locations that can often mean handling all their operations. A mid-career Sous Chef with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of HK$311,538. Executive chefs get paid an average of HK$600,000 annually.

Other jobs worth mentioning:

– English teachers
– General Counsel
– Talent Acquisition/HR
– IT & Data Analysts
– Finance and Banking


Need help with business and employee insurance for your company or employees? We help find the best plans for expats.

 

Sources:

https://www.payscale.com/
https://www.michaelpage.com.hk/advice/market-insights/market-updates/top-10-highest-paying-jobs-hong-kong-2020 

31Oct

Travel in 2021: Overseas and Domestic Trips

2020 is the year of huge shifts. The pandemic may have permanently changed the way we go about normal activities – from dining out to travel.

The travel industry experienced one of the biggest negative impacts of Covid-19 with massive layoffs and restrictions that have delayed recovery. In addition, going on holidays and quick trips in nearby areas have turned into inconvenient (and hazardous) undertakings.

Getting overseas work for expats has also become uncertain with regions having different border policies that may change the very next day. However, there are some parts of the world slowly reopening to make way for economic recovery.

As we close the year with the information we know now, many of us may be wondering how travel will look like in this 2021. From our perspective here in Hong Kong and Asia in general, international and domestic travel will pivot to provide more protection to travellers and further prepare everyone better for unexpected events.

Here’s how we see travel in 2021:

DECREASED BUSINESS TRAVEL

Travel in 2021: Less Business Travel

Online interactions will be the norm even for traditional businesses. Video conferencing and collaborative software have allowed companies to operate through the pandemic which means 2021 will be a year of reinforcing digital infrastructures. With a bulk of operations moving to the digital space – from hiring to client management – we foresee less frequent business travels.

This trend could mean two things:

  1. Skill-based overseas work or the need for foreign hires will be fulfilled locally.
  2. A less nomadic life for digital nomads.

For businesses who may find more roadblocks while adapting, we also foresee the greater need for liability insurance and business travel insurance to cover all their bases.

THE EMERGENCE OF TRAVEL CONSULTANTS

Travel in 2021: Need for travel consultants

As people resume travelling, they will need to outline their itinerary to safely navigate through the new changes for different countries. Travellers will need expert advice on border and health policies to lessen risks and unnecessary stress. 

Top travel consultants will be highly sought after by travellers to help them plan holidays. This could signal an opportunity for travel agencies. As information becomes more complex, agents and tour operators will be expected to take care of all transportation arrangements with more attention to details regarding health regulations and customer safety.

Thus, the cost of travel may also increase and the coverage policies of travel insurance will see plenty of changes.

PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL FOR BUSINESSES

Travel in 2021: More private jet travel for businesses

According to industry reports, private jets are experiencing an exceptionally high level of bookings as of Q2 2020. Specifically, most of the booked flights are reserved for new customers. For various reasons, air travel is indispensable means of transportation. Pre-pandemic, commercial flights used to be easier and safer. In 2021, people will begin to turn to private jets to maximize safety, comfort and convenience. 

PREFERENCE FOR LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Travel Trend in 2021: Local Attractions will be on demand

Social distancing will be permanently integrated into public transportation which makes international travel more costly (because airfare will cost more to make up for fewer passengers). Because of this, people will be keener on local destinations and itineraries that require less contact with other people such as bike tours, hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

Travel is foreseen to be far different from how we knew it. Clearly, new ways of getting to a destination will need to be both safe and sustainable at the same time. Information sharing is crucial and we have to be cautious about more things at least until there is a vaccine. For now, businesses and travel-enthusiasts must adapt.

Get in touch with Village Insurance Direct for travel and liability insurance with Covid-19 cover. We can help find the right policy for your needs.

14Oct

Infographic: What is PIP?

 

During these uncertain times, it’s crucial that one has the right protection for a high-risk job. Below is an infographic that explains the basic of a PIP.

Infographic: What is Pilots Income Protection?

Village Insurance, in conjunction with ABC (Aircrew Benefits) and Millstream (the lead underwriter), has created a new stand-alone pilot income protection (PIP) product.

The policy is designed for pilots who may wish to make savings on their existing PIP coverage by switching insurance carrier (subject to underwriting) or to purchase additional coverage.