ENTREPRENEUR Tony Venning is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie who is saying 'no worries' to fellow thrill-seekers looking for worldwide insurance coverage.
The 40 year old has launched a global insurance company specialising in personal and property insurance for the specific needs of the adventure travel and sports market.
With a claims centre in Brisbane, a call centre in Sydney and offices on the Sunshine Coast and London, No Worries Insurance has the backing of global insurance underwriter Lloyd's of London and has grown to employ 12 staff in just four months of operation.
Venning says he has experienced firsthand the horror of being involved in an accident that required urgent medical attention while overseas, only to find out his insurance did not cover the accident.
He says he was travelling with his wife in Vietnam and hired a motor-scooter. He lost control of the bike and both he and his wife fell off.
"We didn't really realise the severity of our injuries at the time but while my wife's injuries included extensive skin lacerations, I had lost most of the skin on my left hand side, my ankle was broken and I had also severed an artery in my ankle meaning blood was spurting out about a foot high in the air," he says.
"We were rescued by a local and driven in a local banana truck which doubled as the ambulance to a very basic medical clinic with questionable hygiene standards and even more questionable medical experience.
"After requesting some crutches, one of the locals got a band saw and literally cut two wooden sticks out of the forest and presented them to me. Whilst grateful for the care they provided it was then that I made the decision to get us off the island so we could seek professional care."
Venning and his wife travelled back to Australia only to discover their wounds were horribly infected as a result of sub-par medical care and they spent the following two weeks in Flinders Hospital Adelaide receiving skin grafts, undergoing plastic surgery and having their broken limbs set.
"My insurance didn't cover any of our medical costs as it did not provide cover for the operation of a motor-scooter, unless I had a valid motorcycle licence in my resident country," he says.
"Even though I had a valid Australian vehicle licence which was recognised in Vietnam I was not covered under the policy.
"It was an expensive and very stressful oversight."
This was one of the triggers for the establishment of No Worries Insurance. With 20 years' experience in the insurance industry, including an appointment at international insurance company JLT, Venning was shocked that even he could get caught by the fine print.
No Worries Insurance provides, as standard, coverage for all motorcycles under 125cc if the driver has an internationally recognised licence.
Another of the company's specialist packages includes coverage for push-bikes valued at more than $1000 and it insists on replacing damaged bikes rather than repairing them.
Venning says No Worries Insurance also is one of few companies providing full coverage for those on surf or winter sport holidays.
"Your standard travel policy in most cases will not cover winter sport activities or, if a travel policy does, you have to upgrade it to include certain activities," he says.
Venning warns that not all policies are the same, especially those that look "nice and cheap" at first glance in the rush to book your trip. He says these policies may not offer full cover.
"We cover these activities but we also include it in our standard policy," he says.
"The last thing you want to be worrying about when you've had $2000 worth of ski gear stolen or are in hospital after a major wipe-out is how the hell you're going to pay for it all when you get home."
Venning says the reason most insurance companies don't offer these sort of plans is because they don't want to cater for niche markets.
"Most competitors are really quite large insurance companies. They tend to have a very vanilla product and, while they will give you options or offer exclusions, what they really cater for is the mass consumer."
Venning says his company is all about honesty and urges Australians to look at their current plans. He says it is usual for someone to be paying too much or paying for the same cover twice.
"In the case of legal liability in a bicycle accident covering property damage or personal injury to another party, most people would be covered for this by their existing home and contents insurance. Most other insurance companies aren't going to highlight that fact.
"We endeavour to help our customers understand what insurance cover they already have and complement those with niche insurance products which covers what other companies don't.
"I know there is a big market for our type of products and I know there are a lot of people like me out there who want to deal with a company that understands their needs."
Venning is expanding into other specialist markets such as camera equipment and musical instrument insurance.
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