Cathal Uniacke
Cathal Uniacke Principal OHS Consultant at Custodian Safety Services

What are the riskiest industries in Australia according to major insurers?

Does anyone know which industries are thought to be the riskiest in relation to insurance?

Top voted answer
Ling Lee

Ling Lee at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Couldn't find much on this topic except for a news article from 2009:

Top 10 riskiest industries

Car retailing

The exit of the two largest car financiers (GE Money and GMAC) in December has left hundreds of dealers without financing, and facing the very real prospect of either closing or selling their business at a hugely discounted price. Add to that declining demand for new cars, which IBISWorld predicts will be down 5.3% by June 2009 with total revenue falling by more than 6%.

Tyre manufacturing

IBISWorld says weakening downstream demand from the car manufacturing industry on the back of falling discretionary spending and less credit will threaten the industry in 2009. Replacement tyres will suffer most as people put off changing tyres for as long as possible to either save the money or spend it on “essentials”. The industry also faces significant import competition from low-cost Asian countries, such as India, where production costs are around six times lower than in Australia.

Real estate agents

Despite falling interest rates and the enlarged first home owners’ grant, IBISWorld finds that Australians will, by and large, put off buying property in 2009. The result will be a serious drop in sales for real estate agents, with transaction values (and therefore agent’s fees and profit margins) also waning along with depreciating house prices. This financial year, industry revenue will be 7.5% lower than last year, and so far rate cuts haven’t resulted in higher auction clearance rates, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

International airlines

IBISWorld says an economic downturn in the key markets of the US, New Zealand, Japan, most of Europe and the accelerating slowdown in China will severely curb international travel to and from Australia in 2009, despite the low dollar. The global financial crisis is also putting a squeeze on business travel abroad, with forecast rises in jet fuel prices further compounding the industry’s woes.


With people not buying cars and delaying buying houses, it’s no surprise that boatbuilding will suffer in 2009, with its major customer segment being cash-rich retirees and wealthy business people – many of whom have incurred significant losses on the sharemarket in the last 12 months.

Silver, lead and zinc ore mining

The end of the resources boom and plunging commodities prices are putting this sector at risk, with zinc and lead prices particularly hard hit in 2008. IBISWorld is predicting a 30% drop in revenue this financial year.

Investment banking and securities brokerage

With revenue forecast to decrease by 15% this financial year, the glory days of our banking sector have truly come to an end.


A sharp reduction in dwelling approvals will reduce demand for bricklaying services, while competition and revenue volatility will remain high due to the sector’s dependence on the construction cycle.

Catering and food service contractors

Much lower demand for catering services from the financial and resources industries will hit this sector hard, as well as poor demand for catering at sports and other major events as attendances fall in 2009.

Prawn fishing

Rising import competition and falling prices due to oversupply will affect this industry in 2009, as well as the fact seafood and prawns are viewed as discretionary items.


Additional high-risk industries for 2009 will be; computer manufacturing, machine tool and part manufacturing, and tool and hardware manufacturing. IBISWorld says all of these are struggling against low-cost importers, fierce competition and a downturn in the construction cycle. Jewellery and watch retailers will also struggle since these are highly discretionary items.

Cathal Uniacke

Cathal Uniacke, Principal OHS Consultant at Custodian Safety Services

Lol! Apologies for the miss communication Ling but I meant risk in the context of workplace injuries requiring time off work and subsequent WorkCover claims.

James Norquay

James Norquay, SEO Director at

I would take a guess and say Medical - Doctors would be a very costly business to insure. I know doctors pay crazy insurance premiums. The ones actually operating on people would pay more. Due to Medical Negligence I am guessing this is one area which is very costly. 


Cathal Uniacke

Cathal Uniacke, Principal OHS Consultant at Custodian Safety Services

Close James, but it's not Doctors. When things go wrong for Doctors due to the nature of their profession things do tend to get very costly however, the industry that has been listed as having the largest workcover payouts isn't an obvious one due to it's apparent dorsile nature. It is the freqency and lengthy period of claims in the industry that makes it's insurance payouts satistically the highest among all industries in Victoria. Thanks for the answer James. I wont keep you in suspense too long and let you know soon :)

Cathal Uniacke

Cathal Uniacke, Principal OHS Consultant at Custodian Safety Services

The answer to this question based on the WorkCover claims statistics across all industries as per a number of Victoria's largest Insurers is  - the Aged Care Industry.

Does this come as a surprise?

Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy, Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at

Cathal, hmm initially yes, however not when I think about it, my guess is that they are constantly lifting people in awkward situations. Also with all the death around them I'd say stress as a claim would be high.

Mark Mellish

Mark Mellish, Senior Account Manager - Commercial and Niche at Richard Mellish Insurance Services

What is the workcover premium rate in Victoria for Aged Care as opposed to say, shearing contractors? Are you relating this to claims frequency or severity?