Mark Vanzo talks about the benefits of using a Broker for Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance is a necessity for small business owners and sole traders. It is a minimum requirement for many trade professionals to enter a building site or for a small business to apply for a commercial lease agreement.

Public Liability Australia is a Smart Business Insurance website that specialises in brokering public liability insurance for small business owners and self-employed sole traders. Founder and Managing Director of Smart Business Insurance Mark Vanzo answered some questions below about the importance of public liability insurance and the benefits of engaging a broker during the application process.

What’s your background in the insurance industry, and how did it lead to Public Liability Insurance Australia?

We set up a different style insurance firm back in 2013 with the idea to make it as easy as possible for small business owners to find suitable affordable insurance. We set it up as a hybrid between an online platform and a traditional insurance brokerage;  where while clients often find us and initially engage with us online, we actively encourage small business owners to ring in and talk to us, talk to our brokers about the nuances of their business, to ensure that they’re covered properly. While we capture some information online, we do encourage our clients to talk to us because it’s essential to capture all the business activities, not just the main activity.

And that’s where we found the need for Public Liability Insurance Australia as well. We found that a lot of small business owners, in particular, startup businesses, really, they wanted to protect themselves with public liability insurance. Hence, we created a separate website that is 100% focused on public liability insurance for small business owners.

Why is public liability insurance so important for sole traders and small businesses?

Public liability insurance in Australia, really, it’s the core insurance. It’s the key insurance for businesses. So, it’s necessary for sole traders & small business owners. It covers customer injuries, what we call “slip and trip”, customer property damage, and other third-party damages.

So, a relatively small cost protects a very big risk, that businesses would go out of business without. Also, public liabilities insurance is also required for the trade subcontractors to get onto building sites, and for retail tenants for commercial premises. It really is the key insurance protection for all Australian small business owners to protect the company and personal assets against third party injury and subsequent legal action that otherwise could bankrupt them.

Why should someone use an insurance broker for public liability insurance?

The major benefit is that when a small business owner uses a broker, we become their representative and our first responsibility is to the small business owner. This is very different to  a comparison website, or an insurance agent, who typically represents the insurance company – not the client. So, in the event of a claim, we fight for the client, which may mean a faster and more successful claim. That’s the key reason why you would use a broker.

What is your process when working with a new client?

Whether they make an inquiry over the phone or even via a web form, we actually prefer to talk to the client, to find out their full business activities, discuss their insurable risks and their coverage options. From that point we source multiple quotes if it’s a common occupation, or if it’s a bit more of a niche occupation, utilise our experience and knowledge in the market, and approach the underwriter or underwriters that play in that space.

And for niche occupations, there might be only one or two go-to markets. Common occupations, there may be up to eight quotes that we get for them so they can compare and get a suitable solution for their occupations and risks.

Who are the most common types of businesses you help with public liability insurance?

There’s hundreds of different occupations and some crazy occupations that you’ve probably never heard of, that we didn’t even know existed. I think we had a horse massager come through the other day and we’ve done snake charmers et cetera. But the common ones we do a lot of are sole traders, small businesses, tradies such as carpenters, electricians, welders, also occupations like cleaners and gardeners, we cover a lot of those. And now that they’re back in business thankfully, with the worst of COVID over, we source suitable cover for a heap of restaurants and related businesses in the hospitality industry.

What do you think makes your company stand out from other providers?

We put a huge emphasis on the client, and we make it easy for the small business owner. We aim to make it affordable for the small business owner, and we care for them. We care for the small business owner and have their back when there’s a claim. That’s what we’re about.

Thank you Mark for your time!

You can follow up with Mark Vanzo at

Samantha Rigby
Samantha Rigby
Samantha is the head of content, lifestyle and entrepreneurial columnist for Best in Australia. She is also a contributor to Forbes and SH. Prior to joining the Best in Au, she was a reporter and business journalist for local newspapers.
Share this