Describe in your own words what insurance is


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Questions for discussion

Episode 34

25th november 2008

  1. Describe in your own words what insurance is.

  2. What is an asset?

  3. What sorts of things do people insure?

  4. What is a premium?

  5. Explain how insurance companies make money.

  6. What are some more unusual things that people have insured?

  7. Why does the Government sometimes help out after a natural disaster?

  8. What do some charities do to help out?

  9. Has your thinking about insurance changed after watching the BtN story? Explain your answer.

  10. Survey other students in your class to find out their attitudes towards insurance.

Try the car insurance quiz at
Congestion tax

  1. Use three adjectives to describe traffic in a large city.

  2. Why is the NSW Government thinking about introducing a peak hour tax?

  3. What is traffic congestion?

  4. When is it at its worst?

  5. How is the Government going to charge motorists?

  6. What are they hoping will happen?

  7. How does the congestion tax work in London?

  8. Explain the different viewpoints on the tax.

  9. Do you think it will stop people from driving their car to work? Explain your answer.

  10. Do you think it is a fair tax? Explain your answer.

`Should all cities have a congestion tax on cars?’ Vote in the online poll.

Cloud seeding

  1. What was the main point of the story?

  2. What is cloud seeding?

  3. Draw a diagram that explains how it works.

  4. When and how was cloud seeding discovered?

  5. What chemical is used in cloud seeding?

  6. How is cloud seeding being used in the snowfields?

  7. Describe the impact it has had.

  8. How has cloud seeding been used in other countries?

  9. What do critics of cloud seeding say?

  10. Create a plus, minus and interesting chart about cloud seeding.

Create a true or false quiz about cloud seeding.


  1. How many species of ladybirds are there in Australia?

  2. Describe the work that Adam is doing.

  3. What do ladybirds do to avoid being attacked?

  4. Describe the life cycle of a ladybird.

  5. Why are some ladybirds described as helpful insects?

  6. Why was the Asian ladybird introduced in some countries?

  7. What damage has it caused?

  8. What distinct feature does the Asian ladybird have?

  9. Why is the ladybird survey important?

  10. What do you understand more clearly after watching the BtN story?

Test your knowledge in the online quiz.
Play spotted pacman and save the ladybird. Go to
Big brother

  1. Summarise the BtN story in your own words?

  2. Why did the Government and some organisations want to get young British boys to move to Australia?

  3. Describe how the boys might have felt?

  4. What attributes did the boys need to have?

  5. What were some of the programs called?
  6. Approximately how many boys made the journey?

  7. What did they do when they arrived?

  8. Why was life in Australia tough for these boys?

  9. Describe the contribution they made.

  10. How did this story make you feel?

Send a message or tell us what you think on the BtN Guestbook.


Episode 34

25th november 2008

Learning Area

English, Society and Environment

Key learning

Students will develop an understanding of different attitudes and beliefs about insurance.

hat happens when a natural disaster strikes and causes millions of dollars damage? A lot of people rely on insurance but what is it and how does it work?

Focus Questions

  1. Describe in your own words what insurance is.

  2. What is an asset?

  3. What sorts of things do people insure?

  4. What is a premium?

  5. Explain how insurance companies make money.

  6. What are some more unusual things that people have insured?

  7. Why does the Government sometimes help out after a natural disaster?

  8. What do some charities do to help out?

  9. Has your thinking about insurance changed after watching the BtN story? Explain your answer.

  10. Describe any personal (family) experiences you have had with insurance.

What’s in a word?
Watch the BtN story about insurance. Summarise the story in your own words. Watch the story again and listen carefully. Circle each of the following words as you hear them.










Ask students to write what they think is the meaning of each word. Swap definitions with a partner and ask them to add to or change the definition. Check these against the dictionary definition. Ask students to write their own sentences using the key words.

The following are more insurance words that were not included in the BtN story. Students need to write down what they think the meaning is and then check against a dictionary or website source.

  • Excess

  • Under insurance

  • Agreed value

  • Market value

  • Comprehensive

  • Third party

Discuss with students their personal (family) experiences with insurance. Explain that attitudes towards insurance can vary and that these can also be based on cultural beliefs.

Ask students to research and record the range of attitudes and beliefs about insurance. Students will then share their findings in groups of 3-4. There are some web links at the end of this activity sheet that may help them with their research.

Further investigations

Hold a class debate based on the following statement `Insurance is a waste of money if nothing goes wrong.’

Create a plus, minus and interesting chart about insurance. Have at least three responses in each category.

Try the car insurance quiz at

8 Related Research Links

ABC AM – More storms lash Brisbane
Insurance Council of Australia
ASIC website - Insurance fact sheet$file/YourMoneyStarter_Insurance-FactSheet1.pdf
Takaful – Islamic insurance
Investopedia – What is Takaful?
BtN: Episode 34 Transcripts 25/11/08
n this week's Behind the News

  • Cutting back on cars cramming into cities.

  • What sort of seeds do you plant in the clouds?

  • And a warning about a not so cute ladybird.

Hi I'm Nathan Bazley welcome to Behind the News.

Also on the show today - the kids that travelled thousands of kilometres around the world to help build Australia.

Those items later but first to our top story.


Reporter: Sarah Larsen

INTRO: Last week parts of Queensland were battered by massive storms. In some places they did as much damage as a cyclone - wrecking homes and businesses. Now people are hard at work cleaning up but it will be expensive. So who pays to rebuild after a disaster? Where do people get the money from? Sarah has a look at something called 'Insurance’, that a lot of people will be looking to right about now.
KID: Thanks!
Bet it cost a lot. You'd better make sure nothing happens to it.
KID: Safe as houses

REPORTER: He probably shouldn't have said that! Sometimes, it doesn't matter how careful you are, bad things happen even to houses and bikes!

Can't afford a new one, can you?
REPORTER: Well there is a way that you can make sure that you're not left with no wheels and no money.
It's called insurance and it's a huge industry all over the world.
Ask your parents and they will probably have some kind of insurance. Now, you probably already know a bit about how it works but, just in case, here's a rundown.

First we have an owner and his asset. In this case it's a bike but it could be a house, a car, a boat, a computer, a painting, jewellery, even your health, anything with a value . Then you have an insurance company. If something happens to the bike it agrees to pay to fix it up or replace it. In return the owner pays a regular fee called a premium. How much he pays will depend on how much the bike's worth and the likelihood of something happening to it.

REPORTER: Now you might ask, "what's in it for the insurance company?"
Well the idea is there are a lot of people taking out insurance and all of them are paying premiums. All those small regular payments add up to a lot of money for the insurance company and only a few owners might make claims. So she should have a nice profit left over
You can take out insurance on all sorts of things. There are reports that Irish dancer Michael Flatley insured his legs for millions. Singer Bruce Springsteen has his voice insured. Believe it or not there's a company in the US which insures you against alien abduction!
But it's at times like these when people really rely on insurance. The storms and flooding in Queensland last week left hundreds of people in a real mess.
PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD : " This is really horrible"

Insurance companies will be working with these families to sort out their claims but it's not always straightforward. Some insurance policies don't cover certain natural disasters like flooding and people can be left with huge bills. That's why the government often steps in to help out and that's happening in Queensland. They're paying for some repairs and giving other people cash. Charities are also helping out; offering shelter and collecting donations to give to victims. It can take months for families to get back to normal after a disaster like the one in Queensland. But hopefully with all this help most families will at least be able to enjoy some sort of Christmas.

We might take a closer look at disasters now - in today's first quiz!
On average, which causes more damage in Australia each year?

  1. Floods

  2. Bushfires

  3. Thunderstorms

Answer: Thunderstorms

That's according to the Bureau of Meteorology site which bases it on insurance costs. Unfortunately, thunderstorms also kill people - between 5 and 10 deaths are caused each year by lightning. Now let’s catch up with some of the week's other headlines. Here's Catherine with the Wire.

The Wire
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been in Peru in South America for the APEC meeting which is a get-together of leaders from Asian and Pacific countries.

The meeting talked about ways to help fix poverty and Mr Rudd visited three Aussie nuns who run a clinic for some of the poor people in Peru.
He met some of the local kids.
The PM has donated an X-Ray machine to the nun's clinic.

Forget about Pirates of the Caribbean - real life piracy is causing serious problems off the coast of Africa.

This super-tanker worth more than a hundred million dollars has been taken by a gang from Somalia.
It's one of dozens that have been captured by pirates from the country this year.
They hold the ships and their crew hostage until their companies pay a ransom.

And rescuers have managed to save eleven pilot whales after their pod became stranded on a Tasmanian beach.

Sadly many from the pod had already died before they were found - but wildlife officers and volunteers helped keep the others alive and herded them out to sea.
No-one knows why the whales beached themselves.

Great work by the volunteers out there.

Car Tax

Reporter: Nathan Bazley

INTRO: Kids in the bush wouldn't think anything of driving into town with their parents to go shopping or run some errands but kids from the city might feel differently! Traffic in the centre of major cities can get pretty insane especially during peak times when things can grind to a standstill! But how do you stop the CBD being over-run by cars? Well one Australian city thinks they may have an answer.
Cities. They're designed to fit as many people, shops and offices into the smallest possible space.
But while having everything you could want in one central location is great for convenience, it can create other problems!
NATHAN BAZLEY, REPORTER: Because so many people are trying to get their cars in and out, traffic in a big city can quickly become a nightmare.
Roads get blocked, vehicles back up and during peak times, this whole area can become one big car park.
One place that proves the point is Sydney.
It's our biggest city, with more than 4 million people and it also has our biggest congestion problem.
Every morning between 7-9 and every afternoon between 4-6, Sydney's roads fill with thousands of cars trying to make their way in and out of the city.
That's when everyone's rushing into work, or rushing out again to get home!
Because of this peak hour madness, scenes like this are pretty common. And it looks like the problem is only getting worse each year.
So what is the answer? Well the NSW state government has an idea!
These are tolls.
They're basically a charge paid by anyone who drives on a specific road - usually major bridges, tunnels or freeways.
Sydney has a few of these, including one on the harbour bridge and one on the tunnel that goes underneath.

That's not the solution, but the amount charged could be!

NATHAN BAZLEY, REPORTER: Right now, drivers are charged the same amount no matter when they drive on those roads. It's about 3 bucks a trip.
But the NSW government wants to raise that to 4 dollars during peak times in the morning and afternoon.
They're hoping that'll convince people to drive during quieter times.
Think of it like a peak hour tax!
The idea is a new one for Aussies, but people in other countries have had similar taxes for ages.
In London, they have something called a 'congestion tax' and it works a little differently.
They have a boundary drawn up right around the city centre with cameras on every road in and out.
As soon as you drive past the boundary into town you're charged about 18 dollars!
Lots of people hated the idea when it was first introduced, but since then traffic in London has dropped 20 percent.
Back in Sydney, a similar debate is raging.
Some people say that it won't have any effect on traffic.
They say buses are already very full and other methods of transport might not be available or convenient, so there isn't any alternative to driving.
Others say it doesn't go far enough - that the government should charge much more money and make everyone who comes in and out pay, no matter which roads they use.
It's a tough issue that requires a lot of thought and Sydneysiders should have lots of time to think it over while they're sitting stuck in traffic!
Online Poll
Now that'll be our online poll this week. The question is:
Should all cities have a congestion tax on cars?
If you want to vote go to our website at

Cloud Seeding

Reporter, Sarah Larsen

INTRO: It’s almost summer when Aussies tend to look up and hope for rain. But in some parts of the country scientists are taking a more pro-active approach to the weather - to squeeze more rain out of clouds. Sarah's been finding out how you can actually control some parts of the weather.

SARAH LARSEN, REPORTER: Clouds. They can be a hopeful sign for farmers and winter holiday makers, or they can really ruin your day
REPORTER: Wouldn't it be nice if you could make clouds do what you wanted?
Believe it or not, scientists are already at work making clouds rain when and where they want. It’s called cloud seeding
ANDREW, CLOUD SEEDER: It's quite good conditions.
These guys fly into the clouds above Tasmania's hydro-electric dams and sprinkle a chemical which makes it rain. So how does it work? Well, you probably already know that clouds are made up of air and moisture. Water evaporates from the earth then cools to form tiny droplets and ice crystals which form clouds. If there's enough water up there the droplets or crystals clump together and fall as rain. Cloud seeding speeds up the clumping process. Watch this demo:
CLOUD SEEDER: It's just a freezer box we use as a cloud chamber.
This is actually how cloud seeding was first discovered. 62 years ago a scientist was making clouds by breathing into a freezer box just like these guys. To make it colder, he added some carbon dioxide or dry ice and to everyone's surprise tiny ice crystals started to appear.
CLOUD SEEDER: What you can see now is all that shiny stuff is the ice sucking the water out of the cloud
Those ice crystals attract more water then fall as rain. These days cloud seeders usually use a chemical called silver iodide and they don't always scatter it from a plane. These cannons are aimed at the clouds above Thredbo in NSW. They're controlled from the ground by cloud seeders who scope out the sky for suitable clouds.
LOREDANA WARREN, SNOWY HYRDO: We have lots of instrumentation which we use for your cloud seeding. We monitor for temperature, wind direction, wind speed, the crystal formations.

The cannons shoot tiny particles of silver iodide into the clouds which travel up and start ice crystals growing. But instead of rain they fall as snow, which makes this cloud seeding project unique.

The tourists and resort managers here think it’s great. Before the cannons started firing in 2004, snow falls in some places were the lowest they'd been in 50 years. But last season was the best in 4 years and when the white stuff melts the snow becomes water which fills up the thirsty snowy river and the huge dams which make up the snowy hydro-electric scheme.
Cloud seeding goes on all over the world. During the Olympics China used cloud seeding to try and drain clouds before they arrived over the opening ceremony so rain couldn't spoil the party. But not everyone's a fan.
REPORTER: Critics reckon cloud seeding just speeds up rain or snow that would have happened anyway and wringing out those babies isn't cheap. There are also concerns that if you drain clouds here somewhere else will miss out on the rain they should have had.
At the moment this snowy cloud-seeding project is still in experimental stages. The scientists here will give it another 6 years before deciding whether or not the cannons will stay.
We'll let you know as they update their results.
Quiz 2
Alright time for another quiz.
How many types of clouds are there?

  1. 3

  2. 6

  3. 10

Answer: 10

There are ten main cloud types which are divided into 27 sub types by things like height, shape and colour. There is even one sort of cloud that is found more than 70 kilometres above the earth's surface on the edge of space!


Reporter, Catherine Ellis

INTRO: Now these guys don't fly quite that high but they're one of the most popular bugs around. Ladybugs or ladybirds or ladybeetles - whatever you like to call them - are meant to be good luck if they land on you!! But how much do we really know about them? Catherine's been finding out.

CATHERINE ELLIS, REPORTER: There are tonnes of bugs we don't want to come across, either because they're scary, annoying or destructive!
But spot one of these little guys and we're usually pretty pleased with ourselves - they're one of the country's best loved insects!
But while lots of people think ladybirds are always shiny and red with black spots did you know most are actually brown and hairy!
There are over 500 species in Australia, all different sizes and colours and only about half of them have been identified so there's a big job to do.

Adam is head of the ladybird taskforce and has spent years researching them.

He's just put together a book which Anne is turning into a website.
ANNE: And people can use it to find out about ladybirds in their own back gardens.
So what do we know about these mysterious creatures.
Well, they keep their wings under their shell to protect them.
To avoid being attacked, they ooze gross tasting, smelly toxic goo from their legs!
The female ladybirds are usually bigger than the males and they lay up to a-hundred eggs at a time.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which look pretty different - almost like tiny crocodiles!
They then turn into pupa, before finally becoming a ladybird!
And how long do you reckon ladybirds live for? Not long, only about two months.
But while they're not around for long and they're tiny, they're very helpful!
They eat lots of little insect pests in the garden and on farmers’ crops - they're great pest controllers.
But they're not all nice.
This innocent looking Asian Ladybird has the potential to wipe out all the others and it's heading our way.
It's already invaded parts of North America, South America and Europe.
It was introduced to some countries to help control plant pests but is now out of control and attacking non-pests.

They've been snacking on harmless insects like butterfly eggs and caterpillars and they've been getting into fruit crops.

They're a threat to other ladybirds because they eat their food too.
And they're damaging their friendly reputation because they occasionally bite humans!
The problem is, this troublesome Ladybird isn't easy to spot because it comes in lots of different colours. Their only distinct feature is this indent.
Aussie scientists are keeping an eye out because they want to know straight away if the bossy bug turns up here.
Even you guys can help, with a bit of detective work in your own back yard examining trees, bushes and plants.
You can compare what you find with the pics on Adam's website and even submit your own pics as part of a Ladybird survey that's happening.
Your contribution could help scientists better understand this incredible creature and who knows you may actually stumble across a new species!
I think the chocolate ones are my favourite. Time for some sports news now. Here's Sarah with the Score.
The Score
The Kiwis have pulled off a stunning upset to snatch the rugby league World Cup.
Australia were the red hot favourites. But they were shattered when the New Zealanders came from 10-points down to notch a 34 to 20 victory.
It was pay-back on the cricket pitch though, the Aussies wrapping up a 149-run victory over New Zealand at the Gabba.
Mitchell Johnson captured his first five wicket haul in test cricket, helping Stuart Clark to rip through the tail in less than an hour.
It means Australia will retain the trans-Tasman trophy for another year regardless of the result of the second test in Adelaide which begins on Friday.
And Australian Formula One driver, Mark Webber, suffered a broken leg when he was hit by a car while riding his mountain bike in Tasmania.

The accident happened during a stage of a charity sport event he hosts every year.


Word is he's is recovering well after surgery and hopes to be fine for the start of the F1 season.

Big Brother

Reporter, Nathan Bazley

INTRO: Going overseas can be a pretty scary experience. But how about moving for good to a country you've never seen to do a job you've never experienced before!! That's what happened to thousands of kids nearly one hundred years ago and they ended up helping to build our nation.
Australia - it's a land of more than 20 million people.
But did you ever wonder how we all got to be here?
Back almost one hundred years, there weren't nearly as many people settled on this huge continent - around 4 million.
Australia found itself with a whole lot of land to farm, but not enough people to farm it.
So the government, some churches and other organisations got together to come up with some plans - to convince young British boys to travel halfway across the world and become Aussies!
NATHAN BAZLEY, REPORTER: It's hard for us to believe now, but can you imagine packing your bags at 15, getting on a ship by yourself and travelling for 6 weeks to a country you've never seen. Once there you're sent straight to a property and work for free learning how to farm. It sound's scary, but for these boys, it was one big adventure!
The boys they were aiming for were 15 - 19 years old.
They had to be physically fit and supply references to prove they had good character and manners.
Word soon spread through England that there was a better life waiting over the seas in Australia.
BILL ALLPORT, ENGLISH IMMIGRANT: We got in touch with Australia House in London and from there on, it was only a matter of signing the forms.

There were many different programs. They had names like the Dreadnought scheme, the Barwell scheme and even a name you hear a bit of today.

UPSOT NEWSREEL: Officials of the famed Big Brother movement are farewelling boys just prior to their departure for Australia. The organisation selects the most desirable types of youngsters and offers them opportunities to start a free life in Australia. Their enthusiasm for their great adventure is matched by their appetites.
No one really knows how many boys made the long journey, but records for just two schemes suggest around ten thousand.
IAN GWYNNE, ENGLISH IMMIGRANT: I arrived in Sydney on the 14th of December, 1928. The harbour bridge wasn't finished. 1928 - it was still quite a distance apart. Sydney was a very different place in those days. Horse-drawn cabs!
Some boys were sent to work on farms immediately, while others were given a crash course in farming.
UPSOT NEWSREEL: As trainees they receive no pay. But as soon as they are considered proficient, they are placed in selected positions and receive the ruling award in accordance with the type of farming in which they are engaged.
But once out with a farmer, life became even more tough for these boys, who were more used to an English winter than sweltering during drought and heatwaves.
IAN GWYNNE: There were cracks in the ground that a sheep could fall in. I was supposed to get out into the midday sun and work the garden, which I just couldn't do. There was too much heat for me.
Some boys found it really tough and moved into other areas of work.
But others loved it and went on to successfully run their own farms - helping to create the huge agriculture industry we have today!
And if you want to see some more of their stories there's some links on our website. That's it for another show - don't forget you can get updates of kids’ news every Monday to Friday at 5 to 6 in BTN Daily. Catch ya later.


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