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Protect your property or business from severe weather events including fires with these precautionary measures to action ahead of a threat and general guides to how to be prepared for emergency conditions.
It's a good idea to address any aspects of risk exposures from severe weather events or natural disasters when you review or renew your insurance cover. Also check with your insurance broker that you have appropriate cover for potential exposures, and that your sums insured are up to date.
Bushfires have always been a risk in Australia and higher temperatures with prolonged drought and climate change factors have contributed to conditions that spark hard to control fires, with heat, winds and dry fuel each adding to the higher risk of bushfire impact.
Wherever you are in the country you can ascertain your bushfire attack level (BAL) which classifies your property into risk categories according to your region, surrounding vegetation, surrounding clearance and the slope on the property.
Acting on these bushfire risk preventions should improve your property's risk and is viewed favourably by insurers because it could help protect your assets, your home or business — and in extreme conditions, your life.
Take preventative measures before bushfire season starts by ensuring your insurance cover is up to date and that your business property is clear of hazards. It's also advisable to have a clear emergency response plan and a kit packed in case of evacuation alerts. You can find advice about what to include in an emergency kit on most extreme weather or disaster-related websites.
Before fire season starts:
Northern areas of Australia including Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia are prone to tropical cyclones and they can occur in other parts of Australia also.
The combination of driving winds and torrential rain are a threat to property and cause loss of revenue from interruption to normal trading or prevention of access.
Businesses and property owners in areas that are prone to cyclones should have a permanent emergency plan and allow sufficient lead time to maximise protection against cyclone conditions. Also check your insurance cover ahead of cyclone season so you know what it covers and to ensure your replacement values are up to date.
In the instance of a cyclone the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issues tropical cyclone advice when wind gust speeds are expected to exceed 62 kilometres an hour and issues warnings 24 hours ahead of the anticipated onset of gale force winds, advising the intensity of a cyclone on a scale of 1 to 5, based on the wind speed severity.
If you receive a storm warning:
In floods conditions can change rapidly, especially in areas prone to flash flooding: low lying land, valleys and natural and manmade waterways. They can be triggered by storm surges or heavy rainfall.
To find out if your area is prone to flooding check your local council or state emergency service records. Also ensure your insurance covers you for flood damage and if not, whether cover is available.
Flood watch warnings are issued by the BOM and are escalated to a flood evacuation warning when your area and its access routes are under threat. Because of the speed of flood water movement it's important to be aware of the history of flooding in your area and to monitor communications issued by the authorities for directions on the actions you need to take.
Pre-emptive actions could include:
Severe storms can occur in any part of Australia and may bring thunder and lightning, gale force winds or damaging hail. Strikes involving large hailstones can cause significant damage, especially to roofs, windows and vehicles.
Having an emergency response plan specific to storms is well worthwhile, such as having an emergency generator and key business information backed up to the Cloud. If applicable, check that your insurance cover for property damage includes external buildings, fences and stock.
Storm warnings are usually issued in advance, allowing time to take protective measures and shelter under cover. Other actions can be taken as part of regular property maintenance.
These might include:
Your insurance broker can help you review your insurance to ensure you have adequate coverage and please get in touch if you need any support.
Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient's industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers' control.
Insurance brokerage and related services to be provided by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co (Aus) Limited (ABN 34 005 543 920). Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) No. 238312