Tornadoes, heavy rainfall and hail have marked an active start to this year’s storm season in eastern and southern Australia as insurers continue to push for national arrangements to allow industry personnel to move more quickly across regions. Severe weather systems this month have already brought severe thunderstorms and warnings of damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall.
The Insurance Council of Australia is warning that insurance repairs will be delayed during this storm season without a nationally consistent approach to allow essential insurance workers to move within and between states. Local solicitor, Angela Treichel, from AJT Legal also expressed concern around issues she’s seeing with hail damage to roofs being picked up during building inspections on properties for sale and the difficulties this poses during a property’s sale process.
We’re seeing insurers requiring storm repairs to be completed within certain timeframes to enable insurance policies to be renewed. Many insurers are also asking for evidence that repairs have been completed (especially ones relating to hail damaged roofs) where an insured has been cash settled by an insurer for the damage or replacement.
As always, this time of year comes with increased risk of storms, cyclones and flooding to some parts of Australia.
What does this mean for you?
Well, to start with, you’ll need to start prepping for storm season by looking at your risk management strategies for your home and business.
- What’s the flood risk to your property? Check with your local council or the official Australian Flood Risk Information portal.
- How’s your business continuity planning going? Ideally, you’ll have a copy of your business data and business records stored safely off site or in the cloud. Talk with your staff or other business owners about how to prepare. Making a plan before the event makes it easier to handle something when it happens.
- If you have fittings and stock, have you thought about where to store them out of flood waters or after storm damage? If you don’t, do you have the gear needed to protect them? Is someone clearing your gutters regularly as well as checking your electrical wiring and for structural damage?
- Have you heard of flood-resistant shop and business premises fit outs? Give some thought to checking them out when you are fitting out your premises.
- How can you strengthen your local business network to support each other before, during and after a storm?
- Do your staff know what to do if a storm or flood hits your workplace? Do you review your business continuity plan with them regularly and make sure they know what to do? Have you gone through the steps they need to take or rehearsed as a team what to do? How about new staff? Are they on board with the plan? Ensure staff know what to do and when. Your business continuity plan should include contact details for all key employees, suppliers and contractors.
- What’s your plan for cleaning up after a storm? Give some thought to how you’ll cope if it’s a wide scale disaster.
- What’s your plan if your premises are damaged to the point where you can’t continue to trade? Have you got alternate premises in your business continuity plan? Have options handy for alternative premises and suppliers.
- In the wake of a storm, flood or some other disaster, how will you record what you’ve learnt in the process – what worked, what didn’t – to help your plan for next time.
- Do you have some savings to help you or better yet, insurance to protect your business and cover repairs, replacements etc before your business can fully operate again. Check the fine print of your policy to make sure it’s up to date. As Qualified Insurance Brokers, we’re well positioned to help you with this step in your plan.
Protection for a disaster
Often businesses underestimate how long it will take until they’re back up and resuming full operations after a disaster. Think about the bushfires, storms and floods which we’ve seen sweeping across the country in the last few years and how long it’s taken many businesses to be back at full operations, if at all. Many businesses have been forced to close either with direct or indirect impacts from these disasters, some never to reopen.
Water inundation, fire, damages to premises / equipment or even power loss can cause a disruption to your operations in the short or long term. Despite the disruption, you’ll still have fixed business costs to pay as many business owners have found during COVID-19 this year.
Here’s some helpful links
Get Ready Queensland
Be Disaster Ready This Summer
Be Storm Ready
Be Bushfire Ready
Be Flood Ready
Be Cyclone and Storm Surge Ready
We’re here to help you face the challenges of this summer
Our team are here to answer any questions you have, review your current insurances and help you check the insurance cover you need. If you’ve taken steps to reduce your insurance cover to save costs during COVID-19, now is the time to revisit your cover and consider the insurance covers you need.
Give us a call on (07) 5482 7485. We’re here to help protect what’s important to you.