Parts of Australia are currently dealing with one of the most crippling droughts in our country’s history.
With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a hot and dry summer, the potential for a catastrophic bushfire season has never been stronger.
Insurance Brokers have a role to play in helping to ensure their clients are as prepared as they can be against loss or damage from bushfires. From customer service and relationship management perspectives, as well as leveraging your specialist product knowledge, the coming months are your opportunity to provide your clients with some vital peace of mind.
Unfortunately, we see too many examples of people operating under the assumption that insurance policies are much the same, but it’s definitely not the case – especially so when it comes to claiming for loss or damage caused by bushfires.
As an example, in recent years a number of insurers have made it a condition of cover in bushfire-prone areas of Australia that properties or business premises meet specific ‘bushfire readiness’ underwriting guidelines, or require proof of a Bushfire Attack Level assessment be provided to an assessor as part of settling a claim.
Similarly, new planning regulations and local government requirements have impacted the true cost of rebuilding a home in many parts of Australia, exposing many policyholders to the risk of being underinsured.
Assessing your clients’ bushfire readiness – and checking how up-to-date they are with local planning laws – gives you the chance to review and reset their insurance policies toensure they’re insured for the proper amounts. Not only does this reinforce the accuracy of their coverage, but is a big step towards avoiding some common headaches and delays people encounter at claim time.
Taking the temperature of your clients’ bushfire coverage needs is also a good opportunity to check they have an adequate sum insured on their house, contents, business, tools, machinery and stock.
Over time, a client might underestimate the gap between how much their property and goods are insured for, versus the cost of rebuilding or replacing them. In some cases, clients may even mistake the market value of their home or business for its replacement or rebuilding costs and quite often this gap is only fully realised at claim time.
As well as these considerations, the Insurance Council of Australia also has the following tips that your clients might find helpful as bushfire season approaches:
- Download or visit their local fire authority for bushfire readiness information pack
- Tune to ABC local radio for weather and bushfire updates
- Check out the Insurance Council of Australia’s Bushfire Prevention page on their website;
- Be aware of the daily Fire Danger Rating in your area.
- Fires can knock out communication towers. Don’t rely on smartphone apps alone for warnings or evacuation information.