03 October 2019

Are you bushfire ready? Our broker tips for managing your risk

Home and business owners should be aware that prolonged dry conditions across Australia mean that large parts of the country are under threat. To protect your business assets do check your paperwork, ensure your figures for the value of your business are up to date, take preventative measures and have an evacuation plan.

A combination of above average temperatures below average rainfall in 2018-2019 have resulted in potential bushfire conditions across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia and the central coast of Queensland, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre reports. 

Australia needs to prepare now for the onset of bushfire season, former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner and Climate Councillor Greg Mullins says.

“Australia's bushfire seasons are starting earlier, becoming more severe and lasting longer than ever before. Similar to what we experienced last year, parts of Australia could see yet another early start to the bushfire season."

Vigilance is required, which means ensuring that your family, home, property and business premises are protected and risk reduced as much as is practically possible.

Managing bushfire risk

are-you-bushfire-readyGallagher Newcastle Area Director Mark Bramley suggests the following steps to review your insurance now.  

Check: are the sums insured up to date and include all your assets? 

Mark's tip: You’re best to review your sums insureds well before any sign of bushfire threat. Why, because if you leave it until a threat is occurring you may find your insurer has just put an embargo on your suburb that won’t let them accept any changes to your policy while ever the threat is present.

 What exclusions apply?

Mark's tip: Do a check of your property and assess whether anything needs cleaning or clearing, such a guttering or down pipes that may be covered by leaves and sticks. Maybe there is a stockpile of material that could combust if a spark went near it – maybe it’s time to clear it up or simply reduce the pile. What about the fire hydrants, are they visible and easily accessible?

Are you covered for a total rebuild?

Marks' tip: Don’t leave yourself under-insured because if the inevitable happens and the building is significantly damaged or a total loss you may find that the sum insured you thought you were going to get is reduced by not adequately insuring for the full replacement value, something that is referred to as co-insurance.

Can you and your business survive if you’re forced to cease trading?

Mark's tip: Ask yourself, do you have the ability to continuing trading if you lost the premises or stock? What precautions could you take to mitigate these risks ahead of any threat, and don’t just rely on an insurance policy.

Maintain preventative measures

  • Be sensible about flammable material in proximity to your property. Keep vegetation trimmed, gutters clear and fuel stored safely
  • If your property is a new build, know your Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) and ensure you have met required conditions.
  • According to research, only 5% of people have a bushfire plan. Along with risk reduction measures, having a plan and having evacuation essentials packed and ready to go are vital to surviving a serious fire.

Get expert advice

Prevent your enterprise or its assets from going up in smoke. Talk to your local Gallagher business insurance expert today by calling 1800 240 432 for free of obligation advice and to check your policy is up to date.

Contact your local insurance broker