From flooding to bushfires, it seems like a big jump, but with La Nina now behind us, it’s important to not forget about bushfires. After the last two years of extreme flooding across Australia, bushfire risk management plans may no longer be front of mind. It’s time to revisit, refresh and reset as the coming months could bring serious fire risk dangers.
As Australia ends the wet season, or a few wet years, we’re heading into an even bigger danger period. With the amount of rain that has fallen, it’s no surprise to hear that vegetation has taken off. While this is great to see, it does pose a real risk when it comes to bushfire season. Here, we explore four steps to help insurers prepare for bushfire season, so they can be ready when the time comes.
- Conduct Risk Assessments
The first step in preparing for bushfires is to conduct a thorough risk assessment and test your plans. Insurers should review their existing risk management plans and identify any gaps that need to be addressed. It is also important to review past performances and use these learnings to improve areas for future events. Insurers should also evaluate the potential impact of bushfires on their customers and the wider community. This includes assessing the likelihood of bushfires occurring in specific areas, as well as the potential impact on property and human life.
- Develop Emergency Response Plans
In the event of a bushfire, insurance companies need to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively. This requires the development of emergency response plans that outline the steps that need to be taken in the event of a bushfire. Committing to a set of actions will provide a guide to teams on the procedures to follow should a bushfire take place. Being better prepared will ultimately help insurers minimise the lifecycle of complex claims and contain per-claim costs.
We recommend that your plans include:
- Response team details – It’s crucial to set clear expectations so that everyone knows their role, actions and accountability in the response process. It’s also important to consider outsourcing your claims or loss adjusting to support your team on the ground.
- The needs of your customers – Geographical factors and demographics of people most at risk is important to consider when developing your response plans. The more information you have about the factors affecting your potential claimants, the better prepared you will be to manage a situation should it arise.
- Communication plans – In the event of a bushfire, communication plans will be a key factor in a customer’s claim experience. These plans should include the channels to employ and when, the important messages to communicate, and an outline of what each stage looks like to help teams manage these situations as best they can.
- Provide Education and Training
Education and training are key components of any effective risk management plan. Insurance companies should provide their staff and customers with education and training on bushfire preparedness and response. This may include training on how to identify and mitigate the risks associated with bushfires, as well as training on emergency response procedures. Insurers may also provide resources such as checklists, guides, and other materials to help their customers prepare for bushfires.
- Review and Update Policies
Insurance companies should regularly review and update their policies to ensure that they are adequate to meet the needs of their customers in the event of a bushfire. This includes reviewing coverage levels and exclusions, as well as considering new products or services that may be needed in response to changing risks. It’s also important to review claims processes to ensure that they are able to respond quickly and efficiently to claims arising from bushfires. This includes ensuring that claims processes are transparent and that customers are kept informed throughout the claims process.
Bushfires are a significant risk for insurance companies, and it is essential that they have effective risk management plans in place. Partnering with Gallagher Bassett means you will have access to a range of event claims and loss-adjusting solutions to reinforce your existing capabilities. We have a team of dedicated, experienced loss-adjusters and claims professionals that have the industry know-how to jump in as an extension of your team when needed.
Reach out to our team today and explore how we can help you prepare for bushfire season, so you can focus on other areas of your business.