30 January 2020

Unprecedented conditions stretching insurance companies

| Rachel Ziv
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Hail damage to a car

Hail damage to a car. Photo: ESA.

There’s no doubt the ACT and our surrounding regions have been through the wringer these past couple of months. Faced with bushfires, hailstorms and even a flood in Cooma, countless people are surveying the damage to their personal property – and the emergency services say it’s not over yet.

For those without insurance, the journey to regain what once was will require support from the government and financial institutions, as well as family, friends and the community. A little help goes a long way; be it money, time or resources.

But for those who are insured, the unprecedented demand on insurance companies and recovery services (panel beating, construction, waste management, earth moving, etc.) has placed a cloud of confusion over how long people need to wait before life can return to normal.

Peter Chamberlain, Director at commercial insurance brokerage Allinsure, says while all insurers and providers are doing their best to respond, some are doing better than others.

“These are unprecedented conditions that have stretched everyday people and businesses to their limits – and insurance companies are no exception.

“But insurance is essentially risk management, and you can tell from the response that some insurance companies have gone above and beyond with their risk management strategies, while others struggle to keep up.”

Peter explains that insurance brokers also have a role to play, beyond finding their clients a better deal on insurance.

“Your insurance broker or adviser should be a long term partner who not only helps you manage risk but makes it easier to get through tough times.

“For example, Allinsure, via our network (Insurance Advisernet), sends out SMS weather warnings so our clients have time to manage risk, such as moving their car or equipment under cover. We then have a 24/7 emergency hotline which provides immediate access to contractors to deal with clean ups, such as smashed windows and water leaks. After the hailstorm, we had clients calling until midnight.

“After a severe event, information and communication is vital. Without it, people don’t know what to do or who they can call. Ideally, your broker or insurance company should be on top of it, sending out communications via every possible medium to help you recover.

“In our case, we send out electronic mailers before and after emergencies. Hail mailers went out within 45 minutes of the storm with the emergency hotline number, the mobile numbers of all our senior staff, plus the SES and recommended services.

“It was harder to see who may need assistance for the bushfires, so we used power maps to plot every insured business, and overlayed it with bushfire and hailstorm maps so we could see who needed what information and when.”

Peter says events like these remind us of the old adage: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

“We all hope we never need the insurance we pay for. But when we do, it should deliver what was promised. Even better if it’s more than what was promised, and it makes your life and ability to recover from the damage that much easier.”

To learn more about their services, visit Allinsure or call their Canberra office on (02) 6131 9700.

The Insurance Council also has a disaster hotline (1800 734 621) if you have questions about the claims process.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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Robert of Braddon7:56 pm 30 Jan 20

I rang the Insurance Council about the difficulty I was having with my insurer after the hail storms. Absolutely useless. It was patently clear they were just protecting insurers. A waste of a phone call.

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