29 October 2013
East coast bushfires timely reminder for South Australia
Bushfires in eastern Australia are a timely reminder to all South Australian homeowners of the importance of preparing for bushfires and other natural disasters over spring and summer.
According to the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, SA is facing above-normal fire risk in the northwest pastoral and Flinders districts, while the rest of the state should expect normal levels of fire activity.
Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan said bushfires in New South Wales had destroyed or damaged several hundreds of properties, with insurance losses of $145 million and climbing.
“This is a timely reminder to South Australians of the need to prepare their own properties for bushfires this spring and summer,” he said.
“The risks are real — at the weekend, total fire bans were declared in three SA districts and a bushfire watch and act notice for the Verran bushfire in the Eastern Eyre Peninsula.
“With large fuel loads in many parts of the state and warmer days and nights predicted over the summer, a difficult bushfire season is likely.”
Catastrophes since the start of 2010 have caused billions of dollars of damage across Australia and insurance losses of more than $8.8 billion. Bushfires have contributed $297 million of this total.
“It’s important for everyone in the community to understand what they can do to prepare for disasters. Every effort, no matter how small, can help save lives and secure property,” Mr Whelan said.
“Households and businesses need to start preparing now – make sure your insurance is up to date and look at what you can do to prepare your property by using our bushfire preparation checklist.”
Steps property owners can take include:
- Moving woodpiles or flammable materials away from your property
- Cutting back grass, shrubs and trees around your property, and clearing dry leaves from your gutters
- Contacting your local fire authority for guidance on the particular risk in your area and for advice on protecting your home
- Reviewing your home and contents policy – is it up-to-date? Have you prepared a room-by-room inventory? What does your policy cover, and what is excluded?
- Reviewing your sum insured – does it match the value of your home and your contents?
- Checking that your vehicles are insured. Remember compulsory third party insurance does not cover damage or destruction caused by fire
"If you have any questions about your policies, are seeking clarification what is and is not included in your cover, contact your insurer and find out,” Mr Whelan said.
Recent Australian bushfire catastrophes and insurance losses:
NSW various regions, October 17-ongoing: $93 million
NSW Coonabarabran, January 13-19, $35 million
TAS Dunalley area, January 4-10, $79.2 million
WA Margaret River, November 22-24, $53.45 million
WA Perth and surrounds, February 5-7, $35.13 million
WA Toodyay, December 31, $7.4 million
VIC various regions, February 7, $1.07 billion