Damon Edwards, manager of our Ballarat branch lends his thoughts to the Adroitness blog. Here, Damon talks of the devastating Victorian bushfires over the holiday period and how the insurance industry is helping families deal with such disasters.
In this article I wish to touch on the Bushfires which occurred over the holiday period. Sincere and deep gratitude must go towards the men and women volunteers of the CFA and the countless other organisations and individuals who bravely and selflessly donated their time.
Along with other members of the community, it was pleasing to see the insurance industry also move swiftly in response to the bushfires. In times of high stress and uncertainty, within 24 hours of the Wye River fire the Insurance Council of Australia issued a news release providing guidance on what to do for those who had been affected as well as declaring the bushfire a Catastrophe Loss therefore ensuring claims were given priority. On a personal level, I received multiple offers from staff offering assistance, a gesture echoed across the Industry, with many forgoing holidays and family time in order to assist those in need.
Underwriters deployed staff to the area to provide advice and assistance, temporary accommodation was organised by for those displaced and money was made available for those who’d lost everything in the fires. We also witnessed an industry first, with IAG combining with a repair partner, using drone helicopters to assess fire affected properties. The potential presence of asbestos, fallen powerlines and fear of landslip, meant it was unsafe for normal walk-through assessments to take place therefore in order to expedite claims in a safe manner, drones were called in to take aerial photographs.
With the bushfire now extinguished, the road to recovery and rejuvenation begins. I hope those affected can see they are not alone on their journey, that there are people from all factions of the community, including insurance, willing and able to assist where needed.