Australia’s recent run of relatively benign summers could come to an end over the coming months, with extremely dry conditions substantially raising the bushfire risk across the country’s most populous regions.
Long-term below average rainfall patterns are combining with strong El Nino conditions to raise bushfire hazards on the east coast, although late winter rains throughout NSW and Victoria have lowered the risk of an early start to bushfire season.
The trade-off is that El Nino conditions are likely to reduce cyclone risk on the east coast.
With disaster season approaching, NIBA has launched a publicity campaign urging businesses and householders in affected zones to check their insurance to ensure they have adequate cover.
NIBA CEO Dallas Booth says the danger period has already begun.
“If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a bushfire, having to face major disruption to your life without the support of insurance just makes it that much more difficult to recover,” he says.
“All it takes is a quick check of policies to make sure premiums have been paid and sums insured have been reviewed.”
Booth also urged brokers to ensure their clients’ sums insured had taken into account the more stringent regulations of the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) national ratings system.
Every building in a zone deemed bushfire needs to have a BAL report carried out, which will place the building in one of six categories.
The greater the risk, the more burdensome the fire protection requirements are. For buildings in the highest risk category, meeting the BAL requirements can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of reconstruction.
Click here for more information on the BAL.