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Time to plan your strata new year's resolutions

If the past few years are anything to go by, one very good new year’s resolution is to expect the unexpected.

The turbulent times we’ve experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic, catastrophic weather events, labour shortages and the rising cost of materials has certainly jolted us all into the realisation that we need to be prepared for anything.

It has also shown how agile and adaptable to change we are, and our ability to help each other in times of need.

At CHU, our claims team has been inundated as a result of the various catastrophic events that have occurred across Australia in 2022. In total for our industry, there has been ten major events that have resulted in record levels of claims with the NSW and QLD floods seeing our largest number of claims lodged for one event in CHU’s history.

In response to the level of claims, we’ve ramped up our claims capability to deal with the volume and ensure we continue to provide the best possible customer service.  

We’ve also introduced new system functionality, including Claims View within our Stratatech platform. Claims View allows intermediaries to access their claim and get an update on the status of the claim online 24/7. For clients who have not yet accessed Claims View, please contact your BDM to get this set up as it will allow you to provide an update to your customers at any time during the claims process.

So, how do you prepare for the unexpected when it comes to your strata property?

At CHU we believe three key elements to being prepared in 2023 include:

  1. Get an up-to-date building valuation to avoid the risk of underinsurance
  2. Ensure the building has been adequately maintained and repairs have been addressed. Prevention is better than the cure.
  3. Conduct a safety audit throughout the common areas

Recent escalations in building prices mean that if your building has not been valued in the past 12 months, there is a likelihood it is underinsured. The cost of construction has risen and is well outpacing CPI and this looks likely to continue into 2023.

It is important to review your current level of insurance, obtain an up-to-date valuation and check what level of indexing (increasing) applies to the sum insured for each policy.

Most states and territories require an updated valuation once every five years, but with the current pace of inflation and rising costs, we recommend doing this sooner rather than later to safeguard the property from being underinsured should a major event occur. The property should be insured for full replacement or reinstatement value and should also include removal of debris. Cover for legal costs and professional fees should also be included in your policy.

Maintenance and risk mitigation

There are a number of maintenance and risk mitigation steps strata property owners can take in order to mitigate risk.

Some of these are simple house-keeping practises such as regular inspections, cleaning out gutters, garden maintenance such as removing hazardous branches, clearing overgrown gardens, and ensuring repairs are completed in a timely manner.

It is also important to let your insurer know of any modifications to the building that may affect the cover such as installation of sprinkler systems, fire management plans, upgrade of electricals and site security.

Safety checks and inspections

Ensure maintenance schedules are up to date and that repairs have been checked for quality workmanship that will hold up in case of unexpected events.

Note that each lot owner is responsible for their own landlords or contents insurance, so it is important to ensure each owner has checked their own properties for potential hazards and ensure they are adequately insured.  

Review your insurance cover and options

As part of your New Year’s Resolution planning, make one of them keeping your community safe by preparing for the unexpected.

Take the time to do a stocktake to ensure all the necessary insurance covers in place.

CHU is the leading provider of strata insurance for both residential and commercial strata.

As part of their residential strata insurance and commercial strata insurance policies, CHU offers cover for Property, Liability, Voluntary Workers, Fidelity guarantee, Office bearers’ legal liability, Machinery breakdown, Catastrophe insurance, Government audit costs and legal expenses and Lot owners’ fixture and improvements.  

CHU also offers contents insurance and landlord insurance.

Get in touch with your local broker, strata manager or CHU BDM to start the year with the right advice for your strata community.