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What to do when disaster strikes

Australia is continually facing major climatic disasters, the latest being the Far North QLD flooding.

Here are 10 key tips for when disasters strike.

  1. The most important thing is safety. Share the state emergency services (SES) number 132 500 with residents. You may become the liaison between residents and owners and the SES.
  2. Ensure residents can be evacuated safely.
  3. Emergency accommodation can often be arranged with the insurance company where it is required.
  4. If the SES or government body advise that it is safe to return to the building, enable access to the building for residents to recover essential belongings. Be careful of flood waters, debris and fallen powerlines.
  5. Maintain building security and the security of residents’ personal property throughout.
  6. Check the insurers’ website, LinkedIn or email blasts for specific catastrophe contact details and protocols. Some insurers may have a specialised catastrophe response team that will be able to assist.
  7. Document everything via photos and/or videos to submit with the claim. Prepare an inventory of the damage – the more detailed and extensive, the easier it will be for insurers to advise on costs to remedy the damage and may speed up the claims process.
  8. Lodge the claim as soon as possible via your broker if you have one.
  9. Advise owners not to try to commence repairs until an insurance assessor has been to assess the extent of the damage. Emergency repairs should be undertaken only in the first instance to make the property safe – discuss this with the insurer.
  10. Communication is key - ensure any information relevant to the crisis is communicated clearly to residents and owners throughout the emergency and after it.