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What we do when catastrophe strikes

The amount of rain that fell in the recent NSW flooding equalled approximately 160 Sydney Harbours. The massive impact of this widespread flooding was felt throughout the state and many communities are still recovering.

The importance of appropriate flood insurance cover when such disasters strike is a given. Importantly, insurers like CHU must respond quickly and efficiently to help people get back on their feet as soon as possible

As one of Australia's largest and most awarded insurance underwriting agencies, CHU makes sure it’s well prepared for such events. CHU’s nation-wide claims and assessing teams regularly practice and work through simulated scenarios under pressure to ensure they are well prepared to help customers as soon as possible.

One valuable aid that CHU has established is Geo mapping. It allows you take raw data and turn it into a Geo map. By visualising location data in this way, you can immediately understand information that could otherwise take hours to comb through and interpret. 

CHU’s Geo mapping takes customers’ postcodes and shows all of CHU risks on a map.  CHU can use this data to be proactive in the event of a catastrophe. We can contact customers directly or their brokers and authorised representative in the area to check if the insured needs our help with make safe, repairing damage, emergency accommodation, etc.

This also enables CHU to draw together a net of potentially affected risks which we can then base our resource plan on.

In most cases, a catastrophe hits a single area. Not with the March flooding. This time there were eight areas, spanning 400kms of coastal areas effected by flooding, not including the areas hit by general storm damage (which went into Queensland). So, we plotted all our risks, colour coded each to show which had flood cover and which had not and put together a detailed plan.

As soon as the claims team is contacted they immediately swing into action, triaging the claim and deciding how best to quickly help customers get back onto their feet.  For example, to ensure the customers’ property is safe and secure the claims team may organise for temporary emergency make-safe repairs to be carried out before full repairs are started.

Speed in assessing what actions and repairs are required is crucial and CHU has established CHUAssess, a unique, agile, internal loss assessment team. Decisions are made on the spot by CHUAssess. It has complete control of on-site assessment and settlement and provides on-site approval of works, speeding up repairs and settlement. The claim is handled by the assessor, not claims consultant - removing a layer in the process.

The assessor will decide what needs to be done with builders and restorers quickly appointed.

CHU has an experienced panel of builders and restorers to ensure quality repairs are efficiently carried out. The panel of restorers was established to ensure there is no long-term impact from the original disaster, such as mould from the water damage. The restorers will ensure the appropriate work is carried out and help reduce claims costs. Plus, the quality of the work is guaranteed by CHU.

Technology is one way of helping our customers but the most valuable tool when such disasters as the March flooding strikes is simply – talking to the customer.

We work closely with brokers and strata managers to contact customers to explain what is happening and what we are doing to help.

Talking to a real person in the very stressful time after disaster strikes is an advantage.