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Coping with Catastrophe – Expert Recovery Tips.

Jan 7, 2014

Source: Insurance Business Magazine; Issue 2.6, January 2014.

Your Insurance Advisers at AustBrokers Comsure know better than most just how destructive the Australian summer can be. Over the past few years, the continent has been battered by bigger and more destructive catastrophes in the form of cyclones, bushfires and floods.

Indeed, this year’s ‘disaster season’ struck even earlier than usual, with the outbreak of fires across New South Wales and especially in the Blue Mountains region. The damage, disruption and loss of life caused only highlighted the importance of insurance, to help rebuild people’s lives when everything we value seems lost.

It is extremely important to review your insurance heading into disaster season, as Business Interruption insurance is one of the most important covers for businesses. Especially in areas like those affected by the recent bushfires, because it can take such a long time for things to be accessible again and for businesses to completely operate again.

Preparing your business, acting rapidly and sensitively during a crisis, and picking up the pieces afterwards are all critical factors.

Here’s what you should be thinking about doing should the unexpected occur this year. “Be prepared” and save what you can.

Expert Cyclone, Bushfire and Flood recovery tips: (Source: Steamatic)

First Steps:

  • Turn off water, gas and electrical mains if safe to do so.
  • Notify emergency officials (fire brigade, gas or electricity suppliers) of the extent of the damage.
  • Contact insurance broker and/or insurer.
  • Create a secure salvage area that is clean and dry to store undamaged items.
  • Seal damaged windows with plastic sheeting.
  • Photograph and/or document all items before moving them.

Electronic Media:

  • Avoid scratching surfaces.
  • If wet and contaminated, rinse dirty audio/video/computer tapes while still wound and air dry using blotting material (call a professional to assist with recovery).
  • CDs and DVDs to be removed from covers and rinsed. Air dry vertically.

Artwork and Furniture:

  • Remove carefully from frames if possible. Keep photos and paintings horizontal and picture side up, elevate with nothing touching the surface. Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Allow furniture surfaces to dry naturally and then dry vacuum. Do not sit on or rub surfaces if smoke damaged.

Paper and Books:

  • Remove staples and fasteners to prevent rust spots and air dry as individual sheets.
  • Do not unfold or separate individual wet sheets.
  • Hold books closed if rinsing is necessary and stand book up with pages open. Allow to air dry.
  • If books or paper are extremely wet and unlikely to dry within 48 hours, wrap in freezer or waxed paper and freeze spine down.

If the unthinkable happens, make sure you have escape plans and disaster kits ready to go. Make sure your records and important documents are backed up and/or stored where they won’t be damaged.

Staying safe is your first priority, as recovery will be a gradual process. Insurance can’t stop a disaster from occurring, but appropriate cover will help you get back on your feet should one strike this season.

Call AustBrokers Comsure today on 1800 122 194. Should you have an enquiry, we provide Insurance advice, quotations and can Insure you or your business anywhere in Australia, using our extensive panel of Insurer’s.

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