Kangaroo Island insurance focus and getting ready for bushfires

PREPARED: Insurance lawyer Simon Gilbert Kent and community legal project's Holly McCoy at an insurance seminar in January at the Parndana Sports Club.

PREPARED: Insurance lawyer Simon Gilbert Kent and community legal project's Holly McCoy at an insurance seminar in January at the Parndana Sports Club.

The Productivity Commission and the Insurance Council of Australia say 97 per cent of disaster funding is spent on mopping up and just 3 per cent on getting ready. Deloitte Access Economics estimates the cost of mopping up will increase to at least $73 billion a year by 2060 due climate change and increasing natural disasters.

With this in mind, the Bushfire Community Legal Project was organising free community workshops on KI relating to insurance.

But now the project says a lack of interest may mean the meetings may not happen as planned, unless more people register.

The interactive workshop would allow participants to learn how to interpret an insurance PDS document, how to bring a claim, what evidence is required and how to negotiate with an insurer.

Some free legal clinics were also be provided during the day, for those who want one on one confidential advice relating to their circumstances.

Those wanting to register can do so by contacting Holly on 0428 066 958.

She were looking at providing the following sessions:

  1. Sunday 28 November 2021 @ Parndana from 6pm;
  2. Monday 29 November 2021 @ Vivonne Bay from 7pm;
  3. Tuesday 30 November 2021 @ Penneshaw from 7pm; and
  4. Wednesday 1 December 2021 @ American River from 7pm.

But she is asking for community members to please register their interests to attend any of the events, so that they can determine if there will be enough participants to make the sessions worthwhile.

Preparing for disasters

Dorothea Mackellar wrote of her love for this country, both beautiful and terrifying, a land '...of droughts and flooding rains...'

Australia is certainly a country of extremes. Every year we face floods, bushfires, storms and cyclones, at great personal cost and with major damage to infrastructure and the local economy.

The Productivity Commission and the Insurance Council of Australia say 97 per cent of disaster funding is spent on mopping up and just 3 per cent on getting ready. Deloitte Access Economics estimates the cost of mopping up will increase to at least $73 billion a year by 2060.

The federal government invests billions of dollars on 'mopping up and getting ready'.

For example, over the past decade over $12 billion has been provided to the states and territories through the joint Commonwealth-State/Territory Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

There's also funding directly to communities - like the grants under Round 1 of the Preparing Australian Communities Program, which opens in early December. Grants of between $20,000 and $10 million are available to reduce the impact of future floods, bushfires and tropical cyclones.

Working with state and territory governments and using data and advice from the Australian Climate Service, priority areas have been determined based on factors such as disaster history, scientific hazard modelling, and climate change impacts on the estimated severity of future events.

This is a national program and unfortunately that means some communities significantly impacted in past natural disasters are not on the round 1 priority list.

However, no one is ruled out. The grants are open all local government areas across Australia.

Projects will be funded based on merit, so a local government area that isn't listed as a priority still has a good chance of receiving a share of the $150 million available under this round, if they put forward a strong application that meets all the criteria.

Rather than self-assess or be swayed by the negative comments of others, I strongly encourage potential applicants to do their research and start preparing an application. You can find out more at recovery.gov.au/preparing-australia-program

Established by the federal government following the Bushfire Royal Commission, the National Recovery and Resilience Agency works with communities, all levels of government and industry groups to help Australians prepare for the next disaster - often while we're supporting recovery from the last.

Shane Stone, AC QC

National Recovery and Resilience Agency coordinator-general

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