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Practical tips in a changing climate
Recent years are a reminder, if we needed one, that Australia is ever more a land of both drought and flooding rains.
Queensland alone has experienced more than 40 natural catastrophes in the past five years, and there have been events such as tropical cyclone Seroja in WA and record-breaking floods in NSW – all evidence that destructive weather is more regularly being experienced further south and threatening areas of higher population density.
All this has brought about a seismic shift in building practices, with debates about where and what should be built to withstand the weather-related assaults of the next 50-plus years.
That’s the big picture. But as pressure mounts on governments to fund major mitigation projects, there’s a lot you can do yourself around your home and business premises to weather-proof your assets.
On a micro scale, simple measures such as installing metal roller blinds, draught-stoppers and gutter guards can prevent water, wind and fire from getting inside a building.
Other options are swapping carpet for tiles or raising air-conditioning units, hot water systems and pool pumps.
Also consider roof replacements that comply with tougher standards, cyclone shutters on all windows, permanent flood barriers and flood-resistant doors and windows. For bushfires, the installation of rooftop bushfire sprinkler systems can be a life-saver.
Cost, time and having other priorities are barriers to taking action, research shows, but the bushfires of summer 2019/20 and the deadly La Nina rains this year demonstrate that the threat is all too real. Simple measures really do make a difference.
Let’s look at some of the more simple prevention measures, like barriers or a floodgate on doors. Another simple flood damage prevention measure is to raise electrical switchgear so that water can’t penetrate. Businesses can also consider temporary flood barriers that can be erected around essential equipment.
Insurance companies are rewarding such mitigation measures, and say this can help make insurance more affordable for areas such as north Queensland.
One insurer has outlined premium discounts of up to 30% to recognise investment by householders in resilience measures, while another’s Build it Back Better initiative provides up to $10,000 to eligible customers to help improve resilience to natural hazards, water damage, fire and theft.
While these measures do come at a price, insurance customers undertaking resilience measures can unlock these premium discounts while benefitting from enhanced structural safety – potentially adding significant value to their homes and business premises.
Here are key mitigation measures you can take to protect your property from natural catastrophes:
BUSHFIRE: Metal gutters and gutter guards; Roof sprinklers; Ember protection for roof cavities; Best-practice materials like metal window and door frames.
WINDSTORMS: Cyclone washers and shutters; Cyclone-rated garage roller doors; Metal window screens and door screens.
FLOOD: Flood-resistant construction materials; Raise external services (hot water systems, air-conditioning units, etc).
The emotional toll on business-owners following a natural catastrophe can be immense, and recovering from the loss of businesses, homes and personal possessions can take years. So it’s good to know we’re someone you can talk to about protecting your property via insurance while keeping premiums down through some quite simple mitigation measures. So speak to us about how you can take action now to best future-proof your assets, and gain peace of mind.