Plans Bring Down The Risk

When a series of ferocious bushfires swept through New South Wales in October 2013 they were declared the worst the state had seen in more than a decade. Over 200 properties were destroyed and total claims across the insurance industry are expected to exceed $94 million.

The Saint George Monastery, a Greek Orthodox Church in the Blue Mountains village of Yellow Rock, was the worst affected of CCI’s clients. While little was left of the priests’ living quarters, the two Churches and the candle factory on the 17-hectare property survived.

While the losses were minor, this incident was a good example of the risks a bushfire presents beyond
those impacting life and property. The monastery’s candle factory, which provides candles to the
orthodox community across New South Wales and is an important source of revenue for the monastery, suffered minimal damage however, the business was without power for some time after the fire and unable to operate.

With orders piling up and their stockpile depleted, an alternate power source was needed to get the
business up and running and prevent any greater loss of revenue.

Thankfully, the monastery had emergency plans in place to deal with a wide variety of situations, including the loss of essential services. Their policy allowed for the increased cost of working and CCI
was able to make arrangements to bring in a temporary power supply so manufacturing could resume.

“Keeping your organisation up and running during or after a disaster like a bushfire takes thorough planning,” says CCI Risk Consultant, Graham Porter.

“Though little can be done to prevent natural disasters like bushfires from occurring, it is possible to minimise the risks. Having a plan in place dramatically increases an organisation’s recovery capabilities,
helps people make decisions quickly, cuts downtime and can minimise losses.”

Australia is one the most fire-prone countries in the world and this past summer has lived up to the
predictions of above normal fire potential, particularly for the southern states. Since the October fires in New South Wales, bushfires have ravaged the states of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria, causing widespread destruction and endangering lives.

Working with clients to help them understand and manage their risks in relation to fire, indeed to all natural disasters, is a priority at CCI. New technologies are shedding better light on how these acts of nature behave and how they might impact clients, their people and their properties. One such system involves the application of longitude and latitude coordinates, known as geocoding.

“Geocoding enables us to pinpoint client risk to a precise location,” says Cheryl Cook, Reinsurance Manager at CCI and head of the Geocoding team. “We can use this data, along with historical evidence, to map out the likely path of a flood, show the precise position of an earthquake fault line or study the history and behaviour of fires.”

“The better we understand our clients’ geographic vulnerabilities, the more effectively we can advise them and help them prepare,” she says.

Like to know more? CCI has a number of useful publications to help with business continuity
and bushfire planning. To speak to one of our Risk Consultants, call the risksupport helpdesk on 1300 660 827.

Posted: 3 May 2014

Topic: Natural Disasters

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