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.
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
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.
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.
your organisation up and running during or after a disaster like a
bushfire takes thorough planning,” says CCI Risk Consultant, Graham
“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
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
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
management and bushfire planning. To speak to one of our Risk Consultants, call the risksupport helpdesk on 1300 660 827.