Softening the blow of cyclones
Tropical cyclones are a fact of life for communities across northern Australia from November to April. But often underestimated is just how common these destructive weather events really are. Since 1969/70 Bureau of Meteorology records show Australia has experienced an average of 11 tropical cyclones every season. In the past 5 years alone two of these have registered the maximum warning rating of Category 5: Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and Cyclone Marcia in 2015. With wind gusts in excess of 300km/h both led to widespread destruction of property, infrastructure and many injuries. In the case of Yasi, one man also died.
The financial cost of large cyclones typically runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. Somewhat alarmingly, northern Australia could be set to experience above-average number of tropical cyclones in the coming 2016/17 summer, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook, issued in early October 2016. This means it’s absolutely essential to be prepared if you’re living and/or working in a cyclone-affected area.
The more your prepare, the less you’ll have to worry
While impossible to stop them from happening, as with any type of natural disaster, it’s essential to assess all potential cyclone risks and take confident steps to mitigate them long before any danger occurs. Doing so is the best way to ensure the physical and financial safety of your family, your home and your business. After all, once a cyclone is bearing down it’s too late to do anything except cross your fingers.
Check your insurance
One of the most important things you can do right now is review your home and contents insurance policy. Pay careful attention to the wording to ensure that beyond being covered for obvious cyclone risks and damage, your policy also protects against associated events such as storm surges. It’s also an excellent idea to check and update the value of your contents to make sure nothing has been missed or undervalued.
5 more steps to be cyclone ready
- Put together a list of emergency contact numbers and consider nominating a friend or family member in a different region as a central contact point in case your loved ones get separated during a cyclone.
- Prepare a household emergency kit with essential items such as a portable radio, spare batteries, torches, a first aid kit, fresh water and basic food supplies.
- Have an evacuation plan. If you’re unsure if your home or business is prone to flooding in major storms or during tidal surges, speak with your local council.
- Keep your property well clear of any dead trees or bushes and ensure healthy trees and shrubs are kept away from properties and power lines. It’s also a good idea to clear your gutters clear of any leaves and debris so they can better handle high volumes of rain.
- Use winter and the lead-up to summer to carry out home maintenance, being especially conscious that building materials can deteriorate quickly from one year to the next in harsh tropical climates. Also make yourself aware of any changes to structural/building standards that may have happened in your area.
As always if you have any questions or concerns, just speak with your local Insurance Advisernet Authorised Representative.
Lewis Insurance Services is here to advise our clients on the appropriate insurance policies for their needs, and help our clients with claims advice and claims handling and assist in liaising with your insurance company to negotiate the best possible outcome for you. Contact Lewis Insurance Services on 07 3217 9015 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This article was published by our AFSL Licensee, Insurance Advisernet Australia P/L (19/10/2016)
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