Update on Black Summer bushfires claims and support
31 Jul 2020
Throughout the ongoing challenges of 2020, we remain focused on supporting our customers affected by the Black Summer bushfires.
It’s been more than six months since the devastating and unprecedented 2019/20 bushfire season finally ended. As our customers continue to recover – while dealing with the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic – we are doing everything we can to help them rebuild their homes, businesses and lives.
To date, we have received more than 12,400 claims and we have finalised more than 85% of those claims. We are working to resolve outstanding claims as quickly as possible.
When the bushfires began in September 2019, we quickly formed a dedicated team to manage the claims to ensure we finalised them fairly and efficiently. Our people travelled to affected communities to provide customers with on-the-ground support with their claims and organise financial assistance and temporary accommodation at recovery centres in NSW, SA, VIC and QLD.
Assessments and repairs
IAG has a proud history of employing local trades and suppliers, particularly in areas impacted by natural disasters. We have worked with our partner builders to ensure they are sourcing and using certified local trades and suppliers such as plasterers, painters and carpenters from the bushfire affected communities to assess, repair and rebuild properties wherever possible.
Our partner builders have continued to repair the homes of our bushfire-affected customers throughout the pandemic, implementing processes to ensure they are complying with measures to protect against COVID-19 without disrupting building and repairs.
While we had completed most assessments for customer claims related to the Black Summer bushfires before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put several measures in place to ensure assessments during the pandemic are safe and comply with COVID-19 protection measures. Across our business, we’ve have increased our use of virtual assessing processes - for example using a live video assessment. When we’re unable to provide virtual assessing services, we ask our assessors and customers appropriate screening questions before we visit their property. Our assessors use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and follow the appropriate health and safety advice of authorities.
Help for the damage you can’t see
We know recovery takes time and the impact of the damage you can’t see – like trauma and mental health – can be long lasting.
To help our customers and their families through the mental health impacts of the disaster, we’re offering free and confidential counselling from a team of psychologists experienced in post-incident support. This support is delivered by Assure, one of Australia’s leading mental health organisations.
Customers impacted by the bushfires and in need of support can call 1800 001 018 or search: NRMA Assure Counselling.
Extra help during extraordinary times
The safety of our people, customers and the community has guided our decision-making since January when the impacts of COVID-19 escalated, and this will continue.
Our immediate focus has been supporting our vulnerable customers facing financial hardship. We work with customers to identify the assistance that best suits their needs, drawing on a range of support measures we’ve introduced to help our customers through this pandemic.
Learn more about the measures we offer under our Customer Help Program, available to any of our customers experiencing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customer advice and immediate financial assistance
We encourage our customers to contact us if they need additional help with their claim. We keep records electronically so don’t be concerned if insurance documents are not readily on hand.
Customers can contact us by phone or online:
- NRMA Insurance: 13 11 23 or www.nrma.com.au
- CGU Insurance: 13 24 80 or www.cgu.com.au
- RACV: 13 19 03 or www.racv.com.au/insurance
- WFI Insurance: 1300 418 158 or www.wfi.com.au
- SGIC Insurance: 133 233 or www.sgic.com.au
- Coles Insurance: 1300 265 374 or financialservices.coles.com.au/insurance
Visit our Bushfire Response hub to learn more about how we have supported customers and communities.