Our weather patterns are changing, with a hotter and drier climate emerging in some parts of Australia as storms and rainfall become more intense in other regions.
Extreme weather and natural disasters can be devastating for our customers and the community, which is why we’re here to help when it’s needed most.
An early start to the fire season has been declared in many areas of eastern Australia with an above-normal fire risk also on the horizon, according to the latest Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC)1, the peak body for public sector fire, land management and emergency services in Australia and New Zealand.
A very warm and dry start to the year means the 2019/2020 fire season has the potential to be particularly active, warns AFAC.
“Due to these conditions, the east coast of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, the ACT, as well as parts of southern Western Australia and South Australia, face above normal fire potential,” the Outlook says.
Above normal potential bushfire potential refers to the ability of a large fire to take hold when you take into consideration the recent and predicted weather for a particular area, the dryness of the land and forests, recent fire history and local firefighting resources.
Bushfire potential depends on many factors. The volume, location and timing of rainfall are critically important when estimating vegetation volumes and growth, according to AFAC.
Some areas, such as New South Wales into south eastern Queensland, are into their third year of dry conditions. It will take a number of months of above average rainfall to remove the deficiencies which are in place, meaning that general landscape dryness is likely to persist for many areas.
The latest Bureau of Meteorology Climate Outlook2 says while a drier than average end to the year is likely for much of Australia, the outlook for western Tasmania and southwest Western Australia indicates a wetter than average spring.
Spring days are likely to be warmer than average for mainland Australia, but cooler for western Tasmania. Nights are likely to be cooler than average in parts of the south at times, with increased risk of frost in susceptible areas, with below average rainfall forecast and clearer skies.
Making a claim
If you need to make a claim due to natural disaster or weather event, please contact us as soon as you’re safe and able to do so.
Notifying us of your claim as soon as possible helps us speed up the claims process to get you back on your feet sooner.
- Always follow the advice and direction of emergency services
- Never try to drive through flood-affected areas
- For general help in floods and storms, ring the SES on 132 500
How to claim
If you’re insured directly with QBE, call us on 133 QBE (133 723) and press 3 for Claims.
If you bought your policy from an intermediary or your financial institution, contact them to make your claim.
It’s ok if you don’t know your policy details when you contact us; with your name and address we’ll find it for you. Alternatively, contact your intermediary if your insurance has been placed with one of our brokers.
Preparing for extreme weather season
The effects of extreme weather and natural disasters can be devasting for our customers and the community. But there are things you can do to prepare for bushfire, storms, flood or cyclone.
Much of this essential preparation starts outside your home. For example ensuring trees and shrubs are well pruned and your yard clear of organic leaf and grass litter can be vital in the lead up to bushfire season.
Regular maintenance and home upkeep are also important ahead of extreme weather season. Clean out leaves from gutters and install a gutter guard if trees overhang your roof.
Check downpipes are not blocked or rusted and can adequately drain water in a downpour.
- How to prepare for a storm
- Our guide to essential bushfire preparation
- Our guide to preparing for a cyclone
Extreme weather tips for business
At its worst, severe weather could be a cyclone in some areas, but bad storms, high winds and hail can also be devastating, especially if business premises are empty for a couple of days over holiday periods.
Water damage is a common claim for businesses, so ensuring regular maintenance is completed ahead of storm season is an important step in preparing for extreme weather periods.
Extreme weather checklist
- Is business premises maintenance up to date in case of exposure to extreme weather?
- Is there a need to reassess the sum insured to take into account increased or changed stock and holdings?
- Do all employees, including seasonal staff, know what to do in the case of extreme weather?
- Is your business interruption cover appropriate and up to date?
- Is there a formal Business Continuity Plan in place and are employees familiar with it?
What you need to know about making an extreme weather insurance claim
One of the most critical parts of extreme weather preparation is ensuring you have the correct home insurance policy and a clear understanding of exactly how you’re covered.
Natural disasters and extreme weather are unpredictable and unfortunately may be more likely to effect certain locations.
If you live in an area that’s prone to bushfire, severe storms or cyclones, it’s worthwhile considering the role your insurance cover may play in getting you back to normal, especially if you need to make a claim.