Weather Related Insurance Claims and the Importance of the 10 Year Maintenance Plan
We all saw the footage of flooded streets around Perth this winter which can only be described as a brutally wet one.
Based on data from Bureau of Meteorology and Water Corporation, it has been the second-wettest July in Perth since 1946 with 271mm of rain falling in July - for context the average July rainfall sits around 142mm.
Subiaco was amongst the worst hit Perth Metro areas in July
Looking further into 2021/22 the forecasts show continued higher than average rainfall as a back to back or 'double dip' La Nina event is on the cards. Without getting too nerdy, La Nina is a weather pattern that typically brings cooler temperatures, increased rainfall and tropical cyclones across Australia. El Nino is the opposite, and at this stage recent models from BOM shown below point towards another La Nina event over the coming months and beyond.
Insurance and Property related industries have been severely impacted from this bad weather as reports of damage and subsequent insurance claims continue to flood in (pardon the pun). Response times for make safes or repairs have slowed as many service providers do not have the capacity to deal with the sheer volume of events - often leading to further issues as damage goes unchecked and the bad weather continues.
This high volume of claims made over the last month has told us that our infrastructure and properties are generally not up to this amount of rainfall. The reports and feedback being provided by insurance assessors has revealed some drainage systems cannot cope with the high rainfall, or simply have not been maintained over several years.
Poorly maintained drainage systems may work against your claim being accepted
The 10 Year Maintenance Plan
By 1st May 2021 all strata schemes with 10+ lots or a replacement cost of $5M+ are required to submit a 10 year maintenance plan and establish a reserve fund for ongoing improvements.
This provides Councils of Owners a great opportunity to assess the overall condition of their complex - proactive discussions can be had around outstanding maintenance or upgrades that might have otherwise remained unchecked for years.
Water damage to property is by far the most common and costly type of insurance claim made, data from Chubb shows a 72% rise in the size of property related claims by Australian homeowners over the last five years – the average water damage claim has leapt from $17,627 in 2014 through to $30,361 last year.
Your roof is the first defence against the weather, periodic inspections are a great way to identify any issues before the damage is done
Along with roof leaks, some of the most common causes of water damage in Australian homes include:
Burst Flexi Hoses - A recurrent issue? Replace all similar hoses if possible
Blocked Gutters - Could gutter guards reduce the risk of property damage?
Blocked Pipes - Inspect your pipelines for blockages, leaks and corrosion
Windows and Doors - Inspect condition of weather sealing
Insurance is generally becoming harder to obtain as options continue to decrease, prices are continuing to increase and large excess are often being imposed for water damage claims ($2,500 - $10,000) where such claims are continually made. To put your yourself in the best possible position at renewal we recommend including the above as part of your 10 year maintenance plan discussions.
Be proactive when it comes to insurance, talk to your insurance provider and seek advice on how to reduce the likelihood of a major claim being rejected during storms - it may not be long until we have another extended period of bad weather.