The flooding of south-east Queensland and New South Wales in February and March was declared a national emergency on 9 March. In three days, greater Brisbane received a record 676.8 millimetres of rainfall. Some areas received in excess of 1,770 millimetres of rain, with flood waters rising over 14m higher than usual. That’s higher than a 4 story building.
The utter devastation of the resulting floods, which saw some towns, including Lismore in NSW, affected twice within weeks, also impacted more than 200 Members protected with Capricorn Mutual.
On the frontline, helping Members understand their coverage and get back on their feet, were Capricorn Risk Services team members Janice Boath in New South Wales and Mark Mommsen in Queensland.
“For the first week we were mostly getting panic calls from Members, not sure whether they actually had flood cover,” Mark said. “The good news was that the vast majority of the people who were in those high flood zones did have flood cover and we were able to help.
“Then the next couple of weeks was basically making sure they understood what was on their protection, explaining how assessors operate, the kind of information they need to supply, and just holding their hand through the whole process.”
Mark said the scale of flood damage differed greatly depending on where businesses were located. Some required just a clean-up, with relatively minimal business interruption, while others had experienced the total loss of their business. The flooding had been unpredictable. Some areas badly affected by the 2011 floods, like Toowoomba, hadn’t been as badly affected this time around. Other areas, like Rocklea, had copped it badly both times.
“In Rocklea, on the Saturday, the water had come up to people’s driveways and they thought they hadn’t done too badly,” Mark said. “Then Saturday night it poured and they woke up Sunday morning and they were two metres under water.”
Both Mark and Janice said they’d spoken to Members who’d only just taken out flood protection at their last renewal.
“They were extremely grateful, so I’m pleased we were able to have that conversation during the last renewal,” Mark said.
As the clean-up continues, Janice said it would be a long time before many of the affected businesses and homes were fully recovered, especially in places like Lismore. She said those who had taken out business interruption coverage were particularly grateful for the added layer of protection, which allowed them to meet their bills and many other costs while they get back on their feet. She said some Members were faced with big decisions about whether to rebuild where they are or to relocate to higher ground.
While many Members faced devastation and a hard road ahead, Janice said she’d also been heartened to see the way Members had helped each other during the crisis. She gave the example of Members in the Garden Street area of Narrabeen, who had all helped each other get vital equipment and vehicles (including customer vehicles) to higher ground as the floodwaters approached.
If you’re not already protected with Capricorn Mutual, contact a Risk Account Manager today.
AU: Products sold through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd (ABN 93 111 632 789) are: (i) discretionary risk protection products issued by Capricorn Mutual Ltd; and (ii) general insurance products issued by a range of insurers and brokered through Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd. Before deciding to acquire any product you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available from Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd to see if the product is appropriate for you. Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 460893) of Capricorn Mutual Ltd (AFSL 230038) and Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 435197).
NZ: Products sold through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd (NZBN 9429041139813) include discretionary risk protection and general insurance products. Discretionary risk protection is issued out of Australia by Capricorn Mutual Ltd. Before deciding to acquire discretionary risk protection you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement to see if it is appropriate for you. This can be obtained from Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd by phoning 0800 555 303 via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting website capricornrisk.com. General insurance products are issued by a range of insurers and are available through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd as a member broker of PSC Connect NZ Limited. Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd is a registered financial services provider (390446) and a corporate Authorised Representative (No. 460893) of Capricorn Mutual Ltd (AFSL 230038).