IAG has expanded its on-the-ground support for Australians impacted by the recent catastrophic bushfires, offering them claims assistance, as well as access to emergency accommodation and financial assistance.
Since September, Australia’s largest general insurer said it received than 5,000 bushfire-related claims and has finalised more than 20% of these claims to date.
Affected customers of IAG and its brands NRMA Insurance, RACV, CGU, WFI, SGIO, and Coles Insurance can get support to lodge their claims, from claims teams stationed in recovery centres across the country, including Batemans Bay, Ulladulla, Wagga Wagga, and Bega in NSW and the Adelaide Hills in SA. Claims teams were also available at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to support customers evacuated from Mallacoota.
IAG said it will also be using qualified tradespeople from the local areas impacted to support with the recovery, sourcing and using local trades and suppliers wherever possible.
“Our focus is on providing practical, on-the-ground support to provide immediate assistance to affected customers,” said Mark Milliner, IAG Australia’s CEO. “We have a dedicated team managing claims from this event and have prioritised claims for vulnerable customers. We have had all hands-on deck since the bushfires started in September – identifying and calling customers potentially impacted and then contacting customers as soon as claims are lodged.”
In an Australian first, IAG also donated its NRMA Insurance helicopter to the NSW RFS to trial a new biodegradable, non-toxic fire retardant to help protect homes and properties this bushfire season. The trial is part of NRMA’s ongoing partnership with RFS over the past 18 months to deploy the helicopter for bushfire-fighting efforts.
Additional measures put in place to support bushfire victims also include:
· The deployment of major event rapid response vehicles (MERRVs) around the NSW South Coast to enable customers to lodge their claim and receive emergency support at a location convenient to them. The locations will be confirmed over the coming days.
· Extended call centre capacity to help affected customers lodge their claims as soon as possible.
· Disaster response customer support program to provide customers with free and confidential counselling by a team of psychologists experienced in providing post-incident support.
· Workplace giving, with any employee who donates to IAG’s disaster relief partners including the Australian Red Cross and GIVIT having their donation matched by IAG
· Additional paid leave for IAG employees who are emergency service volunteers, and extra counselling support.