NRMA boosts extreme weather resilience initiatives in South Australia

NRMA boosts extreme weather resilience initiatives in South Australia | Insurance Business Australia

NRMA boosts extreme weather resilience initiatives in South Australia

IAG-backed NRMA Insurance (NRMA) has continued its battle against the impacts of extreme weather events by teaming up with the South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES).

The latest NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker found that only 24% of South Australians prepared for wild weather last season, while 47% do not feel prepared if severe weather hits their area. Nationally, it found a 53% increase in home insurance claims over the summer compared to the previous year and before the recent flooding in Queensland and NSW, with 67.5% of home insurance claims resulting from wild weather.

The partnership will see the SASES become NRMA's first principal partner, amplifying its community preparedness programs as extreme weather events hit Australia more frequently.

NRMA group executive Julie Batch said insurers play a critical role in supporting customers following a disaster, as seen in the recent catastrophic flooding in Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).

“We're proud to support the amazing work that the SASES and its volunteers do to keep our communities safe,” Batch said. “Like the SASES, we know that helping communities be better prepared for severe weather has a real impact when it comes to safety and reducing damage.”

Read more: NRMA partnership releases free disaster-resilient house designs

Since July 2021, the SASES has responded to more than 10,000 requests for help, a 60% increase from the previous financial year. It advised that lack of preparedness towards storm and flood risk places South Australians at greater risk of home and property damage, or worse, putting their safety in danger.

Chris Beattie, chief executive of the SASES, explained that the partnership with NRMA will enable them to amplify localised and targeted community preparedness programs in high-risk areas.

“The climate is changing, so severe weather events such as floods and storms are increasing in frequency and severity, resulting in more requests for assistance to the SASES. In the first two weeks of winter alone, we have received more than 750 calls for assistance, with the vast majority directly weather-related,” Beattie said. “We are the first to respond when extreme weather strikes, but it's just as important for us to raise awareness of the risks South Australians face so they can be better prepared for these events before they happen.”

Batch added: “We can make a bigger difference when we work together, so we are looking forward to collaborating with the SASES to develop tangible programs that will help South Australians understand the risks they face and help them prepare for, and respond to, severe weather events.”

NRMA and its parent company, IAG, have been focusing on making Australia more resilient, especially after witnessing Australia's costliest flood. Most recently, NRMA teamed up with the Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) and the Shoalhaven City Council to release free disaster-resilient house designs and handbooks. Meanwhile, its parent company released its new Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to address Indigenous incarceration and climate change.