Fire victim offers advice on how to support Australian bushfire victims

Fire victim offers advice on how to support Australian bushfire victims | Insurance Business New Zealand

Fire victim offers advice on how to support Australian bushfire victims

Nicola Kinsman, whose South Canterbury home burned down in 2013, has offered advice on how to support fire victims amid the Australian bushfires – something that may be of great use to insurance brokers when dealing with distraught claimants.

Kinsman shared that she was staying at a friend’s house in Timaru when she got a phone call informing her of the fire. She said that not being able to see her house burning down has given her the strength to talk about it publicly, hoping that her story would help other people understand how to best support those who have lost their homes and belongings to the Australian bushfires.

“Because I wasn’t there I’m not as traumatised as the others. I didn’t see it happen,” Nicola told Stuff.co.nz – noting that her neighbours invited her and her family to stay and helped her contact her insurer. She emphasised the importance of “having someone think for her,” which was probably what the bushfire victims would need to start with.

“It was hard to think what I needed because I needed everything but I had no idea what to get . . . I felt like a refugee,” she explained.

Read more: Australian bushfires: Kiwi travellers urged to contact providers

Kinsman advised Australian bushfire victims to accept support, describing the experience as being like grief and mourning for what one had and going through different stages of that process such as denial and anger.

“Be gentle on yourself. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way. It is a loss. As for those in a position to support the victims, just being there and listening were important. Don’t assume you know what is best for them at the time. Allow them to verbalise it,” she said.