Natural disasters are a fact of life in Australia, but with costs expected to more than double to $39 billion per year by 2050, it is clear that more must be done to help communities better prepare for and recover from the devastation. 

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) has teamed with the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Home Affairs in a joint initiative to call on businesses to help us better understand preparedness and attitudes towards natural disaster mitigation and insurance.

CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said improved planning and preparation by business and the community could significantly reduce the social and economic impact of natural disasters.

“We know that 90 per cent of WA is classified as ‘bushfire prone’, and dangerous storms are the most common natural hazard in Australia, making it vital for businesses of all sizes to have adequate insurance and disaster mitigation readiness plans in place,” Mr Rodwell said.

“It is also important that businesses covered by insurance are aware of what their individual policy covers and have a Business Continuity Plan in place to further mitigate risk.”

“The devastating 2016 Yarloop bushfire is just one example of how underinsurance can continue to impact on businesses and families long after the fire is extinguished.

“This bushfire saw half of the surveyed community or commercial premises destroyed or damaged beyond operational requirements, but only 60 per cent of those reported that their premises were covered by insurance.

Many businesses believed they would be entitled to compensation from The Lord Mayors' distress relief fund, however this scheme does not distribute funds to businesses or commercial operations.

“CCI is calling on all businesses to support this initiative by filling out our WA Natural Disaster Resilience Program online survey,” Mr Rodwell said.

“Findings and recommendations will be used to provide an overview of potential business risk from underinsurance, and to inform future models of expenditure for mitigation, relief and recovery funding.

To complete the WA Natural Disaster Business Survey 2018 click here