With an increasingly volatile climate and more extreme weather events, it is crucial to protect your business from various climate-related risks. These include events such as storms and tempests, cyclones, floods, and perhaps the most prevalent in Australia – bushfires.

Throughout 2023, elevated bushfire risks loomed over locations in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, as well as parts of Victoria and South Australia. This serves as a reminder for businesses across Australia to be vigilant regarding potential bushfire threats and to proactively protect themselves against any potential impact.

Assessing Bushfire Vulnerability for Commercial Properties

When considering the risk to commercial properties from bushfires, businesses should evaluate actual risk exposures and vulnerabilities. This entails assessing factors such as: 

  • Proximity Check: Is there bushland or scrub close to the property?
  • Fire Station Accessibility: Is the property within reach of a full-time manned fire station?
  • Past Analysis: Has the area been prone to bushfires in the past and therefore likely to experience more in the future?
  • Property Vulnerability: Is the property susceptible to smoke and debris damage from nearby fires, independent of direct fire impact on the premises?
  • Business Impact: How would a nearby bushfire affect utilities, access, neighbouring properties, and business continuity?

Proactive Tips to Protect Your Business From Bushfires

Protecting your business from bushfires requires a proactive approach and robust defence. This approach includes comprehensive planning and continuous reinforcement of protective risk mitigation measures.

1. Fire Breaks

Implementing fire breaks involves creating clear spaces between bushland and buildings, devoid of flammable materials or trees. These gaps act as barriers against advancing fires, preventing flames from spreading due to high winds. This strategy effectively halts the fire’s progression, potentially sparing properties from destruction.

2. Debris Clearance

Clearing properties of debris such as dry leaves, fallen branches, waste, or building materials significantly reduce flammable materials on-site. This leaves fewer flammable materials at hand in the case that fires spread to your property, which can ultimately be the difference between an engulfment of your property and a fire burning out. 

3. Roof Maintenance

Maintaining clear roof valleys and gutters is another way to help safeguard against bushfire perils. Even if fires are not in the immediate vicinity of your property, embers that have blown from nearby fires can land in roof valleys or gutters and ignite dry leaves and debris, causing fires to rapidly grow and spread. 

4. Alternative Water Supply

Where possible, an alternative water supply such as a water tank should be kept on the property. During crises, utilities such as central water supplies can fail,  rendering firefighting efforts ineffective. Water tanks provide firefighters with additional water sources, aiding in extinguishing fires and reducing property losses.

While the above strategies are crucial barriers against direct fire threats, they focus on addressing the immediate physical risk. However, business owners should consider insurance solutions within their risk mitigation strategy as a financial safety net that extends beyond physical protection.

Insurance Solutions to Protect Your Business From Bushfires

Despite implementing proactive measures, the risk of bushfire damage to your property remains a real possibility. Obtaining insurance is a fundamental financial safeguard that transfers the risk of potential losses. It acts as a crucial tool in lessening the financial impact caused by bushfire damage, offering vital support in case of property loss or destruction.

Bushfire is typically covered under a regular Business Insurance policy, however, in some instances where the risk of bushfire risk is high, exclusions to cover may be applied – always check these specifics before selecting your policy.

Once obtained, business owners should regularly review insurance policies to ensure they align with current property and asset valuation. This precautionary measure mitigates the risk of being underinsured. Make sure that your insurance coverage accurately reflects the heightened risk of bushfires, especially in areas prone to such hazards. 

There are many factors that affect insurance solutions for protecting commercial property from bushfires. Utilising an insurance broker can help bridge the gap between coverage exclusions and the necessary protection, ensuring your policy aligns with the specific risks posed by bushfires. This could include securing options such as Parametric Insurance that precisely address these risks, offering comprehensive protection beyond typical coverage limitations. 

How PSC Insurance Brokers can assist in your bushfire protection strategy

If you have a commercial property that is exposed to bushfire risk, PSC Insurance Brokers can work with you to provide key insights on the insurance solutions available that will help protect your business from bushfire risks. Our team of specialists will help to put comprehensive protections in place to aid in recovery should the unforeseen occur. 

From retailers to manufacturers to agri-business, we have the capabilities to provide world-leading solutions to protect your property from bushfires and unforeseen risks that threaten your future. Contact us to discuss this today.