New claims data released by NRMA Insurance has revealed that the Mid North Coast was the second most storm-affected region in NSW during the last financial year – accounting for more than one-in-five of all storm claims.
In addition, the Mid North Coast had four of the top 10 most storm affected towns or suburbs in NSW, including Grafton (1st), Laurieton (6th), Hallidays Point (7th) and Port Macquarie (9th) all featuring in the top 10 most storm affected towns/suburbs in NSW.
The NRMA Insurance claims data shows despite NSW experiencing one of its driest years on record, nearly half (41 per cent) of all home claims made in NSW in the last financial year were the result of storm damage.
To encourage people to prepare for storm season (October to March), NRMA Insurance has partnered with the NSW SES for the seventh consecutive year, and is also releasing new behavioural research which found:
- Only 37 per cent of people in NSW have taken steps to prepare their homes for storms
- 74 per cent underestimate the damage severe storms cause each year
- Those least likely to prepare their homes for storms are people who live in apartments (39% compared to 54% of people in houses), Millennials (44% compared to 57% of those aged 45+) and people living in urban areas (47% compared to 59% of those from regional areas).
“It’s concerning that despite the significant damage severe storms can cause, many Australians are still underestimating the impact of storms,” NRMA Insurance’s Ramana James said.
“Together with the NSW SES, we’re urging everyone whether you live in an apartment in a city, or a house in a regional area, to take the time now to prepare for storm season,” he said.
“While the effects of the drought in NSW have been well documented, it’s important people do not view the looming storm season as drought relief. Rain events and storm events are very different. Storms feature short, heavy bursts of rain that can cause flash flooding as well as violent winds and lightning strikes that can leave a trail of destruction in their place.
“While severe weather can strike at any time, storm season sees the likelihood of storms increase, so little acts like trimming branches, clearing your gutters and securing loose items in your garden or on your balcony can make a big difference when severe weather strikes.”
NSW SES Commissioner Mark Smethurst said that a few simple actions can significantly reduce potential damage and the need to call NSW SES volunteers for help.
“During the last storm season, NSW SES volunteers responded to over 18,000 storm and flood related calls for assistance, and up to a third of these could have been prevented,” Comm Smethurst said.
“Trimming overhanging trees and branches, cleaning gutters and downpipes, checking your roof is in good repair and securing and putting away loose items all help reduce the chance of costly damage and potential injury.”
For more tips on storm preparation and flexible ways to volunteer with the NSW SES, visit their website: www.ses.nsw.gov.au.