New WFI Podcast - Preparing Rural Australia for Severe Weather & Emergencies

14 December 2023

WFI Insurance today launched the second season of its highly successful ‘Good People to Know’ podcast, covering topics that are top of mind for regional and rural Australians, including the innovations, challenges, and opportunities across the agricultural industry.

WFI Insurance Executive General Manager Andrew Beer, who hosts the podcast, said, “Building on the momentum from our first season, we are excited to launch season 2 of ‘Good People to Know’.

“We have an incredible array of guests again joining us, who are experts and leaders in their field.

“I think our listeners will find great value in the knowledge and insights they share, as we seek to help keep regional and rural communities safe and well-informed about the issues that impact them.”

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The diversity of guests and topics covered highlights the importance of farmers and the dependencies the entire country has on agriculture. The season opener is a special episode featuring a montage of guests who attended the recent National Farmers Federation (NFF) Annual Conference ‘Australia to the World’. It captures expert insights on subjects spanning climate change through to Australia’s exporting challenges, and its future role in nourishing the world.

Episode Two features the National Emergency Response Lead at the Australian Red Cross, Eleanor Carter, discussing how regional communities can better prepare for severe weather events, a topical subject given the forecast for drier and warmer than average conditions this summer and an elevated risk of bushfires and grassfires.

Acknowledging the concerns and difficulties many farmers are facing as climate change drives an increase in the severity and frequency of natural peril events, Mr Beer said, “We know farmers are leaning into a challenging summer and are all too aware of Mother Nature’s ferocity. We want to ensure they have the latest insights on their severe weather risks, can take steps to mitigate those challenges, and should the worst happen, be as well prepared as possible to recover.”

Amid high inflation and surging building costs, Mr Beer fears some farmers may unknowingly be underinsured.

“We urge farmers to get regular professional assessments on the cost to rebuild or replace their assets and review this in line with economic conditions and the sums insured they have in place. Costs to rebuild now are vastly different from a few years ago, as is the cost to replace contents, stock, and assets.

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“Older homes, for example, may contain materials difficult to dispose of, such as asbestos. This can significantly increase your clean-up costs, with specialists required to safely remove the material and potentially travel vast distances to correctly dispose of the debris, particularly in rural Australia. Another area of underinsurance can be property fencing, with farmers sometimes underestimating labour and material costs, and the potential scale of the task.”

Haystack fires are another risk to be aware of this summer, with WFI Insurance seeing more than $8 million in related losses over the past 5 years.

“Recently, we’ve had customers lose farm machinery and vital equipment because they were stored alongside haystacks which ignited. Unfortunately, these farmers lost the hay, the shed, and the machinery. If possible, farmers should consider storing high-value assets some distance from haystacks to reduce their risk of a greater loss than the hay.

“We don’t want farmers to be caught unaware of their exposure should they suffer a severe weather or catastrophic event. This can be absolutely devastating for families and businesses, and significantly impact upon their recovery.

“Our goal with the ‘Good People to Know’ podcast is to draw on experts across the country to share their knowledge and provide a positive impact across rural and regional Australia.”

To access WFI’s ‘Good People to Know’ podcast: Good People to Know | Podcast on Spotify