Storm and Pandemic survey results highlight insurance concerns
Published on 25 July 2022
Results from Council’s third survey have been released indicating improvements in the pandemic and storm response though, insurance issues including premium increases remain a key concern.
Despite a second year of operation amidst the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the results of nearly 300 respondents revealed positive community outcomes across a range of indicators including improvements in returning to daily activities and social connection.
People experiencing hardship from the pandemic is down three per cent and loss of employment stemming from the pandemic is down two per cent.
Although still a significant figure, there has been a continued improvement in mental health, with those reporting significant mental health impacts stemming from the Pandemic decreasing from 21 per cent in the September 2021 survey down to 15 per cent in June 2022.
While the survey results have shown improvements in mental health, the financial situation for respondents is worse with 30 per cent of respondents in the June 2022 survey reporting they are financially worse now than before the pandemic.
One year on from the initial June 2021 storm and survey results are showing some improvement across a range of issues.
As with the pandemic part of the survey, the impact of the June storm on mental health has also improved with 23 per cent of respondents reporting ongoing anxiety or trauma from the storm in June compared with 32 per cent in September 2021, an improvement of 9 per cent.
There has also been a 14 per cent reduction in fallen trees in streets, a 12 per cent reduction in power outages, a nine per cent reduction in green waste, and an eight per cent reduction in internet outages.
Areas where reported impacts have increased are dangerous trees on people’s properties and living in temporary accommodation which have increased by five and three per cent respectively
The June 2022 survey included some new questions relating to home insurance policies held by Yarra Ranges residents.
It was found that 92 per cent of the community report having their home insured and 71 per cent of those who did not have home insurance were renting and therefore did not require it.
The remaining respondents reported that they did not hold home insurance due to significantly increased insurance premiums and / or significantly reduced insurance coverage.
Among all respondents, more than 52 per cent reported that their insurance premium has increased since the June 20221 storm event.
Yarra Ranges Council Mayor, Jim Child that despite a number of improvements there were still lingering effects being felt.
“This follow-up survey later has checked in on how residents are feeling now and what the main areas of concern now are,’’ Cr Child said.
“Although concerns about the mental health impact of COVID-19 have eased since June last year, there are still concerns around employment and finances, and as we can see, insurance issues are top of mind.”
“When it comes to recovery, we know there will be a lot more work over the coming years, but through this community feedback, we’ve been able to advocate to the State Government and telecommunications companies for better internet reliability.”
“For those worried about insurance premiums, rest assured that we’ve been actively advocating with the Insurance Council of Australia on behalf of the local community to get insurers to extend temporary housing allowances and another insurance consultation event is expected to take place in the near future.”
Residents who have experienced trauma, damage or loss as a result of the June storm are also able to discuss their circumstances with the Victorian Storm Recovery Support Program that is coordinated by Windermere by contacting 0408 521 320.
Residents can also contact Council’s Community Recovery Team on 0477 056 265 for advice or connection to a range of support services.
For future insurance consultation events, check the Recovery website at www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/recovery/Home