Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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VIC Stage 4 Implications for Strata Insurance Claims

The enactment of State Government COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions across Victoria has seen a number of businesses classified as ‘non-essential,’ and therefore restricted in operations or closed altogether. As a result, the speed at which many business properties are now able to be repaired in the event of an insurable loss, has been markedly reduced. Here’s what businesses need to know about insurance claims during Stage 4 restrictions:

Emergency or urgent repair can proceed  

The Department of Health and Human Services (VIC) has confirmed that emergency or urgent repair works are exempt from Stage 4 trading restrictions, including works required to address health and safety issues.  This exemption applies to maintenance repairs and insurance repairs. Therefore, in the event of accidental damage to insured property giving rise to a strata insurance claim, essential repairs including emergency make-safe works can proceed as usual.

Panel builders* and loss adjusters can continue to attend sites for critical claims, including:

  • When there is a risk to the health and safety of occupants
  • The property is rendered unfit for occupation due to the damage
  • When there is a risk of further extensive damage to the property or a risk to the health and safety of occupants.

Panel builders will continue to take all precautions as appropriate, including full adherence to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements and taking the special needs of residents at risk into account. When emergency and temporary accommodation entitlements under such policies are triggered, insurers and loss adjusters will continue to assist affected owners in securing alternative accommodation with minimal interruption.

Non-critical claims on hold

For as long as Stage 4 restrictions are in place, panel builders cannot attend sites for non-critical claims such as:

  • Minor property damage not rendering the property unfit for occupation
  • Property damage not involving the risk of further damage
  • Property damage not giving rise to health and safety risks
  • Owner/occupier requests for works to be put on hold due to COVID-19 risks and concerns.

It is expected that Stage 4 restrictions and the COVID-19 landscape will result in delays to ongoing and imminent insured repair works.

Safety remains paramount  

While the extension of temporary accommodation allowances is contingent on the circumstances relevant to any particular claim, our strata insurance partners continue to reiterate the safety of customers and the broader community remains paramount. As such, extensions to temporary accommodation will be considered on a fair and reasonable basis.

What constitutes “critical” or “non-critical claims” will depend on the circumstances specific to each claim, and the circumstances of any owner / occupier involved.

We're with you all the way.

As always, our Honan Strata Team is here to assist you through the ever-changing conditions ahead. To remedy your queries or escalate matters requiring urgent attention with insurers, loss adjusters or panel builders, we’re only ever a call away.

Sushendra Fernando – Senior Claims Executive

+61 3 9947 4375

Poppy Foxton – Head of Claims

(02) 9299 0767

Kieran Drum – National Head of Strata

+61 3 9947 4348*

Panel builders are appointed by Insurers as preferred repairers and allow insurers to guarantee the standard of work.

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