You mightn’t equate business insurance with compassion. But you’d be wrong. I was in the offices of business insurer Knightcorp as part of an article I was writing about the recent bushfires around Perth. ‘Who’, I thought, ‘would understand the breadth of the damage and loss to livelihood from the bushfires better than an insurer?’

Bushfire 2The person who has just lost their business to flames or looters has lost everything to them. They, quite understandably, are overwhelmed with their loss. But for a broader picture you need to see the numbers. And to fully understand those numbers you need to speak to someone who puts real claimants faces to those numbers.

And that’s how I found myself in Knightcorp insurers, talking about the bushfires and their effects. And while those effects are devastating for the individual owners of the businesses destroyed, there is a knock-on effect.

This knock-on effect was a new concept for me. I’d always thought it was a simple matter of replacing what was lost and getting on with business. Not so. A natural disaster has social and economic ramifications that can make or break a community. And it is the insurer who plays a critical role in influencing which way it goes.

‘Speedy claims resolution minimizes the loss of business income in an area,’ the Knightcorp manager told me. ‘Just think, while that business isn’t trading no taxes are being collected, any suppliers to the business are not selling their stock, any dependents on the business are floundering for another supplier … A lot of people are affected, more than just the poor business owner. And every day the pressure is building. Everyday demand for their goods and services is growing; days, sometimes hours, matter when businesses are relied upon. It can become a crucible.’

And Knightcorp would know. Knightcorp

They’ve been through the tricky process of keeping a community together by expediting the claims processes. ‘Speed is crucial. I’ve seen it happen where other insurers have approved a claim to slowly for the business. By the time they’re on their feet again their trading partners and customers have deserted them or there has been some product brought to market that makes their newly replenished line obsolete.’

Bushfire 1Everyone remembers the urban myth of the insurers of the 90’s: ‘Deny every claim three times. If they still keep pestering you then investigate it.’ But it’s not true (if it ever was). What goes unnoticed is the quiet work insurers, like Knightcorp, do that allows people to flourish through adversity rather than succumb to it.

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