As one of Australia’s largest insurers, Suncorp Group knows the importance of being front and centre for our customers, no less in the wake of natural disasters. And like Suncorp, our State Emergency Service (SES) partners in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria share our vision of building futures and protecting what matters, by being there for communities in moments of truth. Today, Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) 2023, we celebrate our partnerships with these extraordinary organisations and thank the volunteers who make up the SES for their tireless service.
In my 18 years at Suncorp, I’ve observed many significant disasters across all parts of the country and across the Tasman, each one devastating the communities in its path and causing more pain and heartache than we thought possible. One of the most significant events we’ve faced has been the East Coast Flood events in early 2022. This event destroyed thousands of homes and businesses across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales, most devastatingly impacting the community of Lismore who have now faced at least 138 flooding events in 152 years. Our NSW SES heroes had more than 64,000 requests for help during FY21-2022, with around 24,000 calls for assistance occurring in March 2022 alone*. In our combined passion for a more resilient Australia, Suncorp was excited to announce AAMI’s new partnership with SES NSW last week, in addition to AAMI and Suncorp’s ongoing partnerships with SES Victoria and SES Queensland.
Suncorp Group and SES, in any state, are on the same journey. Mutually, our organisations work hand-in-hand to support victims of natural disasters in the moment they happen; SES are often the first port of call for people seeking help in those moments of truth, with a call to insurers often close behind. But beyond those necessary ‘in the moment’ calls – together, we’re seeking a proactive approach to natural disasters that reduces how hard they hit in the long-term.
Over the past ten years, Suncorp Group and SES have been demonstrating a shift in the way we approach natural disasters; applying a greater focus on prevention. With the ongoing threat of climate change, it’s only natural that our organisations maintain a strong partnership that builds the foundations for our road to resilience.
Partnerships like these reflect so much more than a bond over mutual trajectories – they’re necessary for Australia’s future.
In 2023, SES volunteers are working with individual communities, tailoring flood response plans, influencing decisions relating to planning and development in key flood-prone areas. The NSW SES’s Strategic 2021-2024 Plan dictates the organisation’s key focus on building community resilience through targeted needs-based tailored engagement – a priority that mirrors the goals in Suncorp’s own four-point Resilience Plan. SES Victoria developed their own similar Strategic Plan in 2022 outlining its goals to “embed community resilience through its services, structure and systems”, and SES Queensland developed its 2030 Strategic Plan which is pillared by its focus on building “capable communities”. Each state-based SES is evolving its commitment to how they help communities outside of the at-the-time response activities that the SES was originally underpinned by.
The same goes for insurance. Arguably, the role of insurance – broadly – prior to the 2000s was to respond to disasters and rebuild as quickly as possible. In 2023, our role is increasingly significant; our technology has the potential to identify potential changes to infrastructure planning; our depth of understanding when it comes to disaster patterns and trends can help inform and empower community engagement, and our funding and partnerships with key organisations like SES can drive increased awareness of an organisation that has the unrivalled power to save people’s lives. Partnerships like these reflect so much more than a bond over mutual trajectories – they’re necessary for Australia’s future.
Our partnership with SES NSW launched last week on 12 May, and extended our support of the SES right down the east coast in QLD, VIC and now NSW.
Our SES volunteers are essential to the fabric of our communities and their ability to prepare and respond in an emergency. Behind the scenes and on the ground, every SES volunteer provides a service that bridges affected communities to safety.
Today, we say #thankyouSES to the many volunteers who support our communities in times of need. Working together, we’re committed to creating a more resilient Australia.