Bushfires are some of the most devastating events for businesses, and are often unexpected. As the country prepares to enter another hot season, however, it’s important that companies are prepared.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has recently issued a timely warning to South Australian businesses, one that should certainly be considered. This warning follows the release of the ‘Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for 2014-15’, a paper published by Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.

A heightened fire risk has been predicted for Eastern Australia this season, from NSW through to central Victoria and southern Queensland. Parts of South and Western Australia were assigned an above-normal risk.

The ICA release detailed several steps that both businesses and homeowners could take to avoid fire risk, steps that should be considered now given the rapid and often unexpected spread of bushfires.

“For those living in bushfire-prone areas, now is the time to prepare,” ICA CEO Rob Whelan explained.

“Rebuilding to the new standards, where your council requires it, is intended to make your home [or business] safer. However, the costs can be higher than you may have anticipated when you first considered your insurance cover (sum insured).”

Frequent reassessments of business insurance policies are often a necessary step to ensure the sum insured is correct. The last thing a business will want to deal with following a bushfire is finding additional funding to handle repairs.

By taking the time to review policies now, businesses can avoid the issues faced after a bushfire.

“If your property is destroyed, underinsurance could mean you experience significant financial loss when making a claim because the amount you need to replace what you have lost will exceed the amount your insurer can pay out,” he explained.