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Risk in Context Podcast: Global bushfire frequency requires updated crisis management and claims strategies

Catastrophic bushfires have impacted people and businesses in many parts of the world, leading to loss of life, evacuations, and damage or destruction to properties and infrastructure.

A strip of Dry Grass sets Fire to Trees in dry Forest: Forest fire - Aerial drone top view. Forest fire: fire with smoke from the height of a bird flight.

Catastrophic bushfires have impacted people and businesses in many parts of the world, leading to loss of life, evacuations, and damage or destruction to properties and infrastructure. And even businesses that have not been directly impacted by these fires have experienced significant business interruption, leading to substantial losses.

With many regions around the world at potential risk of bushfire, senior leaders should consider putting a robust crisis management plan and claims strategy in place to guide their preparedness and response, helping them protect their people, their communities, and their properties.

In this episode of Risk in Context, Catherine Osborne, Chief Claims Officer for Marsh's Pacific region, and Fernando Lopes Chaves, Chief Strategy Officer and leader of Marsh’s Advisory in Portugal, discuss the actions that organisations and individuals can take to keep people and properties safe. This episode also features Maggie Carlin, Senior Vice President within Marsh's US Property Practice, who talks about increased difficulties securing coverage for bushfire risk in California. And Mark Hope, Senior Vice President within Guy Carpenter’s North America Peril Advisory, talks about how its bushfire Risk Score can be helpful in assessing bushfire risk.

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Key takeaways

Prioritise your people’s safety.

Organisations should take a people-first approach and have plans in place to provide support to their employees and, if appropriate, impacted communities.

Understand your insurance coverage and claims processes.

Review your insurance programs to determine which losses may be covered, identify potential exclusions or gaps in coverage, and how best to prepare for potential claims.

Conduct an in-depth valuation exercise.

Quantify the replacement values of your properties and their contents, especially since recent inflation could have led to significant cost increases.

About our speakers

Catherine Osborne

Catherine Osborne

Chief Claims Officer, Marsh Pacific

  • Australia

Catherine Osborne is the Chief Claims Officer for Marsh’s Pacific region. Based in Sydney, she works with both local and global colleagues and the insurance market to ensure the delivery of the best possible claims experience to Marsh’s clients. Prior to joining Marsh, she was a Partner in a leading Australian insurance law firm, where she worked for more than 20 years.

Fernando Lopes Chaves

Fernando Lopes Chaves

Leader, Marsh’s Advisory, Portugal

  • Portugal

Fernando Lopes Chaves is the Leader of Marsh’s Advisory in Portugal. He is also Marsh McLennan’s Chief Strategy Officer for Portugal. He joined Marsh in 2003 and during this time has led multiple areas, including Trade Credit Specialty, Marketing and Communications, Compliance, and Sales and Business Development.

Maggie Carlin

Maggie Carlin

Senior Vice President, Marsh's US Property Practice

  • United States

Maggie Carlin is a senior advisor in Marsh’s Property Practice. Based in San Francisco, she focuses on tailoring property insurance programs for clients in Marsh’s Pacific North partnership. Her client base spans a wide variety of industries including real estate, retail, technology, and healthcare. She originally joined Marsh in 2004 as a member of the Graduate Training Program before becoming a risk manager at Levi Strauss & Co. She rejoined Marsh in 2016.

Mark Hope

Mark Hope

Senior Vice President, North America Peril Advisory, Guy Carpenter

  • United States

Dr. Mark Hope is Guy Carpenter’s subject matter expert for the perils of wildfire and hurricane storm surge, serving on the North America Peril Advisory team. He leads Guy Carpenter’s efforts in the development of the Guy Carpenter Wildfire Risk Score and associated wildfire products and analyses, allowing clients to effectively and efficiently identify, quantify, and manage wildfire risk. He also provides further insight into clients’ exposures to natural catastrophe risk via interpretation of catastrophe model results, model assessment, and event response planning and communications.

Related insights

This publication is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Marsh shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. LCPA 23/368