A single shared problem has brought general insurer IAG and emergency disaster responder Australian Red Cross together to save lives and property: to adequately prepare, respond and rebuild communities who live in high-risk, disaster-prone areas.
In response to the shared problem, IAG has committed resources and funding in a first-of-its-kind 10-year partnership with Australian Red Cross to build community resilience, working together to define the best way to motivate a change in individual and community attitudes towards disaster preparedness.
Australian Red Cross has an ambitious plan to prepare three million Australians for an emergency by the close of the decade, focussing its greatest efforts in preparing ahead of each summer disaster season.
Over the summer of 2015/16, it responded to its busiest summer season, with about 13,000 Australians affected by 25 disasters and emergencies in seven states and territories. Forecast modelling has suggested this year will be another unprecedented emergency season.
Head of influence and strategy in Australian Red Cross emergency services division, Jacqui Pringle, said the best prepared individuals and families bounce back fastest, while those caught by surprise take time to recover both physically and psychologically.
"Emergencies can be devastating in ways you don't expect but there are simple and practical steps you can take to protect the people you love, your own wellbeing and things you value most," Ms Pringle said.
"The more prepared you are for emergencies, the less stressful they become. You're more likely to have a sense of control during the emergency and afterwards," she said.
The gap, Ms Pringle said, was in motivating people to take the time and simple practical steps that prepared their home and protected their possessions, but also prepared them mentally for a disaster.
"We looked inside the communities where we work for a partner that had a similar experience of emergencies and disasters and brought fresh insight and experience to the gap we'd identified," Ms Pringle said.
Over the past year, IAG and Australian Red Cross have shared their expertise to co-design solutions to adequately prepare people and communities to plan and prepare for unexpected events.
IAG Head of Group Shared Value Ramana James said IAG the insurer was proud to work alongside Australian Red Cross to find new ways of building safer, stronger and more connected communities.
"As an organisation, our shared value purpose is to make your world a safer place and one of the ways we fulfil this purpose is to partner with leading humanitarian and community organisations like Australian Red Cross to help people and communities get back on their feet and thrive," Mr James said.
"IAG has had a longstanding relationship with Australian Red Cross and this year marks our 10-year anniversary of working in collaboration on initiatives that make a real difference to how people, and communities, prepare, respond and recover from unexpected events.
"Our new partnership will enable us to build on what we have achieved and develop innovative solutions to social and physical challenges that help the community and society particularly in high risk areas.
"Both IAG and Australian Red Cross share the collective goal of building stronger and more resilient communities that are better equipped to prepare for and recover from unexpected events. We look forward to working with Australian Red Cross to help more Australians reduce their risk by building new capabilities and knowledge to prepare and respond more effectively to future events."
Australian Red Cross said that with IAG the organisation had identified exactly what proportion of Australians thought emergency preparedness was important for them to do and how many has started that thought process.
"The shocking truth is only one in 20 Australians have thought about being prepared and much less have actually done something about it, and that's despite almost 80 per cent of Australians thinking being prepared is important," Ms Pringle said.