On the front line of disaster recovery

June 26, 2024

Anglicare’s financial counselling team members are prepared for helping communities recover from natural disasters.

They attended a training session facilitated by Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) in Launceston last month. Topics included supporting clients to resolve insurance claims and access government grants and other entitlements, and best practice in disaster recovery counselling.

Lynne Watson is Anglicare’s Program Manager for Financial Resilience and Wellbeing across the North and North West of the State. Disaster recovery is close to her heart.  A resident of Deloraine and with family members who work with emergency services in the Meander Valley, she remembers the floods of 2022 well. She became a member of a working group that drafted the FCA submission to a federal government enquiry into the insurance industry’s response to that event.

“The training deepened our knowledge of the insurance industry and how we can help people to navigate the complexities of the claims process,” said Lynne. “It gave us tips on how to better assist and support people at a time when they are likely to be in shock and very vulnerable.”

Lynne says it is important for financial counsellors to be available to communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

We can best help people by locating ourselves in recovery centres and cafes and by door knocking homes. Every community is different, so it’s important to get to know the key people. We are good listeners. We can provide information about other services that community members may need, such as Legal Aid, Centrelink, housing, emergency relief, mental health support and grief counselling.

Case study:  Deloraine Football Club

Don Tracey is the president of the Deloraine Football Club. He attended the training to share the story of the difficulties his club had with an insurance claim in the wake of the 2022 floods.

“Our club is split into two, the juniors and the seniors, and we hold separate contents insurance policies for each,” Don explained.

“Our claim for the senior club went smoothly, but it took nearly a year for our claim for the junior club contents to be processed. It covered things like fridges and cooking equipment – appliances we relied on heavily. The insurance company insisted that our claim had been paid, even though we hadn’t received the funds. It was a very unsatisfactory situation – and there was no solution in sight.

“I heard Lynne Watson speak at a function put on by the Meander Valley Council about flood recovery. A few days later I called her to explain our situation and she invited the Treasurer of our junior club to visit her in Launceston to tell her about our case.

“Lynne went into bat for us. She uncovered that the insurance company had paid a football club in Victoria the funds that were supposed to come to us, and she resolved the situation. We are extremely grateful to her,” said Don.

Next steps

Anglicare has written to every local council in the State to explain how its free and confidential financial counselling service can be utilised during and after a natural disaster.

Our financial counsellors are available to provide FREE information sessions about our service. If your community club or organisation is interested in finding out more, please contact us on 1800 007 007 and we will connect you with a counsellor in your area.


More information

Financial counselling

The Tasmanian Government’s Disaster Resilience Strategy 2020-2025


PHOTO:  Deloraine during the floods of 2022, courtesy of the Deloraine Football Club.

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