THIS IS HOW ACHMEA KEEPS FARMERS FARMING
Janet Lamble, Cobargo
How Achmea protected Janet Lamble’s family farm
near Cobargo on the NSW South Coast –
during the catastrophic 2019 New Year’s Eve bushfires.
The story, according to Janet Lamble:
Phil, my son, decided to stay on the farm on New Year’s Eve, the night of the fire; I was worried he was going to lose his life that night.
I listened to the whole thing unfold on the scanner app for fire and police.
When I spoke to Phil at about 11.30pm, he said it looked like the fire had passed around behind the farm in the Badja National Park, I then said, ‘you should try and get some sleep’.
I continued to track the fire on the radio scanner during the night. From the safety of our home in Sydney, I saw the weather had changed which meant the fires were now headed straight towards the farm.
I heard the calls between the fire control station units on scanner radio and there were reports of a man sheltering in his car at the Yowrie crossroads, surrounded by fire.
I now knew our valley was in trouble and I heard the scanner call saying our address at the farm with “a lone male person defending property”. I knew it was my son, Phil, but only time would tell how he fared.
His adrenaline must have been going crazy, how he saved our house under the immense heat and catastrophic conditions is just incredible.
Phil, my son, decided to stay on the farm on New Year’s Eve, the night of the fire; I was worried he was going to lose his life that night.– Janet Lamble
There were calls from fire teams asking for back up, and there were no resources available. The fire had swung around and was moving much faster than predicted. I kept ringing Phil, whether my phone calls woke him, I will never know, it was now around 3am on New Year’s Eve.
I didn’t get through to Phil, but he fortunately had woken and was putting his fire plan into action, defending the farm. He was well prepared and knew what he was doing, but no one could have prepared fully for the ferocity of the fire that arrived.
All the phone lines were down; it was a nerve-wracking wait. It was the middle of the night.
I couldn’t contact Phil, but perhaps it was mother’s intuition; somehow I knew he was ok. At about 4am we saw a social media post that Phil managed to upload of our cottage burning down. It was just a little note on Facebook, but it was such a relief to see. Thankfully, then I knew he was ok.
With no water left, the fires kept re-igniting, he watched the hay shed burn down hours later, the sheds and yards also destroyed but the house was saved although damaged.
At that point, in my mind, Phil was a real hero – it would have been devastating to lose the house with memories, books and photos. We were so fortunate to have survived the worst.
how he saved our house under the immense heat and catastrophic conditions is just incredible.– Janet Lamble
Back on our feet with Achmea
When it was time to claim, Achmea responded really quickly and you have been absolutely fantastic.
The assessor from Crawfords came out as soon as the roads were safe, and clearance had been given to enter the area. My mind was struggling, the assessor was asking a lot of details from us to understand what we had lost. But in time, over the months as we began to put the claim together, we saw a very compassionate handling of our loss claim. We are excited to be back on our feet (nearly!) and Achmea has done very well, we could not fault the process.
Having talked to a few others in the area – they did not necessarily find the process with other insurers as comfortable.
We would have been out-of-pocket without Achmea
It was really good timing when Achmea’s Gerard Bennett came around to the farm; he really looked closely at what we had before we switched to Achmea.
We would have been in all sorts of trouble if we had the old insurance policy which my mum had set up years and years ago. We would have been well out of pocket. Luckily for us, most of the items on our policy was current with Achmea.
Amongst most of our farming infrastructure, we lost 14 kilometres of fencing and more than 135 animals, our insurance only covered 50 cattle. It is terribly sad to lose your animals. For me, losing my Mum’s garden was really sad. Keeping policies updated is a lesson learnt.
After going through such a traumatic experience in life, it is important you focus on the most important things, both in insurance and, most importantly, in life.– Janet Lamble
Financially, those were major losses as well which in hindsight we should have also covered – but these are the learnings.
It has been really nice to have Achmea on board, we received a personal follow up from Gerard. I could not praise Gerard more; he was really concerned about the mental health side of things. I value that personal touch that Achmea provides.
Business Interruption cover is something we will look at in the future. Because if you are not able to cover it yourself, it would be very hard to keep your business running when you have an interruption like this.
After going through such a traumatic experience in life, it is important you focus on the most important things, both in insurance and, most importantly, in life. After everything that has happened, this is a new beginning.
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