- New research reveals 95 per cent of Australians consider belongings filled with sentimental value irreplaceable.
- Yet 58 per cent of Australians do not have a plan to protect their most treasured items.
- To help safeguard future memories and prepare Australians for disasters, Allianz Australia is launching Memory Safe, a partnership with Memories.com.au, encouraging all Australians to preserve their most precious memories online and to educate themselves on how to prepare for disasters.
- Insurance covers the items that can be insured, but Allianz understands some precious items are purely sentimental in value and is aiming to help Australians protect those too.
After a year filled with catastrophic bushfires, extreme wet weather brought on by La Niña and a global pandemic, Australians have been reflecting on what they truly value and what can’t be replaced in their lives.
New research from Allianz Australia shows Aussies consider belongings filled with sentimental value, such as old photos, children’s artwork or treasured letters, to be irreplaceable (95 per cent). However, while most of the nation (76 per cent) insures big-ticket items like the fridge, lounge or TV – objects that can be repaired or replaced through home and/or contents insurance – only 42 per cent of Australians have a plan to protect the items that are most cherished but typically carry little financial value. While 24 per cent of Australians don’t have any insurance for their home, according to Allianz research.
In an effort to help safeguard Australians’ most precious memories that are irreplaceable, Allianz is launching Memory Safe, powered by Memories.com.au, which allows up to 5,000 new and existing Allianz customers to create an online catalogue to document their most-sentimental belongings. Memories.com.au is a private and secure space to upload and share memories of the people, places, moments and milestones that matter most, so that they can be replicated in the event of damage or loss.
Of those who have experienced natural disasters, more than half (53 per cent) regretted not being more prepared, with a quarter (24 per cent) admitting the loss of cherished items had an impact on their mental health. People reported feeling completely helpless (25 per cent), disconnected from their heritage (24 per cent), worried they’d forget their family (22 per cent) and robbed of their identity (11 per cent).
Dr Sarah McKay, Allianz Wellbeing Advocate and neuroscientist said, “The impact of losing a treasured item filled with memories can be more devastating than losing a replaceable object. Our sentimental items are the embodiment of our memories, relationships and travels – they help to form our identity and our legacy. When we lose a sentimental item, a common response is to grieve for the item and feel a disconnection to the memories associated with it, which may impact our mental health.”
After the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20, the need to protect sentimental belongings, and their relationship to memory, identity and mental health, was very keenly felt. Margaret Rowe, 79-year-old Batemans Bay resident, had to flee as the fires approached her home, and reflects on the sense of panic she felt knowing her family photos, lace and letters were not safely documented for future generations.
“I quickly packed my lace embroidery because my family loves them so much, and I would hate to think of losing these when they are so precious to my children and grandchildren. It’s really made our family reflect on how we need to take time to document these items now so we are not in a position where we might lose them if we are faced with disaster,” Margaret said.
Allianz research reveals 74 per cent of Australians could not reach their most precious items if they needed to evacuate quickly. Old family photos (75 per cent), jewellery (47 per cent), heirlooms (45 per cent), secret family recipes (16 per cent), love letters (12 per cent) and children’s toys (11 per cent) – the irreplaceable items Australians want to protect – are often kept in places that are hard to reach in an emergency, such as in a cupboard (49 per cent), buried in a shoebox (15 per cent) or in the stairs or attic (6 per cent).
James Fitzpatrick, Chief Technical Officer, Allianz Australia said, “Over the past year, we’ve all taken a step back and are considering what is most important to us – we’ve found it’s not the physical items, but the importance we place on our memories that have the most sentimental value. At Allianz, we understand our role in protecting what can be replaced, but wish to support Australians by enabling their memories to be safely stored online so that some of their treasured mementos, images and stories can be available for the future generations.
“Australians may wish to take a moment to reconnect with their memories, walk through their homes and think about what is insured and what could be updated for their policy. We all should also be having a family conversation about what we believe to be sentimental and irreplaceable, and what we would want to protect for the future.”
According to Allianz research, 72 per cent of Aussies are not prepared should a disaster occur and a further 60 per cent are concerned about future disasters. James Fitzpatrick provides some tips to help prepare to combat a potential natural disaster like bushfire, cyclones or storms:
- Digitise and store photographs and important documents electronically via cloud-based services, such as Memories.com.au
- Add these files to a hard drive and share it with a family member
- Update and regularly check insurance policies
- Place important items in a home-safe that is both fire and flood proof
- Be ready with an evacuation plan, emergency kit and a communications plan to notify family, friends and, when required, emergency services
- Prepare an emergency bag filled with essential items
- Reduce risk around the home by regularly cleaning gutters, cutting back overgrown trees and regularly mowing the grass
Allianz is committed to helping people preserve their most-sentimental items against accident or incident by offering 5,000 new and existing customers a free subscription with Memories.com.au. Five thousand Memories.com.au Premium Lifetime Subscriptions are available for the first 5,000 new and existing Allianz customers who sign up via Allianz.com.au/MemorySafe before 31 December 2021, whichever is earlier. Information on why your belongings need protection and how to subscribe to the service is available at Allianz.com.au/MemorySafe. This offer is no longer available as the campaign has concluded.