Even working for an insurer doesn’t protect you from a house fire tragedy, as FMG team member Lisa Hendrie found out. Her experience of losing the home she had purchased from her late grandmother has left her appreciating people’s kindness and humbled by the support she received.

As she approached the end of her street and spotted the cordon and half a dozen fire engines, Lisa knew it was serious. She had been up early on 16 December to drop off some friends at the airport when she received a call from a police officer. The agonising six-minute drive home felt like an eternity and she was greeted with an overwhelming sight.

She was sitting frozen in her car bawling her eyes out when one of the fire crew spotted her. She managed a nod when he asked if she was the homeowner and he grabbed her out of the car gave her a massive hug and told her it would be ok before walking with her towards the wreckage.

“I got to the gate and caught a glimpse of the blazing mess and I had to look away, it was too much to take in,” Lisa says. The rest of the morning was a blur, trying to talk to investigators and work out what she needed to do.

“There’s so much you just don’t expect, like needing to talk to the investigators straight away, I was in such a heightened emotional state it was hard to keep it together while trying to give them all the information they needed.

“I stayed with a friend that first night and crashed out with exhaustion, but she stayed up all night writing lists of all the things I needed to do, like cancelling my wheelie bin and internet and talking to the bank to let them know the asset they funded was gone.”

It was hard for her to get her head around being homeless so abruptly and she didn’t want to overstay her welcome with friends. So being able to stay in a motel for a few months thanks to her cover with FMG made a huge difference.

Once her bank approved her insurance payment to go to her, rather than repaying her mortgage, she settled on buying a prefabricated house. She has been grateful for the generosity and support shown her and within six months of the fire she has already moved into her new home.

Through this experience, she has learnt how important it is to take regular photos of every room in the house, as when it comes to making a claim it can be really hard to account for everything that has been accumulated.

FMG paid $44 million in house fire claims between January 2019 and December 2021. “There are some sobering house fire statistics,” says FMG Advice Services Manager, Angela Taylor.

“Every year we support around 150 families affected by house fires and the emotional stress and loss of treasured possessions can be hard to deal with.

“Fortunately, house fires can be prevented if the right measures are taken.” Check out Fire and Emergency for more information on staying fire safe within the home or take a look at our website for more on how you can prevent house fires.

House fire infographic