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Rozelle optometrist Harry Notaras is very relieved that he has major business disruption insurance cover.

His practice was forced to close for more than a week when a blast shook a suburban Sydney street at 3 am mid-week. The explosion and fire on Darling Street in Rozelle on 4 September killed a man, a woman and her infant son.

Mr Notaras’s practice, Optometrix, is located diagonally opposite the site of the blast.

‘Guild Insurance has been really helpful. Even the cleaning will be covered by insurance, with no excess,’ he said.

Mr Notaras heard about the blast when his practice manager contacted him after seeing it on the morning news. ‘We didn’t sustain any damage, but we were close to the blast,’ he said.

He said he thought the security screens fitted on his shop front windows protected the glass from shattering, as other businesses without screens had had their windows broken by the force of the blast.

Concerns about asbestos contamination resulted in an exclusion zone being established around the blast site, shutting it off to residents and business owners.

‘We’re in the exclusion zone,’ Mr Notaras said in the week following the blast. ‘We can’t open. We’ve had to cancel everything.’

He had been unable to enter the premises, even to hear messages on his voicemail.

He said cleaning had begun on the outside of buildings in the exclusion zone and he had been ordered to have his premises inspected.

‘We were told about asbestos concerns on the Sunday following the blast. It’s been a changing day-to-day predicament,’ he said.

Mr Notaras’s practice manager, Anthony Boccanfuso, attended regular meetings organised by the local council after the blast.

Mr Notaras informed optometrists Mary Deligianni and Michael Tanzer and other practice staff members that they were not to go to work until it was safe to reopen the business.

He had taken out an insurance policy for unexpected disruption to his business. The cover was with Guild Insurance, a partner in the Advantage Program for members of Optometry Australia.


Major business disruption

  • A major disruption can quickly ruin a successful business. Many never recover from events that stop them from trading as usual. Make sure you are prepared. Read these useful tips from Guild Insurance on how to get your business ready.
  • Identify the ways in which your premises may be vulnerable to something going wrong.
  • Create a critical tasks check-list to follow in the event of a major disruption.
  • Maintain a list of critical contacts you will need to call in the event of a major disruption.
  • Consider assembling a kit of essential items you might need in an emergency.
  • Explore opportunities for resuming partial operations from another location if feasible.
  • Maintain accurate inventory records and a list of current assets.
  • Assess the impact of ‘supply chain disruption’ on your practice.
  • Establish a process for diverting your business phone to another number, in the event you cannot operate from your premises.
  • If a major disruption does occur, record evidence of any damage before beginning the clean-up.
  • Equip your staff to respond effectively.
  • Ensure you have the right insurance cover.

For more information call 1800 810 213 or visit

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