So this is a bit of a scary topic. We have children protesting about climate change today and it got me thinking . So I thought I could help out in my own little way. Below is a piece written from the view of insurance companies and the worst affected areas around the country. Lets face it, insurance companies are the best indicator for everyday Australians. Why you ask? because they want you to buy a policy so they can factor a margin in to make a profit. But if the policy is too expensive you wont buy it, or if the risk is too high they wont offer a policy- either way they make no money (which is something they like to do!!). So when Insurance companies start making changes as they have been, I suggest more thought needs to take place about which house location you choose to buy your forever home in.
If you use the web link at the bottom of the page you can even put your postcode into get the data on your area. Though I will warn you, as the data is pretty heavy. My comments are in blue and the red is to get your attention 🙂 The rest is from the article.
Roughly 850,000 homes — nearly one in 10 — could be “uninsurable” within a few generations unless there are fundamental changes to where and how properties are built, a leading climate analyst says.
While 20 or 30 years might seem like a long time, my Aunt and Uncle have lived in their house for 40 years+. When I go back there it reminds me of my childhood memories from holidaying at that house. While that house is in a safe(ish) area, what if it wasn’t? how would it feel to lose your family home with a lifetime of memories?
‘Dangerous market failure’
Increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive losses, Mr Sullivan says.
“We can change the built environment to make less brittle homes … And we can build mitigation around existing townships. There’s plenty of evidence to show that when you build it, insurance prices tumble as a result.”
However, he concedes that the industry is no longer heavily involved in setting building codes and if nothing is done to cap the risk “then yes, [premiums] will become far more expensive and you could get to a point where it becomes unaffordable for the average person.”
We’ve arguably passed that point, Mr Andrews says, with flood premiums for people in risk zones already priced out of reach. Areas affected in the Brisbane floods can vouch for this
“While insurers will offer them cover, most people don’t take it up, so … if it’s not an insurability problem, it’s certainly an affordability problem,” he says.
Regardless of how its framed, the consequences stretch far beyond those currently living in high-risk areas, Dr Mallon warns.
Sea levels have risen faster in Queensland than the south coast of Western Australia. By Emma Wynne
“We see a particularly dangerous market failure,” he says.
The cornerstone of that failure, he says, is that insurers can effectively abandon policies or areas from one year to the next if they decide the risk has become too severe.
Because all prospective homeowners need insurance to secure a mortgage, this creates a ripple effect.
“Once insurance becomes very expensive or unavailable it becomes very difficult to sell that house because the next person can’t get proper insurance to get their mortgage,” Dr Mallon says.
“So the effects of insurance becoming unavailable are potentially catastrophic for areas which are exposed to current or future extreme weather.” Think of all the coastal beach front or low level houses around the country. Awesome places to live, but they might get washed away.
Rather than refusing cover or hiking up premiums, insurers should take an active role in helping communities mitigate against climate-related risk, Dr Mallon says.
“They should be … saying to people, ‘We can’t provide cover for your house for, say, flood risk, unless you do something like raise it up or put flood defences around it’, or what have you.” This is already done for Fire risk ratings
He also wants insurers to be more transparent about how long they think they can provide a policy.
“If you’re taking on a mortgage, you want to know that you’ve got an insurer over the life of that mortgage,” Dr Mallon says. “You really want 30 years of foresight — and the analytics for that are available.”
But while the industry can continue to influence the debate on how to build appropriately for locations prone to extreme weather, Mr Sullivan insists price remains an important tool.
“We’re not in there in regulation. Nobody needs to consult us … but we are sending a price signal and that’s sending its own line of thought and thinking to the community.”
- Reporting: Inga Ting, Mark Doman and Stephen Hutcheon
- Development: Ri Liu and Nathanael Scott