As Australia moves into a La Niña weather system and faces a higher risk of severe storms, IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, has released two fact sheets to help educate Australians about tropical cyclone and flood risk, and to encourage them to take action and prepare themselves and their homes for these weather events.
These extreme weather events have the potential to put lives and safety at risk, as well as causing significant damage to properties and infrastructure across large areas.
Over the past 12 months, IAG, which includes NRMA Insurance and CGU in its stable of brands, has had its Major Event team on the ground helping customers recover from a range of severe and destructive weather events ranging from bushfires to storms, floods and hail.
Most recently, this included severe wet weather events including hailstorms across large parts of Queensland and New South Wales. Since 22 October, IAG has received more than 13,500 storm claims nationally.
IAG Executive Manager Natural Perils Mark Leplastrier said: “We are moving into a La Niña weather system, which means more wet weather and the increasing likelihood of severe storms and flooding. It’s important that people are aware of the risks they face based on where they live so that they can prepare for these weather events.
“We’re encouraging people to take action to reduce their exposure to these risks, so that if and when a major storm, flood or tropical cyclone does occur, people have prepared their property and have an up-to-date emergency plan and insurance cover in place to protect themselves and their homes,” Mr Leplastrier said.
Flood risk: Australia’s most flood-prone areas
The Flood Fact Sheet outlines the factors that put properties at-risk of flooding and highlights the local government areas in each state at highest risk*. It also helps people understand the potential damage and clean-up costs they may face by indicating the potential repair costs for homes that are severely damaged by floods, including the cost of stripping out wall linings and floors to sanitise and disinfect properties after a flood. The average claims cost to repair homes affected by floods during the 2019 Townsville floods was $80,000 (based on IAG claims data).
Tropical cyclones: what homeowners need to know before building or renovating
Cyclones can have a devastating effect on communities across a wide area and put lives and property at risk from the intense wind, rain and subsequent flooding.
The Tropical Cyclone Fact Sheet, created in partnership with the James Cook University Cyclone Testing Station, provides an overview of the key areas that are at greatest risk and outlines the different wind regions and wind classifications that homeowners should be aware of when building or renovating their homes.
The Tropical Cyclone Fact Sheet also provides an overview of retrofitting options for homes to make them more resilient to future cyclones.
James Cook University, Cyclone Testing Station Chief Research Engineer David Henderson said: “Preparation is critical for tropical cyclones. Our damage investigations after storms and cyclones show the benefits of good preparation in terms of maintaining your house and shed, and clearing the yard of possible debris items. It’s also important to have an emergency plan. If you don’t know what storm tide zone you are in, visit your local council website to find out, along with evacuation information and checklists to help you plan.”
The two fact sheets follow the release of IAG’s Bushfire Fact sheets, and the second edition of the Severe Weather in a Changing Climate report, which was developed by IAG in partnership with the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research.
The report shows that extreme tropical cyclones, storms, hail, floods and bushfires are becoming more frequent and intense in a warmer world – and the increase in global temperatures to date is already influencing these events and impacting communities now.
The fact sheets were developed by IAG’s Natural Perils team, which comprises climate scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists, engineers, statisticians and actuaries whose job it is to understand extreme weather events so that they can accurately assess the risks customers face, while also looking at what IAG can do to help customers and communities mitigate those risks.
IAG has been studying the impact of the changing climate for nearly 20 years and has worked collaboratively with other organisations, government and the community to advocate for increasing risk mitigation to ensure that communities can reduce and manage the risks they face.
To help Australians prepare for emergencies IAG has also partnered with the Australian Red Cross to co-create the Get Prepared app, which helps people build an emergency plan.