What’s the future for coastal property insurance?

QLD and NSW have had a very wet summer thanks to the La Niña weather system that has persisted since late 2021. But the end of this weather pattern is in sight, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting the La Niña weather pattern to ‘decay’ in autumn.

Meanwhile, the federal government is finalising the consultation process to extend an existing reinsurance pool to cover cyclone and flood insurance. This should give businesses in flood and cyclone-prone areas some comfort that when the next La Niña event occurs, there’s a mechanism in place that may help them access funds to rebuild, should their operations be severely damaged as a result of extreme weather.

“Hopefully, this initiative should help solve the problem businesses in areas that are prone to cyclone risk face when securing property insurance, says Michael White, Steadfast’s broker technical manager.”

La Niña update

The BOM’s latest advice indicates, “a mature La Niña event remains active in the tropical Pacific.” Its modelling suggests the La Niña system is nearing its peak and the weather bureau forecasts a return to neutral conditions in autumn.

A La Niña system typically brings wet and also extreme weather in the form of storms, floods and cyclones. It usually means higher-than average rainfall across northern and eastern Australia.

This has certainly been the case so far this year, as coastal and also inland regions have experienced a thorough drenching. Incredibly, many inland parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland that are usually deserts have been inundated with floodwaters. For instance, the Todd River near Alice Springs flooded twice in a matter of months. Broome in northern Western Australia experienced 652 millimetres of rain in a single day.

While the BOM acknowledges La Niña’s influence on weather patterns, it also recognises the impact of climate change. Its data shows Australia’s climate has warmed by around 1.44 °C between 1910 and 2019. Since the 1990s, rainfall has risen across northern Australia between the October and April wet season.

Support for cyclone affected areas

Consultation is almost complete on a federal government proposal to introduce draft legislation to secure the reinsurance pool for cyclones and related flood damage.

The Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC) was initially established by the Terrorism Insurance Act 2003. The draft bill proposes to extend the ARPC’s remit over cyclone and flood insurance. At the moment, insurers can use the pool to reinsure cyclone and flood risks, but they don’t have to. In the future, insurers will be required to use the pool to reinsure this risk.

“Hopefully, this initiative should help solve the problem businesses in areas that are prone to cyclone risk face when securing property insurance,” says Michael White, Steadfast’s broker technical manager.

The new legislation is expected to be enacted in 2022.

It’s important to talk to your broker about insurance options available for you if your business is located in an area prone to floods or cyclone. Contact Steadfast today to find out more.

Important note: this general information is provided to assist you in understanding some of the terms, implications and common considerations in property insurance. It does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. It is also not financial advice, nor complete, so please discuss the full details with your Steadfast insurance broker as to whether this type of property insurance is appropriate for you. Property insurance usually has a deductible/ excess, exclusions and limits of liability. Policies differ between insurers.

This article provides information rather than financial product or other advice. The content of this article, including any information contained in it, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the information, taking these matters into account, before you act on any information. In particular, you should review the product disclosure statement for any product that the information relates to it before acquiring the product.

Information is current as at the date the article is written as specified within it but is subject to change. Steadfast Group Ltd and Steadfast Network Brokers make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Various third parties have contributed to the production of this content. All information is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Steadfast Group Limited.


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