Insurance needs to grow in the face of climate change

Australia has a wealth of risks related to climate change and increasingly hostile weather. Having a strong business insurance package is highly recommended.
Posted on September 18, 2014 in Farm & Crop, Manufacturing, Retail

Hot and dry, other times wet and wild, and largely susceptible to the coast, Australia is in a unique position when it comes to climate change threats.

With increasing bushfire regularity and an openness to the elements, Australia is feeling the gradual effects of climate change more than most, with business insurance at the front of owners' minds.

Of the 20 largest losses to property in the past 40 years, 19 have been due to adverse weather, according to Insurance and Risk Professional.

To show the nation's susceptibility, property damage by extreme weather has a three times greater presence on the Australian reinsurance market (6 per cent) than it does in global statistics (2 per cent). 

With the threat now scientifically agreed upon, and seemingly little being done to significantly confront it, the insurance industry has been dubbed "a stronghold against climate change" and a necessity to protect businesses and property.

Kent Chaplin, head of Lloyd's of London Asia-Pacific division said: "The insurance industry sits at the forefront in helping to mitigate the impact of extreme weather.

"Communities across Asia-Pacific are highly exposed to these risks and catastrophe modelling firms. Insurers need to account for surface sea level and air temperature rises in their modelling so we can better understand and prepare for their impact."

Alongside a rising risk of property and asset damage is the need to educate business owners on the present and future danger to their enterprise.

Particularly for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), having a policy that protects not just capital assets but the business's opportunity to bounce back from weather damage is largely necessary.

Business interruption cover gives the owner the means to keep his or her head above water, even if the property is temporarily lost.

Tony MacRae, executive general manager of intermediary distribution at QBE Australia, told Insurance and Risk Professional that help is at hand for those who need guidance.

He said: "Brokers are in a unique position to educate their clients about dependencies they may have on suppliers to their business and the impact that could have to their business."