Many Australians are on the road to recovery after a summer of extreme weather events, including a tornado in Sydney and bushfires in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

The damages affected many sectors across commercial and residential areas, and analysts project that disasters like these will be more costly in the future. This signals the need for strong coverage with products like business insurance and farm insurance nationwide.

An expensive summer

The tornado and bushfires, as well as smaller events around the country, have caused in excess of $515 million in damages according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). In South Australia’s Pinery bushfires, 73 per cent of the costs were incurred by commercial interests.

“These catastrophes highlight the importance of homeowners and businesses making sure they have adequate insurance for their homes and treasured possessions,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

Preparing for the future

According to two reports released by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities at the beginning of March 2016, the cost of natural disasters is expected to hit $33 billion each year by 2050.

These figures include the cost of social effects from disasters, such as chronic disease, mental health issues, alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

“Governments, business and communities need to work together to address the medium and long-term social impacts of natural disasters through further investment and research into community resilience programs,” said Noel Clement, Australian Red Cross Director of Australian Services.

Addressing the purely physical costs of future disasters through insurance coverage is an instrumental part of mitigating the social impact they can have. Having the means to protect their livelihood can enable people to more effectively support themselves and their communities after natural disasters.

Insurers, business owners and other vulnerable parties should be proactive in minimising their risk of accidents and ensuring they are covered for future natural incidents.