Wild weather leads to increase in housing insurance claims

SES workers were kept busy over the summer months as storms wreaked havoc across the Coast

The Central Coast region recorded the third highest number of housing insurance claims with the NRMA in NSW over the summer period – and that was before the latest flood crisis hit.

The latest NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker shows the insurer recorded over 15,000 home claims for severe weather damage during summer as Australians faced record rainfall, floods and heatwaves.

This was an increase of 53 per cent on last summer.

In NSW alone there were 9,507 home claims for damage caused by wild weather this summer (70 per cent of all home claims and 41 per cent more than last summer) – 7.5 per cent of them from the Central Coast alone.

Narara topped the region for claims, and also made the list of the top 10 suburbs statewide for claims.

Other Coast suburbs severely impacted were (in order) Bateau Bay, Wamberal, Green Point, Kariong and Kincumber, Terrigal, Saratoga, Niagara Park, Avoca Beach, Tumbi Umbi and Lisarow.

The summer NRMA Wild Weather Tracker also features research of 1,000 NSW residents which found 71 per cent are worried natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe while 39 per cent don’t feel prepared to respond if severe weather hits their suburb.

It found that the Central Coast has fallen one spot to be the 7th best prepared region in the state, with the region’s self-assessed wild weather ready score falling seven points to 60/100.

The Tracker shows more than two-thirds of all home claims nationally were caused by wild weather.

“Since the catastrophic storms and floods across Australia’s east coast in February and March, NRMA Insurance has received more than 24,000 claims; however, the full impact is still being determined,” a spokesperson said.

These figures will be outlined in the autumn edition of the Tracker in June.

NRMA Insurance Group Executive, Julie Batch, said the benefits of greater upfront investment in disaster mitigation are clear and the time for action is now.

“For more than a decade, NRMA and its parent company IAG have outlined that greater investment in mitigation can save lives, property and critical infrastructure which is critical for protecting communities and reducing the impacts of severe weather and natural disasters,” Batch said.

The Tracker monitors severe weather claims in communities across NSW, QLD, the ACT and for the first time, has expanded to include SA and WA in the latest report.

NRMA Insurance’s Executive Manager Natural Perils, Mark Leplastrier, said future risks of an area should be considered when planning or zoning.

“To better protect communities, we need everyone who brings expertise in understanding the impacts of severe weather events to be at the same table, sharing their data and insights,” he said.

Terry Collins