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Protecting the North

Cyclones are a part of life in northern Australia and having helped protect Queenslanders for 99 years, Suncorp knows only too well the damage that can be done.

Damage to buildings is just the tip of the iceberg - with additional costs to communities including lost work time, clean up, rebuilding and of course the adverse impacts on people’s health.

As part of a new approach to help reduce risk and, in turn, the cost of insurance premiums in cyclone prone communities, we have developed a program called Protecting the North.

Through Protecting the North we are working to help reduce the damage cyclones can cause to houses, as well as making insurance more accessible with new, innovative products and features.

Suncorp recently won an award at the 2015 Australian Banking & Finance awards for Best Insurance Company in Socially Responsible Performance for our work on Protecting the North and the program is also playing a role in the Australian Government’s new 2015 National Climate Resilience and Adaption Strategy.

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Our Protecting the North program includes

Recognising cyclone mitigation work

Suncorp Insurance’s Cyclone Resilience Benefit is an insurance premium reduction available to certain Home and Landlord Insurance customers with properties located in those parts of northern Australia which are most likely to experience cyclones.

Making houses stronger through cyclone mitigation

We’re working with experts to better understand cyclone vulnerabilities in homes to help develop a comprehensive retrofit program to strengthen older homes. Our research shows that simple, low-cost mitigation can pay for itself after just one cyclone.

Suncorp Strata Insurance

Suncorp now offers strata insurance for small strata schemes (up to 10 units), with a feature which provides up to $10,000 towards the cost of purchasing and installing industry recognised building enhancements such as cyclone shutters in certain conditions. 

Affordable insurance for low income earners

Our new insurance product, called Essentials by AAI, has been specifically tailored for low income earners, with policies starting from just $4 per week.

Cyclones and Insurance in Northern Australia

  • Since 2005, 17 severe cyclones have made landfall in northern Australia, and the risk to communities is only increasing as the region becomes more developed.
  • Insurance losses from cyclones are modelled to average $632 million per year. There is also a 1 in 10 chance cyclones can cost over $2 billion in any given year.
  • It is estimated up to 100,000 older homes in north Queensland alone may not meet current wind load codes.
  • Many insurers operate in northern Australia. Multiple government reviews have confirmed that insurance prices are reflective of cyclone risk. Right now, there are as many insurers operating in Cairns as there are in Sydney.
  • Strengthening homes against cyclones is the only way to reduce risk, protect communities and reduce insurance costs. Retrofits save home owners and the economy up to $13 for every dollar invested, and significantly reduce the amount of damage caused when a cyclone hits.

Protecting the North is based on expert local research into cyclone mitigation

Suncorp partnered with the Cyclone Testing Station (CTS) at James Cook University (JCU) and Urbis to analyse insurance claims data so we can better understand cyclone vulnerabilities in homes, and what we can do to make them stronger. You can read the reports from this research here: 

Build to Last: A Protecting the North initiative

JCU cyclone research - Phase 1 report

JCU cyclone research - Phase 2 report

Protecting the North: The benefits of cyclone mitigation

Build to Last infographic

Suncorp media statements and public submissions