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.
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:
JCU cyclone research - Phase 1 report
JCU cyclone research - Phase 2 report
Build to Last infographic
Media release: Prevention better than cure in natural disasters
Media release: North Queensland homeowners rewarded for cyclone resilience
Media release: New low-cost loan to build cyclone resilience in Queensland
Media release: Insurers working with James Cook University on impact of cyclones on strata properties
Media release: North Queensland homeowners reaping the benefits of cyclone resilience
Media release: Cyclone resilience answers in the palm of your hand
Media release: Australian-first insurance for people on low incomes
Media release: Protecting the North: Build to Last to tackle the problem, not the symptom
Media release: Suncorp Strata: New insurance product to give cost relief and mitigation benefits
Factsheet: Suncorp Strata insurance policy factsheet
Media release: Initiatives to better protect North Queensland from cyclone
Media release: Suncorp’s mitigation plan recognised in national climate strategy
Media release: Suncorp Insurance Cyclone Resilience Benefit Launch
Factsheet: Suncorp Insurance Cyclone Resilience Benefit
Media release: Suncorp welcomes Insurance Taskforce report
Attachment 1 (Build to Last report)