Floods in Australia cause surge in household expenses

A series of floods that devastated Australia’s eastern states earlier this year cost billions of dollars in insurance losses, with the financial impact being felt throughout every home in the country, according to a report released on Thursday.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia’s (ICA) “Insurance Catastrophe Resilience Report 2021-22”, the February-March floods in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland led to A$5.28 billion in insured losses and added more than A$1,500 in annual expenses to every household, reports Xinhua news agency.

The report, conducted for the ICA by the public policy research institute McKell Institute, calculated the household bill on the escalating costs of associated expenses such as taxes, insurance premiums, uninsured damages and price rises due to supply chain shortages triggered by the floods.

McKell Institute Chief Executive Michael Buckland, in a statement released on Thursday, said the findings showed that the floods not only impacted millions of people caught in the rising waters, but also “showed that even individuals who were not directly impacted bear the economic and social cost”.

“Every Australian pays for natural disasters through the rising cost of produce or shouldering the tax bill for recovery,” Buckland said.

The report also looked at how climate change was impacting the affordability of insurance in the areas hardest hit by cyclones, bushfires and floods.

Residents in the nation’s north, which often suffer the brunt of such disasters, now pay about 1.8 times more in insurance premiums than homeowners in southern regions.

ICA Chief Executive Andrew Hall said the findings were stark reminders of the urgent need to invest in strengthening the communities against worsening extreme weather.

He called on state and territory governments to reform taxes on insurance to make them more affordable for those who are now most at risk from extreme weather events.

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