ICA reveals Australia’s most flood-prone areas

March 21 2019 by InsuranceAsia News Staff

North Queensland’s federal seat of Herbert (which includes Townsville) is Australia’s most flood-prone electorate, according to the latest Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) research.

The analysis reveals Australia’s 20 most flood-affected federal electorates. Sixteen of these are in Queensland and four are in New South Wales. At the top of the list, Herbert has 55,460 exposed land parcels, followed by Kennedy with 35,248.

The ICA’s general manager of risk and disaster planning, Karl Sullivan, said the research was a wake-up call to all levels of government about the urgent need to prioritise investments in flood mitigation.

“The ICA has analysed official flood data, collated from governments across Australia for the industry’s National Flood information Database, and has matched it against federal electoral boundaries for ease of comparison,” Sullivan said.

“Insurers are painfully aware that Queensland experiences more natural disasters than other states, but we were shocked that more than half of its electorates are so exposed to flood.

“Flood risk is one key reason why many householders and businesses in these electorates may pay high insurance premiums. With a New South Wales election due this weekend, and a Federal election due in May, it’s time voters asked their local MPs and other candidates one simple yet essential question: ‘What are you planning to do to lower our flood risk?’”

Sullivan said each of the top 20 electorates had experienced catastrophic flooding over the past decade, and many had the double-whammy of being struck by cyclones.

“Most recently, Townsville in Herbert was hit with one of the worst floods in living memory, with insurance losses of A$1.04 billion (US$740 million) from 25,664 claims,” he said.

“Some communities within these federal electorates are governed by local councils with comprehensive flood-risk mitigation programs. Others may lack the capacity and funding to carry out the required work.

“The Insurance Council has long called for implementation of the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that the Commonwealth invest A$200 million a year in mitigation and resilience, matched by state and territory governments.”

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