Homeowners and businesses in north Queensland may soon find it difficult to insure their properties as flood risk rises due to climate change, new modelling has suggested.
According to Climate Valuation, flood cover will become difficult to obtain and too expensive for Townsville and other north Queensland communities, as the risk to homes from flooding is expected to more than double under climate change.
Modelling revealed that flooding in Townsville is already about 20% more to likely to occur than previously thought, and that total flood risk in the region is likely to shoot up by 130% by the end of the century, putting the waterlogged region “on track to become uninsurable,” Guardian Australia reported.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of properties out there that planners in years past considered acceptable, but which homeowners may find are not insurable today or won’t be very soon,” Karl Mallon, director of science and systems at Climate Valuation, told the publication. “Generally, insurance companies often draw a line in the sand at the frequency of a one-in-100-year flood event. This means that as the risks of flooding increase, many Townsville houses will be uninsurable, or the owners will find cover unaffordable.”
A number of homes and businesses that have been impacted by the recent catastrophic flooding in Townsville said they did not have specific flood cover. The properties rated by city planning codes to be outside the “one in 100 years” flood zone, meanwhile, were reported to be effectively flood-free.
“We strongly urge people to check with councils and insurers if their homes are in flood zones, and if they can expect long-term affordable cover,” Mallon told Guardian Australia. “If not, they should know they will have to plan for the risks on their own and think about adapting their homes for climate change.”