ICA backs budget enhancements for disaster preparedness

Budget for cost-of-living relief welcomed by actuaries

ICA backs budget enhancements for disaster preparedness

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has welcomed the additional funding in the 2024-25 Budget, aimed at bolstering national disaster preparedness and resilience.

Enhanced funding has been allocated to the National Emergency Management Agency, bolstering its role in aiding Australians before, during, and post-disaster scenarios.

Additional financial support will be directed towards the Department of Social Services to assist individuals in financial distress during times of crisis.

ICA welcomes 2024-25 Budget funding for disaster preparedness

The ICA, which has been urging comprehensive climate assurance standards, has reiterated that it will collaborate with the government to develop strategies that will improve both the affordability and accessibility of insurance, especially as households face increasing cost-of-living pressures.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall highlighted the importance of insurance as a protective mechanism for both families and businesses in Australia.

“Insurance is a critical safeguard to enable Australian families to go about their lives and businesses to operate and grow. We know that Australians are feeling the cost-of-living crunch, including through the impact of higher insurance premiums driven by escalating disasters costs, inflation, and global reinsurance premiums,” he said.

He stressed the necessity of proactive risk reduction measures: “Reducing physical risks to homes and communities before disasters strike is vital to taking pressure off insurance costs in Australia. That’s why we welcomed the Albanese government’s announcement of the $1 billion Disaster Ready Fund, which is now in its second year of operation. However, the overall investment in resilience and mitigation remains below where we need to be as a nation.”

The insurance industry continues to push for government actions that can help reduce insurance premiums and enhance national resilience.

“The insurance industry continues to work constructively with the government to find ways to put downward pressure on insurance costs and build a more resilient Australia, including continuing to highlight the $6.8 billion stamp duty take on premiums by state governments and the need to return some of that funding to stronger resilience and mitigation measures,” Hall said.

Actuaries Institute welcomes Federal Budget’s cost-of-living relief

The Actuaries Institute, which recently hosted its prestigious All Actuaries Summit, has welcomed the budget’s focus on alleviating the cost of living and promoting equity.

“The Institute welcomes cost-of-living supports, especially the further increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and reductions to income tax and tertiary education debt,” said Elayne Grace, CEO of the Actuaries Institute. “As highlighted in the institute's report, ‘Not a level playing field,’ safeguarding income and intergenerational equity is a significant societal issue that is likely to worsen without intentional policy.”

Actuaries Institute calls for greater investments in climate adaptation and AI

However, the Actuaries Institute has called for greater investments in climate adaptation and the advancement of the AI sector.

“The institute welcomes the substantial public funding, investment incentives, and other forms of support for disaster resilience, climate adaptation, and the transition to a clean energy economy,” Grace said. “But we reiterate a significant uplift in public sector investment is required, as well as public-private sector partnerships, to close the adaptation finance gap.”

Focusing on the AI sector, Grace said: “The institute supports the $40 million funding announced to help Australia prepare for and embrace AI technology. But greater AI investment and clarity around policy is required to supercharge and secure Australia’s digital future.”

The institute has also advocated for modifications to the superannuation and retirement tax frameworks to better support the system’s sustainability for future generations.

“While the institute welcomes the modest measure to include superannuation in the government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme announced earlier this year, we call on the government to consider what changes to superannuation and retirement income tax settings would help put our system on a fairer and more sustainable footing for current and future generations,” Grace said.

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