As homes in New South Wales (NSW) sink due to the recent floods, thousands of residents are also sinking in debt as they struggle to pay for the repairs of their flood-damaged homes – highlighting the region's underinsurance problem.
According to ABC, many NSW residents are uninsured because they find flood insurance premiums too expensive – with ABC citing up to $30,000 a year for some policies.
“If you live in a very high-risk area where your entire house could be flooded on a regular event, then, yes, it's probably likely that's what you'd pay,” said Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) chief executive Andrew Hall on RN Breakfast.
Hall said the $30,000 annual insurance bill highlighted the problem with allowing housing developments in areas at risk of high flood.
“We've now got more than a hundred years of data. We really understand where land floods in this country, and we need to be doing more in ensuring that data is available and governments are making the right land planning decisions,” he said.
“I think we need to have a national conversation around where development is permitted and the fact that a lot of developments have occurred in areas that face flooding, one-in-50-year floods.”
State Emergency Service planner and former deputy commissioner Chas Keys aired the same sentiments, pointing to the surge in development around the Hawkesbury-Nepean basin.
“We are putting thousands and thousands of people on flood plains between Penrith and downstream of Windsor in the valley of South Creek and the valley of the Hawkesbury proper,” Keys told ABC.
“Now flood plains are bound to flood, they are designed by nature to flood, and we are aiming to double the population of the Hawkesbury-Nepean over certain years. To me, there is a certain insanity in that.”