Almost a quarter of properties in Australia are exposed to high flood risk – ICA

Industry calls for greater investment by governments at all levels

Almost a quarter of properties in Australia are exposed to high flood risk – ICA

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

The Insurance Council of Australia's (ICA) new data analysis has revealed a concerning number of properties exposed to high flood risk.

In its submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics' inquiry into insurers' responses to 2022 major flood claims, the ICA revealed that 229,455 properties have a 5% flood annual exceedance probability (AEP), known as a 1-in-20 year flood risk.

“The ICA is committed to working with all stakeholders to improve the way the insurance industry responds to floods, and we welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the House Economics Committee,” said ICA CEO Andrew Hall. “Our data analysis also shows that damage from flood is wildly disproportionate to the number of properties known to be exposed to flood risk, so by targeting mitigation efforts to those most affected we can relieve the burden on us all.”

Submission highlights

The submission noted that more than half of the properties (123,475) with a 5% flood AEP are in New South Wales. It further revealed that over 674,000 properties in Australia face a 1%, 2%, or 5% AEP, commonly described as 1-in-100, 1-in-50, and 1-in-20 year floods, respectively.

Data from the National Flood Information Database included in the submission also showed that NSW, Queensland, and Victoria have 78.1% of properties across Australia, but account for:

  • 98.7% of properties exposed to 5% AEP
  • 94.3% of properties exposed to 2% AEP
  • 91.2% of properties exposed to 1% AEP
  • 94% of properties exposed to a 1%, 2%, or 5% AEP
  • 86.3% of properties exposed to a probable maximum flood (the largest flood that could occur in that location)

The ICA called for greater investment by governments at all levels to further protect homes and communities from the impacts of extreme weather events.

“Governments must amend land use planning legislation to include a mandatory requirement for planning approvals to consider property and community resilience to extreme weather and improve building codes so future homes are made more resilient,” Hall said.

Last month, the ICA released a 2023 update of its climate change roadmap, which includes the industry's implementation strategies and case studies and results of a survey on ICA members' progress towards net zero.

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