Insurer calls for disaster control funding

Finbar O'Mallon |

Insurers are calling for urgent disaster mitigation funding as the industry faces a bill of nearly $750 million from the NSW and Queensland floods.

It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology warns of further flooding risk in NSW’s Northern Rivers and Hunter regions, while flood warnings have been issued for parts of southern Queensland.

Sydney is looking at another week of rain after heavy storms hit parts of the city late this week.

NRMA Insurance says the country has just been through an unprecedented summer of extreme weather, including floods in South Australia and high heat resulting in bushfires in Western Australia.

There was a 53 per cent increase in home insurance claims compared to last year with the largest proportion in the ACT, Queensland and NSW.

Group executive Julie Batch said the benefits of investment in mitigation were clear.

“Now is the time to get the necessary funding into communities and allow mitigation projects to get underway,” Ms Batch said.

The Insurance Council of Australia says there have been about 98,000 insurance claims in flood-affected parts of NSW and Queensland, with 60,000 outstanding and a bill of $742 million.

NRMA’s call comes after the Morrison government was criticised for the lack of spending from its disaster mitigation fund set up in the wake of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.

The $4 billion fund has accrued more than $800 million in interest since it was started but had only spent $50 million before February’s devastating and deadly floods.