Normalised Australian insured losses from meteorological hazards: 1967-2006

Ryan P. Crompton*, K. John McAneney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since 1967, the Insurance Council of Australia has maintained a database of significant insured losses. Apart from five geological events, all others (156) are the result of meteorological hazards-tropical cyclones, floods, thunderstorms, hailstorms and bushfires. In this study, we normalise the weather-related losses to estimate the insured loss that would be sustained if these events were to recur under year 2006 societal conditions. Conceptually equivalent to the population, inflation and wealth adjustments used in previous studies, we use two surrogate factors to normalise losses-changes in both the number and average nominal value of dwellings over time, where nominal dwelling values exclude land value. An additional factor is included for tropical cyclone losses: this factor adjusts for the influence of enhanced building standards in tropical cyclone-prone areas that have markedly reduced the vulnerability of construction since the early 1980s. Once the weather-related insured losses are normalised, they exhibit no obvious trend over time that might be attributed to other factors, including human-induced climate change. Given this result, we echo previous studies in suggesting that practical steps taken to reduce the vulnerability of communities to today's weather would alleviate the impact under any future climate; the success of improved building standards in reducing tropical cyclone wind-induced losses is evidence that important gains can be made through disaster risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

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