“It’s a disaster. The amount of work and effort you put into your house only to have it flooded.”
Sam Bowstead is an architect who specializes in building disaster-resistant homes. When his Brisbane home of Australia was flooded in February, he felt helpless. He says, “I’ve dealt with folks who have been in similar situations, and now this has happened to me.” “I was taken aback by how quickly [the water] rose… more than a meter in just a few hours. From being concerned about our stuff, I became concerned about our safety.”
In the end, the only way out was via boat. Mr. Bowstead’s story is becoming more prevalent among Australians. Over 500 people and billions of animals have died as a result of record-breaking bushfires and floods in the last three years. Communities have been ravaged by drought, cyclones, and unexpected tides.
Climate change is a major issue for Australian voters in Saturday’s election. The expense of living is also rising, and these challenges are colliding like never before. According to a Climate Council assessment, Australia is facing a “insurability catastrophe,” with one in every 25 homes on pace to be essentially uninsurable by 2030. Another one out of every eleven people is at risk of being underinsured.
The government has pledged billions to help insurers “reinsure” themselves against catastrophic disaster claims, claiming that this will reduce costs for households in northern Australia. However, it is a dangerous policy that neither the Australian Insurance Council nor the country’s industry watchdog wanted.
Critics have pointed out that disasters are now wreaking havoc in locations outside of northern Australia, which the policy will not cover. How about their insurance premiums? Instead, they want the government to restrict building in high-risk regions, consider buying out certain homeowners, and provide incentives for families to make their homes disaster-proof.
But, as Dr. Settle points out, the obvious solution is to address climate change, despite the fact that successive administrations have been hesitant to do so.
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