23 July 2020

Insurers taking a positive stance on climate change

Just over a year ago the Board of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) agreed the general insurance industry should take public and proactive steps towards addressing the growing concerns of the impact of climate change. The result was the formation of the Climate Change Action Committee (CCAC).

The Climate Change Action Committee focuses on practical action that will assist and support Australia’s transition to a resilient and low-carbon economy. The goal is to ensure that the industry can continue to offer affordable and accessible insurance products in a climate-changed future.

Over the past year the committee has made significant inroads towards meeting the challenge by working with communities, local governments and industry to create measurable change. It has already agreed to work on 33 projects, two of which are now compete with another 20 projects under way.

One notable project demonstrates the strength of industry and community alliances that create change. Under South Australia’s Where we Build, What we Build resilience program the ICA worked with the Southern and Hills Local Government Association on identifying ways to improve the resilience of homes in a climate-change environment.

The project has completed its technical phase, with some councils now implementing Beyond Compliance Building Guidelines. This work can be now be replicated for use by other local councils and regions.

The CCAC is also engaged in cyclone and flood vulnerability studies, rolled out technologies to enable monitoring and planning (such as the MyHazards iPhone app) and the planned addition of a climate change layer in the Insurance Council’s dataglobe, along with the establishment of a general insurance climate change literacy program for all ICA members.

In the past year the CCAC has signed three key partnerships. The most recent venture is its agreement to work on the Future Homes Project as part of the CCAC’s relationship with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). This year the team signed an MOU to work with The Minderoo Foundation to tackle bushfire and disaster resilience. And the CCAC has an ongoing relationship with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and its Extreme Wind Hazard Assessment team to provide the information required to determine the potential physical impacts of severe tropical cyclones on Queensland communities. 

After such an encouraging start the committee is keen to continue to nurture partnerships, build on current projects, share and actively use its results to help reduce risk.

View the CCAC website for more details. https://climaterisk.insure/

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