IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, has today released two new fact sheets about bushfire risk to help educate Australians of the risks they face and how they can prepare for future bushfire seasons – as trends indicate Australia will experience more extreme bushfire seasons. Bushfire seasons are getting longer, and the number of catastrophic bushfire events is increasing, which makes it more critical for communities to understand their level of risk and ensure they take the right steps to be prepared.
IAG, whose brands include NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIC, SGIO and WFI, had many teams on the ground over the recent summer bushfire season helping customers recover.
IAG Executive Manager Natural Perils Mark Leplastrier said: “We see the impacts of natural disasters firsthand, and the suffering of people and communities last summer was heartbreaking. We want to do everything we can to help people understand the risks they face to help them prepare for the future.”
The first fact sheet looks at Bushfire Risk and includes IAG’s latest scientific observations and weather trends to help people understand how bushfire risk is changing across the country. The fact sheet also outlines the top five Local Government Areas across each state that are likely to experience higher bushfire risk*.
IAG has also released a Bushfire Awareness fact sheet to help educate Australians about the causes of bushfires and how to ensure they are adequately insured. This Bushfire Awareness fact sheet also provides an explanation of Bushfire Attack Levels (BALs) and what these mean for rebuilding after a bushfire. The trends were collated by IAG’s Natural Perils team, which comprises climate scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists and statisticians whose job is to understand the extreme weather events that impact customers so that they can accurately assess the risks customers face, while also looking at what IAG can do to help customers and communities mitigate those risks.
While bushfire seasons are getting longer and more severe, the trends show that different parts of the country will see an increase in risk at a different pace. “Bushfire risk is increasing across the country mainly due to higher temperatures coupled with lower humidity and higher evaporation rates. This is exacerbated by dry conditions and drought which create drier vegetation and therefore more fuel for fires to burn,” Mr Leplastrier said. “Different parts of the country will start to see an increase in bushfire risk at different times, but the underlying trend is that all parts of Australia will see an increase in the future.
“It’s important that people understand the risks they face so they can make the right decisions about where they choose to live, how to reduce their risk, and how they prepare for a bushfire if they are in a high risk area,” Mr Leplastrier said. IAG has been involved in the climate space for more than 15 years and has worked collaboratively with other organisations, government and the community to advocate for increasing risk mitigation to ensure that communities can reduce and manage the risks they face. To help Australians prepare for emergencies IAG has also partnered with the Australian Red Cross to co-create the Get Prepared app, which helps people build an emergency plan.
For more information visit:
- IAG Bushfire Risk fact sheet
- IAG Bushfire Awareness fact sheet
- Get Prepared app: https://www.redcross.org.au/get-help/emergencies/preparing-for-emergencies/get-prepared-app
- Local Government Areas with highest bushfire risk based on the total sum of premium at risk
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Additional information and reports from IAG
Last year IAG partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to release the Severe Weather in a Changing Climate report.
The report includes the latest data on the state of the climate and predictions on future extreme weather events based on a range of warming global temperatures (up to 3°C from pre-industrial times).
This year IAG provided a submission to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, including a policy paper prepared by the Menzies Research centre titled, Strengthening Resilience: Managing Natural Disasters after the 2019-2020 bushfire season.
The paper outlines five key recommendations including the establishment of a National Bushfire Risk Rating system and calling for government to prioritise risk reduction.