There’s an article in The Conversation today on Fire and flood: how home insurance can help us adapt to climate change that refers to the fact that after a natural disaster home insurance allows a home to be replaced on-site on a “like-for-like” basis, and life carries on as usual. And it’s that “life as usual” aspect of it that is the problem. The site has the same disaster risk as before and, to the extent that local planning laws allow, the new house has the same risk profile as before. And house insurance premiums keep climbing because of the risk profile of so much of the housing stock in the face of increasingly extreme weather conditions arising from climate change.
The article suggests that the solution may lie in action taken through the
“… critical relationships that bring together the different players involved in insurance, housing provision, climate adaptation and disaster management.
They will be required to work together with various stakeholders in bravely and innovatively deciding how and where we redesign and build more resilient Australian communities. The plan to relocate homes in the ravaged township of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley is an Australian first and exemplary of how such initiatives might work through land-swaps.
There will be an uncomfortable period of transition; communities in urban areas have an inertia to them that means change is slow. Even as new safe havens pop up, they will not be available to everyone immediately. Weathering our climate change future will require a response that involves all Australians.”
I completely agree, having long thought that we need to use natural disasters as a catalyst for a process that recognises past errors in planning and design and moves, in stages if necessary, to a more sustainable and resilient situation.