‘Climate trauma’: Australians battle extreme weather and unaffordable premiums
A new study from the Climate Council details “widespread distress” amongst Australians facing severe weather events and pressure from rising insurance premiums.
The report says soaring prices are “increasing the burden” on policyholders to protect their properties against worsening natural disasters.
Of more than 2000 survey respondents who held insurance plans, 64% reported a rise in their premiums in the last two years, with a majority attributing “climate disasters” as a reason. 6% of respondents said they cancelled their insurance due to the increasing cost.
The report found that about 21% of overall respondents reported having no insurance.
Climate Council Research Director Simon Bradshaw says more Australians are feeling “climate trauma,” with over 80% of respondents saying they experienced a natural disaster within the past five years.
“Decades of scientific research have taught us a lot about the physical risks of climate change, but far less attention has been paid to the impact of climate change on our mental health,” Dr Bradshaw said.
“The results highlight the devastating toll that climate change is having on the mental health of our communities, and uncover many practical steps we should be taking.”
Lismore City Councilor and Resilient Lismore MD Elly Bird says locals are experiencing “a collective trauma” from last year’s floods, with many unable to afford insurance or having claims denied.
“People simply cannot navigate day-to-day. We’re exhausted,” Ms Bird said.
“While we continue to rebuild and may well achieve some type of ‘normal’, it is abundantly clear that the mental health repercussions will be with us for a very long time.
“As a society we need to have serious conversations about the sting in the tail of climate disasters: about the mental health fall out – not just here in Lismore – but all around the country.”
The Climate Council says mental health systems require significant reforms to improve preparation and aid for disaster victims, particularly those in regional communities.
It also calls for the establishment of an independent insurance price monitor and a “comprehensive review of the impact of climate change on the provision of insurance”.
Click here for the report.
Insurance News – 01/03/2023