Australian farmers are facing increasingly frequent droughts, floods, hailstorms and bushfires, resulting in insurance premiums rising to the point where cancelling or underinsuring are the only options.
Mr Peter Holding, a member of Farmers for Climate Action, said, “Climate change poses a cataclysmic set of challenges for farmers.”
“As the frequency [of natural disasters] increases, the insurance premiums are just going to go up — there’s no doubt about that.”
He said prolonged fire seasons are just one example of how climate change is affecting agricultural practices, according to a report in abc.net.au.
“The Canberra fires in 2003 was when we first saw the phenomenal firestorm effect,” he said. “And that’s getting more common.”
Rising risks, rising costs
Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said that insurers build a robust picture of the seasonal exposure that properties have per annum, which is then is priced into premiums.
“As the climate changes, and as risks are reassessed, that logically leads to changes in premiums to reflect the risks,” he said.
Mr Fuller said appropriate land use and resilient infrastructure in areas of higher risk to natural disasters needed to be prioritised.
“Changes in risk that can be predicted by climate change modelling need to be taken into account,” he said.
Eighty percent of Australian households are underinsured, and Mr Fuller says that percentage is probably much higher in rural areas. He said farmers were likely to insure infrastructure such as their homes, sheds and equipment, but fences, livestock and crops were less likely to be included.