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Value of insurance losses from major weather events in Australia 2020

The 2019/2020 bushfire season was responsible for significant environmental and economic damage across Australia. As of January 2020, around 740 million Australian dollars had been reported as insurance losses as a result of the bushfires. Major destructive weather events and natural disasters have hit Australia hard over the past decade. Storms, floods, cyclones, drought, and wildfires were all examples of extreme weather events which negatively impacted the country.

Damage caused by the 2019/2020 bushfire season

The environmental, social, and economic impact of the recent bush fires has been felt throughout the country. As of January 2020, almost 13 million hectares of land had been burned during the Australian bushfire season in New South Wales and the ACT alone. Conservation, forest, and plantation land were primarily affected, however hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural and residential land were also destroyed. Thousands of commercial buildings and residential homes were damaged and at least 34 people were killed. Furthermore, many threatened fauna species were inhabiting areas affected by the fires, resulting in countless animals being killed. During the height of the fires, air quality dropped to dangerous levels. While bushfires are not unusual in Australia, the season experienced in 2019/2020 had a severe impact.

Economic impact of extreme weather

The total costs associated with extreme weather and climate change is difficult to quantify. Some studies have shown that the costs of emission reductions, for example by transitioning to renewable energy, are far lower than the damage costs associated with inaction against climate change. The damage-related loss in property values from climate hazards across Australia in 2030 was estimated at 571 billion Australian dollars. This was estimated to continue to increase until at least 2100. The potential for essentially uninsurable properties will increase as the risk cost becomes disproportional to the property value, leaving many Australian homeowners in a difficult situation.

Value of insurance losses from major weather events in Australia as of January 2020

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

as of January 8, 2020

Supplementary notes

* As of the date of release.

Values normalized to 2017 dollars.

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Statistics on "Bushfires in Australia"

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