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14 August 2023

Climate change pushes farm insurance through the roof


Farmers for Climate Action, an organisation representing more than 8000 Australian farmers, says two recent insurance reports have laid bare the rising cost of climate change inaction.

Research by the Actuaries Institute released today (Monday August 14) says the median home insurance premiums are up 28 percent in the year to March 31, the biggest increase in 20 years. People in flood prone areas are facing price hikes of up to 50 percent.

The actuaries noted that part of the increase was due to higher building supply costs, but it was also “driven by climate change impacts we’re already seeing.”

This follows a report last week by consumer group Choice, which found 87% of policyholders in Australia have seen insurance premiums rise, and two in five people reported having their homes impacted by an extreme weather event in the last five years.

Ulmarra farmer Peter Lake says climate change has made floods on his northern New South Wales farm more frequent and severe, and made his farm insurance unaffordable.

“We’ve dealt with major floods in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2021 but nothing could have prepared us for February 2022. We lost fences and fodder and were forced to sell most of our stock. Even when the waters receded we were flood free but not mud free. We battled mud for months,” he said.

Since then the member of Farmers for Climate Action has seen his insurance bill skyrocket.

“I was quoted $19 000 per year to insure my farm which is just too much. We’ve had to weigh  up not insuring our farm equipment, sheds and fences. We’re only insuring the house and a horse float now.”

“To stop the costs of climate change going higher we need urgent action to reduce emissions, including from coal, oil and gas, right now, this decade,” Mr Lake said.



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Attached: Photos of Peter Lake’s farm at Ulmarra in 2022. Supplied by Peter Lake

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