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Climate group pushes for independent insurance monitor

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An independent insurance price monitor should be established to see that Australians in disaster-prone areas can insure and be more resilient, climate experts say.

The recommendation is part of a new national strategy to address an unprecedented era of climate-fuelled bushfires from Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA).

ELCA was formed last year and is led by former NSW Fire & Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins to “cut through the political noise and firmly articulate that worsening extreme weather is being aggravated by climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels”.

Its Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan was developed with more than 150 specialists and people from affected communities. It outlines 165 recommendations for more effective bushfire readiness, response and recovery.

One of the suggestions made is “mandating standardised terms and modernising the standard cover regime” to help “make home insurance suitable and fair”.

“To encourage understanding and uptake of insurance, and to meet the particular needs of people living on low incomes, the insurance industry should encourage and promote targeted financial resilience programs (and) adopt financial inclusion policies, including hardship programs,” one recommendation says.

Mr Mullins says climate change has pushed Australia into “a new bushfire era”.

“This plan outlines practical steps that all levels of government can take right now to better protect communities. It’s important that the Federal Government takes these recommendations seriously and acts on them urgently.”

Deloitte Access Economics estimates the economic cost of extreme weather events in Australia will grow to $39 billion a year by 2050.

ELCA also wants a national climate disaster fund to be raised through a fossil fuel producer levy, and wants better-resourced fire and land management agencies to manage fuels, aerial firefighting capability and an Indigenous-led national cultural fire strategy.