I was pleased to learn that the World Bank and Government of Japan are hosting the Sendai Dialogue tomorrow and Wednesday this week to discuss how the world better manages disaster risk. This is a critical issue because, assuming no action, we can expect greater loss of life and economic damage than we have seen previously. As the World Bank observes:
…unplanned growth of cities puts more people at risk. By 2050, the urban population exposed to storms and earthquakes alone could double to 1.5 billion.
All economies, developing and developed, are subject to disaster risk, and indeed recent floods and cyclones in Australia have revealed issues in our policy settings, and we have had action on improving flood insurance at least. Unfortunately the Federal Government has been slower to respond on strata insurance and, as noted by KS at Loose Change, the due date for a report from the Australian Government Actuary on this issue has passed (Silence on Strata).
I’m not necessarily convinced the Government needs to intervene in strata insurance, as recent premium increases might reflect insurance companies finally realising how risky it is insuring multiple units in the same building subject to the same risks. But we at least need to see the Actuary’s advice on the source of recent steep premium increases to reach a conclusion.
This is an issue that is causing a lot of angst in the North and Far North. As reported in the Townsville Bulletin today (Insurance price hike rallies homeowners):
NORTH Queenslanders have come out in force and backed plans to lobby insurance companies and all levels of government to keep skyrocketing property insurance charges in check.
A lobby group set up by unit owners from Airlie Beach, Townsville and Cairns is hoping to use people power to force insurance companies, state and federal governments and body corporate managers to reduce the cost of insurance for unit blocks in the region.