24 June 2021

NRMA Insurance today launched the Wild Weather Tracker (the tracker) – a seasonal analysis of insurance claims data - to help people prepare and protect themselves against wild weather. The tracker will be released quarterly after every season to show the impact of severe weather in NSW, QLD and the ACT.

NSW experienced its most devastating autumn in five years with floods and storms causing more than 14,000 home claims. This represents 76% of all home claims in NSW in autumn 2021 and is triple the five-year average for autumn in NSW.

The tracker also analyses new research1 from NRMA Insurance on community attitudes to preparedness. When asked to self-assess their readiness for wild weather, residents of the North Coast, Mid-North Coast and Far South Coast felt most prepared, while residents in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and Inner West felt the least prepared of any region in NSW.

Executive General Manager, Direct Claims Luke Gallagher said: “The last 18 months have been demanding for so many communities who’ve been hit by multiple disasters – from the Black Summer bushfires, to extreme hail and severe storms. Not to mention the added pressure of a global pandemic.

"We’ve created the tracker to help communities understand that wild weather is getting more severe and happening more often. However, we can learn from these events and people can take practical steps to be better prepared, which could ultimately help save lives and property."

NRMA Insurance is proud to partner with the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) on disaster preparedness.

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said the tracker provides valuable insights for communities.

"By empowering communities to learn from past events, they can make changes that will go a long way to keeping them safe in future," Commissioner York said.

Wild Weather Tracker autumn data shows Mid-North Coast hardest hit

This first issue of the tracker highlights the huge impact of the severe storms that hit the east coast this autumn.

According to the five-year average for autumn, around 50% of all home claims in NSW during the autumn months are caused by severe weather damage. Yet in 2021, 76% of home claims were caused by severe weather. It was also the highest number of severe weather home claims in any single season since summer 2019-20 (Black Summer).

The Mid-North Coast, the Hunter and North-West Sydney were the hardest hit regions, while Port Macquarie recorded the most severe weather home claims of any town or suburb in the state.

Most impacted regions, towns and suburbs in NSW – Autumn 2021
Rank Regions Towns/suburbs in NSW Suburbs in Sydney
1 Mid North Coast Port Macquarie Castle Hill
2 Newcastle and Hunter Valley North Haven Glenmore Park
3

North-West Sydney and Blue Mountains

(e.g. Penrith and Katoomba)

Dunbogan Mosman
4

Central Northern Sydney

(e.g. Hills District and Windsor

Nambucca Heads Wahroonga
5 Central Coast Taree Baulkham Hills
6 St George and Sutherland Shire Nelson Bay Cherrybrook
7 Fairfield-Liverpool Castle Hill Chester Hill and Kellyville (equal)
8

South-West Sydney

(e.g. Campbelltown and Macarthur)
Moree St Ives
9 Illawarra and Wollongong Laurieton Turramurra
10 Northern Beaches Forster Chipping Norton

Community concern not translating into action

NRMA insurance research on community preparedness reveals nearly two-thirds (65%) of NSW residents are worried natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe.

Despite significant community concern about the impact of wild weather:

  • only 39% of NSW residents said they took steps during autumn to prepare their home and family;
  • 41% (or 1.25 million households2) don’t feel ready to respond in the event of severe weather hitting their suburb;
  • 55% said they hadn’t checked to see if their insurance is adequate or up to date following the storms that hit the state in autumn;
  • only 33% said they had an emergency plan, while even less (27%) have an emergency kit ready.

The research also shows 70% of NSW residents believe climate change is making severe weather worse.

The Severe Weather in a Changing Climate report, which NRMA’s Natural Perils team developed with the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research, confirms the impact of climate change on the frequency and severity of wild weather. It found that extreme tropical cyclones, storms, hail, floods and bushfires are becoming more frequent in a warmer climate – and that communities in Australia are now experiencing this firsthand.

"We have created the NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker to highlight the damage that severe weather causes year-round and to encourage the community to take more steps, more often to prepare their homes, businesses and families for natural disasters," Mr. Gallagher said.

"The fact that many people in NSW still don’t feel prepared to respond to wild weather, especially after the devastating storms that hit many parts of the state this autumn, is concerning."

The tracker also features tips from the NSW SES on how to prepare for severe storms, floods and hail.

SES Commissioner York said the flooding we recently experienced demonstrates just how dangerous storms and floodwater can be.

"Taking the time now to prepare can go a long way towards keeping you, your family and even your animals safe when the next severe weather event hits," Commissioner York said.

"There are a lot of handy resources available on the NSW SES website that can help guide people in what they can do now," she said.

NRMA’s Luke Gallagher added: “Simple actions now can help prevent damage, which is why we encourage people to complete this month’s First Saturday task to tie down any loose items in your yard, such as outdoor furniture. It doesn’t take long to do but it can make a big difference when a storm hits.”

NRMA Insurance and NSW SES have also partnered on the First Saturday campaign which encourages people to dedicate one Saturday of every month to carry out a small task to make their homes safer. The June and August tasks are focused on getting storm ready.

Download the NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker from https://www.iag.com.au/sites/default/files/Newsroom%20PDFs/Autumn%202021%20Wild%20Weather%20Tracker.pdf

About NRMA Insurance

NRMA Insurance is one of Australia’s most trusted general insurance providers – helping people protect the things they care about since 1920. It has a long proud history of working with communities to build their resilience against severe weather and keep people safer on the road.

Almost three million customers across NSW, Queensland, ACT and Tasmania choose NRMA Insurance to protect their homes, vehicles, businesses, motorcycles, boats, pets and travel. In 2019, more than 350,000 claims were paid.

NRMA Insurance is backed by IAG, the largest general insurer in Australia and New Zealand and operator of some of Australia’s biggest insurance brands including CGU, SGIO, SGIC and WFI.

1 Online research of 1,003 NSW, 1,005 QLD and 505 ACT residents – research conducted by Pure Profile in May 2021

2 Based on survey findings (59% feel prepared to respond – 41% don’t) and NSW dwellings numbers – latest ABS census data (2016)

Media contact:

Annabelle Vo

0411 010 778

annabelle.vo@iag.com.au