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ICA makes 'significant inroads' on climate change

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says its stepped-up efforts to manage the impact of climate change on the industry and the nation’s communities has had an encouraging start.

The council set up the Climate Change Action Committee early last year and appointed external specialist Tom Davies to develop a blueprint to “achieve an orderly transition to a low carbon economy”.

In a little over a year, the committee has made "significant inroads" by working with local governments, community and industry, initiating 33 projects, two of which are now complete.

“After such an encouraging start the committee is keen to continue to nurture partnerships, build on current projects, share and actively use its results to help reduce risk,” ICA said today in a statement acknowledging the committee’s achievements.

Three key partnerships have been signed by the committee, most recently an agreement to work on the Future Homes Project with the Green Building Council of Australia, as it focuses on practical action to support the transition to lower carbon emissions.

The team is also working with The Minderoo Foundation to tackle bushfire and disaster resilience, and has an ongoing relationship with Queensland’s emergency services Extreme Wind Hazard Assessment team to provide information to determine the potential impact of severe tropical cyclones.

In SA, ICA worked with the Southern and Hills Local Government Association as part of the Where we Build, What we Build resilience initiative to identify ways to improve the resilience of homes to a changed climate.

Some SA councils are now implementing Beyond Compliance Building Guidelines and the ICA says this work can be now be replicated by other local councils and regions.

The committee is also engaged in cyclone and flood vulnerability studies and has rolled out technologies to enable monitoring and planning, such as the MyHazards iPhone app. There are plans for a climate change layer in ICA’s Dataglobe, and a general insurance climate change literacy program has been designed for ICA members.

ICA has previously said its members “accept the international scientific consensus” that “the earth’s mean surface temperature is increasing and it is extremely likely the dominant cause of the observed warming is the effect of human activity on the climate system”.

It urges the general insurance industry to take public and proactive steps towards addressing growing concerns of the impact of climate change.

“The goal is to ensure that the industry can continue to offer affordable and accessible insurance products in a climate-changed future,” ICA says.