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'Problems getting worse’: Allianz urges climate risk investment  

Allianz Australia's Chief Technical Officer James Fitzpatrick has urged Australia to keep building momentum on resilience investment to help prepare for severe climate hazards.  

Mr Fitzpatrick says as risks such as fire, floods, and storms continue to escalate “faster than the insurance industry had predicted”, more effort will be needed to ensure home premiums remain affordable.  

Australia is currently experiencing active El Nino conditions and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which have caused notably warmer and drier conditions across much of the country. Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania have all been affected by significant bushfires in recent weeks.  

“The problems are getting worse,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “They’re going to cost us more than the solutions are going to cost. 

“The quicker we act, the better we mitigate it, and the better off we’ll all be in the future.”  

Mr Fitzpatrick notes that Australia is “ahead of many other parts of the world” in terms of investment, but he says a renewed push from the government and insurers can make the country a leading global example for resiliency.  

“We’re seeing government interest in investing in resilience and trying to do that in a way that’s informed by what is the biggest risk and what is the biggest impact,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.   

“We’ve got a lot already in terms of knowledge, but I think as we try these investments, as we try to do different things, and some of the relocations post the [Lismore] flooding are a good example, there will be lessons that we can share around the world.”   

He credits the importance of the industry’s ability to embrace innovation and learn from previous events to help address future risks, highlighting a current collaboration with a paint company to introduce fire-proof material for homes.  

“We recalibrate, we learn from experience, that leads us to better risk assessment which ultimately works into pricing, some up, some down,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.  

Mr Fitzpatrick was speaking with UNSW Business School academic Juliet Bourke as part of the podcast series “The business of”.  

Click here to access the full episode.