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Most Australians know cyclones can cause serious damage to housing. Insurance premiums in cyclone-prone regions are among the highest in the country. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Some predict as many as 10% of houses in Australia may become "uninsurable" by 2100. However, the good news is home owners can do many things to reduce cyclone risk. Even better, this will help reduce their insurance premiums.
Start - Cyclone - Season - Australians - Home
The start of cyclone season should remind many Australians to start preparing. Home owners are usually told to trim their trees and prepare their emergency kits. While these activities can help keep people safe during and after a cyclone, it's just as important to improve resilience for the long term. Consider adding cyclone shutters, upgrading older roofs, etc.
Unfortunately, it often takes a disaster to motivate change. Following Cyclone Tracy, which devastated Darwin in 1974, Australia developed a much stronger building code. As a result, all houses built in cyclone-prone regions after 1982 have cyclone-ready roofs. This has reduced damage to these newer houses in cyclones.
Houses - Roofs - % - Queensland - Addition
But many houses still do not have cyclone-ready roofs – up to 60% in Queensland. In addition, post-cyclone damage surveys have shown all houses—not just older ones—are vulnerable to broken windows and damage when water gets inside (e.g. wind-driven rain).
Thankfully, a range of other structural upgrades can reduce this damage. For example, cyclone shutters protect windows from being smashed by flying debris. However, the uptake of voluntary structural upgrades like cyclone shutters has been low.
Research - Queensland - Home - Owners - Measures
Our research recently examined how Queensland home owners think about these measures and how to get more people to implement them. The main findings (see full reports part 1 and part 2) suggest a need to improve both messaging and policy.
How can we improve messaging?
Way - Preparedness
One way to encourage preparedness is to get...
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