NRMA Insurance: Wild weather, Suburbs worst hit

One of Australia’s leading insurance companies has revealed its latest data on insurance claims following a devastating disaster season and the findings may shock you.

Insurance claims resulting from severe weather conditions are on the rise, representing the majority of claims for Australian homes.

This Autumn, the NRMA received over 25,000 wild weather home claims – 80 per cent of the insurer’s total home claims nationally.

More than 22,000 of these were made in NSW, with the majority related to storm incidents.

Northern areas of Sydney were hit hard, with Castle Hill and Wahroonga ranked among the most impacted suburbs in NSW, at numbers 2 and 3 respectively.

The Upper North Shore and Hornsby region accounted for the highest percentage of wild weather claims, closely followed by the Northern Beaches and southwest Sydney.

“It’s very different to floodwaters that happened in Lismore, Murwillumbah and Casino, where you’ve got less people and less policies in force,” NRMA Insurance executive general manager of direct claims Luke Gallagher said.

“While acknowledging the devastation of the floods, you’ve got more storm claims because of the geographical diversity of metropolitan regions.”

NRMA also witnessed a 20 per cent spike in motor vehicle collision claims in the last 12 months.

“It’s been a really wet six months and we’ve seen an increase in people driving their cars as they return to the office,” Mr Gallagher said.

“So you’ve got more cars on the road and people that probably haven’t got the same driving skills that they had two years ago.”

Common incidents include lost control of vehicles, such as sliding into vehicles or gutters.

In low visibility conditions, motorists are advised to use low beam headlights, while in slippery conditions, they are advised to slow down and leave sufficient distance between themselves and other cars.

Ballina recorded the greatest number of severe weather home and motor claims of any town or suburb in NSW this Autumn, as the Northern Rivers dealt with the unprecedented flood crisis.

It was the third worst season for wild weather home damage since 2015, behind only the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 and the hailstorm summer of 2018-19.

During the east coast flood crisis, NRMA received 30,000 claims for damage to homes, property and vehicles in NSW and southeast Queensland.

More than a quarter of NSW residents were worried about heavy rain and hail causing damage to their property.

“Water is an extremely powerful force,” Mr Gallagher said.

“If you’ve got cracked or porous tiles, failed silicone membranes or inadequate flushing, it only takes a pinhole to allow water to get into your house.”

The NRMA advises home occupiers should maintain their homes the same way they maintain their car, and service it at least once every 12 months.

That includes clearing out gutters, cutting back low hanging trees and branches, securing loose items and checking the condition of your roof for cracks or holes.

Eighty per cent of the 3,500 customers the NRMA surveyed recognise climate change is making severe weather worse and want to see disaster mitigation investment increase.

Originally published as NRMA reveals worsening weather cause of rising insurance claims

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