Natural Disaster Risks and Confidence in Insurance Cover

Bruce Tranter


Analyses of nationally representative Australian survey data collected in 2017 show that the perceived risks of natural disasters from bushfires, cyclones or floods is quite low among the Australian public.  Disaster risk is experienced more acutely in rural locations compared to cities and their surrounds, while Queenslanders are more concerned about natural disasters than those living in other states.  Politically, Liberal and National party identifiers are less likely than supporters of other parties to be concerned about natural disaster risks, although the effect is relatively weak.  Should a natural disaster occur, two thirds of Australians covered by home and contents insurance claimed to be either somewhat or very confident they would be covered by insurance.  Social characteristics had little bearing on confidence in insurance, although those who exhibit higher trust in insurance companies were not surprisingly more confident of being covered.  However, the strongest correlate of confidence in insurance coverage in the case of natural disasters was knowledge of insurance related issues.  The more Australians believe they know about insurance cover, and the costs of rebuilding and replacing contents, the more likely they are to be confident of being adequately covered by insurance if a natural disaster strikes.

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