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Press Release

Townsville houses likely to become uninsurable without adaptation as flood risk doubles under climate change

Flood risk to homes in Townsville will double under climate change, with experts saying many properties are on track to become uninsurable.
Embargo Date: Embargoed until 12:01am, Wednesday 20 Feb 2019
, Townsville houses likely to become uninsurable without adaptation as flood risk doubles under climate change, Climate Valuation
Image sourced from Ambiental FloodMap for 1 in 100 flood, created February 2019. It shows the hazard footprint from pluvial (pink), fluvial (blue) and tidal (orange) flood sources.


Recent analysis conducted by Climate Valuation has found that the recent Townsville flood is likely to have increased in probability by about 20 per cent due to climate change. It also found the region is tracking towards a 130 per cent increase in flood risk by 2100 under current global emissions trajectories.

While some Townsville businesses in the historical one-in-100 flood zone have been reported as not having flood cover insurance, the probability of further floods increases due to climate change. This means more and more households will find flood cover is too expensive to afford and harder to find.

For anyone building a home in Townsville today, this means they will have to deal with well over double the flood risk by 2100.

“Severe floods like we’ve just witnessed in Townsville were previously expected to happen with a one per cent probability per year. Now, we calculate that they’re already about 20 per cent more likely than that due to climate change.” – Dr Karl Mallon. Director of Science and Systems at Climate Valuation

, Townsville houses likely to become uninsurable without adaptation as flood risk doubles under climate change, Climate Valuation
Change in 1 in 100 return frequency of flood in Townsville between 1990 and 2100. Computed for Climate Valuation based on Regional Concentration Pathway of 8.5 and selected regional downscaling of Global Circulation Models.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of properties out there that planners in years past considered acceptable, but which homeowners may find are not insurable today or won’t be very soon. This leaves families and businesses financially vulnerable because those levels of risk are very costly to insure.”

“Generally insurance companies often draw a line in the sand at the frequency of a one-in-100 year flood event. This means that as the risks of flooding increase, many Townsville houses will be uninsurable or the owners will find cover unaffordable.

“We strongly urge people to check with councils and insurers if their homes are in flood zones, and if they can expect long term affordable cover.  If not they should know they will have to plan for the risks on their own and  think about adapting their homes for climate change.”

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About Climate Valuation

Climate Valuation is the world’s leading provider of investment-grade physical climate risk analysis on individual properties on a global scale. Our mission is to democratise climate risk information so that governments, banks and the average citizen can make informed decisions about community safety and financial wellbeing. We aim to provide a better understanding of how extreme weather and changing climate will affect homes, neighbourhoods and financial investments. In doing so, we will help prepare our community for resilience and enable all levels of business and government to tackle the issue of climate change.