A Sunburnt Country – Storms, Surges and Sea Levels: Of Insurance and Flooding Rains

  • Lucy Cradduck Queensland University of Technology
  • John Teale University of the Sunshine Coast and University of New England
Keywords: Flood, Sea Level, Insurance, Documentary Literacy, Town Planning


Increasing population pressures and life-style choices are resulting in more people living in areas that are at risk of inundation from rising sea levels and flooding. Following recent natural disaster events, such as the 2011 Queensland floods, many Australians discovered they were uninsured. Either their insurance policies did not cover flood; or multiple (and confusing) water-related definitions led them to believe they had cover when they did not. Several theories are analysed to try to explain what is a world-wide underinsurance problem but these do not provide an answer to the problem. This research focuses on uncovering the reasons consumers fail to adequately insure for flood and other water-related events. Recent Australian legislative attempts to overcome insureds’ confusion of water related definitions are examined for this purpose. The authors conclude that Australian (and other) legislators should set a maximum premium for a minimum amount of flood and sea related cover; and restrict the building and style of homes in flood prone areas.


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