Suncorp Insurance issues top 10 worst storm-affected suburbs

Updated December 5 2022 - 1:47pm, first published November 29 2022 - 10:48am

Two towns on the Northern Rivers have made the top 10 of Suncorp Insurance's worst storm-affected suburbs over the past financial year.

Mullumbimby cracked a spot in the top 10 at number eight and West Ballina at number nine, while nearby centres such as Armidale came in at number two and Coffs Harbour at four.

Suncorp analysed more than 32,000 weather-related home insurance claims across NSW to reveal the hardest hit suburbs.

SES crews in action in flooded waterways.
SES crews in action in flooded waterways.

Suncorp Insurance EGM Home Claims Alli Smith said the figures were a stark reminder of the difficult year NSW residents have had weather-wise and should be viewed as a reminder that the warmer weather can bring sudden storms, cyclones and heavy rains that can lead to floods.

"NSW has been battered by numerous significant weather events over the past financial year - including February's East Coast Floods and a number of damaging hailstorms," Ms Smith said.

"And our data shows that no one region is more prone to significant weather events - with our top ten storm-battered suburbs coming from four different regions - once again highlighting that severe storms can strike anywhere."

More recently, NSW has been impacted by ongoing flooding in the Central West of the state, impacting towns including Forbes, Eugowra, Cowra and Nanami as a result of heavy rain and storms (which is not included in this Hotspots data set).

Ms Smith said Suncorp Insurance has released this information to act as a reminder that storm season is upon us, and now is the time to get you and your home storm-ready.

"We've released this list of storm-battered suburbs to remind residents across NSW that the impact of storms and significant weather events on property can be severe, and highlight the importance of ensuring you have done everything you can to strengthen your home's resilience against the effects of Mother Nature."

New research by Suncorp Insurance found that while 90 per cent of NSW residents admit to knowing at least one activity that should be completed prior to storm season, more than a quarter (26 per cent) admit to doing nothing to prepare.

"New South Wales residents know the messages around preparing for storm season," Ms Smith said.

"But unfortunately knowing the messages and actually doing something to better prepare and protect your home are two separate things, and many people in NSW are failing to actually complete the often quick-and-easy tasks."

Suncorp Insurance has been on a mission to help educate NSW residents on what they can do to better protect their homes in preparation for the next extreme weather event, because it isn't a matter of 'if' it will happen, but when.

"We're a state battered by extreme weather, and it is unfortunately becoming more frequent and severe," Ms Smith said.

"We want NSW residents to not only be ready for storm season, but to be resilient."

To address the need for greater resilience, in 2021 Suncorp partnered with CSIRO, James Cook University and Room 11 Architects to design, prototype and test what could be Australia's most resilient home - One House, a modern and functional home, with features included to help it withstand natural disasters.

This year, Suncorp took the learnings from One House and applied them to Resilience Road - a project to upgrade four homes on a street in Rockhampton.

"Our One House and Resilience Road projects highlight how easy and cost-effective it can be to strengthen the resilience of your home, and better protect them from significant weather events," Ms Smith said.

"With summer on our doorstep, a third La Nina in full swing and wet conditions forecast for the coming months, now is the time for all NSW residents to get ready and take some practical steps to protect what matters most."

Suncorp Insurance has developed a list of some low cost and high impact things NSW residents can do to strengthen the resilience of their home, including:

o Cleaning/ installing gutters or downpipes

o Have the roof inspected for damaged or loose tiles

o Repair any broken sealant around windowsills to make them watertight

o Inspecting retaining walls

o Fix any corrosion, loose fittings, and rotting or termite infected timber

o Installing fixed, operable high performance mesh screens on doors and windows

"These solutions would dramatically reduce the financial, emotional and social costs associated with recovering from natural disasters," Ms Smith said.

"And we encourage all NSW residents to do what they can to prevent their home from becoming a statistic this summer."

For more tips on how to make your home more resilient visit Build Resilience - Suncorp