A global reinsurer said financial losses from events related to weather in Australia have risen four-fold over the past 30 years and are likely to increase as climate change intensifies already volatile weather patterns.
“Due to [Australia's] already high natural climate volatility and extremes – droughts, heatwaves, floods – only small changes in climate may result in high losses,'' Professor Peter Hoppe, the head of Geo Risks Research centre at Munich Re told Fairfax Media.
Professor Hoppe said the threat from climate change for Australia was linked to rising sea surface temperatures with warmer seas increase the risk of intense rainfall and floods, and could lead to more intense tropical cyclones.
Munich Re's assessment is based on a database of 30,000 weather-related events that have caused losses.
Insurers such as Insurance Australia Group say there has not been an increase in Australia's international risk rating despite the string of natural disasters in recent years.
''Whilst we have unfortunately been extremely susceptible to weather events of the past three to four years, that's not necessarily a prediction of what will happen in the future,'' said the chief executive officer for IAG's Direct Insurance division, Andy Cornish. ''It's not really changed materially.''