The risk of forest fires is higher this summer, warns chief Suncorp

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"The fuel stock for the potential fire threat is probably greater this year than in the last two years," said Johnston.

Suncorp has a number of important insurance brands including AAMI, GIO, Bingle and Apia, and its view is consistent with the insurance industry's flagship body, the Insurance Council of Australia.

Last month, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Center also stated that the 2019-2020 fire season had the potential to be "active", with an "above-normal" potential of forest fires in the eastern cost of NSW, Queensland. Victoria and parts of the west Australia and South Australia. That report stated that New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland were in their third year of dry conditions and that "the general dryness of the landscape" was "likely to persist for many areas".

At the beginning of this year, Suncorp raised its budget for natural disaster claims, partly because climate change is causing more frequent extreme events.

Johnston said that "there is no doubt" that the costs and frequency of natural disasters have increased, although he said that it is difficult to say whether a particular event, such as the last fires, was caused by climate change.

"We can see it through our actuarial analysis, the cost of events and the frequency of events, I mean that they have increased in the last five or six years compared to the previous five or six years. So we had to cancel the allowances, we had to put in place new reinsurance coverage ", he said.

He asked the government and businesses to work together to help make communities more resistant to disasters, for example by working on fire safety measures or improving the quality of buildings.

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