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House and contents underinsurance: Insights from bushfire-prone Australia


Booth, K and Lucas, C and Eriksen, C and de Vet, E and Tranter, B and French, S and Young, T and McKinnon, S, House and contents underinsurance: Insights from bushfire-prone Australia, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 80 Article 103209. ISSN 2212-4209 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103209


As the climate changes and extreme weather events become more common, the role of house and contents insurance in managing risks is garnering more attention. There is concern, as insurance is a key safety net in contemporary life, that significant levels of house and contents underinsurance are placing individuals and communities at undue risk. Yet, the phenomenon of underinsurance is under-researched. Informed by a document analysis of findings from a multi-modal project investigating the experiences and perspectives of insured and uninsured households in bushfire-prone Australia, we identify underinsurance as a complex phenomenon that is variably co-constituted at different scales - households, landscapes, and markets. To better understand what principles can be meaningfully applied for addressing underinsurance, we present four pertinent and novel themes - place (contextualising rates of underinsurance), integration (integrating insurance with other disaster management mechanisms), hegemony (dismantling hegemonic risk discourses including reference to 'shared responsibility'), and solidarity (in insurance, and through disaster and climate responses). We conclude that addressing inequality and inequity remains paramount given the multifarious reasons why households may be underinsured. Strategies for addressing disasters and global environmental change should be socially just and inclusive irrespective of whether or not households have insurance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, disasters, insurance, mixed methods, place, underinsurance
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Urban and regional planning
Research Field:Strategic, metropolitan and regional planning
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Social impacts of climate change and variability
UTAS Author:Booth, K (Dr Kate Booth)
UTAS Author:Lucas, C (Dr Chloe Lucas)
UTAS Author:Tranter, B (Professor Bruce Tranter)
ID Code:152999
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP170100096)
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2022-09-01
Last Modified:2022-10-12

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