New report recommends a government-led bushfire insurance model

The latest report from the Practical Justice Initiative at UNSW Sydney has called on policymakers, and society more broadly, to reflect on the values that guide our insurance models in the light of climate-induced extremes like the 2019-20 bushfires in Australia.

The Social Justice and the Future of Fire Insurance in Australia report proposes the adoption of an alternative risk management model: It recommends a government-led insurance scheme, similar to the Medicare model, as the most ethical approach.

“Under this Fairness as Social Justice model, goods that are basic requirements should be provided independently of individuals’ risks and choices,” said Professor Jeremy Moss from the Practical Justice Initiative at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences. “This would ensure housing security from climate-induced extremes for future generations.”

Moss believes the report takes a first step in outlining the values and models for responding to the problem and aims to raise some important issues for public debate.

“The issue of climate change and bushfire insurance also raises broader issues concerning how we as a society should share the burdens of responding to climate change. We need to make decisions about how much risk individuals should be asked to bear and whether society should allow widespread ‘climate disadvantage’,” he continued.

You can download the Social Justice and Future of Fire Insurance in Australia report here.