A story in the Sydney Morning Herald this week explored findings of a Munich Re study that puts the economic cost of major natural catastrophes at 4 per cent of GDP in the five years following the event.
Also included in the story was research from the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities (of which IAG is a member) that noted an annual government investment of $250m (AUD) towards disaster mitigation schemes would help save significantly more in clean up costs when disaster strikes.
The story is a good reminder about the importance of addressing the risk of natural disasters in New Zealand where IAG is leading efforts to build the country’s preparation for natural disasters and increase resilience through its role in Resilient New Zealand.
Formed this year, the organisation also includes Beca, BNZ, Vodafone and the New Zealand Red Cross, and aims to identify, champion and advocate ways to help make New Zealand more resilient to natural disasters: both to lessen their impact and enable better recovery when they occur.
Bryce Davies, from IAG’s Corporate Affairs team, said preparation was vital in ensuring New Zealand was more resilient to the threat of natural disasters.
“Natural hazards are recognised as a strategic risk for New Zealand. When natural disasters strike they can have a massive impact on communities from a social and economic point of view,” Mr Davies said.
“Ensuring we are making good decisions to prepare for these disasters is a key element of building our resilience and ensuring that we can recover faster.”
Mr Davies said improving New Zealand’s resilience was a key element of reducing our country’s vulnerability to the threat of natural disasters.
“Achieving greater resilience will certainly help us better withstand and bounce back from natural disasters, and most importantly, improve the prosperity and wellbeing of our communities.”
The first Resilient New Zealand report addressing the role business can play in recovery to natural disasters will be released next month. Drawing on the experience of business and community leaders involved in the Canterbury Earthquake response and recovery, it focuses on building resilience, leading recovery, and collaborating with others.
It will include recommendations designed to: establish improved business practices in respect of planning for, preventing, responding to, and recovering from disasters; encourage central and local government to consider how they can create the right enabling environment for businesses to contribute to recovery; and reinforce the expectations that the public, businesses and government have of recovery and the role business plays in it.