Luka Kauzlaric

Older buildings cost more in cyclone insurance claims

NORTHERN Queensland's pre-1980 buildings make up the majority of insurance claims after a cyclone.

A Suncorp Insurance and James Cook University study found houses built before the building code make up less than half of the region's houses but they cost millions more to fix than post-code buildings.

The study found pre-1980 buildings make up about 43% of north Queensland buildings - but, after Cyclone Yasi, made up $132 million of insurance claims.

In comparison post-1980 buildings make up around 57% of all buildings and made up $119 million in claims.

Suncorp Insurance executive general manager Lisa Harrison said the study demonstrated how effective the building code was at minimising cyclone damage.

"This study is an eye-opener in terms of better understanding the loss that occurred during these major disasters and what exactly caused these damages," she said.

"It points to a number of things insurers, communities and ultimately governments can do to better protect life and property, build a stronger economy and resilient communities and, importantly, achieve significant insurance savings for north Queensland."

JCU cyclone testing station director Dr David Henderson said data analysis allowed his team to document some important trends.

"One in particular is the volume of claims coming from newer homes - mostly smaller claims related to things like water damage, guttering, sheds, fences and shade sails," he said.

"These add up to approximately $35 million from across the region.

"However, older homes do contribute greater to the damages when a cyclone occurs.

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