COVID-19 cost more in 2020 than the world’s combined natural disasters in any of the past 20 years

Homeowners reluctant to spend on natural disaster protection

Despite the threat of climate change on Australia, homeowners would rather spend money on bathroom renovations than natural disaster protection, according to Suncorp’s latest report.

Suncorp’s latest research found that 49% of homeowner respondents expect to see more disasters in the next 12 months. However, eight in 10 homeowners showed little interest in spending to make their home more resilient to natural disasters.

The report also showed that most of the respondents opted for interior updates (62%), kitchen and bathroom upgrades (54% and 53%, respectively), and landscaping (49%) over making their homes more resilient.

Suncorp insurance product & portfolio chief executive officer Lisa Harrison said it was alarming that homeowners prioritise aesthetics over their home’s strength…

COVID-19 killed more people in 16 months than natural disasters in 20 years

COVID-19 cost more in 2020 than the world’s combined natural disasters in any of the past 20 years

What have we lost because of the pandemic? According to our calculations, a lot — and many of the worst hit countries and regions are far from world media attention.

Countries that experienced a deeper health crisis also experienced a deeper economic crisis. There has been no effective trade-off between saving lives and saving livelihoods.

Typically, damage from any disaster is measured in separate categories: the number of fatalities and injuries it caused, and the financial damage it led to (directly or indirectly).

Only by aggregating these various measures into a comprehensive total can we begin to formulate a fuller picture of the burden of disasters, including pandemics.

The usual approach has been to attach a price tag to death and illness. Many governments calculate this “value of statistical life”.

They do this based on surveys asking people how much they are willing to pay to reduce some risk (for example, improve a road they often use), or by calculating the additional compensation people demand when they take on high-risk occupations (for example, as a diver on an oil rig).

By observing the amount of money people associate with small changes in mortality risk, one can then calculate the overall price of a “statistical life” as valued by the average person…

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