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Some SME businesses estimate natural disasters would cost half their annual turnover

In the month following the South East Queensland flooding events earlier this year, eight percent of businesses estimated they would lose at least half their annual turnover, while another 27% expected the disaster would cost their business at least 20%, new Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) data shows. 

It comes as half (50%) of respondents indicated their business was not fully covered for the flooding event and 38% were unable to make a claim for any flood damages. 7% were not insuredat all. 

CCIQ Policy and Advocacy Manager Cherie Josephson said as the state braced for further wide-spread rainfall and potential disruptions to trade this week, now was the time for businesses and communities to secure their resilience against natural disasters. 

“We heard direct from businesses impacted during the floods earlier this year who told us trade was slow for more than a month following the floods, while others told us they had to wait a long time for parts to repair damaged machinery, drawn out by already on-going supply chain constraints,” Ms Josephson said. 

Businesses across Queensland reported their flood impacts included staff accessibility (32%), customer behaviour (46%), supplier accessibility (40%), business closure (21%), loss of power (12%) and inundation (11%). These impacts are similar to what businesses reported in the weeks following the 2011 Brisbane floods. 


“We know businesses are struggling to access affordable insurance to cover their business, and when a disaster happensthose priced out of the insurance market are at the highest risk. It’s why we’re calling for measures to improve insurance affordability and for an insurance of last resort fund to step in where insurance isn’t available,” Ms Josephson said. 

“The findings also showed businesses outside South East Queensland were indirectly impacted, particularly access to supply chains to the rest of the state.  

“Disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts can go a long way to reduce the impacts felt across state and reduce how long it takes to get businesses and communities back to full operation.” 

Ms Josephson said ahead of the State Budget delivery, CCIQ was calling for measures to address insurance affordability, support community and infrastructure resilience and business sustainability. 

CCIQ is calling for: 

  • Expand funding arrangements for preparedness efforts and resilience in regions. 
  • Accelerate investments in existing transport infrastructure assets to build resilience against extreme weather events.  
  • Prioritise mitigation and prevention projects across the regions. 
  • GST on insurance premiums removed. 
  • Commit to an insurance of last resort fund as a financial mechanism to reduce environmental risk. 
  • Enhancing disaster recovery funding. 
  • Commit funding for local councils to develop plans for transition to sustainable and resilient communities.  

Key facts 

  • Has your business been impacted by the March 2022 floods crisis?:Direct and indirect impacts: 68% of Queensland businesses surveyedhaddirect (28%) and/or indirect (61%)impacts during the floods. 
  • For how many days was your business forced to close due to the floods?:26% of Queensland businesses surveyed said the natural disaster forced them to close for at least a week, including 3% needing to close for over a month. 
  • Approximately how much has your business lost in terms of earnings as a result of impacts from the March 2022 floods?:19% of Queensland businesses estimated the disaster would cost their business over $50,000 in lost earnings;17% estimated between $20,000 and $50,000, and 14% estimated between $10,000 and $19,999.  
  • If your business has been inundated with flood water, what was the total cost of thedamage?:22% of Queensland business respondents estimated their damage bill to be over $50,000, 7% estimated between $20,000 and $50,000, and10% estimated between $10,000 and $20,000. 
  • What has been the impact of the floods on your business viability?36% no impact, 36% minor impact, 19% moderate impact, 5% major impact, 4% critical impact. 
  • Please describe the level of insurance that applies to your business:50% Fully covered, 12% partially covered, 10% insured by excess is too costly to make a claim, 22% insured but policy did not cover flood damages, 7% not insured. 
  • What has your business’s total lost earnings as a percentage of annual turnover?:8% of Queensland business respondents expected to lose 50% or more, 19% expected 20 – 49%, 21% expected 10 – 19%, 31% expected 1 – 9%, and 22% stated 0%.  

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