First of its kind search report will provide conveyancers with property-specific forward analysis on the main physical risks for legal due diligence.
Groundsure, the leading environmental and climate data authority, has entered the Australian legal services market with its ClimateIndex™ Report. Designed initially for residential transactions in the state of New South Wales, this groundbreaking report will provide data analysis, risk assessment and guidance on the current and 30 year view from a range of climate driven risks including flooding, bushfires and coastal erosion.
New South Wales has witnessed some of the most extreme climate events across the world in the last 4 years, resulting in approximately $13 billion of insurance claims. The 2019-2020 Black Summer Bushfires resulted in an estimated 11 million hectares of burnt land and property; the 2022 Eastern River System and Sydney flooding saw over 50,000 people evacuated and an estimated 240,000 insurance claims made it one of the most costly series of related insurance claims events in history.
Some 35% of the NSW population live within 10 km of the coast. The combination of sea level rise and storm surges have accelerated major coastal erosion incidents, including many expensive stretches of beachfront where real estate has collapsed or faces total financial loss in the coming years.
“Australia, and especially New South Wales, is in the front line of climate change,” says Dan Montagnani, CEO of Groundsure. “Conveyancers and real estate lawyers play a central role in advising clients on any risks with their planned home or investment asset. Climate change represents perhaps the single greatest risk to both property values and peace of mind.
ClimateIndex™ enables legal professionals to clearly and effectively signpost potential climate risks to their clients that could impact on the availability of insurance and the ability to get a mortgage on the property. It also helps them to be prepared for incoming climate risk guidance from their law societies and to meet their legal duty of care and duty to warn their clients.“
At the end of May, Norton Rose Fulbright published a comprehensive Legal Opinion on the potential litigation risks that could arise from failing to advise clients on the impact of climate risk on property transactions. The opinion has been shared with the NSW Law Society and Australian Law Commission, who continue to refine their policies on climate change to meet current and future practice risks.
ClimateIndex™ has been developed using third party and proprietary data modelling and analytical techniques including NSW Government data where applicable to present a balanced and proportionate risk assessment of these climate risks today and factoring in climate change over the following 30 year period.
Each report is property specific and utilises the latest view of the calculated risks with full colour mapping illustrating the impact of each peril. An A to F ClimateIndex value is assigned to each property based on the overall assessment where A is the best possible rating and F the worst – both today and in 30 years. Practical, next-steps guidance is provided for each risk and is backed up by experts available to provide support on the report findings.
Continued Dan Montagnani, “From our detailed research, there has been a clear gap in providing conveyancers and real estate lawyers with a clear and effective answer to understanding the forward impact of climate change on their client’s transaction.
Firms will also want the assurance that they are satisfying growing ESG risks from advising the client on what in some cases could result in a total financial loss. Climate Risks and the quantum of cost is only driving in one direction. Legal professionals now have a valuable tool to ensure their client makes a sustainable and empowered decision that accounts for an uncertain future. “
The ClimateIndex report is available from today through InfoTrack Australia as part of the normal package of reports for conveyancing due diligence. More information on the report can be found here.