The impact of climate change on mortality and retirement incomes in Australia

by ramona meyricke and rafal chomik


In Australia, the main risk to human life from climate change arises from heatwaves. As the frequency and duration of heatwaves increase, so will the number of heat-related deaths - and older people are the most vulnerable.  

Other wide-ranging implications of climate change could include lower investment returns and superannuation contributions, with consequent lower retirement incomes. 

This paper outlines these heat-related risks and explains why they should be considered by life insurers and annuity providers, individuals and government.

Key points

  • Heatwaves, which have killed more Australians than any other natural disaster, are expected to become more frequent and last longer.
  • Deaths from heatwaves could rise by 12% among over 65-year-olds by 2060-2080 in some regions.
  • Climate change may have negative long-term return implications for investors.
  • For individuals, it may mean lower super balances; illustrative modelling suggests reductions of 11-18% for the median earner.

The Dialogue Podcast

In this episode of the Actuaries Institute podcast series, Vanessa Beenders sits down with Ramona Meyricke (Senior Actuary, Insurance Risk Review and Analytics at TAL Australia) and Rafal Chomik (Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, University of New South Wales) to discuss the launch of The Impact of Climate Change on Mortality and Retirement Incomes in Australia.
Ramona and Rafal collaborated to write the Dialogue, an initiative of the Actuaries Institute Public Policy team.

Listen now


The Dialogue is a series of papers written by actuaries and published by the Actuaries Institute. The papers aim to stimulate discussion on important emerging issues. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of either the Institute of Actuaries of Australia (the ‘Institute’), its members, directors, officers, employees, agents, or that of the employers of the author