flood storm damage climate change insurance hail
Damage from the 2017 Murwillumbah floods (Image: AAP/Tracey Nearmy)

In 2010 a chunk of hail landed in the town of Vivian, South Dakota that re-wrote the record books. One of Vivian’s 130 residents grabbed it and put it in their freezer. Even after some melting (partly due to being shown off repeatedly to the town's other 129 residents) the hailstone measured 20cm across and weighed 870 grams when it was officially recorded -- the biggest ever seen.

Stories like this make toes curl in the insurance industry. Hailstones larger than golf balls do serious damage. Car windows get smashed. Crops are flattened, and solar panels get turned to shards. All of which can result in major payouts by insurers.