The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has released new data showing more than half of insurance claims related to the February and March floods have been closed, with the latest figures revealing a 10% increase from last month amounting to $2.81bn or 54%.
Insured losses have increased slightly from last month to $5.45bn from about 234,000 claims. Though still well below Catastrophe loss aggregator PERILS estimate of $6.3bn.
Claims closure times are being impacted by the high volume, says the ICA, along with a shortage of experts required to assess and manage flood claims, building labour and materials constraints, and the complexity of recovery and resilience programs delivered by both the Queensland and New South Wales governments.
Andrew Hall, CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia, commented, “To ensure Australians continue to have access to affordable insurance protection, we must increase investment in the resilience of our built and natural environments, and, in parallel, address the underlying cause of more severe weather events.”
“We encourage Queensland, New South Wales and the Federal Government to continue to expedite their build back and buyback programs as soon as possible to give those communities certainty.”
The data update follows the release of the Insurance Council’s Insurance Catastrophe Resilience Report 2021-22 and research from the McKell Institute, which found extreme weather events over the past 12 months cost every Australian household an average of $1,532.
McKell’s The Cost of Extreme Weather report shows that over the last 10 years the average annual household cost of extreme weather has been $888, but this figure is expected to jump to more than $2,500 a year by 2050.
Hall added, “While we remain concerned that summer forecasts a continuation of La Niña conditions, insurers are geared up and working through the current claims as quickly as possible.”