Reinsurance News

ICA declares Australian floods to be ‘significant event’

5th July 2022 - Author: Pete Carvill

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a ‘significant event’ for regions of New South Wales impacted by significant storm and flooding over the past few days.

australia-floodingThis means that the ICA’s preliminary catastrophe processes have been activated, assisting the ICA and insurers to assess the insurance impact of the current flood event.

Andrew Hall, CEO of the ICA, said: “This is the fourth flood event for some New South Wales communities this year and we understand this is going to be an incredibly difficult time for many. Insurers understand the emotional impact of these extreme weather events which are becoming more frequent and severe and will be taking swift action to ensure communities receive the assistance they need as quickly as possible.”

He added: “Insurers are well prepared to respond to these events, but it is clear the community needs to be better protected from worsening extreme weather and that requires greater investment in mitigation and resilience.”

After a significant event declaration:

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  1. The ICA commences its claims data collection, analysis, and reporting processes in consultation with members.
  2. ICA representatives will continue to work with government and agencies to understand impacts on the community and ensure affected residents receive assistance.
  3. The ICA’s disaster hotline is activated 1800 734 621; offering assistance to policyholders if they are uncertain of their insurance details or have general enquiries about the claims process.

This event may be escalated to an insurance catastrophe if there is a significant increase in claim numbers or complexity, if the geographical spread of this event is extended or in consultation with insurers.

As Reinsurance News reported earlier this week, Australia has been hit by more significant rainfall and strong winds as an East coast low batters the country, with parts of Sydney particularly badly hit as 350 mm of rainfall has been recorded and numerous rivers reach flood stage. Up to 50,000 people have been urged to evacuate their homes, while parts of Sydney has been inundated with eight months of rain in about four days.

Thousands of households have been told to evacuate due to flood warnings and an expectation of more rains to come.

Southwest and northwest Sydney have seen properties flooded, while the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley area is being warned that the worst flooding may still be to come.

This flooding in Australia comes as parts of the eastern and southeast coast of the country continue to recover from flooding earlier this year.

This latest flood event has resulted in more than 18 evacuation orders in the Sydney area alone, while Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has flood warnings in effect in other parts of South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory at this time.

This July flood disaster in Australia comes as parts of the eastern and southeast coast of the country continue to recover from flooding earlier this year.

This year’s East Coast Flood from February and March was deemed the costliest flood in Australian history and the third most costly natural catastrophe event, by the Insurance Council.

The latest data from the Council showed that flooding in South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales in late February and early March caused $4.8 billion in insured damages.

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