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ICA declares catastrophe for east coast storms & flooding

10th February 2020 - Author: Luke Gallin

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared the sixth catastrophe in the past five months, following property losses caused by recent storms and flooding across the east coast since February 5th, 2020.

According to the ICA, insurance companies have received 10,000 claims with the value of claims estimated at AUD 45 million (USD 30 million). The majority of the claims are for property damage as a result of storm runoff, flooding, strong winds, and heavy rain.

As explained by ICA Head of Risk and Operations, Karl Sullivan, the claims count and therefore insurance industry loss from the recent storms and flooding is expected to rise in the coming days.

“Insurers expect a large number of claims will be lodged over the next 48 hours as property owners inspect the damage to homes and businesses and contact their insurers. It’s likely many householders are unable to contact their insurers due to telecommunications and power interruptions, but insurers are standing by to help.

“So far most of the claims are from south-east Queensland and along New South Wales (NSW) coastal regions, but damage has also been reported several hundred kilometres inland and in the ACT,” said Sullivan.

By declaring the event a catastrophe, the ICA ensures that insurers give priority to any claims.

Parts of Australia have been devastated by catastrophe events since September of last year, when bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland resulted in insured losses of around AUD 37 million. In October, the ICA declared another catastrophe after bushfires in Rappville NSW led to more than 250 claims and insured losses of AUD 19 million.

This was followed by more than 20,000 claims and insured losses of more than AUD 1.65 billion from the November to February bushfires that hit Queensland, NSW, Victoria, and South Australia. And, more recently, the ICA declared catastrophes for hailstorms in November and January, which combined drove insured losses of around AUD 804 million.

“Insurers are also monitoring the extent of insured damage in Western Australia’s Pilbara region following Cyclone Damien over the weekend,” added Sullivan.

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