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ICA Townsville industry loss estimate exceeds AU$1bn

20th March 2019 - Author: Charlie Wood

The Insurance Council of Australia’s updated industry loss estimate for the flooding in Townsville, Queensland has hit AU$1.04 billion (US$737.4 million), an increase of AU$434 million from a month ago.

townsville-floods

Townsville flooding on Feb 4th. Credit: Zak Simmonds/Townsville Bulletin

ICA Chief Executive Officer Rob Whelan said insurers have so far received 25,778 claims, with around 90% of those consisting of claims for households.

A month ago the ICA estimated that 15,571 claims had been made.

“Seven weeks after the monsoonal deluge, the initial devastating shock of loss for many Townsville residents has been replaced by the need to understand their next steps in the claim process,” said Whelan.

“Policyholders may also wish to learn about claim dispute resolution.”

The city of Townsville and the surrounding area in northeastern Queensland experienced torrential rain and flash flooding throughout much of February.

The flooding was compounded further after flood gates at the Ross River dam were fully opened to drain dangerously high water levels, releasing up to 1,900 cubic metres of water a second and sweeping away cars and more than 300,000 livestock.

As well as this latest insured loss estimate the ICA has also released analysis which reveals North Queensland’s federal seat of Herbert (which includes Townsville) as Australia’s most
flood-prone electorate.

“The ICA has analysed official flood data, collated from governments across Australia for the industry’s National Flood information Database, and has matched it against federal electoral boundaries for ease of comparison,” said ICA General Manager of Risk and Disaster Planning,
Karl Sullivan.

“Some communities within these federal electorates are governed by local councils with
comprehensive flood-risk mitigation programs. Others may lack the capacity and funding to
carry out the required work.”

Sullivan added that Mitigation works should be treated as nation-building infrastructure projects, on par with highways, rail and bridges.

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