The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe following severe wind and flood damage from a storm that affected the city of Hobart, Tasmania over May 10-11, 2018.
Record overnight rainfall brought flash-flooding to the capital of Australia’s island state, damaging property and sweeping away cars, while wind gusts of up to 70kph have downed trees and affected roofs and sheds.
By declaring the event a catastrophe, the ICA ensures that affected policyholders will be given priority by re/insurers, and that urgent assistance will be immediately directed to the worst-affected property owners.
Rob Whelan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICA, said: “The extent of the damage to property, and vehicles in and around Hobart will take several days to be known, and it’s too early to estimate the insured damage bill.
“The catastrophe declaration is intended to help reduce the emotional and financial stress experienced by households and business owners affected by the inundation and storm damage.”
Although the storm has now eased and is tracking north, 12,000 homes and businesses around the state remain without power and authorities are concerned about the safety of water-damaged buildings.
The wind storm brought 128mm of rainfall to Hobart overnight, the highest recorded levels that the city has seen since 1960.
As part of the catastrophe declaration, the ICA has also committed to supporting affected policyholders by establishing a disaster hotline, mobilising representatives to work with local services, and deploying an industry taskforce to address and identify issues.
Whelan continued: “Insurance companies are ready to help their affected customers, and more than 1000 claims have already been lodged.
“I encourage anyone who has suffered property or vehicle damage to contact their insurer as soon as possible to receive guidance on the claims process and the assistance they are entitled to under their policy.”