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Insurance Council of Australia declares catastrophe for Rappville bushfires

10th October 2019 - Author: Luke Gallin

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has announced a bushfire catastrophe declaration for the area around the northern New South Wales (NSW) community of Rappville and fires in the Busby Flat and Drake areas.

This is the ICA’s second bushfire catastrophe declaration in five weeks for properties either damaged or destroyed in northern NSW.

Reports note that two fires, at Drake near Tenterfield and at Busby Flat near Rappville had joined together to form a large blaze and have already consumed 115,000 hectares, with reports also noting as many as 30 homes being either destroyed or severely damaged.

Chief Executive Officer of the ICA, Rob Whelan, has encouraged those effected to contact their insurance companies as soon as possible. A catastrophe declaration ensures that claims from affected areas are given priority by insurers.

“Insurers are standing by to help customers in this region, with assessors mobilising to examine properties once it’s safe to do so.

“The NSW Rural Fire Service is still determining the extent of property damage, and it may take several weeks before insurers are able to quantify the extent of insured losses. The ICA is aware police are investigating whether the Rappville fire was the result of arson, and reassure property owners that this will not have an impact on their insurance claims.

“Primary producers are reminded that they may euthanise critically injured animals without having been visited by an assessor. They should ensure they have appropriate records for any insurance claim.”

This is the third bushfire catastrophe declared by the ICA this year, and the fourth overall. Following last month’s fires in northern NSW and south-east Queensland, insurers have received over 300 claims with insured losses of AUD 20 million (USD 13.5 million).

Back in March, the ICA declared a catastrophe for the Bunyip bushfires in the eastern Victoria area. Insurers have received a total 432 claims with losses expected to be AUD 31.9 million (USD 21.5 million).

In February, the ICA declared a catastrophe for damage to Townsville and surrounding areas after a monsoon which resulted in over 30,000 claims with losses of AUD 1.26 billion (USD 850 million).

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