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PERILS settles on AU $989mn loss for Australian East Coast Low

15th February 2021 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS has settled on a final industry loss estimate of AU $989 million (US $769 million) for the East Coast Low that hit Australia in February 2020.

perils lowThis fourth update, which comes a full 12 months on from the event, is slightly above the previous $954 million figure that PERILS put out in August 2020.

The loss number covers the property and motor hull lines of business.

Australian East Coast Lows are very intense low-pressure systems classified as extratropical cyclones which affect an area stretching from South East Queensland to North East Victoria.

The East Coast Low of February 2020 was a typical example of such an event and caused very intense rainfall, flash and river flooding and strong winds along the Australian east coast from early to mid-February 2020.

In combination, these weather features caused widespread damage primarily along the coastal areas of New South Wales (88% of the industry loss) and South East Queensland (11% of the industry loss).

Property damage accounted for the vast majority of losses with 94% attributable to this line of business, while motor losses represented 6% of the total industry losses.

“Today’s release constitutes the first complete schedule of reports produced by PERILS for an Australian East Coast Low event and this final detailed industry loss footprint will help further enhance the insurance industry’s understanding of such losses,” said Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific.

“During the current summer, Australia’s east coast has continued to experience considerable rainfall and storms due primarily to the influence of La Niña. This report is a reminder that in addition to bushfires, hailstorms and tropical cyclones, the east coast is also exposed to large-scale extratropical cyclone systems which can have a considerable impact on the insurance industry.”

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