Brisbane storm brings quick response from industry

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared areas of Brisbane and Southeast Queensland a catastrophe after a super cell storm swept the area yesterday afternoon.

Early figures from the ICA this morning show the storm has already prompted more than 3200 claims, with a bill around $27.2 million.

The weather bureau says two storm cells merged to create a super cell storm, which moved north from the southern border of Queensland in the early afternoon to pass over Brisbane just before rush hour.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman told the media the storm was catastrophic and the worst in a decade, as he called on the Australian Defence Force and SES volunteers to assist in clean-up operations.

In excess of 1000 SES support tasks were reported as of 8:15pm Thursday evening, primarily for roof damage, water penetration, fallen trees and vehicle damage.

Media reports say rainfall as heavy as 71mm in Archerfield was accompanied by gusts up to 140km/h, overturning small planes in the airfield. Brisbane City was hit with 4mm of rain and 6cm hail, which broke windows on cars, homes and businesses. Flash floods submerged cars in St Pauls Terrace and inundated the train tracks in Fortitude Valley.

Graham Metcalf of Energex told the ABC this morning that around 40,000 homes had power restored overnight, but a lot of work was still ahead.

The ICA is liaising today with government and emergency services under state disaster arrangements.

“Insurers have received thousands of claims and inquiries from affected consumers,” says ICA CEO Rob Whelan, “and I urge anyone who ahs been affected to contact their insurer as soon as they can.”

He indicated the catastrophe declaration means claims arising from the storm would be given priority treatment.