Cyclone Debbie 20 week update and meetings

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has announced a series of community meetings to assist with community concerns regarding unsettled claims in the Whitsundays from Cyclone Debbie.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017 was the strongest tropical cyclone in the Australian region since Cyclone Quang in 2015, and was branded the most dangerous cyclone to impact Queensland since Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

Individual policyholders can attend these meetings at the following locations to discuss their issues either with a representative of the insurer (if attending) or with an ICA staff  member:

  • PROSERPINE: Fri, Sept 8, 10am – 4pm
  • CANNONVALE: Sat, Sept 9, 10am – 4pm
  • HIDEAWAY (TBC): Sat, Sept 9, 5pm-7pm
  • BOWEN: Sun, Sept 10, 10am – 4pm

The current insured loss value from the event is $1.45 billion from 67,867 lodged claims across both New South Wales and Queensland. Approximately 69 per cent of all claims are now closed for the event and in excess of $500 million in cash and services has already been delivered to impacted communities.

Specifically in the Whitsundays region: 13,500 claims have been lodged, 72 per cent closed, $108 million paid to date to the community from an estimated insured damage bill of $331 million. Based on responses from insurers regarding target completion rates, as well as market shares, the ‘target’ completion rate (for the industry) is 82 per cent for the region, at 23 October 2017.

The ICA is maintaining the position that insurers are well advanced with management of claims and that at approximately 70 per cent closed, the industry is ahead of efforts undertaken in previous events. There is little to be gained from government intervention at this point. Any specific cases where concerns exist should be escalated to the insurer for resolution or through to the industry hotline 1800734621.

A little snippet of how this event is tracking compared to similar events at the 20 week mark:

    • Cyclone Yasi ($1.412 billion in 2011), 56.5 per cent closed at 20 weeks,
    • NSW East Coast Low ($1.48 billion in 2007), 51 per cent closed at 20 weeks,
    • Cyclone Larry ($540 million in 2006), 50 per cent closed at the 20 weeks.

The ICA has advised that the typical timeline for resolution of 99 per cent of claims is 12 months and that the industry is well placed to exceed this.