Cyclone Debbie costs approach $1 billion

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has revealed that insured losses from Tropical Cyclone Debbie have nearly reached $1 billion.

As of 28 June, insurers have reportedly received more than 58,000 claims across Queensland and New South Wales. Of these, more than 80 per cent were for damage to homes or home contents.

Beyond insurance costs

Cyclone Debbie’s impacts have resulted in a sweeping overhaul of the state’s emergency protocols after fourteen deaths and Queensland’s largest mass evacuation, according to the Courier Mail.

News Mail reported that Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt told parliament the category 4 cyclone, which crossed the coast on 28 March, shaved about $2 billion from the state’s economic growth.

“Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie has hit our economy hard slowing growth to now be in line with the rest of the nation,” Mr Pitt said.

“Coal, sugar, cattle and other exports have been impacted as well as localised tourism.”

The budget detailed how the largest impacts were to coal exports due to damaged rail lines. For tourism, Debbie is estimated to have caused a blow in the form of $150 million. Key resorts, including Daydream and Hayman islands, will not be reopened until 2018.

ICA Community forums

Next week, ICA is hosting a series of free community forums in North Queensland.

ICA General Manager of Communications and Media Relations Campbell Fuller said the community forums would provide an opportunity for householders and business owners in cyclone and flood-prone regions of North Queensland to learn more about their insurance.

“The forums will explore how communities are affected by extreme weather such as floods and cyclones and how this impacts on insurance,” Mr Fuller said.

“Insurance Council disaster specialists will talk about the extent of the natural hazards in each community, and how mitigation could lessen the risks – and help to lower insurance premiums.”

Those interested in attending can register at www.disasters.org.au/events.