Cyclone Debbie losses cross a billion dollars

Leading global reinsurance firm has placed a number on its claims burden for Cyclone Debbie at approximately US$350 million, net of retrocession and before tax.

Whereas, the total insured market losses for wind, flood, and storm surge damages, are estimated to be US$1.3 billion.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie made landfall on 28 March 2017 as a category four hurricane; making it the strongest cyclone to hit the Australian region since 2015. The eye of the storm came ashore near Airlie Beach on the north Queensland coast, with estimated 10-minute sustained winds of close to 200km/h.

“This destructive cyclone caused structural damage by flooding, storm surge and wind in regions close to the Queensland coast,” says Matthias Weber, Swiss Re’s Group Chief Underwriting Officer. “We are a lead reinsurer in this market and estimate that Cyclone Debbie has caused higher commercial and corporate losses compared to similar events in the past. We express our sympathies to those affected and will continue to work closely with our partners and clients to ensure that people receive the financial support they need to clean up and rebuild after this tragic event.”

The main disaster zone stretched more than 990 km from the point of landfall, reaching northern New South Wales. Within New South Wales, both Central and South Lismore are protected by levees, but in both cases the levees were overtopped, contributing to significant damage.