ICA DECLARES CATASTROPHE FOR EAST COAST STORMS AND FLOODING

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for property losses caused by storms and flooding along the east coast since February 5.

ICA Head of Risk and Operations Karl Sullivan said: “Insurers expect a large number of claims will be lodged over the next 48 hours as property owners inspect the damage to homes and businesses and contact their insurers. It’s likely many householders are unable to contact their insurers due to telecommunications and power interruptions, but insurers are standing by to help.”

As of 7am on 10 February, insurers had received 10,000 claims with the value of claims estimated at $45 million. Most claims are for property damage caused by storm runoff, flooding, strong winds and heavy rain.

So far most of the claims are from south-east Queensland and along New South Wales coastal regions, but damage has also been reported several hundred kilometres inland and in the ACT.

The Catastrophe declaration means claims will be given priority by insurers. The ICA is operating its disaster hotline 1800 734 621 to provide guidance to affected property owners.

“Insurers are also monitoring the extent of insured damage in Western Australia’s Pilbara region following Cyclone Damien over the weekend,” Sullivan added.

This is the sixth Catastrophe declared in the past five months. In September, bushfires in NSW and Queensland resulted in 497 claims worth $37 million; October’s Rappville NSW bushfires led to 255 claims and insured losses of $19 million; and more than 20,000 claims worth $1.65 billion have been lodged for the November to February bushfires that affected Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The ICA also declared Catastrophes for hailstorms in November (SE Queensland, 22,000 claims, $166 million) and January (ACT, Victoria and NSW, 69,850 claims worth $638 million).