Insurers step up as fires raze WA homes

Burnt house

The insurance industry is readying itself for the aftermath of the Perth Hills bushfires that have killed one man and destroyed at least 44 homes over the weekend.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has formally declared the area a catastrophe zone, establishing a taskforce and activating its disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

A heatwave and high winds added fuel to the fires, which burned through more than 650 hectares around Parkerville before being contained.

A man died yesterday while preparing his home for a separate fire burning in John Forrest National Park, west of Parkerville. The ambulance service says he collapsed on his roof.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan says the insurance industry is ready to help.

“The ICA has already started liaising with Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis, government agencies and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, as well as state MPs and local government,” he says.

“Insurers are standing by to handle inquiries and claims from affected policyholders, and they will prioritise these cases to help reduce the stress these households are suffering.

“I advise anyone affected by this disaster to follow the instructions of the emergency services and return to their properties only when it is safe to do so.”

Temperatures in Western Australia have eased but the heatwave is expected to continue moving across the country, with Adelaide and Melbourne slated for 40-plus days later this week.