NSW bushfires and storms losses pass $70m

Insurers have received about 17,500 claims in the aftermath of Saturday’s hail storms across Sydney with estimated insured losses of $42 million. Insured losses for the NSW bushfires had reached $28.5 million from 1200 claims (as of noon today).

Combined losses from the two New South Wales catastrophes declared in the past week by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) have this morning passed $70 million.

“The damage bill is certainly mounting,” ICA’s General Manager Communications and Media Relations, Campbell Fuller said.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said losses from both events were likely to rise further.

“Insurers have experienced another spike in claims this morning from businesses in relation to the hail storms as owners returned to work,” Whelan said.

“So far, homes and businesses in Sydney’s north-western suburbs and Northern Beaches seem to have been hardest hit by the hailstorms, mostly through damage to vehicles.

According to Danny Adams, General Manager Claims, “Allianz’s claims figures are quite high with some property claims; however the majority of the claims received have been motor
related.”

“It is still early days and while we are receiving as many as 80 claims per hour from the event, we expect that the figures will continue to climb throughout the week, as people take
the opportunity to assess the damage to their vehicles and property.

“To ensure we continue to help our customers in their time of need, we activated Allianz’s Emergency Response Plan to assist in handling the influx of claims,” he said.

Under the catastrophe declaration the ICA has:
• Established an industry taskforce to address and identify any issues that arise
• Activated its disaster hotline – 1800 734 621 – helping policyholders if they are uncertain which insurer they are with, or have general inquiries about the claims process

The ICA and its members are also liaising with the NSW Government, local councils, emergency services and other agencies. On Monday the 21 February it was announced that Suncorp is establishing two Hail Assessment Centres in Sydney’s north-western suburbs and lower North Shore in the wake of Saturday’s hail storm in order to streamline the claims process for customers. Customers of AAMI, GIO, Apia, Shannons, Bingle and Suncorp Insurance can access the facility.

Allianz has increased resourcing in call centres to manage higher than normal call volumes and opened two hail assessment centres in Sydney.

Mr Whelan said: “The ICA urges all affected policyholders who have not yet lodged a claim to contact their insurer promptly. Once insurers are notified, they can get the claims assessment and repair processes underway as soon as possible.”