NSW storm declared a catastrophe

NSW is continuing to be battered by wild weather for the third full day in a row, with the damage prompting the Insurance Council of Australia to declare the event a catastrophe.

The intense low-pressure system moving along has brought sustained heavy rain and powerful winds, with insurance companies receiving more than 19,500 claims and losses estimated at $129 million by this morning.

Damage has been low-level but widespread, bringing havoc throughout the region, with Sydney and the Hunter Valley experiencing the worst of it.

Heavy rainfall and 100km/h winds have caused damage to property and residences through fallen trees, flooding and stormwater inundation.

Serious damage has occurred in the Hunter region townships, most notably in Dungog, where three people have been killed.

Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan says that insurance companies have declared a catastrophe event in order to allow industry response to be as effective as possible in assisting communities in need.

“These storms have caused damage across large parts of NSW,” he says.

“Though most claims so far have been for low-level property damage, mainly from water and wind damage to homes and damage to cars, insurers are also receiving claims for severe damage to houses and roofs. Claims are also being received for stormwater inundation.

“I expect these numbers will rise quickly as home-owners and businesses assess the damage to their properties and lodge claims with their insurer or through their insurance broker,” says Whelan.

State Emergency Services have received almost 8000 calls for assistance and performed 90 flood rescues since Monday morning, with the numbers expected to rise as severe weather warnings remain in place throughout the Hunter and Illawarra region.