The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for the Perth Hills bushfires which continue to burn north-east of Perth.
Insurers have received more than 270 claims and estimated loss value is over $40 million, this is expected to rise over the coming days as residents return to their homes.
Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said the bushfires had caused significant damage and distress for those communities impacted.
“The Australian Government will continue to work closely with the Western Australian Government to ensure that impacted families and individuals have all the support they need during this very difficult time,” Littleproud added.
Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services Francis Logan said the dangerous bushfires had destroyed homes and impacted residents already dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The impacts of these bushfires will be felt for some time to come, and it is critical that our community members’ recovery is supported by these arrangements,” Logan said.
ICA CEO Andrew Hall said affected property and business owners should contact their insurer as soon as possible to start the claims process.
“The declaration of a catastrophe means claims from these bushfires will be prioritised by insurers, who will be focusing on reducing the immense emotional and financial stress experienced by residents, farmers and businesses,” Hall said.
“The ICA will provide guidance to impacted communities throughout the recovery process.”
The ICA deployed their natural disaster response specialist to Perth earlier this week to meet with state and local government agencies, emergency services, and impacted property and business owners.
Under the Catastrophe declaration the ICA has:
- Activated its disaster hotline 1800 734 621 to assist policyholders who are uncertain of their insurance details or have general enquiries about the insurance claim process
- Deployed an Insurance Council disaster recovery specialist to support affected property owners and the local community
- An insurance industry taskforce to identify and address any issues that may arise during the recovery stage.