The Insurance Council of Australia (IAC) has declared the recent cyclonic storms to be a catastrophe. At the end of April, the insured damage bill had reached AUS$295 million (approximately US$235 million). The ICA confirmed that insurers had received 41,500 claims, the majority of which relate to home and contents cover as well as a smaller number of motor and commercial claims.
Additional resources will be rallied in an effort to assist with enquiries and claims processing as a result of the catastrophe declaration. The number of claims is expected to rapidly rise as home owners and businesses assess the damage suffered to their properties. The ICA’s chief executive, Rob Whelan, has said “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”.
Only limited information has so far been provide by individual insurers regarding the financial impact on them as a consequence of the catastrophe. Insurance Australia Group previously confirmed that it had received over 10,000 claims related to the storms. Suncorp said it had received 7,500 claims and that its reinsurance programme would limit its financial hit to a maximum of AUS$135 million.
Some estimates are that the total damages bill could reach as much as AUS$1 billion.