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Townsville losses pass $1 billion

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Insured losses from devastating downpours that hit the north Queensland city of Townsville earlier this year have reached $1.02 billion.

The latest Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) figures show 25,664 claims have been received, with 22,985 open, 87 denied, 146 facing internal dispute resolution and seven in external dispute resolution.

The vast majority of claims are domestic (91%), but in terms of value, commercial claims account for 22% of losses. More than 11,000 claims relate to domestic buildings, almost 8000 to domestic contents and more than 4000 to domestic motor.

A second roundtable was held today between politicians and insurance industry representatives.

Speaking before the meeting, Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said insurance companies have a vital role to play “as families and businesses rebuild”.

“People are relying on these companies to get back on their feet, so we need them to be good corporate citizens,” she said.

The city council has also stressed the importance of involving local tradespeople in the recovery.

“Properties across the city need multiple tradespeople and we want to prioritise local workers,” Deputy Mayor Les Walker said.

“A crucial part of this recovery is keeping the jobs in Townsville – that way the money stays in the community and we all benefit.”

The flooding is Australia’s second $1 billion loss in three months. Losses for December’s Sydney hailstorm stand at $1.04 billion.

More hailstorms hit the city yesterday, but ICA says it is too early to know whether significant damage occurred.

Storms and heavy rain are expected to continue in the Sydney area throughout the weekend.