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Losses mount as Queensland hailstorm added to catastrophes list

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Insured losses from the Sunshine Coast hailstorm have risen to at least $60 million from 7500 claims, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says in an update today.

ICA yesterday declared the storm a catastrophe, its second in just over a week and the sixth for the year, to take the industry’s overall natural disaster losses so far this year to more than $1.56 billion.

About 80% of the claims from Sunday’s hailstorm are for vehicle-related damage. Hailstones the size of cricket balls rained on the region, as well as parts of Brisbane.

IAG has received more than 1718 claims across its insurance brands from the storm as of today, the insurer says, adding motor accounts for the bulk of the damage sustained.

The insurer is setting up specialist hail repair units in the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to help impacted customers.

Meanwhile, NSW and Queensland are still battling to quell dozens of bushfires in hot and windy conditions.

Insured losses from the fires have climbed to at least $110 million and are predicted to rise in the coming days, ICA says.

In NSW, the bushfires have destroyed 577 homes, the Rural Fire Service says today, warning the worse is yet to come as summer starts officially next month.

At 3pm today there were 56 fires burning across the state, including 26 that are yet to be contained. Parts of Sydney are shrouded in smoke caused by bushfires on the north coast and in the Hawkesbury area.

“The smoke is expected to hang around for the next couple of days due to the current conditions,” the fire service says.

The Bureau of Meteorology today predicted severe heatwave conditions will develop in NSW and the ACT in the next few days.

IAG says it has received more than 548 claims for bushfire-related damage. Claims assessment work has already started in some areas.