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Almost $1 billion paid to flood claimants so far

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says almost $1 billion has been paid to policyholders so far after Queensland and NSW were hit by Australia’s most costly flood event ever earlier this year.

The ICA last week increased its estimated insured losses for the disaster by 28% to $4.3 billion.

The huge catastrophe bill is only overtaken by the 1999 Sydney hailstorm ($5.57 billion), 1974’s Cyclone Tracy ($5.04 billion), and 1967’s Cyclone Dinah ($4.69 billion) on a normalised loss basis.

The jump from the ICA’s last estimate of $3.4 billion was due to claims progressing, as well as an increase in larger commercial claims.

There are 216,465 claims across both states so far. More than a fifth are already closed and ICA CEO Andrew Hall says keeping Australia insurable as extreme weather events worsen requires governments to invest in appropriate physical mitigation and adaptation strategies.

“Keeping Australia insurable as extreme weather events worsen requires governments to invest in appropriate physical mitigation and adaptation strategies,” ICA CEO Andrew Hall said.

From February 22 to March 9, intense rainfall struck Maryborough in Queensland down to Grafton in NSW. Many areas received more than half their average annual rainfall in just a week. NSW’s Lismore suffered devastating flooding as the Wilsons River exceeded the former record set in 1954 by over two metres.

See Analysis.