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Flood losses reach $438 million as clean-up underway

Insurance losses from the Queensland and NSW flooding catastrophe have reached an estimated $438 million as focus turns to the clean-up and repercussions from the disaster.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says an estimated 29,213 claims had been received as of this morning, with more damage being assessed as flooding conditions continue to ease.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond and Windsor has fallen below the minor flood levels and no further flooding is expected.

Insurers says assessors have been moving into affected regions as soon as it is safe and support teams are being deployed, but concerns over flood insurance transparency and whether it has been taken up by those who need it have been raised.

Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud called on insurers to “show a little bit of humanity and have a social conscience to these people” when asked on Sky News Sunday Agenda yesterday whether firms should “cut people some slack” over policies in the current circumstances.

“People entered into these contracts in good faith, and we would expect insurance companies to act in good faith,” he said. “Obviously contractual law takes precedence in this country but we just say to the insurance industry ‘please, you have an opportunity to build your reputation here’.”

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said last week support teams are being deployed in affected regions and are helping with arranging emergency repairs, organising temporary accommodation for customers whose homes have been severely damaged and providing cash payments for emergency purchases.

Mr Johnston also welcomed the Federal Government’s quick response in urging state governments to classify insurance workers and tradespeople as essential workers.

“This will give tradespeople confidence to cross borders to support affected communities,” he said. “We are committed to getting our customers back on their feet as soon as possible so it is important that we can get assessors and repairers on the ground to affected regions quickly given the magnitude of this event.”

NSW Land Registry Services says it is making title searches, replacement Certificates of Title and plan images free for property owners affected by the flooding.

The documents can assist landholders with insurance claims and development applications to council, as well as providing peace of mind regarding ownership in the aftermath of disasters, the organisation says.