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10 February 2020
Losses from a weekend of flooding and wild east coast weather have already reached $45 million, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said today as it declared its sixth catastrophe in five months.
Total insured losses from bushfires and this season’s volatile weather have climbed to about $2.56 billion, and claims from the latest disaster are expected to rise sharply.
“Insurers expect a large number of claims will be lodged over the next 48 hours as property owners inspect the damage to homes and businesses and contact their insurers,” ICA Head of Risk and Operations Karl Sullivan said.
“It’s likely many householders are unable to contact their insurers due to telecommunications and power interruptions, but insurers are standing by to help.”
At least 10,000 claims from the latest storms had been received by this morning, with most from south-east Queensland and along NSW coastal regions. Damage was also reported several hundred kilometres inland and in the ACT.
The Bureau of Meteorology says preliminary estimates show 391.6mm of rain fell in Sydney over the past four days – the wettest period since February 1990. Trees toppled onto cars and homes and flooding has caused extensive disruptions.
Rainfall over the past week has extinguished some bushfires and reduced the threat from many of those still burning. The NSW Rural Fire Service major events update lists six fires that are either contained or being controlled.
In Victoria, fires in far east Gippsland are not under control but there is no threat to communities, according to advice yesterday.
The latest storm catastrophe comes as insured losses from last month’s hailstorms continue to climb. The total reached $638 million from around 69,850 claims last week, with the ACT accounting for 53% of the claims.
In WA, Cyclone Damien crossed the coast near Dampier and Karratha on Saturday as a category three system, knocking over trees and causing some damage to buildings.
The cyclone has since lost strength and is moving through WA as a tropical low.