Catastrophe declared following major bushfire

Catastrophe declared following major bushfire | Insurance Business

Catastrophe declared following major bushfire
The Insurance Council of Australia has officially declared a catastrophe for parts of Western Australia that have been ravaged by bushfire.

The declaration becomes the second over December and January as the Christmas Day fires that struck parts of Victoria where also declared a catastrophe.

In Western Australia, bushfires continue to burn in the state’s south west with the town of Yarloop reportedly the hardest hit as approximately 95 homes are believed to have been destroyed thus far with 121 total homes lost throughout the area, according to Business Insider.

The Ica said that it is yet to receive a reliable claims estimate as many residents have been evacuated and are waiting to return to their homes but initial estimates peg the insured losses in the “tens of millions of dollars,” the ICA said in a statement.

The ICA tweeted this morning that insured losses are estimated at $60 million and rising.

CEO of the ICA, Rob Whelan, said that the Council continues to work with the State government and noted that conditions remain dangerous.

“The ICA has been liaising with the West Australian Government and emergency services, and has decided to escalate the industry’s response due to the severity of the situation,” Whelan said.

“The situation around towns including Yarloop, Waroona, Hamel and Cookenup remains dangerous and fluid.

“We urge residents in those areas to closely monitor the situation and listen carefully to advice from the emergency services.”

Whelan noted that insurers will now prioritise these bushfire cases and urged customers to contact their insurer or broker.

“Insurers are already standing by to offer guidance and process claims, so anyone who’s suffered losses should contact their insurer as soon as they’re able,” Whelan continued.

“Insurers will prioritise these cases to help reduce the stress these policyholders are suffering.”

The Christmas Day bushfires that tore through the Great Ocean Road region of Victoria caused $53 million worth of insured losses according to the last estimate released by the Council.