Catastrophe declared in wake of storms

Catastrophe declared in wake of storms | Insurance Business

Catastrophe declared in wake of storms
Storms that tore through parts of Queensland and New South Wales, including parts of Sydney, have officially been declared a catastrophe as the first estimate of insured losses has been released by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).
The storms hit both states over the weekend had have seen insurers receive more than 11, 150 claims with estimated insured losses of $38 million.
“The ICA and its members are liaising with state governments, agencies and the emergency services in response to the damage caused by these storms,” acting ICA CEO, Karl Sullivan said.

“So far most claims concern typical storm damage, such as roof and gutter damage, and damage due to fallen trees. There are also reports of cars being flooded in some locations.”

An IAG spokesperson told Insurance Business that, while it is still to early to tell the full extent of the damamge, the business will be able to provide an update in the coming days.

“Our immediate concern is for our customers affected by the east coast storm and we want to ensure they receive immediate help and support.  We will be able to provide an update on the overall impact of the storms on IAG in the coming days.”

A Suncorp Group spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald that it is still too early to know the impact on the business.

"The geographic spread of this storm is so large, we just won't know the cost to the business until we get more claims in,” the spokesperson said.

"With this type of storm there are still places in NSW and Queensland without power. And we've seen a lot of water entry through roofs, both in motor vehicles and in homes. There's damage from flying debris and flash flooding."

Spokesperson for GIO, Stephen Bell, said that the insurer is already arranging repairs for customers and urged claimants to get in touch with their insurer or broker as soon as they can.

“Our teams are already arranging make-safe repairs, temporary accommodation and emergency funds for customers who have been severely impacted by the weekend’s weather,” Bell said.

“Affected customers should contact us as soon as possible, even if they don’t have access to their properties. The sooner we’re notified, the sooner we can help.

“We also urge people to listen to local authorities in terms of whether areas are deemed safe, and beware of any fallen power lines, asbestos, broken glass and mould.

“Residents and business owners should be careful as they return to their properties. On arrival, there are some practical things they can do to fast-track the claims and recovery process.”
Storms moved south to Victoria and Tasmania and Sullivan noted that the industry expects to see more claims as evacuated residents return to their homes.

“The ICA expects the number of claims will keep rising over coming days as evacuated residents return to their homes to assess the damage,” Sullivan continued.

“Insurers are also standing by to assist their policyholders in Victoria and Tasmania as the low pressure system pushes southwards.

“Policyholders who have been affected should contact their insurance company as soon as possible so the claims process can commence. Insurers have electronic records and policyholders who can’t find their paperwork need only provide their name and address.”

In a statement, specialist insurer Nautilus Marine noted that they continue to support customers affected by the storms as senior claims staff are on hand to assist customers.

“At all times we have senior claims staff from Nautilus on hand to assist claim lodgement and provide immediate support, during these events, there are extra staff and infrastructure put in place to support any policy holders affected,” the statement said.

“Our aim is to work with repairers and loss adjusters in the region to expedite repairs to have our clients ready as ever for their boating activities. Claims support is on hand 24/7 and we ask that immediate reporting of any damage or incidents as always are reported as soon as possible to our offices across Australia.”

Three people have been killed by the storms in separate incidents, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.