ICA declares Valentine's Day storms a "significant event"

Heightened insurer response underway

ICA declares Valentine's Day storms a "significant event"

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has escalated its response to the Valentine’s Day storms in Victoria, classifying them as a “significant event”.

This move prompts a heightened level of support for customers dealing with the aftermath. As of 12pm on February 16, insurers had registered 9,947 claims from the storm that caused power failures in around 530,000 households throughout Victoria.

Significant event declaration

Following the events on February 14, the ICA has activated its early response protocols to evaluate and oversee the insurance claims resulting from the storm.

The “significant event” classification sets in motion the ICA’s protocol for claims data accumulation, analysis, and communication in coordination with its members. ICA officials are also in discussions with government entities and relevant agencies to assess the community impact and to expedite aid to those affected.

Advice for storm-affected residents

The ICA advises individuals with damaged property or vehicles to initiate contact with their insurance providers without delay, to start the claims process – even if the total extent of the damage is not yet clear. Those affected by the power outages may be entitled to financial compensation for spoiled food, with the council urging customers to inquire about eligibility with their insurers.

In light of ongoing cleanup efforts, the ICA, alongside insurance firms, is advising policyholders that retaining destroyed property is unnecessary. Instead, photographing the items, recording identifying details, and keeping material samples are recommended.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall reported a significant increase in claims in the aftermath of the storm, with more than 3,000 claims filed in just 24 hours. This surge indicates the critical need to activate additional services and support for impacted homeowners, vehicle owners, and businesses, reassuring them of their insurer’s support.

“We are hearing from our members that most of the damage to homes and businesses has been as a result of fallen debris from trees and bushland, as well as the extended power outages,” he said. “However, it’s too early to understand the full extent of the damage and to estimate the insurance damage bill.”

Insurance companies are also closely monitoring ongoing bushfire threats in Victoria, advising affected individuals to follow the guidance of emergency services to ensure safety.

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