Major insurers look back at Australia's costliest flood

See how they handled the aftermath of the devastating flood

Major insurers look back at Australia's costliest flood

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

A year after the East Coast floods devastated some parts of Southeast Queensland (SEQ) and New South Wales (NSW), insurance giants Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and Suncorp Group (Suncorp) looked back at how they supported flood-affected communities.

On February 28, 2022, severe rain and flooding inundated over 20,000 homes in SEQ and moved across the border into NSW, flooding 3,000 homes in Lismore. The devastating event was deemed Australia's costliest flood and topped 2022 insurance losses outside the US.

How IAG supported affected communities following the East Coast Floods

After the extreme weather event, IAG visited Lismore and the surrounding impacted region to see the devastation first-hand, speak with customers and residents to understand their experience, and asses the support needed for recovery.

“The floods that impacted these communities were one of the worst catastrophes to ever impact our nation, and the repercussions for these residents are something we think about every day,” said Luke Gallagher, executive general manager of direct claims at IAG.

 “We know financial hardship is always a challenge for communities in the aftermath of natural disasters,” Gallagher said.

“That's why we accelerated contents settlements, provided emergency payments and reimbursements for items already replaced, [and connected] customers with our free, confidential counselling services.”

IAG provided temporary accommodation to more than 400 customers.

To extend its support for people across flood-affected areas, IAG established a $1 million help package, including the following:

  • $400,000 to help GIVIT provide essential items to flood-affected communities;
  • $300,000 to help the Australian Red Cross help communities build their longer-term resilience and capacity to deal with future events; and
  • $300,0000 to support an additional 2,676 Lifeline tele-health counselling sessions to help with the residents' mental health needs.

Through IAG's Community Connection program, IAG employees volunteered their time to help protect local communities from floods.

How Suncorp supported affected communities following the East Coast Floods

Six months after the East Coast floods, Suncorp teamed up with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) to support remote, rural, and regional communities.

As part of the partnership, Suncorp implemented the second round of its Rebuilding Futures program, which awarded grants of up to $25,000 to not-for-profit groups and local community organisations to rebuild and recover from the devastating impacts of the floods.

Cath Stewart, head of flood response and recovery at Suncorp, said many communities were still struggling in the aftermath of the East Coast floods.

“While the initial clean-up may have finished, impacted communities are now faced with the difficult task of rebuilding,” Stewart said. “Our partnership with FRRR to offer the Rebuilding Futures program was created to provide support and funding to the many groups, clubs, and organisations who contribute so much to our local communities yet who are doing it extremely tough right now.

“Local community groups and leaders are best placed to identify those initiatives which will help their community move forward from this latest event, and our grants program aims to empower them in achieving their recovery and rebuilding priorities.”

Suncorp and FRRR teamed up with the Resilient Lismore Project to rebuild the city and uplift the residents' spirits.

In a previous statement, Elly Bird, founder of the Resilient Lismore Project, said: “Whether it's through cutting through misinformation or simply giving children and parents some respite, we hope to just provide some opportunity for our residents to support one another and rebuild our social fabric.”


Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!