The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has released new data that shows the insurance bill from storms and floods over the last three years is a massive $12.3 billion. Since January 2020, the ICA said nearly 800,000 Australians have lodged flood or storm related claims.
“The fact that one in 25 of us has had to lodge an insurance claim because of this extreme weather is very sobering,” said ICA CEO Andrew Hall.
Over the last three years, said the ICA, every eastern state has experienced significant flooding. South Australia and Western Australia were struck by storms and cyclone activity over that period.
The cost of this year’s February-March floods has now reached more than $5.65 billion, said the media release, the most expensive natural disaster in Australia’s history. That record was previously held by the 1999 Sydney hailstorm.
“We must not ignore what this data is telling us to do – invest in community-level mitigation, home retrofits, home buybacks in the most extreme cases, and better early warning systems,” said Hall.
“We also need to stop building homes and in harms’ way and make new homes stronger,” he said.
The ICA said July’s severe weather that caused flooding in western Sydney has resulted in almost 22,000 claims at a cost of nearly $250 million.
The recent mid-October storms and floods that impacted Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales, said the release, have generated more than 17,000 claims with estimated insured losses of $477 million.
“While these figures show the massive impact of extreme weather events, they also show how hundreds of thousands of Australians have been helped back on their feet by their insurer,” said Hall.
The current round of flooding in NSW’s central west has so far resulted in upwards of 3,500 claims. The ICA said the extent of the damage bill is still being determined.