NCR Insurance Council of Australia
Published on May 27th 2020 in

Summer catastrophes claims bill tops $5 billion

Insurance claim costs from Australia’s worst summer of natural catastrophes have reached $5.19 billion, with more than 15,000 new claims worth $270 million lodged in the past four weeks.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) spokesman Campbell Fuller said the new claims received have pushed the total number to more than 288,100. “Insurers have already paid more than $2.85 billion for emergency accommodation, business interruption, repair and rebuilding work, replacement of motor vehicles and goods, services and settlements. This is despite the widespread impact of the natural disaster season and the handbrake effect of COVID-19.”

Almost 50 percent of claims from the four storm, bushfire and hailstorm catastrophes have been closed by insurers. For the bushfires’ disaster, almost two-thirds of residential building claims have been closed. In other lines, 80 percent of contents claims, 70 percent of motor vehicle claims and more than 50 percent of business interruption claims have been finalised. ICA says the industry is still assessing the claims impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared a catastrophe on March 11.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) said that claims from weather-related losses last year have risen to $NZ167.6 million following updated figures from the November 20 Timaru hailstorm and a tornado. Hailstorm losses have risen to $NZ130.75 million from $NZ83 million, making it the country’s second most costly weather event this century.

ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said events like the hailstorm show how quickly costs can escalate. “While the Timaru hailstorm lasted minutes, the destructive nature of the event was felt by thousands of locals.”

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