6 November 2017

$1 billion paid in Cyclone Debbie insurance claims

Insurers have paid $1 billion in Cyclone Debbie insurance claims, with more than 85 per cent of claims now closed.

Cyclone Debbie now ranks as the second-most expensive cyclone in Australian history, and the most expensive cyclone to hit Queensland (see table of Australia’s worst cyclones, below). Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) data shows insurance losses have reached $1.565 billion from 72,767 claims.

Since mid-September a further 3919 household and business claims have been lodged, adding $89 million to the total losses. Despite the fresh lodgements more than 85 per cent of claims have been closed.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said insurers had paid about $355 million in repairs and services in the past six weeks alone, and the industry’s response to Cyclone Debbie claimants was the fastest on record.

“Insurers are injecting $11.8 million each working day into affected communities stretching from the Whitsundays through to southern New South Wales,” he said. “The closure rate for Cyclone Debbie is running at least 15 per cent ahead of any previous natural disaster.

“Some customers in the worst-hit areas, including the Whitsundays, may have more complex scopes of works to define and complete. Insurers have employed teams of local tradespeople as well as large building firms to accelerate the pace of these building works once agreements are reached with customers.”

Mr Whelan said the ICA and insurance companies had organised or participated in more than 250 one-on-one meetings, briefings and forums to hear customer concerns and address issues. He said insurers were seeking to resolve a small number of contentious claims.

Customers who would like to discuss issues with their claims may contact the ICA disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

Mr Whelan said Queensland was facing an above-normal cyclone season this summer, and urged households and businesses to prepare their properties.

He said median premiums for home and contents in North Queensland had remained relatively stable over the past couple of years. He said insurers were competing in the region on price and policy features, and noted a recent government report had shown insurers were paying $1.40 for every $1 they received in premiums.

Case study: Proserpine small business owners Jenny and Shane Whitney recover after Cyclone Debbie: https://youtu.be/1VaD163AgDk

Australia’s worst cyclones

Rank

Name

State

Year

Losses*

1

Cyclone Tracy

NT

1974

$4.1b

2

Cyclone Debbie

QLD

2017

$1.565b

3

Cyclone Yasi

QLD

2011

$1.532b

4

Cyclone Madge

WA/NT/Qld

1973

$1.492b

5

Ex-TC Oswald

Qld/NSW

2014

$1.13b

6

Cyclone Ada

Qld

1970

$1.01b

7

Cyclone Dinah

Qld

1967

$878m

8

Cyclone Larry

Qld

2006

$799m

9

Cyclone Justin

Qld

1997

$650m

10

Cyclone Althea

Qld

1971

$648m

11

Cyclone Marcia

Qld

2015

$544m

12

Cyclone Joan

WA

1975

$398m

13

Cyclone Tasha

Qld

2010

$393m

14

Cyclone Elaine

Qld

1967

$390m

15

Cyclone Hazel

WA

1979

$287m

16

Cyclone Alby

WA

1978

$265m

17

Cyclone Sid

Qld

1998

$245m

18

Cyclone Winifred

Qld

1986

$205m

19

Cyclone Cliff

Qld

1981

$205m

20

Cyclone Nancy

Qld/NSW

1990

$197m

21

Cyclone Zoe

Qld/NSW

1974

$171m

22

Cyclone Aivu

Qld

1989

$138m

23

Cyclone Joy

Qld

1990

$121m

24

Cyclone Herbie

WA

1988

$117m

25

Cyclone Daisy

Qld

1972

$116m

26

Cyclone Vance

NT

1999

$108m

*insurance losses, estimated loss value in 2015 dollars (apart from Cyclone Debbie, actual losses)

Source: www.disasters.org.au

 

 


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