28 May 2020

Insurance bill for season of natural disasters climbs over $5.19 billion

The cost of insurance claims from four natural disaster catastrophes declared over the 2019-20 summer has passed $5.19 billion, with more than 15,000 new claims worth $270 million lodged in the past four weeks.

ICA Head of Communications Campbell Fuller said: “Thousands of new claims and property loss assessments have pushed total claims to more than 288,100 and the estimated damage bill to more than $5.19 billion.

“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 per cent of claims from the four storm, bushfire and hailstorm catastrophes have been closed by insurers – an extraordinary result for households and businesses affected by these disasters.”

The COVID 19 pandemic was declared a Catastrophe on March 11, 2020. The industry is assessing the impact it is having on claims and customers.


Australian Bushfire Season for NSW, QLD, SA & VIC, declared on November 8, 2019:

  • Claims lodged: 38,181
  • Estimated insurance losses: $2.32 billion
  • State impact: NSW (81 per cent), VIC (8 per cent), SA (8 per cent), QLD (3 per cent)
  • Almost two-thirds of 9086 residential building claims have been closed (repairs and rebuilding works completed or payments made)
  • More than 80 per cent of 14,033 contents claims have been closed (items repaired or replaced, or payments made)
  • More than 70 per cent of 2843 motor vehicle claims have been closed (vehicles repaired or replaced, or payments provided)
  • More than half of 1233 business interruption claims have been closed

South-East Queensland hailstorm, declared on November 17, 2019:

  • Claims lodged: 28,642
  • Estimated insurance losses: $451 million

January hailstorms (VIC, ACT, NSW, QLD) declared on January 19, 2020:

  • Claims lodged: 124,693
  • Estimated insurance losses: $1.525 billion

East Coast storms and floods, declared on February 10, 2020:

  • Claims lodged: 96,594
  • Estimated insurance losses: $896 million

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