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Victoria bushfires push summer catastrophe bill past $2.2 billion

March 27, 2019

The Bunyip bushfires in eastern Victoria have added another $20 million to a summer catastrophe bill that has now soared past $2.2 billion.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared three catastrophes – last month’s fires, December’s Sydney hailstorm, and the Townsville floods.

Insurance losses from the fires have reached $20 million from 365 claims, while Townsville losses stand at $1.041 billion from 25,770 claims.

Hailstorm losses have reached $1.189 billion from 130,000 claims, with more than 30,000 claims already closed.

Last night ICA hosted a second insurance policyholder forum in Townsville, giving an overview of claims progress, including discussions on hydrology reports and on scopes of works for repairs.

More than 120 residents and small business owners who have lodged claims attended, along with 30 representatives from key insurance companies.

ICA GM Communications and Media Relations Campbell Fuller says insurers are “working around the clock” in three states to support customers affected by the catastrophes.

“They are also standing by to help policyholders in Queensland, the NT and north-western WA who have suffered losses caused by cyclones Trevor and Veronica,” he said.

ICA GM Risk Karl Sullivan says positive work done by the insurance industry is often overlooked.

“It often seems that anyone can tell you about a disappointing experience they, or someone they know, has had,” he writes on LinkedIn.

“We rarely hear from the 99% of claimants who have had their lives rebuilt because they had the wisdom to insure themselves.

“No industry is perfect – continual improvement of insurance products, services and processes is critical – but the value being delivered to disaster victims this summer is a great reminder of the good work already being done by industry colleagues.” 

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