News Non-Life26 Mar 2018

Australia:Cyclone Debbie's insured losses hit US$1.3 bln

26 Mar 2018

Cyclone Debbie is officially Australia's second most damaging cyclone, costing insurers more than A$1.71 billion (US$1.32 billion) in losses from Townsville in Queensland's north to Lismore in New South Wales.

The tropical cyclone struck the Queensland coast on 28 March last year.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has confirmed the cost of Debbie's damage is second to Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin in December 1974.

"It's the most expensive cyclone to have ever hit Queensland and nationally it is second only - in today's dollars - to Cyclone Tracy," ICA general manager of communications Campbell Fuller said.

Damage to private homes, motor vehicles and contents amounted to more than A$978 million while the bill for businesses was in excess of A$733 million. A total of 64,951 domestic and 10,117 business claims were received since the cyclone hit.

"Policyholders are still lodging claims," Mr Fuller said.

"But across the entire disaster area, more than 95% of residential building claims have been closed, almost every domestic motor vehicle and every domestic content claim has been closed."

Mr Fuller said the claims that remained open were in the Whitsundays area due the remoteness, the damage done by extremely high wind speeds and the high number really old buildings.

"The challenge there is that the damage tends to be greater, there may be more complex building works required and there can be issues about what was actually cyclone damage and issues around the age and quality of the building before the cyclone."

Mr Fuller said while some claims remained "challenging", the insurers had responded extremely fast.


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