Australia NSW bushfire losses set to rise as catastrophe declared


Insurance industry losses due to bushfires in the New South Wales region of Australia are expected to rise above an initial AU$20 million estimate, as the Insurance Council of Australia declares a catastrophe for the event.

Australia bushfire warning sign. Photo via AFPNearly 100 separate wildfires are reported to be burning in the New South Wales region, a situation that NSW’s rural fire chief called the worst in the history of the state for fire danger ratings and fire conditions.

The Insurance Council has declared the situation an insurance catastrophe, and said that an initial estimate of insurance and reinsurance industry losses suggested they were above AU$20 million.

“That figure is predicted to rise over coming days as residents return to their homes and businesses to assess the damage,” the Council forecast.

Insurance Council CEO Rob Whelan said the insurance industry was escalating its response to assist policyholders in the wake of the catastrophe.

“At least 30 homes and other properties have been lost, and insurers have also received reports of stock losses, as well as fencing and other farm equipment. Hardest hit so far has been Warrumbungle Shire in the state’s Central West, but communities close to Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Narrabri have also suffered losses,” he commented.

With temperatures having been extremely high in the region there is an expectation that losses from the wildfires will rise. This region of Australia has faced significant fire risk over recent days, a situation that remains a concern.

Right now the majority of fires are considered to be under control, but any change in weather conditions could see the many advised, burning wildfires in the region gaining strength again, raising the risk to insurance and reinsurance covered assets.

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