Australian catastrophe & weather losses pass $261m year-to-date


Natural catastrophe and severe weather losses in Australia that fell to the insurance and reinsurance industry in 2018 so far now total roughly AU $261 million, after the Hobart storms and floods industry loss was raised to $100 million by the Insurance Council of Australia.

It’s still under 3½ months since devastating floods struck parts of Hobart and Kingston, after severe storms struck the area, but already insurers are said to have closed more than 50% of household claims, the Insurance Council said.

The new nearly AU $100 million estimate relates to 8800 household and commercial claims filed and is almost double the initial estimate of economic damage provided by Aon’s Impact Forecasting in May.

ICA General Manager for Communications Campbell Fuller commented “Insurers have worked diligently and efficiently to help their customers since the floods, including sending staff, specialists and equipment from the mainland to speed the recovery effort.

“As of today, almost 90 per cent of motor vehicle claims have been closed, as well as about 55 per cent of home building claims and almost 45 per cent of contents claims.

“The insurance industry promised immediately following the floods that it would act swiftly and with compassion to help affected households and businesses. It has, and continues to, deliver to customers despite many challenges, including shortages of equipment and replacement goods in Tasmania.”

The Hobart floods and storms are actually the largest insured natural catastrophe event to strike Australia in 2018.

2018 has so far seen a lower volume of catastrophe and weather claims falling to insurance and reinsurance capital than in recent years, but with most of the second-half still to run there is plenty of time for the burden to rise.

So far Australia has driven just over AU $261 million (US $192m) of losses from catastrophes and major severe weather events to insurance and reinsurance providers, with the Hobart floods leading the way at almost $100 million, New South Wales and Victorian bushfires in March around the Tathra area AU $82.5 million, Tropical Cyclone Marcus AU $62 million, and North and Central Queensland flooding in early March driving another AU $17 million of insured losses.

Fuller said that insurers are closely monitoring hundreds of bushfires in NSW and Queensland, with concerns having been raised about an early start to the Australian bushfire season.

Also on the minds of insurance and reinsurance providers operating in Australia will be the upcoming cyclone season outlook, given the impact of Cyclone Debbie last year which became Queensland’s most expensive cyclone on record at AU $1.71 billion.

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