Cyclone Debbie industry insured losses near AU $1.6bn (US$1.2bn)

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According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) insurance and reinsurance industry losses from Cyclone Debbie are now estimated to be nearing AU $ 1.6 billion (US $1.2 billion), with more than $1 billion of claims now paid and over 85% closed.

Cyclone Debbie satellite image via USA TodayCyclone Debbie struck parts of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, beginning March 28th 2017 and impacting the country into the early days of April.

Claims from Cyclone Debbie cover a wide swathe of Australia, from far north Queensland to northern New South Wales, with now 72,767 claims filed totaling an estimated $1.565 billion. This makes Cyclone Debbie the second most expensive storm in Australian history, and the most expensive to hit the state of Queensland.

The total remains below the expectations industry players, such as reinsurance giant Munich Re which said that it expects the eventual industry loss from Cyclone Debbie will hit US $1.4 billion. PERILS AG’s estimate is a little closer to the latest total from the ICA, at AU $1.658 billion,while another reinsurance giant Swiss Re estimated the industry loss as around US $1.3 billion,

The ICA said that 3919 new residential and commercial claims had been filed since mid-September, showing that claims continue to come in. However, with 85% of claims now closed the tally is not expected to rise significantly.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the industry’s response to Cyclone Debbie claims was the fastest on record.

“Insurers are injecting $11.8 million each working day into affected communities stretching from the Whitsundays through to southern New South Wales,” he commented. “The closure rate for Cyclone Debbie is running at least 15 per cent ahead of any previous natural disaster.”

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