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Insured losses from Australia’s January hailstorms rise 26% to A$805m


Insured losses from the severe hailstorms that struck the southeastern region of Australia in January have risen by another 26%, with the latest estimate of insurance and reinsurance industry losses now sitting at A$805 million (around US $503m).

Hail stonesThis loss emanated from an outbreak of severe convective weather, thunderstorms, large hail and flooding affected a swathe of southeastern Australia between January 18th and 20th, with large hail the main driver of loss and damages.

By January 21st, the insurance market loss from these storms had already been estimated at A$320 million by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), after it counted some 29,000 claims.

A day later the figure had jumped 27%, with the expected industry loss rising to A$407 million and the number of claims filed reaching more than 41,000.

As of January 23rd, in a further rise of over 26%, the total estimated insurance industry loss reached A$514 million, while the number of claims filed has reached more than 55,650.

We then covered the hailstorm event again, after losses rose some 24% to reach A$638 million, from around 70,000 claims.

But these numbers kept rising.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has updated the insured loss estimate again, with the market impact rising another 26% to A$805 million, while the number of claims filed has now reached over 87,500. More than 60,000 of these claims come from the auto line of business.

The claims that have been filed are now split as 57% emanating from the major hail storm event in the Australian Capital Territory, 30% in Victoria and 13% in New South Wales.

This Australian hail storm loss event also hit the reinsurance market, as Australian primary insurer IAG announced it will claim under its calendar year 2020 main catastrophe reinsurance program that provides it with per-occurrence protection and cover the recent hailstorm events. IAG said its gross loss impact could even surpass A$250 million.

Insurer Suncorp also recently said an “unprecedented” start to the season for catastrophe losses (including this hail event) meant it expects to make recoveries across its reinsurance program, including its main program, drop-downs and aggregate reinsurance including perhaps its stop-loss.

Some of the largest insurers in Australia will continue to share losses from recent catastrophe events, including this severe hail storm, with global players through their quota share reinsurance arrangements as well.

Losses from this hailstorm event are likely to increase further, as the number of claims may rise further and costs grow as they are settled.

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