Damage and insured loss estimates for the flooding in Queensland, Australia are varying wildly as people attempt to quantify the enormity of the disaster that has struck. Our article yesterday which discussed S&P’s bulletin that said losses to insurers would exceed A$1 billion looks like a major underestimate as more recent announcements have raised loss estimates significantly.
The cost to Australia is now being put at over A$10 billion, with one economist at JP Morgan Chase putting the cost as high as A$13 billion which would equate to over 1% of GDP. That takes into account losses to the economy from tourism reduction and lower output from farming and mining.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that the Queensland floods may cost insurers and reinsurers as much as $6 billion. Milan Simic, MD of AIR Worldwide, said that the last week of flooding could cost as much as $4 billion while floods further north late in 2010 could have cost as much as $2 billion.
Actual losses won’t be known for some time as claims come in. We will update you when more detailed estimates are released.