Sydney hail & Townsville flood losses rise, as Australia’s cat bill hits A$2.42bn

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Industry losses have continued to rise from the December hail storm that struck the Sydney and surrounding area of Australia, with the latest tally of an insurance and reinsurance bill for the event rising to A$1.271 billion (US $915m).

Large hail image from D-7 RoofingThe hail storm struck the Sydney, Central Coast and South East Queensland areas of Australia on December 20th 2018, causing significant damage to residential and commercial properties and automobile’s.

Back in January, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) had estimated the insurance industry loss from the hail storm at A$871 million based on 99,638 claims reported, with the majority at 71,475 being motor vehicle claims, 22,057 home building and 4563 contents claims.

That figure rose to A$1.189 billion from 130,000 claims in late March.

Now, the claims tally has risen further, with now 136,424 insurance claims filed, around 50% of which have been resolved already.

Roughly 95,000 private and commercial motor vehicles were damaged or destroyed, the ICA said today, while tens of thousands of households filed home and contents insurance claims. Damage to roofs, guttering and walls, were the major source of property claims, as well as internal damage caused by water ingress.

ICA General Manager Communications and Media Relations Campbell Fuller commented, “Insurers have made rapid progress over the past 17 weeks to get families back into their homes and motorists back on the roads, despite the enormous pressure on builders, tradespeople and smash repairers.

“Sydney was hit by several severe early summer storms, which had put the motor vehicle and home building repair supply chains under pressure before the December 20 storm hit.

“Insurers are focused on working with property owners to agree on scopes of works, particularly for repairable roofs, in line with their policies. The industry has been harnessing available repairers, tradespeople and builders who are qualified, reputable and competitive, to undertake and complete outstanding work.”

Nearly 50% of the 30,738 residential building claims have now been resolved, while almost 40% of the auto claims are also closed.

The industry loss, based on claims filed, for the Townsville flooding in northern Queensland has risen as well, now reaching A$1.132 billion from 27,355 claims, up from the most recent ICA estimate of an industry loss of A$1.04 billion.

In addition, the Bunyip bushfires in late February resulted in $19.6 million of insured losses from 365 claims.

The total for Australia’s summer catastrophe events, is now an insurance and reinsurance market loss of at least A$2.423 billion (almost US $1.75 billion).

The overall impact from the hail was significant enough to erode some Australian insurers’ reinsurance program deductibles and along with the other catastrophe events in recent months a number of reinsurance programs are being triggered.

As a result, there has been some attritional loss that flowed into insurance-linked securities (ILS) funds and collateralised reinsurance vehicles due to these Australian catastrophe loss events.

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