6 November 2017Insurance

Cyclone Debbie paid insurance claims reach A$1bn of A$1.5bn: ICA

Insurers have paid A$1 billion ($0.77bn) in Cyclone Debbie insurance claims, with more than 85 percent of claims now closed, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

Cyclone Debbie made landfall on March 28 in Queensland, Australia as a Category 4 severe tropical cyclone, and was declared a 'catastrophe' by ICA.

Cyclone Debbie now ranks as the second-most expensive cyclone in Australian history, and the most expensive cyclone to hit Queensland. ICA data shows insurance losses have reached A$1.565 billion from 72,767 claims.

Since mid-September a further 3919 household and business claims have been lodged, adding $89 million to the total losses. Despite the fresh lodgements more than 85 per cent of claims have been closed.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said insurers had paid about $355 million in repairs and services in the past six weeks alone, and the industry’s response to Cyclone Debbie claimants 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 said. “The closure rate for Cyclone Debbie is running at least 15 per cent ahead of any previous natural disaster.

Whelan said Queensland was facing an above-normal cyclone season this summer, and urged households and businesses to prepare their properties.

He said median premiums for home and contents in North Queensland had remained relatively stable over the past couple of years. He said insurers were competing in the region on price and policy features, and noted a recent government report had shown insurers were paying A$1.40 for every A$1 they received in premiums.

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