Insurers have received 4360 claims since Friday related to the storms and flooding in NSW, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says.
The ICA has declared it a significant event – stopping short of declaring an insurance catastrophe but saying it may do so if there is a large increase in the number or complexity of claims, or the geographical spread.
The claims received so far are comprised of 84% for property and 14.5% for motor.
“It’s too early to estimate the cost of the insured damage,” ICA said today.
IAG says it has now received 1983 related claims. The majority are from NRMA customers, including 1448 for property damage and 242 motor vehicle claims, while the Intermediated Insurance Australia business has received 268 claims.
“The majority of claims continue to be for storm damage which includes water entering properties through roofs, fallen trees and wind damage to properties,” a spokesman said.
An Allianz spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au today its customers had only lodged 150 claims so far.
“In a big event after six days, you are going to have a hell of a lot more than 150 claims,” the Allianz spokesman said. “That is not out of line with what is being experienced generally. It is about on par with other insurers who have bigger market shares than we do.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a very large event all things considered – nothing like February/March.”
Allianz received 34,000 claims from those floods in Queensland and NSW, which was Australia’s costliest natural catastrophe in two decades, with insured losses estimated at $4.8 billion.
Allianz, which allows removal of flood cover from its policies, is this time seeing claims for leaking roofs and wind damage, “not the really high value claims that predominated in the February/March event where properties were really, really seriously damaged.”
The much more limited geographic scale of the latest flooding would also reduce the fallout.
“It’s nowhere near as widespread so just won’t produce the same number of claims.” the spokesman said. “It will develop and it will move up to be a small-to-medium sized event.
“It will be a gradual event from a claims perspective – a slow burn because when people are evacuated they are not at their property, and as areas open back up, people will go back and see what damage has occurred.”
Allianz has said 90% of its natural hazards budget has already been exhausted after the earlier floods. That was Australia’s third largest insurance catastrophe, only surpassed by the 1999 Sydney hailstorm and 1974’s Cyclone Tracy in real terms.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Sydney today where some areas were struck by 200mm of rain in 24 hours, almost a fifth of the city’s annual average. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said it may take up to a week to start to see floodwaters recede.
Parts of the Nambucca Valley on the Mid North Coast recorded more than 70mm of rain since 9am this morning after the deluge moved north, and 12 bridges in the area are closed.
Around 57,000 people have been forced to evacuate, communities along the Hawkesbury River are isolated with floodwaters peaking above the levels seen in March, and residents in Singleton and Muswellbrook were door knocked by emergency crews overnight. A one-off payment for people severely affected of $1000 for adults and $400 for children will be made available tomorrow.
ICA CEO Andrew Hall says it is “just untenable” to keep homes that are “flooding four times in 18 months” adequately covered in an insurance pool.
“You have got to stand back and ask the question, ‘Have we built homes in the wrong spot?’,” Mr Hall said today.
“It is clear the community needs to be better protected. The frequency and severity of these recurring events demands meaningful action, and this means resilient homes, better mitigation, and a thorough review of land-use planning.”