The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared an ‘insurance catastrophe’ for Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania following ongoing and devastating flooding in the nation’s southeast since 12 October.
According to the ICA, the declaration reflects the growing severity of the floods and forecasts for further extreme weather.
It comes as floodwaters persist in parts of Victoria, while heavy rainfall is expected today for NSW. The Victorian State Emergency Service has warned residents in Barmah and Lower Moira to evacuate as water levels rise on the Murray River.
Further rainfall is expected to worsen the situation in the coming days, with intense storms expected for parts of Queensland and NSW.
The ICA’s declaration serves to escalate and prioritise the insurance industry’s response for affected policyholders and means:
- Claims from affected policyholders will be given priority by insurers
- Claims will be triaged to direct urgent assistance to the worst-affected property owners
- ICA representatives will be mobilised to work with local agencies and services and affected policyholders as soon as emergency services say it is safe to do so
- Insurers will mobilise disaster response specialists to assist affected customers with claims and assessments as soon as emergency services say it is safe to
- An industry taskforce has been established to identify and address issues arising from this catastrophe
- The insurance industry has made this catastrophe declaration to activate services and support for affected homeowners and businesses and reassure them that their insurer is there to help.
As of yesterday, the ICA said insurers had received 6,350 claims relating to the floods across Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.
“It has been a week since the severe weather hit the southeastern states of Australia and the severity of that rainfall continues to impact river systems which are now beyond capacity; the ground is soaked and there is nowhere for the flood waters to go,” ICA CEO Andrew Hall says.
“Communities are rallying together to support each other, and insurers stand ready to support them through the oncoming recovery period.
“Right now, community safety remains a priority, and we strongly encourage anyone in the impacted areas to listen to emergency services, take shelter where it is safe to do so and to not put themselves or others at risk.”
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