Two of the country's leading insurers are counting the cost of recent storms and flooding in parts of Victoria, where a catastrophe was declared by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) over the weekend.
IAG (ASX: IAG) had received 4,300 claims as of yesterday while the figure stood at 3,750 for Suncorp Group (ASX: SUN) as at 6:30pm on Monday, with property damage making up the majority of claims.
Both insurers expect the number of claims to rise as the full extent of damage caused by the heavy rain, severe winds and flash flooding is still unfolding.
IAG executive general manager direct claims Luke Gallagher urged customers to stay safe as they return to inspect the damage to their properties, and follow the advice of emergency authorities.
"Floodwater is extremely dangerous, so please take every precaution. We have assessors and builders on the ground ready to ensure our customers' properties are safe and secure," Gallagher said.
"We will contact those impacted to book in property assessments, so repairs can begin as soon as possible. We can also arrange emergency accommodation and provide immediate financial assistance for customers in need."
Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston highlighted the company's customer support teams were on the ground in Traralgon providing face-to-face support to all affected customers including AAMI, Apia and GIO.
Suncorp has also scaled up its flexible claims team to manage the increase in claims and calls from customers.
"Victorians have already been through a lot, and we are moving as quickly and as safely as we can to help our customers and communities affected by this severe weather," Johnston said.
"While safety should remain the number one priority, we are encouraging customers to lodge their claim online or via the phone as soon as it is safe to do so.
"The sooner we have customer details, the sooner we can arrange emergency repairs, organise temporary accommodation for customers whose homes have been severely damaged and provide cash payments for emergency purchases."
The announcements follows the ICA's declaration of a catastrophe for impacted regions on Sunday. The impact of the flooding has been felt most significantly in Gippsland around Traralgon and in the Yarra Ranges, however the declaration covers all claims related to the event last week.
"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," ICA CEO Andrew Hall said.
"As many areas are currently inaccessible due to floodwater, insurers are expecting further claims in coming days as emergency services allow residents to return to their properties to examine the extent of their damage and losses."
IAG's net natural perils claim costs up to 31 May 2021 were approximately $660 million, including the net cost of Cyclone Seroja in Western Australia in April 2021. But following the event in Victoria, it now estimates the figure will rise to $720-743 million, in excess of its perils allowance of $658 million for this period.
Suncorp's total natural hazard costs across Australia and New Zealand year to date to 31 May 2021 were $955 million, approximately $40 million above the year to date allowance of $915 million.
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