ICA DECLARES WILD WEATHER A CATASTROPHE

ICA DECLARES WILD WEATHER A CATASTROPHE

INSURANCE companies have been engulfed with claims following storms in south-east Queensland last week, with the damage bill expected to tip $26 million.

Insurers have received about 7500 claims, following heavy rain and flooding that also hit parts of northern New South Wales.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared the wild weather a catastrophe the fifth declaration this year.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan says most claims have been for typical storm damage, as well as a few properties reporting inundation.

"East coast low-pressure systems can cause widespread damage, just like the system that caused havoc in New South Wales less than three weeks ago," Whelan says.

"This latest low has affected widespread areas of south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

"The flow of claims was initially slow over the weekend, but large numbers of claims were lodged on Sunday.

"Insurers expect many more will be lodged this week and are standing by to assist their customers."

Whelan says claimants shouldn't believe the "common urban myth" that claimants are not allowed to clean up any damage to their property.

"Householders are allowed to remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings," he says.

"They should take pictures of all damage, and keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the assessor."

Other catastrophes the ICA has declared this year include Tropical Cyclone Marcia, the Sydney Anzac Day hailstorm, NSW storms and the South Australian bushfires.

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