Insured losses from floods reach $4.3 billion, almost double 2011 levels

Insured losses from floods reach $4.3 billion, almost double 2011 levels

Photo courtesy of NSW Government website. 

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has confirmed today the floods that devasted Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales earlier this year are the nation's fourth most expensive disaster in history, with costs continuing to rise.

With the mounting bill reaching an estimated $4.3 billion yesterday, the insured losses are now almost double that of the $2.3 billion in normalised terms recorded for the 2011 Brisbane floods.

According to ICA, there have been 216,465 claims across both states so far, which signifies a 28 per cent rise in the past month, primarily attributed to an increase in commercial claims that are typically slower to come through.

To date, insurers have paid out almost $1 billion and have closed more than 20 per cent of opened claims.

“Over the past two weeks, we have been holding community forums in flood-impacted areas of New South Wales, and next month will spend two weeks holding forums in Queensland towns and in Brisbane,” Insurance Council of Australia CEO Andrew Hall said.

“Keeping Australia insurable as extreme weather events worsen requires governments to invest in appropriate physical mitigation and adaptation strategies.

“Insurers and the Insurance Council look forward to working with the Albanese Government to implement its $200 million Prevent, Repair, Rebuild package, to better protect Australian homes and communities from the impacts of extreme weather.”

Reported damages from the 2022 flood events have surpassed the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, which recorded $4.24 billion in insured losses (historical figures here and throughout adjusted to 2017 levels).

The 1999 Eastern Sydney Hailstorm was the costliest extreme weather event on record, causing $5.57 billion worth of damages, followed by 1974’s Cyclone Tracey ($5.04 billion) and 1967’s Cyclone Dinah ($4.49 billion). 

The ICA has welcomed the decision of the Australian Government to keep Senator Murray Watt in the Emergency Management portfolio as the clean up from the February-March flood continues under the threat of continued extreme weather.

“We are really pleased to see Senator Murray Watt retain Emergency Management and enter the Cabinet, which is testament to the hard work he has put into this difficult portfolio area,” Hall said.

“I’d also like to thank Matt Thistlethwaite, who moves into other portfolio roles but who showed a very collaborative and open-minded approach to the insurance sector over the past three years as Shadow Assistant Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.”

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