The Insurance Council of Australia today declared an Insurance Catastrophe for parts of South Australia impacted by significant hail, rain and strong winds in the past 24 hours.
Insurers have received more than 12,000 claims so far and this number is expected to rise over coming days, the council said.
At this time, most claims are from policyholders from areas including the Barossa Valley, Elizabeth, the Adelaide Hills, Salisbury, Craigmore and surrounds.
Motor vehicle claims account for two-thirds of those currently lodged. It is expected crop losses from the Barossa Valley region will also be substantial.
Insurers want to deploy staff from interstate
“Insurers currently anticipate the need to deploy up to 80 specialist assessment and recovery personnel from interstate, including from Victoria and New South Wales,” the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said.
“Under South Australia’s current border regime these insurance disaster responders would be subject to a range of restrictions, including prohibiting entry altogether or having to quarantine for 14 days.
“The ICA is engaging with the South Australian Government to allow these essential personnel to enter South Australia to operate and support impacted communities in their recovery.”
According to council CEO, Andrew Hall, the insurance industry typically mobilises hundreds of staff from other jurisdictions to areas impacted by a natural disaster to assess damage and commence repairs and recovery.
Too early to estimate extent of the damage
“Families, businesses and communities rely on insurance disaster responders from interstate in the aftermath of severe weather events – without them, recovery is delayed with significant personal, social and economic impacts,” he warned.
Hall said it was too early to understand the extent of the damage to property and crops in affected areas, or to estimate the insurance damage bill.
He added that the ICA would continue to monitor the impact of storms and strong winds in Victoria to ascertain whether the Insurance Catastrophe declaration should be widened to include impacted areas in that state.
Under the Catastrophe declaration, claims from affected policyholders will be given priority by insurers. Claims will also be triaged to direct urgent assistance to the worst-affected property owners.