The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a Catastrophe as a result of the damage caused by hailstorms that struck south-east Queensland over the weekend.
By Sunday afternoon insurers had already received more than 5,000 claims with insured losses estimated at $60-million. That figure is continuing to rise as more people lodge their claims with insurers and the brokers.
About 60% of claims are for damage to motor vehicles, while 40% are for damage to houses – mainly to roofs, skylights and solar panels, as well as interior damage to a significant proportion of homes.
Insurers will prioritise claims
The ICA’s CEO, Andrew Hall, said insurers’ call centres were standing by to help customers affected by the storms. He encouraged householders whose properties had been damaged to contact their insurer as soon as they were able.
Hardest-hit suburbs include Springfield, Rosewood, Greenbank and Boronia Heights – all areas south of Brisbane.
“The Catastrophe declaration means insurers will prioritise claims from these hail-affected areas and will direct urgent attention to those most in need of assistance,” Hall said.
Address and identify issues
“Householders should contact their insurers before commissioning any repairs to their homes. They should ensure this work will be paid for under the policy.”
Under the Catastrophe declaration, the ICA has established an industry taskforce to address and identify issues that arise, and to work directly with emergency services, agencies and the government.
It has also activated its disaster hotline (1800 734 621) to assist customers who have general inquiries about the claims process. However, the ICA has emphasised that this hotline is not a claims lodgement service.
First declaration of new season
According to a media statement released by the ICA, this is the first Catastrophe declaration for the 2020-21 natural disaster season.
The previous disaster season was the worst on record, resulting in more than $5.9-billion in insurance claims from bushfires, storms, hailstorms and floods.
“South-east Queensland has been hit by many powerful hailstorms in recent years,” the ICA said.
Area has history of big storms
“Notably the 2014 Brisbane hailstorm, which caused more than $1.5billion in claims, and the hailstorm that hit the region last November, which resulted in losses of $504-million. The Rockhampton hailstorm in April caused $503-million in insured damage.”
According to the Guardian Australia newspaper, giant 14cm hail was reported in Logan, south of Brisbane, while hail stones up to 7cm in diameter fell at Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley to the city’s west.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service recorded more than 1,800 calls for help, most from the Ipswich area.