Destruction of the built environment is “severe” in a region of Western Australia not normally affected by windstorms

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared an Insurance Catastrophe for impacted parts of Western Australia from Tropical Cyclone Seroja. The cyclone made landfall late on 11 April, with the coastal town of Kalbarri, taking the brunt of Seroja, as did the community of Northampton.

The ICA’s Catastrophe declaration ensures insurance claims from the impacted areas of Western Australia are prioritised by all insurers.

The Tropical Cyclone has severely damaged, homes, businesses, communications, and road infrastructure as well as the electricity service, across a number of West Australian communities.

Access to areas north of Geraldton is limited, so it is too early to understand the extent of the damage to property in that area.

“Insurers have received just over 700 claims, as yet there is no estimated loss dollar figure as severely impacted areas are currently inaccessible,” said Andrew Hall, CEO, ICA. ”We expect a substantial increase in claims as soon as telecommunications and power is restored in coming days to affected areas.

”Importantly, this event has impacted a region not normally affected by cyclones, and the destruction of the built environment is severe.”

It is the third insurance Catastrophe declaration for 2021. The first was the north-east Perth Hills bushfires in early February, with estimated losses currently standing at more than $85 million from 995 claims. 

The second insurance catastrophe was the NSW and Southeast Queensland floods of late March, with estimated losses of $600 million and over 40,000 claims.