Large parts of New South Wales, including Mid-North Coast and Hawkesbury-Nepean, are inaccessible after widespread floods

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for large parts of NSW following the devastating storms and flooding of the last few days, after a significant volume and intensity of rain fell, causing damage over a huge area.

Insurers are monitoring the severe weather and flooding currently impacting large parts of NSW, particularly around the Mid-North Coast and Hawkesbury-Nepean, on the fringe of the Sydney metropolitan area. Loss assessors are standing by to move into these communities once the flood waters recede.

The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley covers around 500 square kilometres from Bents Basin, near Wallacia, to the Brooklyn Bridge. The valley has the highest flood exposure in NSW because of its unique landscape and large existing population. 

The Insurance Council of Australia considers the valley to have the highest single flood exposure in New South Wales, if not Australia.

The ICA’s Catastrophe Declaration serves to escalate and prioritise the insurance industry’s response for affected policyholders.

Insurers will continue to monitor the situation in south-east Queensland to determine if a Catastrophe Declaration is required for that area.

Andrew Hall, CEO, Insurance Council of Australia, commented: ”It’s too early to understand the extent of the damage to property in affected areas and to estimate the insurance damage bill, however insurers have received over 5,000 claims in the past few days.”

”The insurance industry has made this Catastrophe Declaration to activate services and support for affected homeowners and businesses and reassure them that their insurer is there to help.”

“As many areas are currently inaccessible due to floodwater, insurers are expecting further claims in coming days as emergency services allow residents to return to their properties to examine the extent of their damage and losses.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose government has been accused of dragging its feet on climate action, said Australia was “being tested once again” by a “terrible event”.

He told parliament that Australia’s defence force would be called in to assist with the clean-up and recovery.