So far, insurers have received 8,415 claims costing $97.9m, but losses are expected to rise substantially

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) earlier this week declared a significant event for the July 2022 extreme rain and flooding event that has impacted large parts of Sydney, the Hunter and mid-north coast. 

To date, insurers have received 8,415 claims (84 per cent property, 14 per cent motor and two per cent commercial), with an estimated insurance loss of $97.9m. But with flood waters still receding and loss adjusters waiting to assess the damage the numbers are expected to rise considerably over the coming weeks. 

The ICA is encouraging policyholders to contact their insurer as soon as possible to start the claim process, even if the full extent of the damage is not yet clear. 

The heaviest rainfall occurred from 2-5 July, with widespread totals of 200-300 mm for much of the Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong regions, according to satellite observation company ICEYE.

The highest totals were south of Sydney, including in Beaumont where more than 650mm of rainfall was recorded, and in Darkes Forest where more than 725mm was reported.

Rivers in the Nepean / Hawkesbury basin began to flood on 3 July, and major flooding was observed on numerous rivers within the basin through 5 July. Several water rescues have occurred, and many Australians are experiencing their fourth or fifth flood in the past year.

The event comes after major floods across the East Coast during February and March. Claims costs have crept towards $5 billion four months after ICA declared the event a catastrophe.

Only Cyclone Tracy (1974) and the Sydney hailstorm (1999) caused more insured losses, and this year’s East Coast Flood is the costliest flood in Australian history, according to the ICA.

While the El Nino weather cycle, which is linked with an increase in extreme precipitation events, has diminished there are warnings from climate scientists that another could form as the Australian summer approaches.