Australian insurers have received more than 6,500 claims after storms and flooding affected large parts of the state of Victoria

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a Catastrophe for regions of Victoria impacted by the significant storms and flooding.

The impact of the flooding has been felt most significantly in Gippsland around Traralgon and in the Yarra Ranges, however the declaration covers all claims related to the event last week.

According to Andrew Hall, CEO, ICA: ”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 more than 6,500 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.”

In a statement, insurance giant Suncorp said it had received approximately 3,750 claims for property damage. 

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said: “What we’re seeing in Victoria should again act as a reminder to the devastation which can be caused by severe weather events.”

“More needs to be done to better protect homes in flood-prone regions across the country, including improved town planning and government investment in mitigation infrastructure.”

As the full extent of damage caused by the heavy rain, severe winds and flash flooding is still unfolding, the insurer noted that claims would rise further.

Suncorp’s total natural hazard costs across Australia and New Zealand year to date to 31 May 2021 was $955m, approximately $40m above the year to date allowance of $915m.