Summer catastrophe bill over $500 million

Insured losses for the four catastrophes declared over summer have gone above $550 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

There was a bit of a “sharp rise in value” of losses with the Great Ocean road bushfires that hit Victoria over Christmas. Insured losses from the Victorian bushfires now stand at $110 million from 527 claims, compared with $88 million one month ago.

Rob Whelan, CEO of the ICA, said that the clean-up operation in the state is well underway with at least 15 sites cleaned up so far by contractors. Insurers can only commence rebuilding once each site has been cleared of debris, including asbestos.

Also the extremely steep terrain is presenting significant challenges, but insurers are determined to rebuild homes in the shortest time possible once the design and planning approval process is completed.\

The ICA noted that following the disaster, insurers may prioritise bushfire resilience for the area as some 235 homes were destroyed in the area. Each insurer has its own process for handling claims and rebuilding properties.  In many cases, higher bushfire resilience building standards will be required, which may affect construction costs. Insurers will discuss rebuilding and settlement options available under the policy with each customer.