Australian floods
The Australian Government is offering Disaster Recovery payments to those affected. Image – Canva
  • ICA has formally declared a 'Catastrophe' for much of NSW
  • Eligible adults and children can receive $1000 and $400 disaster payments respectively
  • 10 million Australians are currently under a severe weather warning

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a ‘Catastrophe’ for large parts of New South Wales following significant storms and flooding over the past few days.

By formally declaring the event as a catastrophe, affected policyholders will be given priority by insurers when making claims. A dedicated hotline has also been activated by the ICA.

Andrew Hall, the CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia, says insurers are currently assisting customers with claims to alleviate stress and uncertainty.

“The volume and intensity of rain that has fallen in the past few days has caused damage over a huge area of NSW.”

“Insurers have placed disaster response specialists on standby to move into affected communities and assist customers with claims as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Andrew Hall, CEO Insurance Council of Australia

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment has also been activated meaning those affected can receive a non-means-tested payment of $1000 for adults with a further $400 for eligible children.

Mr Hall said over 5,000 insurance claims have already been received, but added it is too early to understand the extent of damages, therefore, the ICA is unable to estimate the insurance damage bill.

“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.”

Andrew Hall, CEO Insurance Council of Australia

From an insurance perspective, the ICA says to take pictures and videos prior to cleaning up properties and to keep samples of materials and fabrics along with a list of each item damaged.

Of course, safety is paramount, and the ICA urges everyone to only return to affected properties when emergency services give the go-ahead.

With 10 million Australians currently under a severe weather warning area – the size of Alaska, the largest of the United States – the situation is, unfortunately, going to get worse before it gets better.

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.

To those in affected areas, stay safe.

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