The Insurance Council of Australia
(ICA) has declared the severe hailstorm that hit the Mildura region of northwest Victoria, and nearby parts of New South Wales and South Australia, last Friday, as an insurance catastrophe.
Insurers have received some 9,000 claims, with estimated insured losses of over $20 million. ICA said it’s expecting more claims over the coming weeks.
Rob Whelan, ICA CEO, said the industry heightened its response to aid the storm-affected policyholders, liaising with state governments, local councils, emergency services, and other agencies.
“In addition to the building and vehicle damage these storms typically bring, the storm has caused significant agricultural losses,” he said. “The timing could barely be worse for many producers, coming so close to harvest time. Fortunately, a substantial proportion of the damaged crops, trees, and vines, will be covered by insurance.”
By declaring the Mildura storm a catastrophe, the ICA has enabled the:
- Establishment of an industry taskforce that will identify and address emerging issues;
- Activation of disaster hotline 1800 734 621 to help policyholders with their insurance-related questions; and
- Mobilisation of ICA staff to work directly with local services and affected policyholders in the region.
Whelan urged affected policyholders to contact their insurer or insurance broker as soon as possible to commence the claims process.
“Representatives of several insurance companies have already arrived in the area to assist their policyholders,” he said.
“Insurers recognise how serious this situation is for a region so dependent on agriculture, and are responding with appropriate urgency.”
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