The cyclone, which tore through Queensland and impacted northern New South Wales late last month, devastated coastal communities.
“In terms of the number of boats damaged, claims lodged and the sheer devastation on the ground, Cyclone Debbie is the largest catastrophic weather event I’ve seen,” said Club Marine’s national claims technical manager, Phil Johnson.
“Virtually all the boats at the marinas we visited were damaged in one way or another.”
Johnson has been with Club Marine for 38 years and leads a team of seven catastrophe event specialists currently processing more than 300 claims that the underwriting agency has received.
Airlie beach and Hamilton Island, both commercial and personal boating hotspots, were some of the areas hardest hit by the cyclone and Club Marine sent members of its catastrophe response team to Queensland before the storm made landfall. With roads flooded and airports closed, staff chartered a boat from Townsville and undertook a 20 hour journey to Hamilton Island to help the area and impacted clients.
The vessel became a ‘floating office’ for Club Marine customers in the area and assessors remain on the ground throughout the region.
As claims numbers continue to mount, Swiss Re has estimated that damages related to the storm will reach US$1.3bn.
In the Insurance Council of Australia’s last update on the storm, 41,105 claims had been lodged with insured losses across both Queensland and New South Wales hitting $660 million.
Swiss Re estimates losses from Cyclone Debbie at US$350m
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Club Marine has said that Cyclone Debbie is the largest catastrophic weather event the niche insurer has ever seen.