Sydney storm declared catastrophe

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe following severe hailstorms that battered Sydney over the weekend.

The storms, which hit on Saturday afternoon, have seen approximately 17,500 claims received with an estimated insured loss of $42 million.

“The impact of two hailstorms hitting within a few hours has left destruction in pockets right across the city,” Rob Whelan, ICA CEO said of the damage.

Insurers received a surge of claims as early as Sunday morning, Whelan said, and claim numbers are expected to rise as damage to businesses, homes and vehicles becomes more apparent.

“So far, homes and businesses in Sydney’s north-western suburbs and Northern Beaches seem to have been hardest hit by the hailstorms, mostly through damage to vehicles,” Whelan continued.

The declaration comes a week after the ICA declared a catastrophe in response to bushfires that hit the central west of New South Wales.

So far, insured losses for the bushfires have reached $28.5 million from 1,200 claims. 

A bushfire over the weekend in Carwoola, near Queanbeyan, has been incorporated into the ICA’s catastrophe declaration on the bushfires, Whelan confirmed.

“Though this blaze and the bushfires that destroyed at least 45 homes in the state’s Central West and the Mid North Coast are now under control, the value of losses is expected to rise further,” Whelan said.

“That’s because agricultural losses, such as livestock, crops, fencing and equipment, typically take longer to identify and assess.”

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