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Cost of this season's catastrophes passes $500 million

3 February 2016

In just seven weeks since November of last year, four natural disasters in Australia, including three major bushfire events and one tornado, have together brought insurance claims of over half a billion dollars.

Updated figures from the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) reveal that the Pinery bushfires in South Australia have racked up a bill of over $170 million, while fires in Victoria and Western Australia have drawn claims totalling $86 million and $57 million respectively.

Biggest of all, however, is the disastrous Sydney tornado on December 17, which has resulted in over 4,000 claims, adding up to over $202 million. 

Speaking about the season so far, ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the huge impact of these four events should serve as a reminder to families and businesses about the importance being properly insured.

"With building costs rising all the time, it's vital to make sure property owners review and update their cover regularly to avoid being left underinsured and facing hefty bills," Mr Whelan said.

Securing adequate business insurance

According to the ICA figures, 72 per cent of the claims following the Sydney tornado came from commercial clients, which highlights the massive amounts of damage that businesses of all sizes can incur in the event of a disaster. 

A study by the Institute of Actuaries of Australia found that policyholders often neglected to adjust the sum insured on their policy as time passed, leaving them open to the risk of underinsurance. 

Campbell Fuller, ICA general manager of insurance and media relations, told the Sydney Morning Herald on January 15 that small business owners need to find policies that meet their needs, weighing up their features rather than focusing on cost.

Speak with your local agent today, to develop the best policy for your business.

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