Cyclone Debbie insurance bill hits $1.5b

Christian Edwards
(Australian Associated Press)


More than 75 per cent of almost $1.5 billion in claims from Cyclone Debbie have been paid out, six months after the storm smashed the north Queensland coast and wreaked havoc as it moved south.

The Insurance Council of Australia said insurers received almost 69,000 claims from Debbie-struck communities in an area three times larger than the United Kingdom, which it estimates amounted to $1.47 billion in insurance losses.

ICA chief executive Rob Whelan said more than 31,000 homes and businesses have since been repaired or had payments settled, 20,000 families have had possessions replaced, and over 4,500 motor vehicles been fixed or new vehicles provided.

“Insurers have contracted hundreds of local builders and trades to work on property repairs, and are injecting more than $5 million each working day into local communities,” Mr Whelan said.

While some customers have been raising concerns about the speed of reconstruction, the closure rate for this natural disaster was running 12 per cent ahead of similar disasters, the ICA said.

Cyclone Debbie crossed the Queenlsand coast near Airlie Beach on March 28 and weakened as it moved inland, but the weather system associated with it later brought very heavy rainfall to other parts of the state and northern NSW, causing heavy flooding.

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