As torrential rains and flooding begin to retreat in portions of New South Wales, Australian insurers anticipate an increase in flood insurance claims (NSW).
According to the most recent data from the Insurance Council of Australia, residents of New South Wales have so far filed 8,415 claims, an increase of almost 28 percent compared to the figure issued on July 7.
Approximately 84 percent of the claims were for property, 14 percent for automobiles, and two percent for business.
The council estimated the cost of flood damage to be approximately $97.9 million (US$66.88 million) and urged policyholders whose homes, companies, or cars were damaged to file claims immediately.
The recent influx of claims follows comparable devastation in Queensland and New South Wales in late February and early March.
According to the Council, the flood disaster was the country's third most expensive extreme weather event, inflicting an estimated $4.8 billion in damages (US$3.27 billion).
In both states, insurers have received about 225,000 insurance claims, of which nearly 30% have been closed.
To date, insurance companies have paid out $1.5 billion to policyholders, and insurance costs increased by 12% in June due to rising material and labor prices.
Andrew Hall, the chief executive officer of the Insurance Council of Australia, said, "The magnitude of the extreme weather event that devastated Queensland and New South Wales is unprecedented, and the cost continues to rise."
"Insurers are working diligently to resolve claims as swiftly as possible and have hired hundreds of additional staff members to support claims processing, as delays affect not just the policyholder but also the insurer. Typically, they also increase costs for the insurance."
Threats Remain Despite the Dissipation of Heavy Rains
Thousands of New South Wales residents are sighing relief as the rains begin to subside. However, authorities issued flood and landslide warnings.
Approximately 40,000 people were under evacuation orders, and authorities in New South Wales are currently considering relaxing these restrictions to allow communities to return home.
"The flood waters may be receding in some areas, but we know that there are other regions that are still in the emergency phase, where the focus will be on keeping our communities safe," said Murray Watt, the federal minister for emergency management.
Likewise, the state government of New South Wales has extended financial aid to six additional flood-affected localities, bringing the total number of disaster-declared places to 29.