The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for bushfires in Western Australia’s south west.
Hardest hit so far appears to be the town of Yarloop where about 95 homes are believed to have been destroyed, as well as businesses and infrastructure.
The ICA has yet to receive any reliable estimates of claims numbers given many evacuated residents have not yet been able to return to inspect their residences.
Initial estimates put the value of insured losses in the tens of millions of dollars.
ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the catastrophe declaration would enable insurers to fully harness the industry’s disaster response resources.
“The ICA has been liaising with the West Australian Government and emergency services, and has decided to escalate the industry’s response due to the severity of the situation,”
Mr Whelan said.
Under the catastrophe declaration the ICA has:
• Established a taskforce of senior insurance industry figures to address and identify
any issues that arise
• Activated its disaster hotline – 1800 734 621 – helping policyholders if they are
uncertain which insurer they are with, or have general inquiries about the claims
• Started preparing to send ICA staff to work in evacuation and recovery centres with
affected policyholders and government officials
Mr Whelan urged residents in the bushfire-threatened areas to prioritise their safety overprotecting property. “The situation around towns including Yarloop, Waroona, Hamel and Cookenup remains dangerous and fluid,” he said. “We urge residents in those areas to closely monitor the situation and listen carefully to advice from the emergency services.
Source The Insurance Council of Australia
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