Claims pour in, but big insurers prepared for the impact

BIG insurers are well prepared for the financial impact of the east coast floods, analysts say, despite the estimated cost nearing $200 million. Assessors are beginning to survey the damage in Queensland, even in towns west of Bundaberg, which has suffered its worst flood on record.

BIG insurers are well prepared for the financial impact of the east coast floods, analysts say, despite the estimated cost nearing $200 million. Assessors are beginning to survey the damage in Queensland, even in towns west of Bundaberg, which has suffered its worst flood on record.

About 21,900 insurance claims have so far been lodged in that state, with losses estimated at $187 million. In NSW, where the floods peaked late on Tuesday and will take days to subside, about 2000 claims worth about $10 million have come in so far.

"We expect these numbers will rise as more property owners lodge claims and assessors start to enter residential and commercial properties that have been inundated by flood waters," the Insurance Council of Australia chief executive, Rob Whelan, said.

Insurance Australia Group, which owns NRMA Insurance and CGU, said it had received a further 4500 claims in the 24 hours since Tuesday morning, taking its total claims to about 6500.

The Commonwealth Securities economist Savanth Sebastian said insurers were well prepared for natural disasters of this size after dealing with Queensland's floods of 2011.

"While estimates will change over time, these floods need to be put into perspective. The 2010-11 Brisbane floods cost $2.4 billion."

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