A market delegation met Australia’s federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday (January 7) to discuss the response to the ongoing bushfire catastrophe.
Insurers have received almost 9,000 claims since September from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria; this is costing A$700 million (US$484 million). The Insurance Council of Australia has said “many more” claims are expected.
The meeting was attended by chief executives and senior staff from insurers including Allianz, Commonwealth Bank, IAG, QBE, Suncorp and Westpac.
Rob Whelan, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Australia, said: “The industry was heartened by the treasurer’s understanding of the issues, and welcomed in principle the Commonwealth’s A$2 billion (US$1.38 billion) commitment towards recovery efforts.”
About 20% of claims lodged have already been processed, and about half of these have been settled.
The unprecendented fires have had a devastating effect on the country. At least 28 people and 500 million animals have been killed. Meanwhile business and tourism has been disrupted.
The total area of Australia that has burned is 8.4 million hectares, an area larger than Scotland. 4.9 million hectares of grassland and forest have burned in New South Wales alone – a new record.

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