Insured Losses Top $4.3 Billion in Australia

NU Online News Service, Dec. 23, 11:04 a.m. EST

Insured losses from Australia’s catastrophe-filled 2011 have now topped $4.3 billion, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

Insurers have received about 190,000 claims valued at $4.35 billion, Rob Whelan, chief executive of the ICA, said in a statement.

The largest insured losses in 2011, about $2.4 billion, came from the flooding in Queensland, according to the ICA.

The greatest number of claims came from Cyclone Yasi, also in Queensland, in February. Insurers received more than 72,000 claims and companies have $1.33 billion reserved to pay them, the ICA says.

According to a September report from the ICA, insures in Queensland have paid about $2 billion in claims and have reserved about $1.64 billion to pay the rest.

About 74 percent of Queensland flooding-related claims were closed as of the end of September and about 67 percent of Yasi-related claims in Queensland were closed.

Losses in 2011 also came from wildfires, other flooding and severe storms.

Whelan says the government needs to “improve land-use planning and building codes,” adding that it also needs to “remove some of the cost impediments to taking out insurance, and build the physical barriers to protect those at risk.”

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