Australia flood loss rises to $6.53bn in fresh PERILS update

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Catastrophe loss aggregator PERILS has released a fourth and final industry loss estimate of AUD 6.53 billion, for the devastating Eastern Australia floods that occurred over February and March in 2022.

This update represents a slight increase over the previous loss estimate of AUD 6.292 billion, that PERILS released in September.

In June 2022, PERILS estimated the industry loss for these floods at AUD 4.895 billion. 

In a statement released by PERILS this morning, the firm said that the loss number covers both property and motor lines of business, with motor losses contributing 9.5% of the total industry loss, and the remaining 90.5% due to losses in property lines of business.

Last year, the floods struck both South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales in late February and early March.

The event generated the largest loss on record for the Australian insurance industry. It primarily affected South-East Queensland and the north-eastern tip of New South Wales (NSW), as well the NSW Central Coast including the surrounding areas of metropolitan Sydney.

Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, commented: “The East Coast of Australia has experienced several major storm and flood events during the last three summers driven by persistent La Nina conditions. Whilst current forecasts indicate this will weaken to more normal levels, La Nina has caused the largest industry event loss in Australian history.

“Given the scale and geographic extent of the losses, our detailed loss and industry exposure data will contribute to industry efforts to manage flood risk and help bolster the resilience of the Australian economy and society to natural catastrophes. Despite the challenges faced by our insurance partners in dealing with these Cat events, they continue to support our efforts, for which we are extremely grateful and remain committed to providing value in return.”

Luzi Hitz, CEO of PERILS, added: “Reliable, systematic data is the foundation of effective risk assessment. Without it, the re/insurance industry is significantly exposed to unexpected losses and dislocation. Making such data available to enable a better understanding of natural catastrophe risk was one of the key drivers behind the launch of PERILS some 14 years ago. Every Cat event further elevates our value proposition and as the effects of climate change become more visible, this will continue for the foreseeable future.”

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