PERILS raises industry loss for Australia Christmas storms to AU$1.55bn

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Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider PERILS AG has provided a second update on the insured loss estimate for the Australia Christmas Storms, which affected the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, lifting the figure by 11% to AU$1.547 billion (USD 1bn).

perils-ag-logoIn February, PERILS disclosed its initial industry loss estimate for the storms of AU$1.395 billion ($903 million).

This second, higher insurance industry loss estimate is based on data collected from the Australian insurance market, and covers the property and motor hull lines of business.

Intense winds resulting in trees falling, flying debris, and flash flooding were the main drivers of the damage.

In Australia, storm event definition clauses for reinsurance purposes vary and can include meteorological conditions and/or loss aggregation periods with the majority being 168 hours.

PERILS added that it “generally follows the predominant clause and as a consequence, the losses from the Christmas Storms are aggregated into one single insurance event for the period of 23 to 29 December 2023.”

The catastrophe data provider hopes to provide a detailed footprint breaking down the industry loss into postcode areas and lines of business in July, six months after the event end date.

The storms were significant and brought maximum estimated hail size of up to ten centimetres in diameter with affected states experiencing a prolonged period of severe convective storm activity with large hail, intense winds, flash floods, and tornadoes.

Outlining the details of the event PERILS added that this was due to a low-pressure system over southeastern Australia being blocked by a high-pressure system over the northern Tasman Sea. A cold front pushed into warm and humid air masses over the East Coast of Australia resulting in numerous convective storm cells and intense thunderstorms causing considerable damage across the various eastern states.

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