Thursday, January 2, 2020

IAG receives 2800 bush fire claims since September, expects $400m bill

Insurance giant IAG says it has received more than 2800 bushfire related claims since September and expects to pay out close to $400 million for natural disasters for the second half of 2019.

The estimated claims in the six months to December 31 is above the insurer's so-called "perils" allowance for that period of $320 million.

A NSW RFS fire fighter work through Thursday night to prevent a flare crossing the Kings Highway in between Nelligen and Batemans Bay. Australia’s largest insurer says it has already received $400 million in claims.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Australia's largest insurer said more than 1500 of its bush fire claims were lodged since the start of December and that the majority related to residential properties.

Eight people have been killed and more than 1365 homes have been lost in NSW, while two people have been confirmed dead and 28 are missing in Victoria in fires that continue to burn out of control.

IAG's estimated disaster claims bill includes three fires that continue to rage across eastern Australia, and also includes the cost of hail storms on the Sunshine Coast and in Canterbury, New Zealand, in November.

IAG said 32.5 per cent of its liabilities covered by reinsurance – or insurance for insurers – after which bushfire events were expected to contribute $160 million to its net claim costs for the first half of 2020.

The group's Australia division chief executive Mark Milliner said bushfires and been exacerbated by prolonged drought and conditions were expected to deteriorate over the coming weekend.

"Our priority is to help customers affected by these terrible events as soon as possible," Mr Milliner said.

"We encourage our customers to make contact at the earliest opportunity if they need to lodge a
claim, access emergency accommodation or request other assistance."

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