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Debbie losses approach $900 million

Insured losses from Cyclone Debbie and associated flooding have risen to $897 million from 56,135 claims, the Insurance Council of Australia says.

Losses have continued to climb following the storm, which crossed the Queensland coast near Airlie Beach on March 28 and caused extensive floods in that state and northern NSW.

Perils, a Zurich-based organisation that provides catastrophe insurance data, last week put its initial estimate of losses from Debbie at almost $1.12 billion.

“Debbie clearly exceeds our property market loss reporting threshold of $500 million and made a significant impact on the insurance and reinsurance industry,” Perils Asia-Pacific Head Darryl Pidcock said.

The group plans to issue a second loss report at the end of June that will provide more detailed data.

“This will help to further improve the industry’s understanding of Australian tropical cyclone risk and ultimately facilitate its tradability,” Head of Products Eduard Held said.

To date, Debbie is the most expensive Australian catastrophe since the NSW east-coast low caused $949.6 million in losses in April 2015.

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