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Halloween hailstorm losses hit $1.23 billion

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Zurich catastrophe data company Perils has estimated property and motor insurance losses from October’s “Halloween” hailstorms in Queensland at $1.23 billion.

During the afternoon of October 31, severe thunderstorms with large hail struck surrounding areas of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Deemed a catastrophe, the event marked the first such declaration for the 2020/21 natural disaster season.

“The south east Queensland Halloween hailstorms were a particularly noteworthy event given the sheer size of the hailstones in some areas and its relatively early occurrence in the 2020/21 summer season,” head of Perils Asia-Pacific Darryl Pidcock said.

The pressures on the insurance industry and the “ever more extreme” nature of events mean it is increasingly important to deliver industry losses and intensity data, he says.

In the days immediately after the Halloween storm, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said more than 8500 claims had been lodged, with about 60% for damage to motor vehicles and 40% for damage to houses, mainly to roofs, skylights, awnings, windows and solar panels. Interior damage also affected a significant proportion of homes.

In recent days, an eastern trough has dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain between the Fraser Coast and the NSW border.

An ICA spokeswoman told there have been a small number of weather-related claims around the region so far.

A significant event is considered unlikely to be declared at this stage, although insurers are placing additional resources on standby to assist customers of required.

Perils has now reported three hailstorm events in Australia this year, with total industry losses more than $3.64 billion. The latest estimate, which it says is based on loss data collected from the majority of the Australian insurance market so far, will be updated on January 25.