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Insurers count cost of Tasmania, NSW bushfires

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Devastating bushfires across Tasmania, Victoria and parts of NSW are expected to cost insurers nearly $100 million.

At one point last month more than 60 fires were raging across Tasmania, with one blaze lasting nearly two weeks.

More than 110,000 hectares have been razed and 130 homes destroyed.

Insurers had received 1783 claims by Friday afternoon, totalling about $86.7 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

The bushfires hit hardest at Dunalley, east of Hobart, where nearly half the buildings, including the police station and primary school, were destroyed.

Communities in Bicheno, Sommers Bay, Eaglehawk Neck, Connellys Marsh, Copping, Boomer Bay, Primrose Sands, Murdunna, Taranna, Forcett and Susans Bay have also been affected.

Risk modeller AIR Worldwide says villages near Dunalley lost 30-40% of residences.

Fires destroyed 40% of the structures in Connellys Marsh, while several homes in the Murdunna region north of Port Arthur were also hit.

In NSW ICA has declared bushfires in the Coonabarabran region and Warrumbungle National Park a catastrophe, with estimated insured losses of about $10 million.

This summer’s Victorian fires, while burning across remote areas of the state’s east, have not been declared a catastrophe by ICA. Last month the initial insurance losses were estimated at $9 million.

The Tasmanian bushfires are the worst in Australia since the 2009 Victorian fires, which cost insurers more than $1 billion in claims.

The February 1983 Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria and SA remain the country’s costliest, with nearly $1.8 billion in claims when adjusted for inflation.