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Perils estimates February storm losses at $794 million

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An east coast low which hit Queensland and NSW in February caused property losses of $794 million, catastrophe data company Perils says.

Storms and flooding were triggered by a low pressure trough, which drew in moisture from a warmer-than-usual Tasman Sea, particularly near Sydney.

“With a combination of heavy rainfall, strong wind gusts and storm surge, considerable insurance losses were experienced,” Perils Asia-Pacific Head Darryl Pidcock said.

The February 5-13 event caused the third-largest Australian east coast low insurance losses in three decades, and followed bushfire and hailstorm catastrophes over summer.

An east coast low in June 2007 caused losses of $2.4 billion, using adjusted figures, while a similar event in April 2015 cost insurers an estimated $1.2 billion, the data group says.

Perils will update its east coast low loss estimate on May 13.