8 March 2019News

Queensland flood losses pegged at $1.2 billion

In a development that could push Bermuda reinsurers into losses greater than they anticipated in the first half of the year, total economic losses from the Queensland floods in Australia are estimated at A$1.7 billion ($1.2 billion), according to Aon.

Bermuda re/insurers have played a significant role in covering various perils in Australia, including earthquakes, bushfire, cyclones and flooding. The 2010-11 Queensland floods caused property damage of around $2.4 billion.

From January 26 to February 7, 2019, Australia's northern Queensland experience widespread flooding causing damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture. The most significant impacts from the floods were reported in the Townsville region.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) cited more than 22,204 filed claims with payouts exceeding A$893 million ($635 million).

This was highlighted in Aon's Impact Forecasting global catastrophe recap report, evaluating the impact of natural catastrophe events worldwide in February.

Chile was also hit by flooding from torrential rains, with more than 5,700 homes damaged or destroyed alone in the Arica y Parinacota, Tarapacá, and Antofagasta regions. The Chilean government allocated CLP60 billion ($91 million) for event relief.

“As the calendar begins to shift from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, increased focus is now on the official arrival of El Niño," said Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist at Impact Forecasting.

"While currently a weak El Niño episode and not expected to have significant impacts on global weather patterns, such conditions can still enhance regional phenomena. Given that the second and third quarters are typically the costliest for catastrophe losses, there will be continued monitoring of whether El Niño may have any notable influence on upcoming events.”