Vic bushfire insurance claims top $800m

Vic bushfire insurance claims top $800m

25 February 2009

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Australia — Insurance claims from the Victorian bushfires have so far cost more than $800 million.

The Insurance Council of Australia says 60 per cent of Victorian claims have been assessed.

Council CEO Kerrie Kelly says assessors have increasingly been able to move into the affected areas.

“To date, there have been 6,760 claims received. Based on these assessments the approximate value of claims received to date, including residential, commercial, industrial and farming losses is $810 million,” she said.

In contrast to the more than 6,000 claims made in Victoria, only 800 claims have been made in flood-affected north Queensland.

“In comparison, the general insurance industry has received a total of 800 claims resulting from the floods in far north Queensland,” Ms Kelly said.

“These claims currently have an insurable cost of $12 million.”

The council encouraged people affected by the fires and floods to contact their insurance companies as quickly as possible.

Yesterday Victorian Premier John Brumby said it was too early to say whether money will be allocated to rebuilding properties destroyed by bushfires.

Mr Brumby says up to 50 per cent of homes in some areas may have been uninsured or under-insured.

He told Fairfax Radio that it is possible that money will be made available for rebuilding those homes.

“The issue of whether there is a payment to any householders to assist with the physical cost of rebuilding, particularly for those who are uninsured, is a matter that the Bushfire Appeal Fund itself is examining as we speak,” he said.

Race is on

Meanwhile Victorian authorities say more than 1,100 kilometres of fire front have to be covered before Friday to free up resources for a renewed bushfire threat.

Hundreds of Victorian firefighters have been working around the clock to finish patrolling the edges of six major bushfires by the end of tomorrow.

The fear is more towns will come under threat if Friday’s predicted hot northerlies and temperatures into the high 30s materialise.

Ewan Waller from the Department of Sustainability and Environment says the push is on so that ground and aerial resources can be quickly redirected to any flare-ups.

“We’ll be expecting new starts and we’re expecting also that some of the fires that we are patrolling and working with at the moment will re-light,” he said.

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