Tasmanian flood damage bill hits $20m as insurance claims pour in after wild weather



May 14, 2018 11:44:12

The damage bill from flooding in southern Tasmania is $20 million and rising, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

That figure relates to private homes and businesses and does not include damage to public assets.

The council said insurers had now been hit with more than 2,150 private claims and that number is expected to grow as the full scale of the devastation becomes clearer.

The council’s Campbell Fuller said it was too early to provide a breakdown of the claims, but it was clear Hobart’s CBD and southern suburbs had been the hardest hit.

“It’s very much about residential property damage, as well as some motor vehicle claims, we’ve seen plenty of vision of vehicles being washed down streets and those kind of things,” he told ABC Radio Hobart.

“We encourage anyone who has been affected to contact their insurers because their insurers are standing by to provide the guidance they require.”

There were reports of some Tasmanians being stranded without cover, due to a policy distinctions between rain inundation and floodwater cover.

But Mr Fuller said he knew of “only a handful of cases” which had been problematic, with “96 to 97 per cent of the policies on the market” including flood cover.

“Householders and small businesses make a decision about whether they want flood cover or not,” he said.

“Anyone who hasn’t elected to have flood cover may strike some difficulties if in fact their properties were flooded rather than suffering storm damage.”

He said most calls for help had related to clean-up issues and urged affected residents and businesses to “get on with it”.

In most cases, Mr Fuller said photographs, videos and damage samples would suffice to get claims moving.

“Get rid of anything that poses a health hazard and take photographs and get them out of the property as quickly as you can. You don’t need festering mouldy furniture and carpets in your property,” he said.

Residents around Hobart and outlying areas spent the weekend cleaning up.

Many properties in the hardest-hit areas of Molesworth and Lachlan, north of Hobart, remained cut off by floodwaters after fast-flowing water washed away local bridges and damaged roads.

The Derwent Valley Council has estimated bridge repair costs will run into the millions and it is in talks with the state and federal governments about funding relief.

But residents have told the ABC they fear any such works could take weeks, or even months.

TasNetworks said a sweep of its network in the wake of the floods had identified a series of secondary problems that would need a longer term fix.

After thousands of outages in the wake of the Thursday night storms, by Sunday night the power provider said it had managed to reconnect almost all properties, including in the Molesworth area.

More communication problems were emerging on Monday morning, with a number of calls from the Huonville region south of Hobart reporting a blackout in mobile and internet services.






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