Brisbane hailstorm declared 'catastrophe' as insurance claims are prioritised

Brisbane resident claims are being prioritised by Australian insurers, after the city suffered its worst hailstorm in over 30 years on Friday.

The Insurance Council of Australia has rated the event a ‘catastrophe’. The rating has resulted in claims by affected residents of Brisbane and South-East Queensland being prioritised by providers, as well as the Council establishing a taskforce to liaise with the state government and emergency services providers.

The Council has also opened a disaster hotline (1800 734 621) that affected residents can call to enquire about the claims process.

Insurance Council CEO Rob Whelan said insurers were focused on processing claims quickly.

"Insurers have received thousands of claims and inquiries from affected consumers, and I urge anyone who has been affected to contact their insurer as soon as they can," he said.

As for the total loss caused by the storm, Whelan said it is “much too early” to estimate the bill.

The Insurance Council has the following advice for Brisbane residents who have suffered damage:

- Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you’re covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres.

- Don’t be concerned if insurance documents are not readily at hand. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy.

- If your home is unsafe, notify local authorities and check with your insurance company whether you can claim temporary housing expenses.

- Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy.

- Don't drive storm-damaged motor vehicles that may be unroadworthy. Hail-damaged vehicles will be professionally assessed by insurers in coming days. Inform your insurer when you lodge a claim if your vehicle cannot be driven.

- Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim assessor.

- You can remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings, but take photos and keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the assessor.

- Making an inventory of damaged possessions will help insurers process your claim.

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