Tens of millions in losses expected following Sydney hail storm

As the cleanup from last weekend’s severe storm continues around Sydney, the Insurance Council of Australia has described the Saturday afternoon deluge of hail and thunder as a “catastrophe”.

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The storm, which swept across Sydney and its surrounds, battered cars and homes with hailstones the size of tennis balls, while three women received treatment after being struck by lightning in Bowral.  

Rob Whelan, CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia, stated that while the final cost of the storm was likely to pale in comparison to the $1.7 billion in damages which followed the 1999 Sydney hailstorm, the situation was still serious with damage estimates already in the tens of millions.

“The impact of two hailstorms hitting within a few hours has left destruction in pockets right across the city,” he said.

Insurer Allianz reported that they were receiving as many as 80 storm-related insurance claims an hour, and expected this number to climb throughout the rest of the week as residents continued to assess their homes and vehicles for damage.

“Allianz’s claims figures are quite high with some property claims; however the majority of the claims received have been motor related,” said Danny Adams, General Manager Claims, Allianz Australia.

“We expect a large number of claims to be received over the next week or so, however, we have put in place initiatives to address any potential delays or inconvenience to our customers and business partners.”

Allianz has initiated an emergency response plan, which includes increased resourcing for its call centres and the opening of two hail assessment centres, but has still warned customers of potential delays and inconvenience.    

Five tips for post-storm insurance claims

The Insurance Council of Australia has provided the following advice for policyholders affected by the recent storms:

  • Get in contact with your home insurer as soon as you can. Most insurers will have a claims hotline, online claims system or an app.
  • Get in contact with your insurer before you commence any building work, including emergency repairs, and get their permission in writing.
  • Get in contact with your local authorities, such as the SES, if your home is unsafe. Find out from your insurer if your policy includes temporary housing expenses.
  • Take photographs or videos of any damage to your property or vehicle which can be used as evidence to support your claim.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on your insurance papers. Your insurer will have an electronic copy of the policy and will only need the name of the policyholder and the address of the property.