Australia’s Cyclone Debbie Estimated to Cost Insurers US$825.7M: PERILS

May 9, 2017

The initial estimate of insured property market losses for Cyclone Debbie is A$1.12 billion (US$825.7 million), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization providing industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie caused significant wind and flood damage across the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales from March 28, 2017 until the early part of April, PERILS said, noting that the maximum gust during Tropical Cyclone Debbie was recorded on Hamilton Island at 263 kilometers per hour (163.4 mph).

PERILS said that Debbie’s storm surge was moderate, mainly because landfall occurred between low and high tide, with the landfall area shielded by the Whitsunday Islands.

Rainfall was, however, exceptional and led to surface water and river flooding which affected many communities in Southeast Queensland and Northeast South Wales. PERILS cited the example of Clarke Range, west of Mackay, which received 643 millimeters (25.3 inches) of rain within 24 hours.

In line with the PERILS reporting schedule, an updated estimate of the Debbie property market loss will be made available on June 28, 2017, three months after the event start date.

“Cyclone Debbie is the first loss event captured by PERILS in Australia and comes only half a year after the initial release of the PERILS Industry Exposure Database for the territory,” said Darryl Pidcock, head of PERILS Asia-Pacific.

“Debbie clearly exceeds our property market loss reporting threshold of A$500 million [US$370 million] and made a significant impact on the insurance and reinsurance industry. As such, the event underpins the need for reliable natural catastrophe insurance data for Australia, which PERILS strives to provide.”

PERILS’ second loss report on June 28 will include “an update of the countrywide market loss and the number of affected polices,” said Eduard Held, head of Products at PERILS.

“Subsequent loss reports will provide loss data at four-digit postcode level and by property lines of business. This will help to further improve the industry’s understanding of Australian tropical cyclone risk and ultimately facilitate its tradability,” he added.

Source: PERILS

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