Insured Losses from Sydney Hailstorms Estimated at A$635M (US$457.5M): PERILS

January 31, 2019

Initial insured property losses for December’s hailstorms in Sydney are estimated at A$635 million (US$457.5 million), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.

The hailstorms affected the greater Sydney region on Dec. 20, 2018, said PERILS, noting that the estimate also includes losses from storm activity in southeastern Queensland on Dec. 21-22, 2018.

The PERILS loss number covers the property line of business only. Losses from motor and other lines of business are not included.

An updated estimate of the market loss from the Sydney hailstorms will be made available on Mar. 20, 2019, three months after the event’s start date, said PERILS.

The hailstorms were part of a convective storm system which affected Sydney and surrounding regions in New South Wales, starting in the late afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Multiple intense storm cells were observed, generating strong winds, rainfall and intense hail. With hailstones reported of more than 8 centimeters (3.2 inches) in diameter, PERILS noted that hail caused most of the insured damage.

Southwestern Sydney around Liverpool and Casula experienced the worst hail losses, with the northern suburbs around Berowra Heights, Hornsby through to the Central Coast also affected, said PERILS. Wind gusts of up to 140 kilometer per hour (87 mph) were experienced in regions including Wee Waa, Narrabri and the Hunter Valley, highlighting the extensive impact of the storm front. Damage from the storms in Queensland on Dec. 21-22 affected primarily the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas.

The event loss from the 2018 Sydney Hailstorm is not expected to be as high as the loss resulting from the Sydney hailstorm of April 14, 1999, which carried a price tag of A$1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion, using today’s conversions). The 1999 hailstorm is likely to rank as one of the largest Australian hailstorm events on record, said PERILS.

“This is the first hail loss event to be captured since PERILS entered the Australian market and provides another example of the value we can bring to the market by boosting the availability of consistent cat data,” said Darryl Pidcock, head of PERILS Asia-Pacific.

As for all the PERILS industry losses, the initial property market loss estimate for the Sydney Hailstorm has been produced by collecting loss information directly from the affected insurance companies, which represent the vast majority of the Australian market.

Source: PERILS

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