The initial insured property losses for January’s hailstorms in Australia are estimated at A$670 million (US$746.7 million), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.
The storms occurred Jan. 19-21, 2020 and affected the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
The estimate is based on loss data collected from affected insurers. In line with the PERILS event definition, 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 property market loss from the Australian hailstorms will be made available on 21 April 2020, three months after the event end date, said PERILS.
The January 2020 hailstorms were created by a large-scale weather pattern affecting three states along Australia’s east coast, which created intense hail and thunderstorms, said PERILS in a statement. The weather pattern was the result of a broad low-pressure trough which drew warm and moist air from the Coral Sea off Queensland down to the state of Victoria. The combination of this warm and moist air with cooler upper-level temperatures created the conditions to form multiple thunderstorm cells, and in some areas, such as Canberra, very intense “supercell” thunderstorms.
“While the impact of the various storm cells has been significant, on an ‘if-today’ basis, they will likely rank as the fourth largest hail event for the past 20 years in Australia, surpassed by the Sydney Hailstorm of April 1999, the Brisbane Hailstorm of November 2014, and the Sydney Hailstorm of December 2018,” added PERILS.
“Australia has already faced a very challenging summer especially given the impact of the bushfires on many local communities. The hailstorms that occurred in January are particularly unusual given that they affected three different states and the Australian Capital Territory over a three-day period,” commented Darryl Pidcock, head of PERILS Asia-Pacific.
“This is the second hailstorm event to be captured since PERILS entered the Australian market and provides another example of the value PERILS can bring to the market. We are very grateful for the support of our insurance partners who, whilst facing a demanding summer period, continue to contribute their loss data,” he added.
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