ACT Bushfires Running Up Costs

January 31, 2003

The ACT bushfires have become Australia’s second worst bushfire disaster behind Victoria’s 1983 Ash Wednesday and the eighth worst natural disaster in Australia since 1967 with insured losses topping A$250 million, according to the Insurance Disaster Response Organization.

IDRO National Coordinator Christopher Henri reported the estimate had been increased by the addition of significant commercial and government infrastructure claims, along with further motor vehicle and household claims. The number of individual claims is now more than 2,500.

Henri said that, despite the rising costs of the bushfires, Australia’s general insurance industry was able to cover the current losses which are much less than previous disasters such as the 1999 Sydney hailstorm costing A$1.7 billion.

He said the real issue of concern was the many uninsured and under-insured bushfire victims who were likely to rely on government assistance to rebuild their lives.

“It is a very unfortunate situation for people who are uninsured or under-insured because in most cases government appeal funds do not extend to rebuilding the family home or business,” he said.

Further information is available on the IDRO website:

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