More floods, more money, more problems

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the damage bill from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald across the state could exceed the insurance claims of the 2011 floods.
More floods, more money, more problems More floods, more money, more problems More floods, more money, more problems More floods, more money, more problems More floods, more money, more problems

Flooded rail line after Queensland floods.

Max Pichon

Flooding in Brisbane, Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley in 2010/11 cost $2.38 billion to repair, Insurance Council of Australia data shows.

The Insurance Council of Australia, which has designated the impact of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald a "catastrophic event" for the industry, said Wednesday its members had so far received nearly 24,000 claims totaling A$197 million in relation to the damage.

Newman, who toured the flood-hit city of Rockhampton, said the latest damage may cost more than that to repair.

"I can tell you today that early estimates put the damage across Queensland at at least $2.4 billion," Newman told a media conference in front of the swollen, crocodile-infested Fitzroy River...Sadly, I think that figure will rise."

The premier stressed again it was a "very early estimate" and the figures could change.

"It has been an extremely damaging event.

"When you see the photographs of north Bundaberg, the damage for example to the main road bridge heading north, you will be blown away."

The Fitzroy River is already above eight metres and is expected to peak at 8.5 metres on Friday night.

Meanwhile, insurance costs from heavy flooding along Australia's east coast could more than double from current levels as more residents and businesses across parts of Queensland state lodge claims, according to J.P. Morgan.

Senior insurance analyst Siddharth Parameswaran told the media that insurers could take a hit of up to $500 million dollars from the flooding in Queensland and New South Wales, adding to the difficult start to 2013 for the sector after wild fires earlier this month.

This article first appeared in ILN sister publication BEN-Global.