Natural disaster cost Australia NZ$5.25b

La Nina was the catalyst for the flooding in Queensland. Photo / Supplied
La Nina was the catalyst for the flooding in Queensland. Photo / Supplied

Floods, cyclones, bushfires and storms have cost more than A$4 billion ($5.25 billion) in insurance claims across Australia.

The catastrophes destroyed lives, homes, businesses and farms and Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) chief executive Rob Whelan ranked the disasters as some of the worst in recent times.

Insurers received nearly 190,000 claims this year, with a total reserved value of A$4.39 billion.

Releasing the annual figures yesterday, Whelan urged federal and state Governments to do more to safeguard communities.

"Unless Governments improve land-use planning and building codes, remove some of the cost impediments to taking out insurance and build the physical barriers to protect those at risk, communities will remain vulnerable," he said.

The Queensland floods had the most expensive recovery bill, with 58,463 claims totalling A$2.4 billion.

Queenslanders were also hit with cyclone Yasi, which resulted in 72,203 claims amounting to A$1.33 billion.

Floods and severe storms battered Victoria and Perth was surrounded by a wall of flames.

The February blazes resulted in 410 claims costing A$35 million.

When Margaret River went up in flames later in the year it cost A$52.3 million from 392 claims.

"Though most homes and businesses have now been repaired in these areas, work continues on many others, pending various approval processes and decisions being made by policy-holders," Whelan said.

Australia's catastrophes were a significant contributor to global catastrophes, with reinsurer Swiss RE calculating disasters such as the Canterbury earthquakes, Thai floods and Japanese tsunami had cost the world economy about US$350 billion ($454 billion) this year.

- AAP

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