The savage east coast storm has been declared a catastrophe

Collaroy beach. Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

The severe storm which hit coastal Queensland and NSW at the weekend has been declared an insurance catastrophe.

Three people are dead and two missing after the storm smashed into beaches in Sydney’s north, causing housing damage and flooding, and continued south to Victoria and Tasmania.

So far, insurance companies have received more than 11,150 claims across both states with estimated insured losses of $38 million.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) made the the catastrophe declaration, which enables insurers to fully harness the industry’s disaster response resources.

“The ICA and its members are liaising with state governments, agencies and the emergency services in response to the damage caused by these storms,” says insurance council acting CEO Karl Sullivan.

Under the catastrophe declaration, the insurance council has established a task force of senior insurance industry figures to address and identify any issues, activated the disaster hotline 1800 734 621 and is preparing to send staff to work directly with affected policyholders.

“So far most claims concern typical storm damage, such as roof and gutter damage, and damage due to fallen trees.” says.

“There are also reports of cars being flooded in some locations.”

The insurance council expects the number of claims will keep rising as evacuated residents return to their homes to assess the damage.

“Insurers are also standing by to assist their policyholders in Victoria and Tasmania as the low pressure system pushes southwards,” he says.

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