Australian bushfires continue to burn as claims spike

The bushfires currently raging across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria are estimated to have cost A$431 million (£228.4 million) so far, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

Insurers have handled more than 6,000 insurance claims from affected regions across Australia, with losses estimated at almost half a billion Australian dollars.

Rain has recently fallen down the east coast, from Sydney to Melbourne, and more is expected in some parts of New South Wales, easing temperatures.

More than 20 people have died since the fires began in September and more than 1,200 homes have been destroyed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed A$2 billion (£1.06 billion) to recovery over the next two years, after what has been described as one of Australia’s worst bushfire seasons, fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of drought.

ICA chief executive officer Rob Whelan said: “The ICA will reassure the government that insurers have been and will continue to focus on helping customers who have been affected by this year’s devastating bushfires.”

“The industry is well resourced to carry out repair and rebuilding work in partnership and collaboration with the community, governments and regulators, the building and construction sector and suppliers.”

“Insurers will discuss all aspects of recovery, from assessments and property clean-up to rebuilding. They will also offer their expertise in assisting all levels of government with developing a national response.”