Costs could hit £226m, predicts Guy Carpenter

The Australian insurance industry this week rallied to support victims of the country’s wild fires. As Insurance Times went to press, more than 180 people were reported to have died in the blazes.

The fires, many of which were thought to have been started by arsonists, destroyed at least 1,000 homes across 365,000 hectares in the country’s southern states.

The Insurance Council of Australia launched an emergency taskforce and said it had call centres operating around the clock to get victims back in their homes as soon as possible.

It said it was too early to assess the scale of the damage or the likely bill. Guy Carpenter suggested costs could top £226m.

Kerrie Kelly, the council’s chief executive, said the focus was on helping policyholders, including the payment of emergency cash.

She said that as policyholders activated their policies, statistics on the number of claims and insurable costs would be collated and later released by the Insurance Council of Australia in line with its catastrophe co-ordination arrangements.