Landmass the size of France and Germany currently underwater

Australia’s worst flood crisis in a decade, which has affected more than 22 cities and towns across the state of Queensland, is expected to cost more than A$1bn (£645m).

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared Queensland a “catastrophe” zone and has set up a task force to expedite claims processing.

Rockhampton, 300 miles north of Brisbane and home to around 75,000 people, is one of the worst affected areas.

Queensland-based insurer Suncorp, led by former Aviva chief executive Patrick Snowball, has received 2,000 insurance claims relating to Queensland’s floods since Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, Insurance Australia Group said it had received more than 600 claims stemming from the heavy rains.

Catastrophe modelling firm AIR said residential flood coverage in Australia varies considerably by insurer and location. In flood-prone areas, the deductibles may be as high as 50%.