Hailstorms hit, but insurance cost will be low
Queensland residents, business owners and farmers suffered damage from huge hailstones as storms raged across the state last week – but the insurance bill will be relatively low.
The Bureau of Meteorology says South Burnett and other areas in the state’s southeast bore the brunt of three severe storms, two of them super-cells. Two tornadoes were also seen.
Roofs were torn from homes and crops were destroyed as winds reached 144kph and hailstones the size of tennis balls fell, according to local reports.
But a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Australia told insuranceNEWS.com.au a catastrophe will not be declared.
“There are fewer than 1000 claims, including home and motor,” the spokesman said. “The storms were bad, but the areas worst hit are very sparsely populated.”
ICA outlines cat process as cyclone season looms
The looming bushfire season has brought together insurers, firefighters and weather experts to achieve greater understanding of the industry’s catastrophe response mechanisms.
A disaster season briefing hoisted by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) in Sydney last week included a preview of the tropical cyclone season, which starts next month, from Bureau of Meteorology Senior Climatologist Agata Imielska.
Rural Fire Service NSW Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers previewed plans to respond to the fire season, which include contracting several large air tankers.
“We have to accept the fact what we think the fire season will be like and what (we) end up with is not necessarily the same thing,” Mr Rogers told the briefing.
“We are concerned about the fire season.”
ICA GM Policy Risk and Disaster Karl Sullivan gave an overview of the peak body’s response process after natural catastrophes are declared.
It starts by activating the industry’s catastrophe task-force, followed by deploying staff to impact areas and recovery centres, collating claims reporting by insurers and tracking claims closures.
El Nino a 70% certainty: BOM
The risk of heatwaves and bushfire weather in southern Australia has increased, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing an El Nino alert.
It means there is about a 70% chance of an El Nino developing this year – about triple the normal likelihood. And Indian Ocean conditions may reinforce the impact: in the west, a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) may have started.
“When combined, these two events in spring increase the possibility of a dry and warm end to the year,” the bureau says.
The events can make weather conditions more extreme in the south, but reduce the risk of cyclone activity in the north.
The tropical Pacific Ocean has warmed in recent weeks due to weakening trade winds, and models suggest further warming.
Four of eight models predict El Nino thresholds will likely be exceeded in coming months, with another two falling just short.
The bureau has had an El Nino watch in place since the middle of the year.
A positive IOD occurs when there are warmer surface temperatures in the west than the east, leading to weather system path changes. It can have a significant impact on agriculture, because events generally coincide with the winter crop-growing season.
The bureau says models suggest positive IOD values are likely to continue through spring, before returning to neutral values late next month or December.