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Australia flooding declared a catastrophe


SYDNEY—The Insurance Council of Australia has formally declared widespread flooding that struck New South Wales and Victoria earlier this week as a catastrophe.

According to the Sydney-based insurer group, Thursday’s declaration means that an insurance task force has been established “to escalate the industry’s response and ensure policyholders in affected communities received the help they might need as quickly as possible.”

In the statement, ICA CEO Rob Whelan said insurers had received fewer than 4,000 claims so far, mostly for light storm damage, but “we expect claim numbers to increase.”

He said it is too early to estimate total losses.

Earlier this month, the ICA estimated that January and February flooding in Queensland would cost insurers $111 million Australian ($118.1 million).