The hailstorms struck south-east Queensland late on the 31st October causing significant damage to vehicles and property

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for damage caused by hailstorms that struck south-east Queensland late on Halloween.

This is the first catastrophe declaration for the 2020-21 natural disaster season. The previous disaster season was the worst on record, resulting in more than $5.9 billion in insurance claims from bushfires, storms, hailstorms and floods.

South-east Queensland has been hit by many powerful hailstorms in recent years, notably the 2014 Brisbane hailstorm, which caused more than $1.5 billion in claims, and the hailstorm that hit the region last November, which resulted in losses of $504m. The Rockhampton hailstorm in April caused $503m in insured damage.

By 2pm on Sunday 1st November insurers had received more than 5,000 claims, with insured losses estimated at $60m. About 60 percent of claims are for damage to motor vehicles, and 40 per cent for damage to houses – mainly to roofs, skylights and solar panels, and interior damage to a significant proportion of homes.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said insurers’ call centres were standing by to help customers affected by the storms. He encouraged householders whose properties had been damaged to contact their insurer as soon as they were able. Hardest-hit suburbs include Springfield, Rosewood, Greenbank and Boronia Heights.

“The catastrophe declaration means insurers will prioritise claims from these hail-affected areas and will direct urgent attention to those most in need of assistance,” he said.

Hall said insurers were expecting an influx of claims tomorrow as more householders and businesses inspected the damage and contacted their insurers or insurance brokers.