Storm is strongest cyclone to hit the Australian region since 2015

Cyclone Debbie

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re says it expects to incur net losses of $350 million from Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

The cyclone struck the Australian the east coast of Australia in late March, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. The disaster zone stretched almost 1000km along the coasts of New South Wales and Queensland.

It was the strongest cyclone to hit the Australian region since 2015. High winds triggered a storm surge and contributed to surface water flooding from large amounts of accumulated rainfall. Hundreds of residential and commercial buildings were flooded; several thousand residents and business operators were evacuated from the region. Agricultural losses were high with the Queensland Farmers’ Federation estimating losses to its members’ winter crops 20%.

The total insured market losses for wind, flood and storm surge damages are estimated to be approximately $1.3 billion.

However, Swiss Re says it expects to have higher share of large commercial and corporate losses compared to similar events in the past.

Matthias Weber, Swiss Re’s group chief underwriting officer, said: “This destructive cyclone caused structural damage by flooding, storm surge and wind in regions close to the Queensland coast. We are a lead reinsurer in this market and estimate that Cyclone Debbie has caused higher commercial and corporate losses compared to similar events in the past.”