FALLOUT: The hail storm which tore across the Gympie region last October has resulted in more than $63 million in insurance payouts.
FALLOUT: The hail storm which tore across the Gympie region last October has resulted in more than $63 million in insurance payouts. storm damage

The $63m catastrophe that devastated region

THE "hailnado" that tore across the Gympie region last October has cost insurance companies more than $63 million in claims, the Insurance Council of Australia has revealed.

Figures from the ICA's Catastrophe Data reveals the storm, which obliterated crops, windows, roofs and cars across the Gympie region and Mary Valley was "initially not declared an insurance catastrophe".

However "two months after the event claims lodgements have steadily increased in a non-traditional trajectory" and now total 14,250.

Property damage accounts for 55 per cent of the claims, but an ICA spokeswoman said the event would never be declared a "catastrophe".

"It won't ever officially be one," she said.

Storm damage.
Storm damage.

That decision itself was made with the involvement of many groups across the insurance industry and is usually made within 24-48 hours.

But there was no specific criteria a disaster had to meet for it to happen, she said.

The storm, called by the ICA the "Gympie Region Hailstorm", ripped through 51 of the region's areas on October 11, 2018.

Seven months later insurance companies are still dealing with the fallout.

Hail.
Hail. storm damage

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said claims continue to roll in, in a "steady flow".

"We are seeing a greater volume of claims over a longer period for this event then we've seen in the past," Mr Turner said.

"Claims now are mostly for cosmetic damage driven by 'storm chasers' (sometimes referred to as door knockers) soliciting members of the community to claim.

"This is driving up the cost of claims and puts pressure on affordability."

More hail.
More hail.

And there were still home owners exploring their options.

"Many of these are requesting roof assessments to see if there is any damage.

"We encourage our members to contact us if they have been approached by any third parties, so we can support them directly where there is a genuine claim to be made," he said.

RACQ had already received $30 million worth of claims within two months of the event, and in March this year Youi said the disaster had contributed to a $5 million drop in its half-yearly profits.

A caravan park was hit hard by the severe storms.
A caravan park was hit hard by the severe storms. Michelle Bourke

Farmers were among the worst hit in the storm.

At Mary's Creek John and Kate Groves lost 3500 avocado trees, and Cooloola Berries owners Jason and Kim Lewis' crops were "completely obliterated".

More than 30,000 lightning strikes were recorded during the storm, along with tennis and golf ball-sized hail.

Trees were left strewn across roads and power lines brought down, leaving more than 5000 homes in the dark.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said more than 100 job calls had been logged in the Wide Bay in the hour after the storm hit, with 50 from within the Gympie region which was the worst hit in the initial wave.

Gympie Times


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