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NSW licks wounds after ‘catastrophic’ storm

"Hailstones the size of cricket balls."

Jack Derwin

Digital Journalist, Your Money

After an enormous hailstorm wreaked havoc across Sydney and surrounding areas on Thursday, insurers are tallying the bill.

The storm has taken the mantle of the most expensive insurance event of 2018, with the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) classifying it as a ‘catastrophe’.

“This has been the most significant natural disaster this year in Australia. This is the fifth catastrophe we have declared this year,” ICA’s Campbell Fuller told Trading Day.

The storm was so severe that Insurance Australia Group (IAG) entered a trading halt while it quantified the damages.

“As of about [1PM], insurers have received 25,000 claims. Most of that is Sydney but also the Central Coast region and the estimated insurance losses are about $125 million,” Fuller explained.

Much of that damage was wrought on cars.

“I’ve seen cars in Bondi that have had hailstones the size of cricket balls, smashed back windshields, the cars look more like cantaloupes,” Fuller said.

However, that cost (while still growing) is a relatively small one by hailstorm standards.

“We have had several $350-$390 million hailstorms in Sydney in the past three years,” Fuller said.

The largest in living memory, however, was a 1999 hailstorm that cost insurers more than $5.6 billion in today’s money.

Watch the full interview above.

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