Hundreds of Tasmanians file claims with insurance companies after severe flooding

Five days after much of his farm was submerged in floodwaters, Latrobe farmer Jason Deering began assessing the damage.

“It’s probably about two miles of fencing that needs to be redone there, and it’s about $10,000 a mile, so there’s $20,000,” he said.

“The last quote we got for the driveway is $10,000 more, so $30,000…plus the hay and silage we won’t be able to cut.”

While he estimates the flood waters were around half a meter lower than in 2016, the cleanup is still expected to take weeks.

It’s a process the Deerings were unable to start due to the severe damage to Railton Road.

Railton Road will need serious repair work.(Provided: Tracey Harm)

“It’s been six days without road access to be able to get into town, so it’s hard to get fuel and things to clean up,” he said.

On Tuesday, he was finally able to drive to Latrobe to check on the progress of road repairs, but there was no one to talk to.

“We were a little disappointed that State Growth wasn’t here. They were supposed to be here today,” Deering said.

“It was mainly for him that we came to see, as Railton Road is a state growth road and we wanted to talk to them about using some of their waste to rebuild our road.”

Residents of Latrobe, Launceston, Devonport, Kentish, Meander and Central Coast councils are all eligible for federal government disaster relief payments.

While these grants will help cover the cost of essentials for people like the Deerings, the one-time lump sum will not cover the cost of rebuilding.

Tamika Bannister surveys flood damage at Spotted Quoll Studios.
Insurance claims are expected to rise as Tasmanians begin to assess the damage.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

“Surge capacity” insurance system

The Insurance Council of Australia says around 400 Tasmanians have already lodged claims with their insurance companies, but that number is expected to rise as more people return home.

When those claims start coming in, they will join a huge queue of Australians who have been hit by successive flood crises.

Insurance Council of Australia CEO Andrew Hall said insurers had paid out more than $5.3 billion so far this year and more than 230,000 claims had been made since February.

“The insurance system is facing an absolute avalanche at the time of the flood claims on Australia’s east coast,” he said.

The huge volume of claims slows down the process, as does the lack of tradesmen available to assess the damage bill.

“Simple requests can be processed quickly, but floods can take a long time,” Hall said.

“The system is at capacity, we ask people to be patient, we will deal with these complaints as quickly as possible.”

While the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a further 20 to 40 millimeters of rain could fall in parts of northern Tasmania this weekend, the Insurance Board is “very concerned” that the list of claimants floods will lengthen.

Floodwaters are coming right under the windows of homes in Deloraine.
Aurora Energy announced that it will provide bill relief to customers affected by flooding in the North and Northwest.(Provided by: Pieter Meijer)

If that happens, Mr Hall expects this rainy event to be declared a “disaster”, and so those affected will be given priority.

He predicts that repeated flooding will continue to drive up insurance premiums and called on governments at all levels to do something to reduce flood risk.

“We need to invest at least $1 billion more a year in flood levees, in raising houses, and ultimately to go back and correct the mistakes of the past,” he said. declared.

“There are areas of this country where homes have been built that should never have been built, and we need to make sure that in future development is not approved in flood-prone areas. “

Flood water washes past buildings with machinery in the background
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a further 20 to 40 millimeters of rain could fall over parts of northern Tasmania this weekend.(Provided: Wings Wildlife Park)

The power station will remain offline

Aurora Energy announced that it will provide bill relief to customers affected by flooding in the North and Northwest.

The retailer says those experiencing financial hardship can also apply for food and fee waivers, and debt freezes.

Meanwhile, Hydro Tasmania has announced that Poatina Power Station in the North Midlands will remain offline, after floodwaters caused machinery at the plant to break down over the weekend.

The state-owned electricity company said it had decided to shut down the hydroelectric plant so it would not contribute to the already flooded watershed below.

Hydro Tasmania’s head of assets and infrastructure, Jesse Clark, told the ABC the rain will eventually help the state’s power generation capacity.

“Storage is around 42%, but as you can imagine many dams in the north are overflowing right now,” he said.

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Kristan F. Talley