The declaration means claims from affected policyholders will be given priority by insurers. Claims will also be triaged to direct urgent attention to the worst-affected property owners.
ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the extent of property losses might take several days or more to be determined, and it was too early to estimate the financial toll.
He said the catastrophe declaration was intended to help reduce the emotional and financial stress experienced by households and businesses affected by the bushfires.
“Insurance companies are standing by to help their customers through this traumatising time,” he said. “I encourage anyone who has suffered property damage to contact their insurer as soon as possible to seek guidance on the claims process and the assistance they are entitled to under their policy.”
Under the declaration the ICA has:
Activated its disaster hotline – 1800 734 621 – to assist policyholders if they are uncertain of their insurance details, or have general inquiries about the claims process
Mobilised ICA staff to work directly with local services and affected policyholders in affected regions
Established an industry taskforce to address and identify issues that arise