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Insurance Council of Australia declares southwest bushfires a catastrophe
THE devastating bushfires in the state’s southwest last weekend have already cost insurers $12 million in damages.
Insurance Council of Australia chief executive Rob Whelan declared the ravaging bushfires a “catastrophe” on Sunday night, ensuring policyholders would be given priority by insurers.
Mr Whelan said it may be some time before the full extent of property losses is clear but insurance claims stood at $12 million on Tuesday night.
”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.”
The big bill comes as it was revealed it took more than two hours for those in the path of fire to be sent an emergency alert text message.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said before midnight on Saturday there were more than 150 fires, four of which were major.
“The first in a series of fires around Camperdown and Terang started shortly before 9pm,” he said.
“Information is critical but there is no doubt getting timely and relevant messages that had the information in it to make informed decisions was challenging in the early stages.”
Emergency alert text messages reached 70,000 devices — the first at 11.30pm, more than two hours after some of the fires were reported.
Another round of texts were sent in the early hours of the morning and again at 7am.
The VicEmergency website and app, emergency broadcasters and social media channels were used to warn people before the texts.
Source: Herald Sun