Townsville property losses were US$730m, says Perils

May 13 2019 by Andrew Tjaardstra

Nat cat data modeler Perils’ second loss estimate for the record flooding, which hit northern Queensland — in particular the city of Townsville — between January 26 and February 10, is A$1.04 billion (US$730 million).

This second estimate compares to the initial loss estimate of A$957 million, which was issued by Perils on March 15. The Perils loss number covers the claims for property cover only.

An updated estimate of the market loss for the Townsville flood will be made available on August 12, six months after the event. The loss information in this third and following report will be provided by postcode and property lines of business.

The flooding cost Swiss Re US$210 million alone while Australia’s three majors and their subsidiaries — IAG, QBE and Suncorp — were all affected.

In the week to February 4, the bureau’s site at Townsville Aero recorded 1,052.8mm of rain, and then 1,257mm in the 10 days to February 6. The previous Townsville record for a seven-day rainfall period was 886.2mm, in 1998, and 952.5mm, in 1953, for a 10-day period.

In total, there was 1.4 metres of rain in less than two weeks. The storm was caused by a convergence of a monsoon and a slow-moving tropical low.

The sheer amount of rain meant that the Ross River dam reached 250% capacity, meaning the overspill dam gateway was opened releasing 2,000 cubic metres of water per second. Residents in the surrounding suburbs were warned to prepare for immediate flooding.