Press Release

QBE response to Cyclone Debbie continues

QBE Insurance Australia has announced it has donated $100,000 to support Red Cross’ disaster relief and recovery work as the insurer continues to ramp up efforts to provide support to customers in affected areas.

Three weeks on from Cyclone Debbie crossing the North Queensland coastline, QBE’s work to clean up, make-safe, restore and rebuild is now gathering pace, with some works already complete.

The donation to Red Cross will help them to get relief teams into evacuation and recovery centres, reconnect families who have been separated, and go door-to-door to check how people are doing and offer information to support communities from Townsville to Lismore.

Red Cross’ Director Emergency Services, Noel Clement, said they were greatly appreciative of the additional funds.

“We’re so grateful to QBE for their support so we can continue to walk alongside affected communities, doing whatever we can to help them recover, now and for the long term.

QBE Executive General Manager – Claims, Jon Fox, said the insurer was committed to helping those impacted get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

“We’re obviously working hard to support our customers, but the broader communities also need help and the work Red Cross is doing is vital to aid their recovery and helping build resilience for the longer term,” Mr Fox said.

“For our customers, we enacted our catastrophe management plan well in advance of the cyclone making landfall. This proactive approach and streamlining of our claims processes, has allowed us to be in position to have builders on site within hours of customers making contact and a number of jobs have been completed within days.
“As at Wednesday morning, more than 95 per cent of customers who have lodged a claim have been contacted by an assessor or builder to make an appointment to attend the property.

“The majority of claims we have received at this stage are coming from our domestic property customers and are for damage such as storm, water and wind to buildings, roofs, fences, sheds and other structures. Damage to motor vehicles represents five per cent of total claims received with several vehicles being replaced or paid out.”

Mr Fox emphasised that QBE was committed to using local trades and suppliers, with a number of building and service companies with a permanent local presence in the affected communities retained to coordinate its repair work in the region.

“These companies specialise in insurance repair work so we can be confident they have the experience required to complete the repairs as efficiently as possible, for our customers.

“This also provides certainty for customers who receive a lifetime guarantee on works we complete for them. Of course, if demand exceeds available resources, we may need to source additional labour locally and from the broader region.”

Mr Fox said QBE has also embraced new technology in responding to Cyclone Debbie.

“We’ve also used drones for the first time to visually inspect affected areas. This allows us to create aerial images of risk areas and find out which customers may need our assistance before we are able to gain access by road,” he said.

“This will help us to evaluate and strengthen our resourcing in areas where required by enabling us to  make more accurate assessments quickly and make faster decisions.” QBE has a number of reinsurance programs in place and expects this event to remain within its large risk and catastrophe allowances.”

For further information please contact:
Kate Sinclair
Senior Communications Specialist
QBE Corporate Communications

Phone: 02 9375 4882