Australia

Insurance claims from Australia's bushfire crisis exceed $700 million

NSW Rural Fire Service crews fight the Gospers Mountain Fire as it impacts a property at Bilpin, Saturday, 21 December, 2019. Source: AAP

The insurance claims from Australia's bushfire crisis have exceeded $700 million.

The Insurance Council of Australia says the estimated damage bill has doubled in two days to surpass a total of $700 million.

Campbell Fuller from the council says there have been 8,985 insurance claims for fire-related damage and destruction since the bushfires began in September.

At least 1,830 homes have been destroyed.

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Eden residents 'dodge massive bullet'
Eden residents 'dodge massive bullet'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will meet with the Insurance Council of Australia and bank chief executives to discuss the response to the bushfire crisis. 

The prime minister pledged on Monday a $2 billion relief package to be injected into a national bushfire recovery fund over the next two years.

Scott Morrison said the surplus was "no focus" of his and emphasised he'd meet whatever cost necessary to help Australians get "back on their feet".

"What I envisage is guaranteeing to the Australian people at this time of crisis that we will meet every cost that needs to be met," he said on Monday.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says more than $25 million worth of relief payments have already been made.

"We want to get money out into these communities as fast as possible, because we want to help them rebuild, to recover and to be more resilient for the future," he told the ABC on Tuesday.

He said the federal government is nowhere near close to putting a dollar figure on the economic impact of the fires. 

"All those businesses in those communities who have been impacted, been hit at exactly the wrong time of the year, when they’re the busiest time.

"So there’s going to be a very significant economic impact, but it is too early to tell what that full impact will be."

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