A catastrophe has been declared in Queensland, with insurers inundated with hailstorm damage claims.
Severe thunderstorms hammered the state’s southeast on Saturday, dropping tennis ball-sized hail on some areas.
The Insurance Council of Australia had received over 5000 claims to 2pm on Sunday, with insured losses estimated at $60 million.
Motor vehicles make up 60 per cent of the claims to date, while the rest relate to house damage including to roofs, skylights and solar panels.
Springfield, Rosewood, Greenbank and Boronia Heights, all south of Brisbane, were among the hardest-hit suburbs.
“The catastrophe declaration means insurers will prioritise claims from these hail-affected areas and will direct urgent attention to those most in need of assistance,” ICA CEO Andrew Hall said on Sunday.
“Householders should contact their insurers before commissioning any repairs to their homes. They should ensure this work will be paid for under the policy.”
It’s the first catastrophe declaration for the 2020-21 natural disaster season, but southeast Queensland has been a hotspot for damaging storms in recent years.
Powerful hailstorms that hit Brisbane in 2014 and 2019 resulted in $1.5 billion and $504 million claim bills respectively, while a Rockhampton hail event in April caused $503 million in insured damage.
Mr Hall said insurers expect an influx of claims to rush in on Monday as more householders and businesses inspect the damage.
Authorities have already started to mop up from Saturday’s storm which saw giant 14cm-diameter hail reported in Logan.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service recorded more than 1800 calls for help, with most coming from the Ipswich area.
Local mayor Teresa Harding said almost 1200 of those were from Springfield and Springfield Lakes alone.
“The damage to homes and vehicles is extensive,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
The requests to QFES for assistance were mostly for downed trees, as well as building damage, a spokeswoman told AAP.
Energex had reported more than 42,000 electricity users were without power on Saturday, but that figure had been whittled down below 10,000 by Sunday afternoon.
Ipswich City, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast were the worst affected councils.
The Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its warning for dangerous storms late on Saturday night, although a flood warning is active for coastal areas.
The wild weather came less than a week after two days of storms delivered a month worth of rain and flash flooding to some parts of the state, including Brisbane.
Tennis ball-sized hailstones pummelled the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Flash flooding affected some Brisbane areas at the height of the storms on Tuesday, which was the wettest October day in the city since 2010.