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Cylone Debbie: six months on

5 October 2017

Attributed to Anthony Day, Suncorp CEO Insurance 

Tropical Cyclone Debbie was the longest and strongest weather event to hit Queensland since Cyclone Yasi in 2011. 

When Debbie made landfall north of Proserpine on 28 March this year, it travelled more than 1000 kilometres over a seven-day period, destroying homes and displacing communities in parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales.  

While Debbie’s strength was powerful, it was the scale that made the weather system so unique. While communities in North Queensland were beginning to survey the damage, residents in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales were beginning to prepare for Debbie’s arrival. 

For Suncorp, our biggest priority has been to deploy our people to severely impacted regions to help customers recover quickly. Given the nature of Debbie, our customers’ claims have been diverse, with damage caused by extreme winds, severe rainfall and flash flooding. 

Our work with local assessors and tradespeople in each of the affected regions has enabled us to expedite the claims process. Our priority is to continue working closely with our builders to ensure the remaining repairs are completed as soon as possible so customers can return to their homes and businesses. 

When I look back, six months on from Cyclone Yasi, we had finalised 53 per cent of claims. With improved claims processes and systems in place, six months on from Cyclone Debbie, we have finalised 75 per cent of claims — an average of 80 claims per day. 

For our customers, this means helping them get back to their homes and businesses as soon as possible.

Our claims response is supported by our efforts to create more resilient communities. We’re also focused on rebuilding homes and businesses in a way that reduces the impact of future disasters. We want to build it back better, not just a finish a quick job. 

The recovery from Debbie certainly isn’t over. This event, like many others, has again reminded us of the importance of mitigation and preparation. 

Suncorp remains committed to supporting our customers and communities until they’re back on their feet and their lives are back to normal. And, as we head into a warm spring and predicted hot summer, we’re also focused on helping customers to make their homes and communities more resilient against future weather events. 


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