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Brisbane super storm damage bill tops $1 billion

By Maria Hatzakis, Saturday February 14, 2015 - 11:18 EDT
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More than 100,000 insurance claims have been lodged. - ABC

The cost of damage caused by Brisbane's super cell storm has reached $1.1 billion and is continuing to mount, months after the system tore through the city.

The storm in November 2014 lasted about half an hour but caused extensive damage to cars and property.

More than two months after the disaster, claims are still being lodged and insurers are expecting to be repairing hail-battered cars until the end of 2015.

The damage was so bad partly because the storm struck suddenly and trapped drivers in an afternoon peak hour.

Fierce winds of about 140 kilometres per hour, heavy falls and pounding hail smashed homes, cars and insurance claims records.

The RACQ's Mike Sopinski said the insurer had inspected almost 15, 000 hail-damaged cars and more than 2,500 storm damaged homes.

"It is the largest single claims event that we have ever seen in Queensland," Mr Sopinski said.

"We saw almost 3,500 cars written off, now we're progressing well with claims but certainly the number, the sheer number of damaged cars, we are expecting to be repairing cars well up to the end of this year.

"We're actually seeing claims still coming in, we've got people with hail-damaged cars who have decided to not get involved with the rush and they're lodging their claims now."

Suncorp Insurance spokesman Joshua Cooney said the insurer had received about 10,000 claims in the first 24 hours after the disaster, but that figure later more than tripled.

"We've received 31,000 claims as a result of the hail storm in November and we anticipate 90 per cent of those claims and payments to be finalised by July this year," Mr Cooney said.

"We would classify this as the largest hail storm that Brisbane has ever experienced," he said.

The Insurance Council of Australia said more than 100,000 claims had been lodged and about 65,000 of those had been for damage to cars.

West End driver Ali Cameron's car was written off after she got stuck in traffic in the inner city at the peak of the storm.

"Many cars around me lost their front and rear windscreens, I was lucky that didn't happen but mine got severely hail damaged with what looked like fist socks into the side of it," Ms Cameron said.

"When windscreens started to smash around me I realised that this storm was of a whole other level," she said.


© ABC 2015

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