So far in 2019, 700 houses in New South Wales alone were lost to wildfire, the highest number since 1957. The people affected lost their homes and valuable memories, but there are also very serious financial repercussions for those having to start from scratch and rebuild – in their old neighborhood or elsewhere.
According to the reinsurer Munich Re, which is a company that insures insurers, the biggest losses due to a single wildfire in Australia occurred during the Black Saturday Fire. US$1.3 billion (adjusted for inflation) were lost, out of which US$790 million were insured. 173 people lost their lives during the fire that lasted three weeks in 2009. Two more significant fires that occurred since 1980 were the Canberra Bush Fires (US$830 million in overall losses in 2003) and the Ash Wednesday Fire (US$800 million in losses in 1983). During the latter, 75 people lost their lives.
On Wednesday, South Australia was under a “catastrophic” alert, and Victoria is expecting such an alert on Thursday. Sydney was blanketed in smoke this week, causing respiratory health problems for residents. The tally of the 2019 fire season is yet to come in as insurers will receive claims long after the fires have been put out.