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Car dealers caught in cyclone, flood damage

Destruction Debbie: Damage done by tropical cyclone Debbie is expected cost billions of dollars as it moved its way from Queensland to New South Wales. Photo credit: ABC

Severe flooding, storm damage expected to take toll on Qld and NSW dealer stock

General News logo31 Mar 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

UPDATE: 03/04/17MOTOR vehicle dealerships in Queensland and New South Wales are expected to be hit with huge damage bills to both rolling stock and infrastructure left in the wake of tropical cyclone Debbie.

Hitting Australia’s north-east coast in the last week of March, the cyclone made landfall at Airlie Beach in Queensland’s Whitsunday region before moving inland southeast towards Proserpine.

Winds reportedly topped 260km/h with pictures emerging of stripped buildings left in Debbie’s wake, but subsequent rainfall events caused by the cyclone have extended the impact down through to NSW’s northern coastal towns and is expected to contribute heavily to the damage bill as rising water levels and flooding inundate commercial properties.

Dealerships caught directly in the Debbie’s path – including Rod Grittner Nissan, Fraser Ford and Crossley Holden in Proserpine – are likely to have suffered damage from strong winds.

Furthermore, GoAuto has received reports of flooding in Kyogle at the Des Watson Ford dealership, as well as caryards in Murwillumbah and major flooding in Lismore at key dealerships including Nissan, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ford and Toyota.

Recognised as the worst cyclone to hit the region since cyclone Yasi in 2011 – which racked up a $1.4 billion damage bill – Debbie has been branded a “catastrophe” by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), which expects the damage bill to run into billions of dollars.

ICA chief executive Rob Whelan said the insurance industry was “harnessing its resources to help customers in a fair and timely manner”, and an ICA spokesperson confirmed to GoAuto that 20,000 insurance claims have been lodged as of Monday April 3 with an overall estimated insured loss of $224 million.

However, the ICA could not offer a breakdown of which claims pertain to what was damaged – something usually updated on a regular basis – with an ICA spokesperson telling GoAuto that “the data at this stage is very limited”.

“A while after these catastrophe events, we’ll generally have a breakdown of residential, domestic auto, business property, fleet cars and stuff like that, so that data will generally eventually come through, but at the moment there’s just not (the information available),” the spokesperson said.

“It will probably take a good few weeks to get a reasonably complete picture of what the losses are.

“Normally at this time we’d have a bit more of an idea, but there’s just not a lot of data coming through because the weather is making it very hard for people to get out and work out how much damage they’ve had.”Photo credit: ABC

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