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Car insurance claims top 29,000 after Brisbane storm

Car-nage: Near cyclonic winds hurled cricket ball sized hail stones, smashing windows and denting car bodywork in Brisbane's metropolitan suburbs last week.

Brisbane super-storm cost rises past $201m with more foul weather on the way

General News logo2 Dec 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

BRISBANE car dealers are bracing for round two with another wave of violent storms predicted to hit the city later this week, potentially adding to the mounting cost of last week's record and window-breaking weather.

Insurers are still counting the cost of the massive storm-cell that blasted Queensland's capital on Thursday, causing extensive damage to dealerships and vehicles across the city, with more storms forecast from Friday.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), as of Monday December 1, 28,814 motor vehicle claims had been submitted with the figure rising by the hour and adding to the predicted total cost of $201 million at that time.

The catastrophic storm was a rare meteorological event, but while both commercial and private owners are licking their wounds, more inclement weather could add to the damage over the weekend.

Dealers in the area were not willing to discuss the extent of the damage while insurers were still assessing losses, but GoAuto understands one fleet supplier could have up to 700 vehicles affected by the high winds and cricket ball-sized hail.

Some dealerships had moved damaged vehicles off-site within hours of the storm's passing.

In addition to the broken glass and dented vehicle panels, dealership property was also affected by the storm-cell, with fallen trees, lifted roofs and smashed windows all contributing to the rising cost.

Dealers hit hardest were those in Brisbane's Toowong and St Lucia suburbs but none wanted to estimate the extent of losses at such an early stage.

Automotive retail businesses will have to rely largely on the assistance of their insurers to recover from the storm, with premier Campbell Newman confirming no aid would be offered by the Queensland government.

“I’m afraid that’s one of the risks of this state and its climatic extremes,” he said“Government is not and never has been in the business of bailing out businesses from extreme weather events.”“The government only is there to look after the most disadvantaged in the community.”

The storm was caused by a rare convergence of weather fronts and brought the worst conditions to Brisbane's streets in nearly 30 years, but despite the severity, weather experts say it could have been worse.

Meteorological authorities have reported that the conditions were ripe for the storm to turn into an even more dangerous cyclone, but the state was narrowly spared.

Windspeeds of up to 140km/h were recorded and the city was lashed by monsoonal rain and more than 4000 lightning strikes.

The storm was indiscriminate in its damage to local businesses with a variety of commercial organisations reeling from the unusually severe storm.

Two RACQ Careflight helicopters were among the light aircraft damaged by the strong winds with repairs estimated at about $150,000, but some small planes have been completely written off after being flipped upside down.

While the inclement weather predicted later this week is unlikely to be as severe as last week's storm, Brisbane residents will be watching the skies closely and protecting weakened property from further damage.

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