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Cyclone Debbie strikes Queensland

28th Mar 2017

Expert in this field

As expected, here at Cunningham Lindsey we have been transfixed by Tropical Cyclone Debbie as it has edged its way towards the Queensland coast, expected to arrive at 2pm today hopefully remaining no more than a Category 4 storm. A few high-level details based on what we now know:

  • The very destructive core crossed Hamilton Island with wind gusts up to 263km/h. Boats in the harbour have already been torn from their moorings
  • The eye is larger and progressing slower than recent Yasi (2011) & Larry (2006) so potential for damage could indeed be immense
  • The cyclone will arrive near Bowen just after the second highest tide of the year, so the anticipated four metre storm surge may not cause as much damage as initially feared
  • Significant damage is expected to be experienced as far north as Ayr, as far south as Sarina, and as far west as Collinsville
  • The cyclone will later today become a Low, and slowly work its way through central QLD dumping extraordinary levels of rain which could cause flooding issues inland later in the week.

In short, this is the largest potential natural Catastrophe event in Australia for almost 6 years.

Planning for this event has been underway since last week, with CAT offices planned for Townsville & Mackay where our response will be led by Jason Wyer & Phil Marshall. We have 29 staff throughout Central & Northern Queensland, and we are pleased to report that all of our staff are safe. Our Mackay office remains closed until further notice, and we expect local staff will be on deck later today once they have looked after their families first.

As in previous large events the primary need of our Clients and your Customers is immediate contact, prioritisation of claim severity, make safes and site visits of urgent claims. Our initial triage will be managed from our Customer Service Centre whilst we await access to be available to our CAT offices, and we will stay in close contact with our Clients and Brokers.

An initial support team of an additional 15 Adjusters plus CAT Management team are awaiting notice to travel as soon as airports open, to support our local teams, whilst all other Adjusters and a selected number of support staff have been put on standby. The slow moving nature of this cyclone is impacting our certainty over the arrival of our teams, and this is being closely monitored.

Our drones are already in place in Mackay, and dependent upon authority we intend to conduct a general assessment of the damage zones tomorrow. Should you be interested in any specific footage, please contact your Account Manager to discuss further.

We’ll update you again as we learn more from the field following the passing of the cyclone. If you or any of your customers need support with the Cyclone Debbie claims, please call:

24/7 Customer Service Centre
1800 811 285
[email protected]

Major & Complex Loss (MCL) Team – Our specialist team of experts deliver the technical skills, industry specific knowledge and best practices to respond to losses of significant size and complexity. We have MCL Adjusters travelling in the first wave, and have all of our property, construction, engineering and marine specialists on standby.

FAS Global – Our qualified team of independent forensic accountants specialise in business interruption and financial losses with extensive experience in catastrophe and major loss quantification. They will have Accountants on the ground supporting our commercial Adjusters, as well as a dedicated team to manage business interruption only claims resulting from prevention of access due to forced evacuation, or loss of power.

Sergon Building Consultants – Sergon has a thorough understanding of the issues and Code requirements, and cost escalation elements that may affect your claims. Sergon will be meeting with the affected local councils to understand their specific plans, and our Quantity Surveyors & Project Managers will available to consult to assist with major property claims.

Oriel Property Services – Oriel are available for urgent mitigation and general restoration services. A Project Manager for major restoration projects will be available in the first wave of staff on the ground.

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