Fires add pressure to insurance premiums : INSURANCE premiums are likely to be affected following an influx of claims from policy-holders affected by the devastating bushfires that have destroyed 59 Perth hills homes so far.
Some of WA's largest insurance companies, including SGIO, RAC and HBF, have already started receiving calls from customers who have lost all their possessions and had their homes raized.
The latest reports from the fireline confirm that 59 homes have been destroyed with approximately another 40 severely damaged.
Insurers have suggested it's probably still too early to predict what may happen to premiums as a result of the bushfires, but one insurer indicated that upcoming negotiations with re-insurers would most likely increase premiums.
RAC Insurance has received calls from two customers who appear to have lost everything.
And RAC technical claims manager Glen Walker has received at least half a dozen calls so far.
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"We can't get assessors in there as it's still an active fire," Mr Walker said.
He said the big cost associated with calculating premiums was reinsurance, which means forecasting the affect on premiums was awkward.
"We need to look at national exposure to catastrophes of late," Mr Walker said.
"Reinsurance companies will be looking at that - we've had floods, cyclones, and even a cyclone off Perth, and an earthquake in Kalgoorlie as well.
"All those things combined suggest there's going to be some pressure on reinsurance and that's ultimately going to be reflected in premiums.
"That will be putting upward pressure on premiums."
And RAC have sent a crew up to the Armadale Arena this morning, where thousands of residents have gathered, so people can lodge claims.
"RAC clients can receive advice and lodge claims there thanks to RAC staff setting up a base there with laptops and remote access," Mr Walker said.
HBF spokesperson Andrew Walton said the affect on future premiums won't be known until the final assessment of the damage is completed.
“We implore our members to get in contact with us,” Mr Walton said.
“We opened our call centre an hour earlier today to make it as easy as possible to claim.
“HBF homes and contents insurance policy-holders will automatically be covered for bushfire.”
Mr Walton said HBF had already received calls from a number of members this morning.
“I'd be surprised if we didn't have more,” he said.
HBF members with properties located on Nowra Place, Greendale Place and Weston Terrace in Kelmscott have already made contact with the insurer.
Mr Walton indicated that the Greendale Place house and one of the homes found on Weston Terrace were shaping up to be "total losses", meaning the properties were completely destroyed.
SGIO corporate affairs manager, Rob Cory said SGIO has so far received four building and three contents claims from the severe bushfires.
"But we expect more claims to be lodged once people are able to return to their properties to assess damage," he said.
"SGIO is contacting customers directly to arrange temporary accommodation and emergency payments where they are needed.
"Assessors will be mobilised in the affected areas as soon as they are reopened to the public."
Fierce winds are hampering efforts in the fight against bushfires that have now destroyed 42 homes in Roleystone and Kelmscott, with fears up to 60 properties could be damaged.
Premier Colin Barnett has declared fire-affected regions in the Perth hills a natural disaster area as firefighters continue to battle three separate wildfires.
For those wishing to claim HBF can be reached on 133 423, RAC’s bushfire claims hotline is 1300 655 620 and SGIO can be contacted on 133 233.