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Insurance losses from Australia's bushfires climb to A$1.34B

The Insurance Council of Australia said insurance losses related to bushfires that have burnt huge swaths of the southeastern part of the country have reached A$1.34 billion, much higher than its prior estimate of A$939 million.

The estimate covers claims filed since Nov. 8, 2019. Insurers have received 13,750 bushfire catastrophe-related claims since that date. The council expects a "sharp increase" in claims this week as household property assessments take place and large commercial claims are lodged.

Meanwhile, Suncorp Group Ltd. and Insurance Australia Group Ltd. have suspended the selling of insurance policies in certain areas of Victoria and New South Wales, The Guardian reported. The embargoes are reviewed every day, with a Suncorp spokeswoman saying that 18 were pulled Jan. 14, while 90 were lifted a day earlier.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. did not disclose to the news outlet the areas where embargoes are in place.