Significant damage to properties at Rappville after fire tore throught he region.
Significant damage to properties at Rappville after fire tore throught he region. Marc Stapelberg

Rappville fireground declared a catastrophe

UPDATE 1.08pm: FIRE affected farmers in northern NSW needing help caring for their animals with emergency fodder and stock water can call the Local Land Services NSW Ag and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

Call the hotline to report damage and stock losses, or to request assistance.


Original story: THE Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared its second bushfire Catastrophe in five weeks for properties damaged or destroyed in northern New South Wales.

>>> 64 heartbreaking photos from fire-ravaged village

>>> 'UNCHARTED TERRITORY': Fires are burning our rainforests for first time ever

Today's Catastrophe declaration is for the area around the northern NSW community of Rappville and fires in the Busby Flat and Drake areas.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan encouraged affected property owners to contact their insurers as quickly as possible. He said the Catastrophe declaration meant claims from the affected areas would be given priority by insurers.

He said the industry hoped to reduce some of the emotional and financial stress experienced by residents and businesses.

"Insurers are standing by to help customers in this region, with assessors mobilising to examine properties once it's safe to do so," Mr Whelan said.

"The NSW Rural Fire Service is still determining the extent of property damage, and it may take several weeks before insurers are able to quantify the extent of insured losses.

"The ICA is aware police are investigating whether the Rappville fire was the result of arson, and reassure property owners that this will not have an impact on their insurance claims.

"Primary producers are reminded that they may euthanise critically injured animals without having been visited by an assessor. They should ensure they have appropriate records for any insurance claim."

Under the Catastrophe declaration the ICA has:

. Activated its disaster hotline - 1800 734 621 to assist policyholders if they are uncertain of their insurance details, or have general inquiries about the claims process

. Mobilised Insurance Council disaster recovery specialists to support affected property owners and local community groups

. Established an industry taskforce to identify and address issues that arise

Community members can also make inquiries via

This is the third bushfire catastrophe declared this year, and the fourth overall.

Insurers have received 300 claims from last month's fires in northern NSW and south-east Queensland, with $20 million in insured losses.

In March, the ICA declared a Catastrophe for the Bunyip bushfires in eastern Victoria. Insurers have received 432 claims, with losses estimated at $31.9 million.

The first Catastrophe for the year was declared in February for damage to Townsville and surrounding regions following a monsoonal downpour. Insurers received more than 30,000 claims with losses of $1.26 billion.

For bushfire recovery tips visit:

Truck, car and caravan collide in highway crash

premium_icon Truck, car and caravan collide in highway crash

A vehicle is believed to have rolled down an embankment

Which business won the Northern Rivers' top employer title?

premium_icon Which business won the Northern Rivers' top employer title?

All the winners from the NSW Business Chamber Awards