A Yeppoon home damaged by Cyclone Marcia.FOUR days after Tropical Cyclone Marcia hit Central Queensland, 46,000 homes remain without power and insurance claims, now running at $33 million, are expected to rise in coming days as the clean up continues.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 350 homes were destroyed but that number could rise as authorities try to reach some communities who were cut off by the natural disaster.

She said there has also been a big financial cost to the cotton, beef and citrus industries in the region.

A Suncorp spokesman said the insurer, which owns brands such as AAMI and Apia, had received more than 2000 claims so far, and added an extra 200 call centre staff to deal with the increases in call volumes.

“Additional assessors are being brought up from southern states to assist with assessing claims quickly. We have limited access to some areas still, which is inhibiting our ability to assess some properties,” Suncorp spokesman Marcus Taylor said.

IAG said it had received about 700 claims by Sunday, with the majority of claims from personal insurance customers who hold vehicle and property cover. About 90 per cent of the claims, received through NRMA, CGU, Lumley Insurance, WFI and Coles brands, relate to property damage caused by heavy rain and high winds in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

“We anticipate claim numbers will increase as people return to their homes and businesses, and we will provide an estimate of the financial impact as soon as we are in a position to do so,” IAG boss, Mike Wilkins said.

QBE Australia had netted 300 claims by Monday afternoon, adding that assessments were ongoing. “We continue to prioritise the claims of those affected to ensure their lives can return to normal as soon as possible, and have been making emergency payments to any customers who need them,” a QBE spokeswoman said.

Power patience requestedMs Palaszczuk said the biggest issue was still the loss of power in the Yeppoon and Rockhampton region, with 46,000 homes and business still without power on Monday afternoon – down from the peak of 69,500 after the cyclone hit on Friday morning.

“We are asking people to be patient but we do recognise power is the most significant issue in these regional centres,” she said.

She said there had been an assessment of more than 3300 properties by Monday afternoon, with more than 1000 suffering structural damage and 350 deemed not safe to return to.

“That is quite significant. Our priority as a government is to make sure these people are looked after first and foremost,” she said.

“We will be doing some further assessment over the coming days. We do recognise there are communities … that do not have access to communications at the moment. That is a priority.”

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