The RBA said it has not yet had claims related to forest fires, but expects a “reasonable number.” (News video)
Australians with damaged cash in forest fires are urged to take the remains to their local bank branch or forest fire evacuation centers to claim compensation.
- The face value of a burned banknote will be replaced in its entirety, unless it is a partial banknote to start with
- Burned or damaged banknotes should be placed in a tightly sealed bag and taken to a local bank branch
- The RBA warns that claims can take weeks to process, so it urges people to file them as soon as possible.
Forest fires have destroyed thousands of homes across the country and the Reserve Bank is preparing for the largest number of claims after a disaster.
RBA Deputy Governor (commercial services) Lindsay Boulton told ABC News that the damage from recent forest fires was so severe that it could “possibly” result in a record number of compensation claims.
“Given the scale and magnitude of the forest fires we have seen in recent weeks, we expect to obtain a reasonable number of ticket claims,” he said.
“The amount of property damage through forest fires on this occasion has been greater than what we saw in the  Black Saturday forest fires. Therefore, it may be because we see that there are more claims. “
But he said that with more Australians who choose to use electronic transactions than in previous decades, which means that fewer people may have had cash in their homes, the figure could also be lower than expected.
“People do not use the tickets as they did 10 years ago, so that may suggest that it may be less,” he said.
“We’re really not sure how many claims we will get, but we are preparing for a large number of claims.”
Economists estimate that the final cost of current Australian forest fires will reach billions of dollars, while some analysts say it could cost the economy up to $ 20 billion in lost production.
Claims may take months to process
Boulton urged Australians with damaged banknotes to file claims as soon as possible, as it could take months to process a claim.
“The most convenient and easy way is to take any waste, any waste you have from your damaged banknotes to a branch of a local bank,” Boulton said.
He said the cash should be placed in a tightly sealed bag and marked “forest fires.”
“The bank will ask you to complete some documents, which is really about getting the claimant’s contact details,” he said.
“And then the bank will send them to us and we will evaluate them. That process will take a little time, depending on how fast the tickets arrive and how bad they really are.”
Boulton said at this stage that the bank had not yet received any claims, but it could be a few weeks before the claims begin to flow.
The timing for compensation payments depended on how damaged the bills were.
“However, our approach is to make sure we can process those claims as quickly as we can,” Boulton said.
“If they [the bank notes] they are severely damaged, it requires a fairly extensive process to authenticate the bills and identify the denomination of how much is really there. “
The more banknotes presented, the longer the process takes, he said.
Australians would be paid the full face value of the banknote, unless it was damaged before the forest fire.
“It would only be the case that they obtain a partial value of the note if it were a partial note before it was damaged,” he said.
Through half a banknote, the RBA would pay half the value. For example, for a $ 20 note with half of the missing note, the RBA would only pay $ 10. (ABC News: Margaret Burin)
Through half a banknote, the RBA would pay half the value. For example, for a $ 20 note with half of the missing note, the RBA would only pay $ 10.
“The fact that the grades were appropriate grades, full grades, then, depending on the evaluation, we should return the total amount of the nominal value of that grade,” he said.
The cost of replacing tickets was $ 4.2 million last year
The cost of replacing banknotes after previous disasters has been mixed.
After the Black Saturday forest fires of 2009, the RBA received only 15 claims for damaged banknotes.
But for Cyclone Debbie in 2017, which resulted in severe flood damage, the bank paid $ 3.3 million for just over 30 claims.
Boulton said it constituted about half of the total value of the bills that the RBA paid that year.
“In the last financial year, we paid 15,000 claims, which totaled around $ 4.2 million,” Boulton said.
“The average amount paid for the year was less than $ 300. But the median was about $ 30.”
Boulton said that if it was obvious to the Reserve Bank because of its assessment that banknotes were deliberately damaged, he had the option of rejecting the claim.
It is a criminal offense to deliberately damage banknotes.
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