Cyclone Debbie could cost the insurance industry more than $1 billion, Insurance Council of Australia chief executive Rob Whelan has warned.

About 7,500 claims worth hundreds of millions of dollars had been lodged by Queensland residents by Friday lunchtime, Mr Whelan said. But he expects that figure to rise given the severe flooding in the northern NSW city of Lismore, with Suncorp, Insurance Australia Group and RACQ Insurance particularly exposed. “People…