Peter Bloxham and Tamara Smith.
Peter Bloxham and Tamara Smith. Rob Williams

First insurance, now hope going too

RESIDENTS of a flood-devastated townhouse complex who were shocked to find they weren’t covered for flood have essentially given up hope.

As The Queensland Times reported last month, the 43 residents of Mi-Hi Grove in Haig Street, Brassall were told after the floods that the body corporate didn’t have coverage for flood damage.

All of them, they said, were convinced it did.

When the QT went there on January 18, it looked like the set of a disaster movie; when we returned yesterday, it was like a ghost town.

Tamara Smith and Peter Bloxham from Slacks Creek were inside their unit, trying to put back what the floodwaters had ripped out.

Peter works in IT at Virgin Blue and Tamara is an office administration manager with recruitment firm Workpac.

Ms Smith said she bought the unit in 2006 as an investment property and began renting it two years ago.

“When we purchased the property we were told the body corporate had the insurance covered. So you just assumed you had flood insurance,” she said.

“We were never advised we had no flood insurance.

“We had a meeting straight after the floods and I’d say 90 per cent of people didn’t know we didn’t have flood insurance.”

Mr Bloxham said the unit’s latest policy said we had catastrophe insurance as well.

“That’s tsunami and earthquake but not flood apparently,” he said.

“The bank said they wouldn’t loan us any money to fix the place up because the value of the unit was now less than what we owed on it, so we had to put a second mortgage on our other place.”

The couple are worried they could lose their Brisbane house trying to save their unit. Units valued at $265,000 at the start of January were now valued at $120,000.

“There are a few people in the complex just walking out,” they said.

To make matters worse, Ms Smith said she couldn’t get compensation because it was not her primary place of residence.

“All the people getting thousands of dollars, it really makes me angry,” she said.

“We’re lucky to be able to have an investment property, but we worked really hard for it.

“Now we’re trying to get back to normal. Who’s going to help?”

Lauren Way, who alerted the QT to the problem at Mi-Hi Grove, said most residents were in the same dire straits.

“With our insurance for the unit we’re still waiting for the verdict from the insurance company. I don’t hold much hope I will get something,” she said.

“I’m at the stage of getting quotes so I can start the work myself with my family and friends.

“The unit beside me hasn’t been touched. Only a handful of the units have started to rebuild.”

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