Stores not covered by insurance
AN entire shopping centre will remain in ruins for weeks because just three of the 25-plus businesses had insurance policies that covered river flooding.
But remarkably, some businesses in Goodna's St Ives Shopping Centre were covered for acts of terrorism – just in case the working-class suburb was the target of a sleeper cell.
Insurance, or the lack thereof, has become the most agonising part of January's epic flood for Ipswich residents.
Five feet of water swallowed the shopping centre on January 12, turning it into an aquarium, with bull sharks reported to be swimming through its car park.
But now that the water has receded, dozens of business owners have realised their insurance policies do not cover the millions of dollars worth of damage and loss of trade.
Martin Schulz, owner of the centre's Discount Drug Store, said he was astounded that his policy did not cover loss of trade due to flooding.
“Frustrated is an under statement. Another word comes to mind,” Mr Schulz said.
“I have loss of trade cover, but my insurer said my store was flood damaged and was not able to open, which is apparently not the same as loss of trade.
“I am out of pocket by about $850,000 because I've had no money coming in and the damage bill and products that floated away I need to replace.”
St Ives butcher Steve Bateman said he was amazed when reading through his policy after the flood that he was covered for a terrorist attack but not in the case of a rising river.
“I would get a payout if someone from Al-Qaeda came in here and blew my store up, but not if the river rose,” Mr Bateman said.
“It's going to cost me $250,000 and my insurer won't do a thing. It would have been better if Osama bin Laden came to my store with an M16 or something.”
Businesses flooded because the Bremer or the Brisbane rivers broke their banks were typically not receiving payouts from insurance.
This means most Goodna, Karalee and Ipswich CBD stores were not covered.
But Lockyer Valley businesses are covered because the Insurance Council of Australia ruled flooding in that region was directly caused by rainfall.
There is only one shop open in St Ives – Handyman Hardware – but it was not covered by insurance either.
“We opened back up on Tuesday and it has been busy, but we are still down hundreds of thousands of dollars and we won't get a thing back from our insurers.”
State Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller, whose own office was flooded in St Ives, said the shopping centre would emerge from deep water.
“The shops will start to slowly open again in the coming weeks and in two months the centre will be back to how it was,” she said optimistically.