Flood victims in insurance limbo
HALF of Ipswich's flood victims still don't know if they are eligible for insurance pay outs two months after water shattered their lives, Legal Aid Queensland says.
Legal Aid Queensland consumer advocate Catherine Uhr said many Ipswich people had yet to even see a hydrologist and were sitting in limbo unsure how much debt they would be swimming in.
“Next week we will start actually filing against insurance companies for not telling their clients whether they will pay them,” Ms Uhr said.
“I've spoken to a number of very distressed people; they don't know what's going to happen with their house.”
It is estimated that close to 1000 people were seriously affected in January's epic food.
Legal Aid Queensland is handling the majority of appeals from disgruntled insurance policy holders in Ipswich.
Ms Uhr said feedback from flood victims in Ipswich was that half of those affected were still waiting for a formal letter stating whether they would receive a pay out.
“RACQ has not told hardly any of their customers whether they are eligible yet,” Ms Uhr said.
“It's too long to wait. The insurance companies need to make up their minds.”
Without a written statement from an insurance company detailing whether or not a client is receiving a pay out, emergency accommodation funds cannot be accessed.
The Insurance Council of Australia has published reports on the causes of floods in Toowoomba and Brisbane, but not Ipswich.
This is also causing a delay.
Basin Pocket resident Keith Carnell is still waiting for his insurer, RACQ, to inform him of whether he is eligible for insurance.
“It's been two months now, and all I'm getting is the run-around. They're just not telling me what's going on,” Mr Carnell said.
“I have been with RACQ for 25 years.
“I'm sitting on borrowed furniture right now and they still say they have to wait for a hydrologist to come here.
“I live on the river. I know where the water came from, so I don't know why it's so hard for a hydrologist to come here and say yes you were flooded by that river near your backyard.
“It's not just RACQ either. I know people with several other insurance companies who are yet to be told whether they will be paid out.”
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was beyond a joke that insurance companies were taking so long to respond.
“Evil triumphs when good men stand still. We are armed and dangerous and not prepared to let them get away with this,” Cr Pisasale said.
“All these people want is a quick answer so they can move forward.
“Insurance companies are acting un-Australian,” he said.
WHAT TO DO:
Contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 651 188 if you feel your insurance company has not acted appropriately. The service is free and they have recently hired more staff to cope with demand.
Disgruntled flood victims still without insurance are meeting at Riverlink, near Nandos, on Saturday. All are welcome.