Beverley Merrett is upset that her insurance company will not pay up after her house in Macgregor Street at Woodend was flooded.
Beverley Merrett is upset that her insurance company will not pay up after her house in Macgregor Street at Woodend was flooded. Rob Williams

Insurers asked to show compassion

NOT noted for their compassion, insurance companies have been told to show some heart to people who have had theirs broken by floods.

Premier Anna Bligh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have both implored insurance companies to pay out claims to Queensland flood victims.

The Insurance Council of Australia says Queenslanders have so far submitted 7000 insurance claims worth $365 million but that doesn’t include claims for damage in the hardest-hit regions.

The Premier said many insurance companies don’t insure for floods so residents’ household insurance doesn’t have flood coverage “even though they have been making payments regularly and responsibly”.

Ipswich woman Beverley Merrett said she would welcome some compassion after being told she would not be compensated for flood damage.

“They basically said: ‘Sorry lady, tough titties’,” said Mrs Merrett, who lives in Woodend.

“They say it’s a natural disaster, I don’t care. I’ve got insurance, so pay up.

“I’m devastated. I’m on a pension. I’m not asking for a fortune, I just want under the house back to a liveable state.”

She said she had lived in her home for 15 years and it was the first time the Bremer River had risen so quickly and savagely.

“It came that fast that I didn’t have time to evacuate underneath the house,” she said. “My boy lived under there and I lost food, a washing machine, freezer.”

By contrast with the insurance companies, she said she and her neighbours were overwhelmed by the kind help of volunteers.

Insurance council chief executive officer Rob Whelan said claims would be assessed taking into account “the terms and conditions of each insurance policy”.

“It is important to note that not all insurance policies will cover policyholders for this type of flood event,” Mr Whelan said.



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