Insurance victims told to fight
FLOOD victims who have been refused payouts by their insurance companies have been urged to appeal the decisions.
Legal aid expert Catherine Uhr said even those with policies which specially exclude flood damage could still claim thousands of dollars if they are prepared to take on their insurer.
Speaking during a broadcast by the ABC’s Madonna King at Ipswich Library yesterday morning, Ms Uhr said confusion over consumer rights was enabling insurers to avoid making payouts.
“There is misinformation when insurance is sold, misinformation when you renew insurance, misinformation when you walk into your local branch and when you make claim,” she told the audience. “There’s a whole lot of misinformation.”
Although insurers are allowed to exclude flood claims from insurance policies, Ms Uhr said they were forced by law to “clearly and transparently” state what is excluded and may still be liable for payouts regardless of a policy’s wording.
“My message is always lodge a claim,” she said. “You’ve got nothing to lose and could receive a large amount of money.
“Free and independent advice is available, so don’t give up.”
The response of insurance companies to the floods was the hot topic at yesterday’s broadcast, with emotional residents describing their struggles in obtaining help.
MP for Blair Shayne Neumann said that flood victims were being “revictimised” by insurance companies and said the Federal Government was putting pressure on the industry to behave compassionately.
Residents also spoke of their distress at dealing with Centrelink and criticised the level of means-testing set to access federal benefits.
Mr Neumann said there was much for the Federal Government to learn from the disaster.
“The ADF came too late and Centrelink had only eight people here,” he said. “It was an error.”
He also called for mean-testing only to apply to those earning more than $100,000.
For free legal advice on insurance issues, call Flood Legal Help on 1300 651188.