Sixty percent of $1.243b in Townville catastrophe claims closed

Sixty per cent of insurance claims lodged since the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) declared a catastrophe for the Townsville monsoonal deluge have been closed.

ICA Head of Risk and Operations Karl Sullivan said Insurers had received 29,935 claims since the catastrophe was declared on February 2, with estimated insurance losses of $1.243 billion. They have already paid more than $521 million in repairs, rebuilding works, replacement items, services, business interruption, emergency accommodation and settlements:

1. More than three-quarters of 4529 domestic motor vehicles claims have been closed (vehicles repaired or replaced, or payments provided)
2. More than 60 per cent of 9213 contents claims have been closed (items repaired or replaced, or payments made)
3. Almost half of 12,850 home building claims have been closed (repairs and rebuilding works completed or payments made)
4. About 45 per cent of critical home building claims have been closed
5. Insurers have engaged more than 1800 local workers and suppliers

Sullivan said: “Several insurance companies have a permanent presence in the city or have set up shops to help their customers when they need it. However, the industry acknowledges a small number of customers may be experiencing issues.”

“About 1.5 per cent of claims received from this catastrophe have been denied by insurers because the policy bought by the customer did not cover the losses. This is a challenging time, and insurers have pledged to handle these cases swiftly and in good faith. Many of these cases are being dealt with through each company’s internal dispute resolution process, and a small number of claims have progressed to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.” He said a number of factors may contribute to the time a claim takes to reach closure.

The ICA will be holding one-on-one consultations with insurance claimants to assist with claims issues and provide guidance on insurance issues on Friday August 9 and Saturday the 10. Registration is required. Interested policyholders should phone 1800 734 621 or visit disasters.org.au/townsvillemeetings to book a time.