Bill's Media Releases

Government Continues to Work With Insurance Industry to Respond to Final Flood Claims

The Australian Government today welcomed the news that more than 99% of people making claims for loss and damage arising from the Queensland floods have now received an answer from their insurers.

Of the 99 per cent, about 85 per cent of claims have been accepted, with about 15 per cent of claims refused.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said "I am very pleased to see the Government's work with the insurance companies is paying off for policy holders. I and the Government will continue working with the insurance industry to resolve the outstanding claims as soon as possible and assist those whose claims have been refused.”

"It also appears at this stage that the rate of disputes for flood claims is unacceptably and substantially higher than for other natural disasters such as bushfires, cyclones and hailstorms.”

"I therefore repeat my calls on the insurance industry to continue to work with the Gillard Government to deliver a standard definition of flood to ensure policy holders know where they stand and have confidence in the insurance product they are purchasing,” he said.

Policyholders whose claims have been denied should ask their insurer to review the claim, and, where appropriate, ask for a review of the decision by the Financial Ombudsman Service (Phone 1300 780 808).

Claimants may also seek assistance through Queensland Legal Aid's Flood and Cyclone Help service (Phone 1300 651 188).  This service has been established with the financial assistance of the Australian Government and the Insurance Council of Australia.

The Australian Government has a broad range of initiatives in place to ensure insurance coverage adequately compensates for damage from natural disasters and is taken up by as many people as possible.

A proposal for a standard definition of 'flood' to ensure that people understand what they are, and are not, covered for, and other initiatives are outlined in the discussion paper Reforming Flood Insurance: Clearing the Waters (available through the Treasury website http://www.treasury.gov.au/) .

Longer term issues are being addressed through the Government's Natural Disaster Insurance Review (NDIR).  The Review has recently released a discussion paper available at http://www.ndir.gov.au/content/Content.aspx?doc=issuespaper.htm.  Submissions to the Review are welcome and are due by 14 July 2011.

29 June 2011