The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has received more than 100 complaints in relation to the South-East Queensland, northern NSW floods of February and March.
As at today, it has received 135 complaints, with 44 closed and 91 open.
The top issues have been complaints about delays in claims handling (about 40% of complaints), the claim amount (about 20%), and claim denial because of a condition or exclusion (just over 10%).
The most common products involved are home building (about a third of complaints), motor vehicle insurance (20%) and home contents (10%).
Not all complaints involve insurers, with banks and other credit providers also accounting for a number of complaints.
“AFCA acknowledges the scale and intensity of the disaster and the significant effects on communities,” AFCA’s Lead Ombudsman, Insurance, Emma Curtis, said.
“We also acknowledge that the scale of the disaster, combined with supply pressures, will mean there are likely to be delays. We expect insurers to do all they can to assess claims promptly, to inform customers about expected timeframes, and to clearly communicate about claims options such as cash settlements versus rebuilding.
“We encourage consumers to lodge a claim with their insurer if they have not already done so, and to talk with their insurer if they have any questions about their cover or claim.
“If you’re unhappy with the handling or outcome of your claim, you can lodge an internal complaint with your insurer. The insurer has 30 days to try and resolve that complaint. If you remain unhappy with the outcome, you can access AFCA’s free and independent ombudsman service.
“AFCA plans to visit more of the affected communities in coming months and will join community forums to help explain our role, and options for people affected by the disaster.”
- The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes.
- AFCA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation.
- Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.