Australia’s corporate regulator is urging insurers and other key stakeholders to handle claims efficiently and fairly, to help those impacted by the devastating fires rebuild their lives.
“We expect those involved in handling these insurance claims to act with the utmost good faith,” said Daniel Crennan, deputy chair at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ASIC also warned bushfire victims to watch out for fictitious or unscrupulous tradespeople, repairers, or firms, urging them to deal directly with their insurer or an authorised insurance broker.
“These unscrupulous operators typically target homeowners, farmers, and small businesses in the aftermath of natural disasters,” said Sean Hughes, ASIC commissioner. “They may claim to be able to identify damage to your property, sometimes by way of a free inspection. Be wary of anyone who asks for payment up front and who asks you to sign a contract immediately. Don’t agree to sign anything which prevents you from dealing directly with your insurer, broker, financial adviser, or lawyer. Anybody who is concerned about the conduct of such a person or firm should contact ASIC.”
Bushfire victims may visit ASIC’s Moneysmart to see contact details of free legal, financial, and support services available in each state and territory. ASIC is also offering relief for various company-related fees for affected customers. They may visit ASIC’s website for details on how to apply for the assistance.