The Insurance Council of Australia
(ICA) says insurance claims from customers affected by the recent Queensland hailstorms would be given priority treatment.
On Friday, the ICA formally declared a Catastrophe for the hailstorm-affected areas of Brisbane and South-East Queensland.
According to ICA CEO Rob Whelan, the industry was escalating its response, and claims from the storm would be prioritised to reduce stress on impacted customers.
He said, “Insurers have received thousands of claims and inquiries from affected customers, and I urge anyone who has been affected to contact their insurer as soon as they can.”
“It is much too early to estimate the damage bill,” Mr Whelan said. “Insurers are standing by to handle claims and inquiries from customers, and these will be managed swiftly and professionally.”
As a result of its Catastrophe declaration, the ICA has set up a taskforce to liaise with the QLD Government
, local governments and emergency service organisations, and assist in managing issues and concerns as they arise. It’s also set up a disaster hotline to help affected residents who aren’t sure which insurer they’re with, or who have general inquiries about the claims process.
Mr Whelan said the ICA had spoken with Premier Campbell Newman about the hailstorm and the insurance industry’s response. It was also liaising on Friday with the government and emergency services under the state disaster arrangements.
The number of the ICA’s disaster hotline is 1800 734 621
The ICA’s general advice to affected policyholders
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can, and seek advice about the claim process under your policy, as well as what you’re covered for. Many insurers have 24-hour call centres
- Don’t be concerned if insurance documents are not readily at hand. Insurance companies keep records electronically and require only the policyholders’ name and address to find a policy
- If your home is unsafe, notify local authorities and check with your insurance company whether you can claim temporary housing expenses
- Speak to your insurer before authorising repairs. Emergency repairs should only be undertaken in the first instance to make the property safe. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy
- Don't drive storm-damaged motor vehicles that may be unroadworthy. Hail-damaged vehicles will be professionally assessed by insurers in coming days. Inform your insurer when you lodge a claim if your vehicle cannot be driven
- Take pictures of damage to the property and possessions as evidence for your claim assessor
- You can remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings, but take photos and keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the assessor
- Making an inventory of damaged possessions will help insurers process your claim