Insurance claims heighten post-disaster stress

Insurance claims heighten post-disaster stress | Insurance Business

Insurance claims heighten post-disaster stress
Victims of floods which devastated Brisbane in 2011 and Mackay in 2008 found dealing with their insurers the most stressful part of dealing with the aftermath of the disaster, a new study has revealed.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Psychology and Counselling has surveyed more than 150 flood victims from the region for its latest study and has found that the claims handling of insurers left many victims feeling worse.

"Victims' biggest complaints and stressors were around insurance company staff giving conflicting information, delays in assessing claims, not covering flooding, or not being adequately compensated for losses,” Kelly Dixon, from QUT’s School of Psychology and Counselling said of the study.

"Aftermath stress was the strongest predictor of post-traumatic stress symptoms with 75 per cent of people saying the most difficult aspect was the aftermath and dealing with insurance companies.

"The findings showed that aftermath stress contributed to poor mental health outcomes over and above the flood itself, prior mental health issues and demographic factors," Dixon continued.

Dixon noted that those that dealt with helpful insurers found the aftermath of the disaster less stressful when compared with those who had insurance struggles.

"For example, people who found their insurance company to be helpful, described less stress overall, whereas those who had difficulty with the insurance process were more likely to describe the flood aftermath period as extremely stressful.”

Dixon noted that by streamlining procedures and processes, insurers could help their customers deal with traumatic events such as flooding and help set them on the road to recovery.

"What this shows is insurance companies need to look at ways to reduce undue stress, such as by streamlining their procedures, training staff in these procedures and providing claimants with clear, easy to following instructions on how to make their claim."
5 Comments
  • Just an Observer 2015-05-20 11:58:06 PM
    It would be interesting AND useful is this research also identified if there was a difference between the claimants who had a broker handle their insurance and those who dealt direct because they "know" as much about insurance as a broker and thus can save a few dollars !! Unfortunately this sort of research yet again lumps ALL those involved in the insurance industry in the same pot. If the researcher had any understanding of the industry you would think that identifying if there was any difference between those who use a broker and those who deal direct would be an important factor is the analysis. Rather than taking the EASY route!! But then what do you expect....... Any reason and opportunity to kick the insurance industry!!
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  • Karen 2015-05-21 12:48:59 AM
    Tell us something we didn't know! That's why consumers need brokers....we thrive on post disaster stress!
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  • Angela 2015-05-21 12:21:15 PM
    Interesting but not a surprising article.. How many of these claimants had an insurance broker and/or the right insurance cover? I've seen personally how devastating this can be, however with good sound advice & appropriate cover, the likelihood of this level of stress is greatly reduced.
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