Insurance council slammed over 'misleading figures'

Insurance council slammed over 'misleading figures' | Insurance Business Australia

Insurance council slammed over
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has come under fire for reporting that more than 72% of claims due to Cyclone Debbie have already been finalised five months after the event – a claim some characterised as 'misleading.'

According to a state-wide email sent by the council to the Whitsunday region, 13,500 claims have been lodged and $108 million has been paid so far from an estimated damage bill of $331 million.

David Keane, a former insurance assessor with more than 20 years of industry experience, said that the 72% of claims paid worth $108 million correspond to just a third of the total damage bill of $331 million, News Corp Australia reported.

"How many of much of that 72% was from food loss after the power outage?” he said. "I can tell you as an assessor we come into these areas and in that first rush of three or four thousand claims, we are looking for those little food loss claims or the fence that has been pushed over, where we can say, ‘Mate, here is three grand; just bugger off.’ Then I can say, ‘Yeah, 72% of claims have been dealt with, ‘but there is still $220 million of the $330 million which is outstanding. And within reason, that is to be expected ... but the problem comes about when they try and give themselves a pat on the back and say, 'We have dealt with 72% of claims.' Yes, [this] is misleading.”

Keane's sentiment was echoed by an executive officer at the Whitsunday Neighbour, who said ICA's “crowing a job well done” was “indicative of their disregard for their clients' needs.”

"What a joke,” she told the publication. “Locals are being pressured into cash settlement or expected to sign half a scope of works so insurance companies can report 'above average' finalised claims.”

Campbell Fuller, GM communications and media relations at ICA, disputed that the figures the council released are misleading, and said it only made sense to finalise small claims first.

"That is common sense,” he said. “We are not hiding anything.” Fuller pointed out that a claim for cracked roof tiles takes less time to resolve than “half a house that needs repairing.”

On 'misleading' ICA figures, he said: “[They are] not at all. This is the way disaster recovery goes. Smaller claims of course are going to take less time to progress.”

Fuller also said that the reason ICA holds community information nights is because it recognises that some policyholders were dissatisfied with their scope of works.

John Collins, a division 3 councillor and 'frustrated' claimant, said that even with ICA meetings set in their area early next month, state and federal politicians still need to “start putting pressure on the insurance companies” so claimants could get their “everyday lives back to normal as soon as possible.” 

ICA has announced the following dates and venues for their meetings in Collinsville:
  • Collinsville: Sept. 7, 5pm - 7pm
  • Proserpine: Sept. 8, 10am - 4pm
  • Cannonvale: Sept. 9, 10am - 4pm
  • Dingo Beach/ Hydeaway Bay: Sept. 9, 5pm-7pm
  • Bowen: Sept. 10, 10am - 4pm

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