Federal inquiry launched into insurance claims for 2022 floods

Assistant treasurer among those pushing for insurance companies to take accountability

Federal inquiry launched into insurance claims for 2022 floods

Catastrophe & Flood

By Jonalyn Cueto

A federal parliamentary inquiry is being launched into the response of insurers to people’s claims following the devastating floods that impacted Australia in November 2022.

Independent MP Andrew Gee has been a driving force behind the establishment of this inquiry following reports into the experiences of residents in Eugowra and other towns in the state's Central West and northern NSW regions.

"Eight months after the flood event and we've got people living in caravans and pods," Gee said, in a report published by ABC News. "I hope something good comes from the inquiry and we can get some of these outstanding claims moving."

Assistant treasurer Stephen Jones visited Eugowra and said the insurance companies need to take accountability on the matter.

"We need to raise the standard to ensure people get what they paid for," he said. "The inquiry will look at the underlying risk and ensuring that more houses and communities aren't put in peril."

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) welcomes the announcement regarding the inquiry and pushed for it to be widened in scope.

"2022 was a record year for insured losses with flood events in NSW and south-east Queensland so far costing $7.17 billion in insured losses from more than 300,000 claims," Andrew Hall, CEO at ICA, said, suggesting an inclusion of "the impact of worsening extreme weather events, supply chain issues, and skills and labour shortages" to the inquiry.

In April 2023, the ICA commissioned a report on the response of insurers to the damages of floods in northern NSW in 2022. The findings will be released in October.

In the ABC News report, a couple shared their experience with their insurance claim. Lesley and Brian Smith's property suffered significant damage, and the couple said they had been offered a settlement of less than half of the amount they have in their policy.

"The insurance company says it won't cover damage to the support piers under the house due to the age of the building," Brian Smith said.

"We've felt very disheartened as I've always been the type of person to have everything insured, including for flood and storm damage." Lesley Smith added.

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