Insurers Facing Their Own Water Hazards
10 February 2012
THE GENERAL insurance sector operating in Queensland and northern NSW is also facing the water hazards of the flooded regions because loss assessors and other personnel have not been able to get in to accurately assess the losses in many places.
Insurance brokers are doing their best in the closed regions to attend to suffering clients.
However, most efforts from all services concerned so far has been on finding accommodation and sustenance for displaced victims.
Teams of assessors and insurer representatives are reported to be assembled and are already fielding claims and enquiries from flood victims.
However, in many places they have not been able to access regions until waters started subsiding, for instance, in the Roma region of south western Queensland.
The St George township of 3800 people, 500 km west of Brisbane, is still covered by the flooded spread of the Balonne River.
To help prepare for accurate assessment and information, Queensland's largest insurer Suncorp has put the locations of its flood assistance teams on its website.
This is so they can be found by flood affect insureds, but the insurer says it's still too early to estimate claims.
"It is too early to advise on the number of claims as in some areas people are unable to get to their homes or are yet assess the damage," Suncorp spokesman Rob White told InsuranceNewsAustralia.com.
"Suncorp customer response teams are in the area and their location can be found on our website.
"Alternately, personal insurance customers, Including home and contents and comprehensive car and boat insurance, can contact our hotline and commercial insurance customers their brokers."
Suncorp Home and Contents policies automatically include cover for flood and storm damage to buildings and contents. Suncorp's Comprehensive Car & Boat policies also cover flood and storm damage.
Campbell Fuller of the Insurance Council of Australia told INAcom: "We will not have a strong idea of claim types and numbers and losses for many weeks due to the nature of these floods and the time it takes for property owners to return to their properties and review the damage.
"However, insurers expect thousands of claims and insurance losses of tens of millions of dollars.
"Assessors are entering communities when it is safe to do so and are already hard at work in some towns. Each claim is being handled on its merits in accordance with the policy terms and conditions."
The ICA formed a taskforce when it declared a catastrophe for south west Queensland.
By late yesterday, it had not done so for northern NSW, signifyng that the flood menace had not reached expected widespread disaster levels yet.
Mr Fuller said the ICA was in regular contact with Emergency Management Queensland and local governments and authorities.
A representative was in Moree, NSW, on Wednedsay and will be in Roma this weekend.
"Further, the ICA has been providing advice to people in flood-affected areas on insurance through local radio interviews," he added.
The ICA was in regular contact with local governments and with emergency authorities including Emergency Management Queensland and the SES.
Some insurers have sent customer response teams to affected areas. The ICA also will be touring main disaster recovery centres over the next fortnight to help manage issues and provide guidance
Source: Insurance News Australia
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