Local councils were yet again urged to make flood maps available to the general insurance industry at a meeting held to help flood-hit Queensland residents.
The issue was subject to fresh debate at the Insurance Council of Australia’s community forum on Wednesday, held to enable policyholders affected by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald to speak freely with insurers about policies and claims.
Suncorp, Vero, CGU, Zurich, Wesfarmers Insurance, Shannons, Apia, CommInsure, Strata Unit Underwriters, AAMI, Racq, Youi and NRMA are said to have dispatched representatives to the forum.
The ICA, the Financial Ombudsman Service and Legal Aid also attended to explain their various roles in the claims process. But the issue of flood mitigation and mapping was high on the agenda.
Darren Trott, Zurich’s head of customer care – claims, for told Insurance Business: “The purpose was fundamentally to connect policy holders with their insurers so their questions and concerns could be addressed directly.
"Broader issues were also discussed. Flood mitigation was high on the radar and the need for local councils to make flood mapping available to insurers. There is a general feeling that Queensland is lagging behind in this regard.”
The ICA said it would continue to “urge local councils to share their flood maps with the ICA so insurer has more information to determine premiums”.
Bundaberg Mayor, councillor Mal Forman highlighted to Insurance Business council plans to engage in discussions with state and federal governments around developing policies and strategies to deal with flood issues, including discussing buy-outs, land swaps, improved planning instruments, and developing of more flood resistant models for flood prone sports with state and federal governments.
He added: “The impact on our community in human and economic terms will be felt for years to come. Individuals exposed to a second bout of heart-breaking inundation within two years have had their resolve to back up for another battle with nature sorely tested.”
ICA CEO Rob Whelan noted “the incredibly stressful time for everyone affected by the recent severe weather,” adding: “ Giving policyholders the opportunity to meet insurers face to face helps speed up the recovery process and provide some piece of mind.”
Both CGU and WFI said the forum was a “great opportunity” to allay customer fears and confusion around claims.”
According to the ICA, the general insurance industry has received around 59,010 claims to an insured value of AUS$661.3m as a result of Oswald.