Consumer Action Law Centre has responded to the Federal Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economics inquiry into insurers’ responses to the major flood claims arising from 2022’s ‘disaster year’ with a supplementary submission.
We have signed onto and fully support the submission from Financial Rights Legal Centre (FRLC) and CHOICE (primary submission).
Consumer Action has experience advising and representing clients with insurance claims and disputes. Demand for insurance advice has been increasing as a result of the recent floods and other natural disasters in Victoria. We provide additional case studies from our frontline advice services to emphasise the issues impacting consumers from the October 2022 floods in Central Victoria.
Broadly, any consumer lodging a claim after a natural disaster like a flood is extremely vulnerable. Our lawyers report that these clients are typically very distressed when they first speak to them. These clients have often lost their homes and been physically disconnected from family and community. They simply do not have the resources to engage in legalistic and technical disputes with their insurer and advocate for themselves to try to get a fair outcome.
We frequently see consumers accepting a less than satisfactory outcome because they no longer have the capacity to continue in a claims dispute process.
The primary submission makes 34 detailed recommendations to improve outcomes for consumers and we encourage the committee and industry to consider these with the seriousness they deserve. Consumer Action affirms the overall need for increased resources, support and compassion for consumers navigating an insurance claim after a natural disaster – both from government and industry.
Read our full submission (PDF).027.1