The response of the insurance industry to major flood events across Australia in 2022 will be the focus of a new inquiry by the House Standing Committee on Economics.
The inquiry will take a whole-of-economy view of the ongoing challenges caused by intense and frequent flood events.
In particular, the inquiry will look at insurers’ responses to the 2022 flood events in south-east Queensland and northern NSW during February and March; the floods in greater Sydney and the Hunter in July; the October floods in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania; and the floods in November and December in the central west of NSW.
The inquiry will focus on a range of issues, including:
- Timeframes for resolving claims;
- Obstacles to resolving claims;
- Communication with people lodging claims;
- The effectiveness of internal dispute resolution processes;
- The accessibility and affordability of hydrology reports and assessments;
- The affordability of insurance cover; and
- The preparedness of insurance companies for future major floods.
The chair of the committee, Dr Daniel Mulino MP, said: “The aftermath of intense natural disasters continues to have a huge impact on the lives of Australians - in rural and regional communities and in metropolitan areas.
“People in my electorate of Fraser were devastated when the Maribyrnong River flooded in October. I spent the following days door knocking, making sure residents were safe and that they had been able to claim disaster payments from Services Australia. I will never forget the despair of the families and local business owners who lost everything.
“My staff are still advocating for affected residents who have outstanding claims with their insurance companies. Meanwhile, they are also trying to rebuild their lives, which is difficult when claims haven’t been settled.”
To kick off the inquiry, an online survey has been launched to hear from people who were affected by the major floods. “It is really important that people participate in the survey,” Dr Mulino said.
“Committee members need to have a good understanding of people’s experiences with their insurance companies. Their evidence will inform our discussions throughout the inquiry and help guide our recommendations.”
From an insurance perspective, the 2022 floods were some of the costliest in the nation’s history.
“This is why it is also critical that we engage with the insurance industry and understand the effect of supply chain issues, skills and labour shortages on responding to claims; how insurers communicate with their policy holders in difficult times; and their preparedness for future events,” Dr Mulino said.
Further information about the committee’s inquiry, including the full terms of reference, details on how to participate in the survey or make a submission, are on the inquiry’s website.
Dr Daniel Mulino MP
02 6277 4311
For background information
02 6277 4707
For more information about this committee, visit its website. On the site, you can read submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button in the bottom right-hand side of the page.