HomeFinanceInsuranceDodgy experience with flood insurance? The government wants to know

Dodgy experience with flood insurance? The government wants to know

Insurance woes continue for many flood-affected victims from the catastrophic 2022 floods, but they now have a chance to have their say in a government inquiry.

Many residents are still fighting to have their insurance claims honoured two years after their devastating losses, and the ABC says more than 7000 claims are outstanding.

Many residents fighting payment shortfalls for repairs have given up and have accepted their insurer’s offer. 

Legal Aid Queensland’s Paul Holmes told the ABC that complex insurance processes sometimes drove people to accept cash offers before going to the ombudsman.

Insurance complaints

The Australian Financial Complaint Authority, which deals with insurance claims, received almost 28,000 complaints in the 2022-23 financial year, an increase of 50 per cent on the previous year. 

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics began an inquiry last August into insurers’ response to the 2022 floods. 

It was established to focus on a range of issues including the time frame to resolve issues, obstacles to resolving claims, communication with claimants, dispute resolution and affordability of insurance cover.  

It’s in response to some residents being in financial limbo and yet to receive any concrete government support or insurance payouts two years after the floods. 

Peak representative body the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said in its Insurance Catastrophe Resilience Report 2022-23 that in 2022 alone, there were more than 302,000 disaster-related claims lodged from four declared insurance events across the country, costing $7.28 billion in insured losses.

Of that figure, $6 billion in losses were related to the northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland floods in early 2022.

Australia’s costliest insurance event

This was the second costliest insured event in the world that year and the costliest insured event recorded in Australia.

The ICA has also commissioned its own review, “which has already led to changes including insurers hiring more claims staff and better identifying vulnerable customers”.

“Insurers acknowledge there were failures of systems, processes and resourcing following this flood and has apologised to impacted customers for those failures,” an ICA spokesperson said.

Chair of the government inquiry Daniel Mulino MP is calling on those who suffered in the floods to share their story.

“We are entering the critical second phase of this inquiry, where we want to hear firsthand about the floods’ impact on communities, and the experiences of local residents and businesses going through the claims process with their insurers,” Mr Mulino said.

“A number of these affected towns have been hit again by floods since 2022, and the committee will be looking to see if insurers’ handling of claims has improved.

“Many of the submissions articulate the struggles that residents faced, including long delays in damage assessments and repairs, claims being denied because of ‘wear and tear’ exclusions, inadequate cash settlements and poor communication, which all compounded people’s frustrations,” Mr Mulino said. 

“The committee is looking forward to hearing all the evidence.”

Public hearings

Public hearings are being held throughout March, with submissions from government agencies and Australia’s largest insurers.

Public hearings for people affected by the floods will be held throughout April in various sites across the flood-damaged areas including Lismore, Rochester, Molong and Eugowra.

More than 400 people have already provided their feedback through an online survey, and the committee is encouraging affected individuals to complete the survey, which will be open to 31 July.

If you wish to make a public or confidential submission about your experience during and after the floods, visit here. This link will also close on 31 July.

Find out more about the public hearings and community input here.

Have you had a poor experience with insurers? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Average health insurance premiums to rise by 3.03 per cent

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I have a list of those I consider worthy of being in my “Australia’s Top 10 Greatest Thieves”. Sitting in the number 1 position, & you guessed it, is INSURANCE COMPANIES. They are a “necessary evil”.

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