2022 floods: Suncorp apologies to flood victims over ‘dwelling hell’

A high insurance coverage govt has declared he was “embarrassed” over his firm’s failures to help traumatised flood victims throughout one of many worst pure disasters in Australian historical past.

Suncorp chief govt Steve Johnston was grilled by federal MPs throughout a federal probe into the 2022 floods on Monday.

The catastrophe killed 24 folks and displaced about 85,000 as record-breaking rainfall inundated giant components of South East Queensland and NSW.

Mt Johnston mentioned as much as 1373 insurance coverage claims filed within the wake of the catastrophe had but to be resolved as of February 2024.

“We’re closing about 80 per week in the mean time,” he mentioned.

“That is good progress and we anticipate to have that quantity down by the tip of this monetary yr.”

Federal MP Andrew Gee teed off on the main insurer after it was revealed the group had raked in $1.bn in earnings over the previous monetary yr.

“I seen the phrases at first of the proof you’ve given about the way you didn’t all the time get it proper … I simply marvel if you happen to and different insurers have any appreciation of the dwelling hell which a lot of your coverage holders and clients went by way of throughout these nationwide disasters?” Mr Gee requested.

Mr Johnston mentioned he had visited flood-affected communities to witness the trauma folks endured.

“I’ve sat down with them and I’m very dissatisfied to say in these first early situations it’s like they’re getting ready to enter a battle. They’re preparing for a combat. I do see them. I’ve met many shoppers and it’s a really painful expertise.”

Mr Gee went on to quote proof given by a pair compelled to reside in a caravan after their dwelling was destroyed by floodwater in 2022. He mentioned over the previous two years the pair had confronted a “litany of delays”, together with having rounds of incorrect assessments and being ghosted by third occasion assessors.

“They’re clients of yours … why did it have it take constituents making movies about their experiences for all of the world to see so that you can take motion and transfer and progress on that declare? Why does it must be so laborious?” Mr Gee pressed.

“I’m embarrassed,” Mr Johnston answered.

Testimonies got here after advocates instructed hearings final week that traumatised flood survivors reported being “gaslit” and “ghosted” by their insurers within the wake of the catastrophe, with some uncovered to bullying from property assessors and prolonged delays on declare disputes.

ASIC officers instructed a listening to on Friday it put Australia’s complete insurance coverage business on discover over failures to speak with susceptible shoppers and correctly resolve claims.

Insurance coverage Council of Australia chief govt Andrew Corridor instructed the general public listening to on Monday that insurers had been dedicated to main modifications and mentioned the business absolutely recognised its failures to help flood victims.

“We apologise on behalf of the business to these clients we let down,” he mentioned.