Bligh bid to get companies to pay

PREMIER Anna Bligh intends to make sure that insurance companies are forced to pay their customers' full claims if they are not dealt with in a reasonable time.

The QT has written dozens of stories since January about flood victims who have not been paid their claims for months. Many are still waiting.

But Ms Bligh's proposal, which requires federal legislation, is part of the Queensland Government's submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the insurance industry's response to natural disasters.

"We also want to see insurance companies forced to name and shame themselves in local and state newspapers when they repeatedly or seriously breach the Insurance Code of Practice," Ms Bligh said.

"I wonder how often these breaches would continue if insurance companies knew they'd have to pay to advertise their own bad behaviour.

"The response of insurance companies has not been good enough and the industry must do better. Too many people have had to wait too long."

The Queensland Government's suggested five-point plan includes strengthening the general insurance code of practice, allowing the ombudsman to "name and shame" insurers who are serial offenders and forcing them to make their record clear to the public. This would allow the Financial Ombudsman Service to compel an insurer to advertise in mainstream media where there have been repeated breaches of the code.

The adoption of a standard definition of flood is on the agenda while insurance companies will also be encouraged to use local labour where possible.

The Federal Government's Insurance Inquiry will be held in Ipswich today at the Ipswich Civic Centre from 2pm-5pm.


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