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Hope not lost for insurance battles

The offending letter from AAMI.
The offending letter from AAMI.

THE final words from your insurance company do not have to be “we regret to inform you your insurance claim has been rejected”, according to Legal Aid Queensland.

Free information sessions are being held around the state, and if community members call for a forum in Emerald, it will be granted, LAQ consumer protection lawyer Catherine Uhr told Central Queensland News.

“A lot of people are unaware that they can challenge decisions made by insurers and the vast majority of rejected claims are never disputed by policy holders,” Ms Uhr said.

“It is important people know that they can challenge their insurer’s decision, even decisions about the insurance payment amount can be challenged.”

The appeal avenue is welcome news for flood victims who, struggling to cope with losing all their homely possessions, were dealt a second blow upon learning their insurance claims were rejected.

There is no means test applied to flood victims seeking help from LAQ.

One Emerald woman, who wished to remain anonymous, this week received a cheque for $30 from insurance giant AAMI for failing to meet one of their customer service commitments.

Her insurance claim was rejected last month based on an independent hydrologists’ report, which determined the water inundation of her rented home was caused by floodwater, not rainwater runoff.

The estimated loss of her home contents was $15,000.

“There is no way a $30 cheque comes anywhere close to replacing everything I lost,” the woman said.

“It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to know I won’t be able to rebuild my life to how it was because I just can’t afford to.

“Why pay all that money just to be told that I’m not covered? And how do they expect a $30 cheque to make up for it?”

AAMI said, in the letter sent with the cheque, it did not meet one of its customer service commitments, and therefore the company incurred a penalty fee.

The Insurance Council of Australia has announced an appeal process available to flood victims, and said there are steps people can take to ensure insurance company refusals to pay are not simply “blanket rejections”.

WHAT TO DO:

Attend the information session at McIndoe Park on Monday, March 28

Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 1300 780 808 or Disaster line on 1800 337 444

Contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 651 188

Contact the Insurance Council Australia on 1300 444 557


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