Brokers on standby as Cyclone Debbie claims cross $300M

Brokers on standby as Cyclone Debbie claims cross $300M

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Brokers and insurers continue to receive claims after Cyclone Debbie ripped through Far North Queensland and caused major flooding in Queensland and Northern NSW.

According to the latest Insurance Council of Australia estimates, as of 9am today, insurers have received 28,000 claims across both states and insured losses are estimated at $306 million.

The ICA has established a taskforce to help coordinate the recovery process and had initiated its disaster hotline as a service to affected policyholders who are not sure which insurer they are with, or who have general inquiries about the claims process.

Insurance Broker Darren Reilley from Brisbane says, “For brokers during severe weather related events, it is key to be contactable in time of need, no matter what day or what time. It is necessary that one has a clear understanding of what process will be and one is able to put clients’ mind at ease”.

Reilley is a General Insurance Adviser for the Shadforth Insurance Brokers and specialises in providing tailored insurance programs to protect assets, mitigate personal and professional liabilities and other personal risks for businesses, farms and corporations in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

The day before the cyclone was due to hit, Reilley says that they contacted all clients in Townville to ensure that they had contact details for their brokers and to advise them to stay safe. They also called clients in Rockhampton on Monday when flooding was expected on Wednesday to remind people to lift stock from bottom shelf et cetera.

Reilley insists on the importance to act swiftly on behalf of clients in times such as these. “One of our clients had a vessel moored at Hamilton island which went missing for 24 hrs after the cyclone. We had claim lodged and assessor appointed by the time the vessel was located and had already received approval for original boat builder to be appointed repairer,” he says.

You can view exclusive drone footage from the cyclone affected parts of North Queensland provided by Crawford Drones.

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Having an insurance broker handling the claims process also ensures that policy holders are not scammed by people looking to take advantage in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Insurance companies have received calls from distraught policyholders in northern and south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales who have been doorknocked by scammers demanding cash for clean-up, inspection and repair services.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said being aware of scam repairers and builders could save policyholders from becoming victims twice. “This racket is generally carried out by travelling conmen and woman who typically target elderly or vulnerable householders, though business owners are also being approached,” he said.

“They often claim to represent the insurance company and pressure the householder or business owner for money to inspect the roof or other damage. They may offer special deals on repairs, demanding cash up front, and leaving the job unfinished or poorly done. They will sometimes pressure their victims to drive to an ATM to withdraw money. An insurance company representative would never demand cash to carry out an inspection.”

This article was originally posted by Insurance & Risk

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