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AFCA launches bushfire hotline, warns against insurance middlemen

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
24 January 2020 1 minute readShare
Bushfire hotline

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has launched a support hotline for those impacted by the devastating Australian bushfires and has cautioned people to think twice before signing binding contracts with insurance middlemen.

The AFCA Bushfire Support Line (1800 337 444) is part of AFCA’s disaster response process which identifies and expedites complaints about financial products and services from the impacted communities.

AFCA CEO Justin Untersteiner said AFCA was ready and willing to assist to ensure financial complaints are resolved quickly.

“If you’re affected by the bushfires, and you find yourself in a dispute with your insurer or financial provider about a claim or request for assistance, AFCA can help resolve it,” Mr Untersteiner said.

“We have special processes that identify and fast-track complaints from people, primary producers and small businesses in impacted communities, so we can assist you to resolve complaints as quickly as possible.” 

Earlier this month, AFCA set up a dedicated bushfire disaster support portal for individuals and small businesses impacted by the fires to help them navigate the insurance and financial hardship assistance processes. 

‘Think twice’

AFCA also cautioned people to think twice before signing contracts with claims management companies.

Mr Untersteiner explained: “AFCA has heard reports of claims management companies charging people to manage disputes with financial firms.

“While not illegal, AFCA is concerned that people are being charged excessive costs and/or a percentage of the sum recovered, when in reality the service provided is of no real benefit to the person.

“AFCA warns against signing binding contracts with claims management companies unless people clearly understand the likely cost implications. In most cases, it is not necessary or of any real value.”

AFCA launches bushfire hotline, warns against insurance middlemen
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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