The Insurance Council of Australia has revealed the length of downtime faced by many victims of Tasmanian floods, with just half of all claims now closed 3.5 months after the damage was inflicted.
In a statement regarding the devastating floods that swamped areas surrounding Tasmania’s capital in May this year, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) proclaimed that “less than 3.5 months after devastating floods struck parts of Hobart and Kingston, insurers have closed more than 50 per cent of household claims”.
That means that over 4,000 of the 8,800 residential and commercial claims submitted in response to the disaster have yet to be finalised.
The ICA’s general manager of communications, Campbell Fuller, said that, despite the headline numbers looking bad from a customer’s point of view, the closure rate was actually very high by industry standards.
He said that repair times have blown out due to Hobart’s property boom, leaving a severe shortage of tradies and materials across the island state.
“Insurers have worked diligently and efficiently to help their customers since the floods, including sending staff, specialists and equipment from the mainland to speed the recovery effort,” said Mr Fuller.
“As of today (20 August 2018), almost 90 per cent of motor vehicle claims have been closed, as well as about 55 per cent of home building claims and almost 45 per cent of contents claims.
“The insurance industry promised immediately following the floods that it would act swiftly and with compassion to help affected households and businesses. It has and continues to deliver to customers despite many challenges, including shortages of equipment and replacement goods in Tasmania.”
Water damage repair specialist Chris Jackson of 1800flood.com.au previously revealed that waiting for their insurer to respond to a claim is causing businesses to suffer infinitely worse water damage.
“Within just four days, the entire structure is contaminated with mould, soft surface materials have started to swell (which means more costs to replace those items) and hard surface materials will take longer to dry and return to a dry standard,” he said.
“The longer the issue takes to resolve, the longer your company is out of action.”
The ICA’s Mr Fuller urged business leaders to keep their operating and insurance records up-to-date, given that incorrect or incomplete documentation will inevitably slow down the claims process, particularly for business interruption claims.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.