In March this year, Cyclone Debbie caused major damage to homes, businesses and farms in Proserpine, the Whitsundays, Bowen and Mackay. At the time, insurance companies and the Insurance Council of Australia assured me they would honour every claim without dragging out the process. More than six months on, there are perhaps thousands of claims still not settled. Meanwhile, people are living in damaged homes and are going to work in damaged workplaces. Then, when they get back to their damaged homes, they spend hours on the phone, arguing with building assessors, engineers and insurers who are putting forward undercooked scopes of work that don’t come close to covering the costs of necessary repairs.
I’m currently dealing with more than 60 cases where homes and business owners have been dealt a double blow. I’ve spoken with the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services to ensure that she understands what’s happening on the ground and to flag a potential need for intervention. I am now demanding that insurance companies concerned and the Insurance Council of Australia come to the Whitsundays, sit down with the stakeholders and fix this problem—not just talk about it but put measures in place to fix the problem. If they don’t, further action will need to be taken and, if that means sending the equivalent of a category 5 cyclone through the insurance industry, they’d better strap themselves in for a bumpy ride because North Queenslanders are sick of copping it in the neck with high premiums and then copping the rough end of the pineapple after a disaster like this. (Time expired)
Chamber House of Representatives on 23/10/2017ItemSTATEMENTS BY MEMBERS – Cyclone Debbie Speaker :Christensen, George, MP/ Parliment Transcript used for reporting news