Ipswich houses still uninhabitable after floods


Flood-affected Ipswich residents were today offered free personalised advice by financial ombudsmen to determine the next step in their fight against rejected insurance claims.

Despite the assistance the devastated residents remain bewildered about their future.

Briony Skinner reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Four months on from the devastation of the floods and Richard Dunikowski’s house is still uninhabitable.

Despite extensive flooding and thousands of dollars in damage, NRMA Insurance has twice rejected his claim.

Mr Dunikowski says the insurance company abandoned him when he needed it most and even after his meeting with the ombudsman today, he feels overwhelmed.

Richard Dunikowski, Bundamba resident: “Today paperwork, tomorrow again have to fill out some paperwork, and all the time something different. I say,
a bit too much.”

Dell Francis also describes the situation as hopeless and isn’t optimistic about a positive outcome.

She was referred to the ombudsman by the Flood Recovery Centre, after her claim with QBE was rejected, despite being insured with the company for 30 years.

Dell Francis, Karalee resident: “People like us, we really don’t know the ins and outs of the way you do disputes or anything like that with the insurance companies. I mean it’s never happened to us before, as I suppose with everybody.”

Residents are grateful for the services of the ombudsman and the support of the local community but until insurance companies step up to the plate, they are still unsure about the future.

The local mayor says while the ombudsmen’s initiative was fantastic, their help shouldn’t have been needed in the first place.

Cr Paul Pisasale, Ipswich Mayor: “The insurance companies know their responsibilities, they know what they have to do, they know what they’ve got to give out and they’re doing every excuse in the world to delay payments.”

He says enough is enough, and it’s time for insurance companies to start showing some compassion.

Briony Skinner, QUT News.