The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten

Minister for Financial Services & Superannuation

14 September 2010 - 1 July 2013

Media Release of 01/03/2012

NO.009

Shorten Urges Consumers and Insurers to be Prepared in Face of Floods

Widespread rain across New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory has created safety risks and the potential for water damage to properties.

The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, said "People and businesses need to be familiar with their insurance policies in the event that current weather events cause any loss."

Insurance policyholders making a claim should contact their insurance company as soon as possible to check what their policy includes or excludes, and seek guidance on the claims process. 

"Policyholders should protect themselves and also assist the claims process by developing an inventory of lost and damaged items.  This includes photographing damage and keeping records of any materials that have had to be removed from the property," said Minister Shorten. 

"The insurance industry should process claims diligently and as quickly as possible, taking into account the terms of the policy purchased by the consumer and the circumstances of the loss.

We have seen that the industry is capable of handling claims in a timely manner."

Members of the community who have questions about insurance or who are not sure which insurer they are with should call the 24 hour Insurance Council of Australia disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

Minister Shorten has been working closely with the insurance industry over the past year to provide a fairer and more transparent insurance system in light of the experience arising from the 2010 and 2011 floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

As a result of this work, the Government is implementing a number of important initiatives to improve the operation of the flood insurance market, including in respect of the handling of claims and dispute resolution.

This includes the introduction of a standard definition of 'flood' and a one page Key Facts Sheet to be provided to consumers clearly setting out what is covered in specific insurance policies.

Minister Shorten said that "The widespread rains across New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory highlight the importance of these Government initiatives."

1 March 2012