7 January 2020

Government meets with insurance industry to discuss their bushfire response

Insurance industry representatives have provided the Federal Government with an update on actions taken to date to support impacted policyholders and communities, including the provision of emergency accommodation and financial assistance following devastating bushfires across the country.

The nation’s insurers are vitally important to recovery efforts in bushfire affected areas and it is important we work together to help these communities rebuild and to ensure relief is provided as quickly as possible, with the timely and fair resolution of insurance claims.

Since September 2019, around 8500 bushfire related insurance claims have been lodged, valued at around $700 million. Approximately twenty per cent of claims lodged have been processed and around half of these have been settled.

Emergency response teams of assessors and claims specialists have been deployed to help customers’ process claims and emergency accommodation and cash advances have been provided. Insurers have implemented a triage process to ensure the worst-affected policyholders receive urgent attention.

The Insurance Council is working directly with the States and emergency services and is operating a 24-hour hotline, 1800 734 621, so that anyone impacted by the fires can access information about claims and recovery.

During the meeting industry representatives provided assurances that the insurance industry was absolutely committed to working in partnership with policyholders, governments, the building industry and other stakeholders to carry out the required repair and rebuilding work.

This included a commitment to focus on local building and construction businesses and suppliers in fire-affected communities to carry out the necessary work.

At the meeting we also discussed how insurers and government can continue to work together, including sharing detailed data about the response, to help support insurers, government and others respond to the needs of communities in a timely manner.

The Government will continue to work with the insurance industry to support those devastated by the fires.