26 September 2023

More PS staff for insurance complaints

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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has expanded its general insurance complaints team to respond to an unusually high number of complaints from flood-affected citizens.

Lead Ombudsman for Insurance at AFCA, Emma Curtis said the Authority had received about 950 complaints to date from flood-affected people, six months from the start of the South-East Queensland and northern NSW floods.

Ms Curtis said the AFCA activated its ‘significant event’ response plan after the flooding began in February, giving priority to urgent, flood-related financial complaints.

“Delays in claims handling are the most common cause of dispute, followed by claim amounts and claim denials,” Ms Curtis said.

“The scale and intensity of this natural disaster means it continues to have a significant impact on people,” she said.

“Everyone’s wish is for those affected to be able to get back on their feet and on with their lives.”

Ms Curtis said that while people should always talk to their insurers first about any concerns they had, “AFCA is here to help consumers and insurers resolve complaints when they can’t find a way through on their own”.

She advised consumers to talk to their insurer first if they had any concerns or questions, make a complaint to the insurer if their concerns weren’t addressed, and contact AFCA if they were unhappy at the end of that internal complaint process.

“Remember that you can come directly to us – you don’t need to pay someone to represent you,” Ms Curtis said.

The Lead Ombudsman said AFCA was designed to be a free and accessible alternative to a court or tribunal.

“Of course, you can appoint someone like a financial counsellor, family member or someone else to assist you, if you’d prefer,” she said.

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