Many people have sustained significant property damage as a result of the recent floods.
Such issues have arisen:
1. Whether you have cover. There are a couple of insurance companies who have indicated they will decline liability due to coverage not being for flood. If this has happened you should get legal advice as it may be that there is in fact coverage under the policy and/or you may only have rights if there has been negligent misrepresentations or misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the sale of the policy to the property owner.
2. Finalising claims and deed of release. Insured people should be very careful in finalising their claims. It is not uncommon for a claim to be finalised and then it turns out there is some damage that was not discovered at the time the claim was put in. Likewise, items may at first instance appear not to have been damaged but as time goes on it turns it is, eg: engines in motor vehicles or any mechanical engine such as air conditioners. Foundations of houses in particular seem okay and then six to twelve months down the track it turns out there is damage. If a Deed of Release has been signed finalising once and for all any claim that a property owner has with the insurance company, then you may not be able to go back and make any further claims.
3. Documentation of correspondence and communications with the Insurance Company, if you are in negotiations with the Insurance Company you should make a file note of the telephone conversations that take place and if there is some form of an agreement reached or if there are still issues that need to be resolved these should be put in writing whether it be by way of letter, email or fax to the insurance company so that there is a clear record of communications that have taken place so that if issues arise in the future you can go back to your correspondence.
4. Flood relief subsidies. Some people have sustained significant damage and are entitled to grants and/or subsidies as a result of damage sustained. People should contact Peter Gerarde-Smith our Rural Counsellor to make a time to see him.
Aired April 2012 on Radio 2RG