Media release from the office of Janelle Saffin, Federal Labor MP for Page, on Thursday 16 June 2011:
PAGE MP Janelle Saffin has welcomed a new inquiry into how the insurance industry responds to natural disasters, including floods, storms and bushfires regularly experienced by Northern Rivers residents.
Ms Saffin has wasted no time in inviting the House of Representatives Standing Committee Chair, Graham Perrett MP, to hold public hearings in her electorate during the second half of this year.
“Our region is frequently affected by floods, storms and bushfires, sometimes several times a year, and there always is a mountain of paper work and phone calls for policy-holders to navigate,” she said.
“Some of my constituents have been less than satisfied with their insurance companies’ handling of claims or unacceptably long delays in having those claims assessed and finalised.
“This new inquiry will provide the insurance industry and consumers will an opportunity to make submissions on how the system can be streamlined or improved.”
The inquiry will examine the insurance industry in respect to extreme weather events, which due to Climate Change, are becoming more common.
It will consider:
· The information provided to consumers about claims processing arrangements.
· The timeliness of claims processing.
· The impact of third-party consultants on timeframes for claims processing, and
· External and internal dispute resolution processes.
Ms Saffin urged policy-holders who had made a disaster-related claim in the past five years to participate in the Committee’s on-line survey by visiting www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/spla/insurance/index.htm
Full terms of reference for the inquiry can also be found at this website. Individuals and organisations are invited to make submissions to the inquiry by Friday, July 15, 2011.
----------------------------This Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs inquiry is also conducting an online survey:
To gauge community concerns relating to this inquiry, the Committee is conducting an online survey. The survey is targeting members of the community who have made a disaster-related claim on their insurance policies in the last 5 years.
Tell us about your experience of dealing with insurance companies in relation to disaster-related claims here.