22 February 2011

Anger mounts as NRMA rejects 'sunny day' flood claims as CGU plans to reject all flood claims

ONGOING BATTLE: Vivienne Chavez, wife of Chester Chavez,
is planning a campaign against NRMA insurance after being
knocked back for being victims of "sunny day flooding".

INSURER NRMA has told hundreds of anxious policy holders in southeast Queensland their claims for flood damage will not be honoured because they were victims of "sunny day flooding".

NRMA, which provides cover for riverine flood in NSW but not in Queensland, has been calling flood victims to tell them the bad news after late last week receiving a hydrology report for the whole of the Brisbane and Bremer river catchments.

The report, by engineering company WorleyParsons, has ruled out flash flooding for all but a handful of properties - where NRMA said it would send hydrologists for a closer inspection.

"We've assessed every claim that was made," an NRMA spokeswoman said.

"About 90 per cent have been given a decision. Declines are in the smaller portion."

The spokeswoman said the company had received an "overarching" hydrology report that showed that damage in the two catchments was "as a result of sunny-day flooding ... ie not as a result of stormwater damage".

Flood victim Chester Chavez, of Indooroopilly, received a phone call from NRMA on Friday denying his claim. Mr Chavez said there was about $100,000 worth of damage to his house and possessions caused during the floods. He and his wife earn too much to qualify for the Premier's Disaster Relief payments.

"We got $2340 and that's all we stand to get," he said.

"We haven't fallen through the cracks. I wouldn't call it that. I would say the Grand Canyon."

Mr Chavez now plans to campaign for a boycott of the company and to ask people to consider withdrawing their support for the Brisbane Broncos, who landed a three-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with NRMA in October.

NRMA received more than 3000 claims as a result of the floods. It refuses to disclose their dollar value or how many it has agreed to pay.

"We are trying to look to pay as many claims as possible under the policies." the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, RACQ, NAB and CommInsure have all set aside millions of dollars to make "ex-gratia" payments to policy holders who find themselves with inadequate or no cover after the floods.

NRMA's sister company CGU on Friday was the target of a demonstration by angry flood victims from west of Brisbane, who called for it to make a similar move.

CGU is expected to give its response on Tuesday but in a statement on Monday, it said: "Claims where the cause of damage is found to be flood will be rejected."

More flood news:

COMMENT: If NRMA Insurance thinks it can abandon people with legal technicalities
over "Sunny Day" flood claims, maybe we should all give NRMA a bright "cheerio"
out of the insurance industry once and for all!



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