House of Representatives Committees

| House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs

Navigation: Previous Page | Contents

Appendix D—Survey results

The Committee launched an online anonymous survey on the inquiry website at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/spla/insurance/online_survey/index.htm in June 2011 to gauge community concerns about the operation of the insurance industry during disaster events. The survey provided an opportunity for members of the community to tell the Committee about their experiences of dealing with insurance companies in relation to disaster-related insurance claims in an anonymous manner. This was important as some people, especially after experiencing difficulties with insurers, were fearful that publicly criticising the handling of their claim might jeopardise their claim or dispute. The survey was closed in early January 2012.

The survey did not collect any data on gender, age or residence. Almost 700 respondents entered the survey, but all questions were optional so not all participants answered every question. The results below identify the number of respondents for each question. The Committee views the survey results as descriptive rather than statistically vigorous, and recognises that the findings do not represent a full and reliable picture of Australians’ experiences with insurance companies. There was scope for respondents to make comments if they wished to do so, and a selection of these have been included in italics along with the results.

 

 

 

 


 

Question 1

Do you live in an urban, regional or rural area?

Urban

407

 

Regional

137

 

Rural

151

Total: 695

Graphical results of question 1

 


 

Question 2

Are you operating a business or a farm? 

Yes – Business

121

 

Yes – Farm

30

 

No

543

Total: 694

 

Graphical results of question 2

 


 

Question 3

Roughly how much do you spend on insurance premiums each year?

$500-$1000

85

 

$1000-$5000

462

 

$5000-$10000

88

 

$10 000-$20 000

21

 

$20 000-$50 000

10

 

over $50 000

5

Total: 671

 

Graphical results of question 3

 


 

Question 4

Do you consider that you have appropriate insurance policies available to you?

Not appropriate

133

 

Somewhat inappropriate

125

 

Somewhat appropriate

194

 

Appropriate

219

Total: 671

 

Graphical results of question 4

I thought we were reasonably well insured. What I discovered is that we really had no idea of the costs of a total loss. I thought our home building insurance had an inflated safety margin but really it fell far short.

 

Queensland and Brisbane in particular is built on a flood plain. How can Insurers remove ‘flood insurance’ from cover where it is more than likely that in time an event will occur.

Question 5

What year did you make your most significant claim against your insurance policies?

2011

527

 

2010

48

 

2009

43

 

2008

28

 

2007

11

Total: 657

 

Graphical results of question 5


 

Question 6

What event was the claim related to?

2011 Queensland floods

424

 

2011 Western Australian Bushfires

15

 

Cyclone Yasi

44

 

2011 Victorian floods

43

 

2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria

24

 

Other

83

Total: 635

Graphical results of question 6

 

 


 

Question 7

What was the financial scale of your claim?

$500 – $1,000

7

 

$1,000 – $5,000

40

 

$5,000 – $20,000

60

 

$20,000 – $50,000

85

 

$50,000 – $100,000

122

 

$100,000 – $500,000

278

 

$500,000 – $1 million

31

 

$1 million – $5 million

2

 

over $5 million

1

Total: 626

 

Graphical results of question7


 

Question 8

Which type of insurance was the claim related to?

home and contents

497

 

motor vehicle

83

 

farm

20

 

business

38

 

other

22

Total: 660

 

Graphical results of question 8

 


 

Question 9

How quickly was the claim settled?

Very slow

376

 

Slow

115

 

About right

73

 

Fast

34

 

Very fast

27

Total: 625

 

Graphical results of question 9

Claim accepted immediately (lodged by phone), $5000 advanced on contents insurance (available in bank account next day), case manager assigned.

 

The Insurance system needs to be far more streamlined and user friendly to enable a quick response to a crisis situation.

 

Very good considering the pressure insurers are under. Expected it to take a lot longer.

 

 


 

Question 10

How long did it take for the insurance company to settle the claim?

0-1 week

9

 

1-4 weeks

57

 

1-6 months

291

 

> 6 months

66

 

yet to be settled

203

Total: 626

 

Graphical results of question 10

The insurance company has not communicated with either the broker nor the client (us) as to when the Business Interruption claim will even be looked at and there is no clause in the policy that gives them a deadline. The whole reason for BI insurance is to help your business week by week during a period of non-operation—seven months later is really unacceptable to find out whether your claim has been successful or denied.

 

Each time we speak with our ‘case manager’ we are told we will hear from them within the next couple of days. This does not happen. We have to continually contact them to prompt further action. Six months after the events and we are still waiting for something to happen!


 

Question 11

What was the level of service provided to you by your insurance company during this claims process?

Very poor

323

 

Poor

157

 

Good

89

 

Very good

56

Total: 625


Graphical results of question 11
Perhaps some companies should not be selling insurance when they cannot provide the service to us in a manner for what we are paying.

Insurance company delayed payout as much as possible. I had to fight them. I feel sorry for people that can’t dispute and question like the elderly who would passively just trust these large organisations.

Any thought that I might have had that the insurer (or probably the insurance industry) would have acted ‘in good faith’ however is long since out the window.

Overall, it has been a very distressing experience. I felt as if I was no longer their ‘customer’ but a problem to be dealt with.

I have only had one phone call from my insurance co. in 10 months.

We have had no correspondence from the actual insurance company including how long before our claim is considered.

Have to nag for any info. Only given info when I phone. No written contact whatsoever. Advised will get in writing when settled.


 

Question 12

How helpful were the insurance claim assessors?

Very unhelpful

166

 

Unhelpful

141

 

Helpful

125

 

Very helpful

63

Total: 495

 

Graphical results of question 12

The company chose the cheapest (because incomplete) assessment. The builders they employed were extremely substandard and most of the work had to be redone.

It is not right that some people because they have an unsympathetic assessor are entitled to less than another client.

We were assigned two assessors by mistake and they both provided different information regarding the claim.

The service from the actual insurance company was good, but they outsourced the claims assessment to another company, whose service was particularly poor.


 

Question 13

Were you happy with the way the claim assessor/s communicated with you?

Very unhappy

198

 

Somewhat unhappy

122

 

Somewhat happy

101

 

Very happy

73

Total: 494

 

Graphical results of question 13

Was an American man who had been sent out to Australia. He was at our home for no more than 10 minutes to decline our claim and made the comment as he walked out the door ‘you Aussies will bounce back’.

All staff involved in such processes (whether insurance company employees or subcontractors) need an appropriate level of skills in working with people who have been through a very traumatic experience. They only added to my grief in such unnecessary ways.


 

Question 14

What was your primary method of communicating with your insurer?

telephone

493

 

fax

2

 

email

92

 

post

14

 

in person

22

Total: 623

 

Graphical results of question 14

Long initial process over the phone to obtain initial claim number (four hours).

They insist that all claims are done via a phone. You are on hold for hours and I mean hours. Plus a lot of people had no access to a phone, internet etc.

I had to ring them on a mobile = expensive, long waits, often couldn’t get through.

I tried via email but I was told three different email addresses by their staff, it was a bloody shambles.

They never contacted us. It was always us chasing them even up until the end with a decline.

Staff helpful and communicated regularly plus followed up after work completed to ensure I was happy with the quality.

 

 

 

Question 15

If a third-party expert or consultant was involved in your claim, did they help resolve the claim in a timely manner?

Yes

93

 

No

233

Total: 326

 

Our assessor was ineffective and unconcerned by our claim and in the end appeared to be a large part in the delays.

Still waiting for an accurate and complete scope of works, including Engineer’s Report.

Insurance company appoints assessing company, dealing with company in an entirely different State. Six months on since disaster date - still waiting for engineers report (approx. 10 weeks has lapsed since engineer arrived).

Dodgy repairers (cowboys) were sent to repair our home. We have had ongoing roof problems and still waiting for our pergola to be fixed (again for the 5th time).

27 weeks and still awaiting a structural engineers report, no scope of works.

 

Question 16

Did you encounter any difficulties or delays in getting the third-party experts to assess your claim?

Yes

205

 

No

119

Total: 324

 

Dealing with their builder who seems to operate independently of the insurance company is another matter entirely, and an issue that should be looked in to.

The insurance company took more than twenty (20!) visits to our home, each requiring one of us to take a day off work, over a period of almost a year.

Sent unaccompanied builders to assess, one was inexperienced, the other was intimidating, denigrated our home builder, minimised repairs, raised his voice, made inappropriate comments re neighbouring homes lost in the fire.

Flown in from Malaya and not familiar with local building products.

He came from Newcastle and did not know the lay of the land.

Terms like ‘Wayne Tank’ and ‘legal professional privilege’ were used to stall and deny my claim. The Wayne Tank was the most concerning as it's a court precedent yet not detailed at all in any PDS.

 

Question 17

What was the outcome of your claim?

Paid in full

167

 

Partially paid

115

 

Denied

314

Total: 596

 

 

Graphical results of question 17

We opted for a payout as we are unsure how to rebuild. The information and process around this has not been made clear and we now discover the bank can prevent this course of action. Very frustrating.

 

There is no place for those with issues to go that can actually get a result from the insurance companies they are a law unto themselves and will take whatever time they want—they will assess what they want and you are left with no choice but to accept the rubbish they offer or wait for years to fight them (advice from legal aid).

 

We work, have two children at school and have undertaken all the repairs ourselves. We just didn’t have the time to pursue the insurance as well. It’s been a tough time.

 


 

Question 18

If you entered into internal dispute resolution, were you happy with the way the company communicated with you?

Very unhappy

74

 

Somewhat unhappy

40

 

Somewhat happy

7

 

Very happy

1

Total: 122

 

Graphical results of question 18

Very condescending. Told us that we were ‘welcome to object to the decision but the matter will take a long time’.

 

Still not sure if [dispute resolution] is actually underway!!!!!!!!

 

When it went to internal review, they were rude and abrupt, I did not abuse threaten or insult anyone, and deserved to be treated better by the insurance people.

 

The insurance company’s internal processes have been sloppy.

 

 

 

Question 19

If you entered into internal dispute resolution, was it undertaken in a timely way?

Yes

37

 

No

74

Total: 111

 

Insurance company replied that it would take a month to respond on the dispute resolution. It took two months after I sent a reminder.

 

Quite surprised as it took them less than five days to uphold their previous decision—which I believe was not enough time to have done a full proper secondary assessment.

 

Question 20

Were you aware that there are free legal services available to provide you with advice about your claim?

Yes

449

 

No

173

Total: 622

 

Have just found Legal Aid—very helpful and wish I’d known sooner.

 

Question 21

Do you feel that you fully understood what you were entitled to claim when you signed your insurance policy?

Yes

242

 

No

361

Total: 603

 

 

Question 22

Were you given accurate and useful information by your insurance company about your right to make a claim?

Yes

239

 

No

366

Total: 605

 

 

 

 

Question 23

Were you given accurate and useful information by your insurance company about the claims process?

Yes

220

 

No

383

Total: 603

 

I rang AAMI, received a claim #, was told someone would be in contact in a few days, after three weeks rang and was told they knew nothing of claim. A further three weeks no call back after being again promised ‘in a few days … had to ring again.

 

Explanation of process not clear: how to claim and your options.

 

It took four months for my insurer to contact me after I lodged a claim. Ringing to enquire as to the progress of my claim has taken over 30 mins on hold!

 

No correspondence was received for months. Not even to acknowledge that our claim was accepted.

 

Totally ignored any requests for information.

 

Question 24

Were you given accurate and useful information by your insurance company about your right to external dispute resolution?

Yes

202

 

No

339

Total: 541

 

Question 25

Did you, or do you intend to, change insurance companies as a result of your claims experience?

Yes

429

 

No

172

Total: 601

 

Navigation: Previous Page | Contents

Back to top

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print