RACQ approves more than 200 flood claims
More than 200 southeast Queensland flood insurance claims that were previously declined have been reassessed and approved, RACQ Insurance says.
A spokesman said the 247 rejected claims from Ipswich were overturned after new hydrological information on January’s floods was received.
The information showed the claims could be accepted under RACQ’s cover for flash flood and stormwater run-off.
‘‘The new information was data relating to a hydrology model that we had first requested in February from the Ipswich City Council, SEQ Water, and the Brisbane City Council,’’ a statement released today said.
‘‘It has now been released by the Brisbane City Council and provided important information and data on the affected area.’’
All potentially affected claims were reassessed and those who had successful results have been notified by express post mail or a personal phone call.
However, Brisbane City Council issued a statement denying its actions delayed RACQ from paying out flood claims, saying the claims were “false and reek of blame shifting”.
“Council provided RACQ Insurance with the flood modelling they requested almost three months ago (17 May), contrary to claims they have been waiting for it since February,” the council statement said.
“Council originally gave approval for RACQ to access its flood modelling in April; however, RACQ took one month to accept council's offer.”
The news comes as a group of 120 flood-hit Brisbane property owners weigh a class action after a report into January's floods opened a potential legal avenue.
Ken Madsen, of Flood Affected Businesses and Householders, says he's yet to study the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry's interim report.
But he hopes the finding that Wivenhoe Dam operators breached the manual might help a class action.
The report, released yesterday, found engineers in charge of the dam during the floods did not use the best available forecast information when deciding how much water to release.
Mr Madsen said he hoped this was something flood victims could launch legal action on.
"The flood inquiry has allowed the data to be made available which is something we've been struggling to get a straight answer on ever since the floods," said the industrial real estate agent from flood-hit Rocklea.
"We will review the data and seek legal advice."
As well as compensating flood victims, a successful class action would hold bureaucrats accountable, and help insurance claims, Mr Madsen said.
"It seems that the only time bureaucrats take any notice of any changes is when they've been forced to legally," he said.
"The class action will be one way of making them wake up to their responsibilities and accountabilities.
"The class action will also highlight to insurance companies and others that whilst we were affected and damaged, it wasn't our fault and it wasn't necessarily where we were that was the problem."
He said any successful action would also give flood victims some closure.
"The buildings can be repaired and fixed relatively easily," he said.
"But the loss of confidence and the psychological damage to people, the sleepless nights ... that's immeasurable."
Maurice Blackburn lawyers is representing 78 individuals or families at the flood commission as part of the Fernvale and Surrounding Communities Action Group.
The firm's Queensland principal Rod Hodgson said he was still examining the findings.
"We will then be in a position to consider a range of legal options for our clients who have suffered property loss and damage, and loss of business revenue and profits," he said.
Premier Anna Bligh said today she was yet to receive any legal advice on the prospect of legal action being brought against the government.
"I'm never concerned about people exercising their legal rights," she said.
"The commission report may well assist them in exercising their legal rights."
- AAP and Daniel Hurst