Insurers urged to be 'responsive, compassionate' after Queensland floods


Insurance companies are being urged to take a further look at the damage caused by floodwaters in Townsville.

Insurance companies are being urged not to skip out on Townsville residents left to clean up the damage left behind by floodwaters that swamped much of the far north city.

Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad has invited insurers and the Insurance Council of Australia to meet her in the far north city on Friday after media reports that claimants who had lost their insurance documents were not being paid out.

Amelia Rankin at her flooded home in Townsville.
Amelia Rankin at her flooded home in Townsville.

"Some of the assessments have been very brash and on the spot, rather than allowing residents and households to compile the information and have a conversation with the insurance companies and claim assessors," Ms Trad told reporters on Saturday.

"(But households) are doing it tough right now.

"They want compassion, and they want a responsive organisation that understands that they are going through a traumatic event."

Queensland Flooding from the air
Queensland Flooding from the air.SBS

The mopping up is well underway after more than a year's rainfall was dumped on large swathes of north and western Queensland within days.

More than 12,800 insurance claims amounting to more than $160 million have been lodged by residents and businesses in the Townsville region.

Ms Trad said more than 500 government buildings, including schools and social housing, had been affected.

Business owners have told Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington they won't get help from their insurers, she says.

"These hard working family businesses have done the right thing, they've paid their premiums and now they have been devastated by this disaster," Ms Frecklington said.

"It is clear they have been affected by storm water."

However, the financial impact on farmers in the state's interior may not be known for weeks as rural communities from Longreach to Charters Towers, and north to Kowanyama on Cape York Peninsula, remain surrounded by floodwaters.

Drought-stricken graziers, who are estimated to have lost a staggering 300,000 head of cattle, have been using helicopters to find their surviving cattle.

Some graziers have reported seeing piles of up to 500 head of dead cattle piled up in paddock corners after becoming weakened and disoriented.

The federal government has opened up grant funding, and the state government on Saturday extended its disaster assistance to several more local government areas, as well as primary producers in Winton.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the flood waters in the north west could take days to recede.

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