Bellrock’s hands-on approach to claims achieves settlements for flood victims twice as fast as industry average

On 28 February 2022, the Insurance Council of Australia declared an Insurance Catastrophe for Southeast Queensland and parts of NSW following record breaking severe weather and flooding (occurring since 21 February 2022), with a reported 23 deaths.

The cost of the record-breaking floods impacting these areas has continued to rise, making it the fourth costliest disaster in Australian history, as per recent statistics released by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

As detailed in our recent article here, there has been an escalation in terms of increased severity and frequency of major weather events, with the last 12 months seeing a continued onslaught of property claims arising from cyclone, flood, storm, hail and bushfire events. This latest Insurance Catastrophe is another tragic confirmation of this trend.

As at the end of 31 May 2022, insured losses attributable to the flooding events are estimated to be in the vicinity of $4.3B, resulting from 216,465 claims across both states. The cost is now almost double that of the 2011 Brisbane flood, which saw $2.3B in insured losses.

This recent extreme weather event has now surpassed the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake, which recorded $4.24B in insured losses and is now ranked as the fourth costliest natural disaster ever to hit Australia, as numbered below (all normalised to 2017 values):

  1. Eastern Sydney Hailstorm (1999, $5.57B)

  2. Cyclone Tracey (1974, $5.04B)

  3. Cyclone Dinah (1967, $4.69B) 

  4. SE Qld & Northern NSW flood (2022, $4.3B)

The 28 per cent rise in estimated claims cost from last month’s figures is largely due to the progression in the claims assessment process and an increase in commercial claims, which are typically slower to come through and have a greater cost per claim.

Across the insurance industry, ICA reports that 20 per cent of claims are closed at this and time and almost $1B has been paid out to policyholders to date, equating to an average payout of nearly $20,000.

From Bellrock NSW’s perspective, we are currently managing 10 claims directly attributable to the recent flooding events with estimated claims costs of $4.87M At the time of publication, total claims settlements in the amount of $2,213,806.85 have been processed for our clients.

Most notably:
  • As at 10 June 2022, Bellrock have settled 40 per cent of flood claims notified (as opposed to the current industry standard of 20 per cent);

  • Bellrock are managing insured losses on average of $487,300 in contrast to the industry average of $20,000.

Bellrock considers proactive and effective claims advocacy to be an essential aspect of our service offering. As the figures above reflect, our team is unique in its hands-on approach, quickly and effectively working with clients and insurers to get claims paid.

Sadly, this contrasts with the experience of many victims of the recent floods, where little progress has been made. This issue has been particularly prevalent in Lismore, as recently reported at the end of May 2022 by Insurance Business Australia. For policy holders in this region, there have been huge delays to claims processing times, seeing many victims left in limbo as they await action by insurers.

Bellrock has recently acted for Lismore based clients, working tirelessly to advocate on their behalf resulting in full limit loss settlements. Triggering numerous policies, the average settlement from notification to finalisation being 50 days, with one particular claim averaging 38 days.

Bellrock’s Claims Director Mat Holland commented:

“After such a devastating event impacting the Lismore community, it was imperative for us to ensure that our client’s businesses had the best possible outcome under their respective policies and were able to continue to provide their community with essential services. There was a huge effort amongst all stakeholders involved to ensure that this was dealt with as quickly as possible and clear lines of communication with Insurers (Liberty and QBE) were paramount throughout this process.”

One such business owner recently commented, Funds are showing in my account this evening. Thank you everyone, for getting me such a favorable outcome. It will certainly go a long way to enabling me to re-establish and move on from this catastrophic event.”

The Bellrock claims team are here to assist you with information or advice relating to claims advocacy and management. Please contact us via the form below.

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