WE'VEHAD A GUTFUL Residents Take Aim at Insurance Companies; Meeting Slams Appeal Fund and Insurers

Article excerpt

Byline: Joel Gould joel.gould@qt.com.au

ANGRY flood victims yesterday slammed insurance companies and the red tape involved in accessing assistance from the Premier's Disaster Relief Fund at a public meeting in Booval.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten attended the meeting and moved to assure attendees that he would consider each of their cases individually. He also outlined his plans to standardise the meaning of the word Cyflood' so that insurance companies were no longer able to blur the interpretation to exclude a river that breaks its banks.

Despite being invited, individual insurance companies failed to attend the meeting.

Fernvale flood victim Coral Larsen received rapturous applause when she articulated the major concerns of flood victims.

She referred to the people of the Brisbane Valley as C[pounds sterling]the forgotten people.C[yen]

C[pounds sterling]We want help. We don't want it in three months time. We don't want it in two months time. We need it now,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]There were 500 homes in the Somerset region, ours included, that were inundated.

C[pounds sterling]On that day we had the dam opened at full capacity, we had a wall of water coming down from Grantham. We had 19 inches coming out of the sky at the same time. I would call that a natural disaster.

C[pounds sterling]How can they define that as Cyoverland water' or `riverine water' when it is a natural disaster that should be covered by all insurance companies?C[yen]

Yesterday, Mr Shorten outlined a standard definition of flood in a public consultation paper as C[pounds sterling]covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of (a) any lake, or any river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified; or (b) any reservoir, canal or dam".

C[pounds sterling]At the moment we have a situation where policies talk about Cyflash flooding' and Cyaccidental flood' but at the same time exclude cover for a river that burst its banks,C[yen] Mr Shorten told the QT. …