At an insurance public forum attended by more than 150 people in Ipswich on April 5, victims of the Brisbane floods of early January shouted, sobbed and pleaded for help from elected council and federal representatives, and the head of the Insurance Council of Australia, Rob Whelan.
Despite promises of insurance industry reform from assistant federal treasurer Bill Shorten, residents were angry at the lack of response from many insurance companies to their claims, 11 weeks after the floods that devastated big areas of Ipswich and Brisbane.
Shorten had invited RACQ, Allianz, NRMA, CGU, AAMI, Real Insurance and QBE to the meeting, but none attended the April 6 Courier Mail said.
Shorten described the failure of the big insurers to face their own customers as “corporate cowardice”.
Shorten announced a proposal for a common definition of flood and a "tick sheet" to simplify policy information. He also said he would ask the federal government to consider a mandatory code of conduct for insurers.
But residents were not placated. Susan Woollett, whose house was inundated on the day Ipswich residents now call “11/1”, said: “It's all about the future. It's nothing that's really going to help us now.”
The angry residents at the meeting carried placards such as, “Cancel your RACQ policy,” and “Support flood victims: Boycott CGU.”