I am extremely disappointed to see that consumer group Choice has awarded the entire Insurance Industry one of their eight lemon trophies this year for dodgy, dubious and deceitful goods and services as part of its sixth annual Shonky Awards.
Choice claim flood insurance is so confusing it’s been named as among Australia’s worst products, alongside a weight-loss nasal spray and quail eggs to cure erectile dysfunction.
The bad press was reported not only in Australia but internationally. So far our New Zealand and South African offices have advised me that they saw a report in local trade journals.
The irony is the cartoon Choice Magazine use on their website to justify the award Shonky Awards 2011: Insurance industry , is not flood at all under any policy but rather storm and tempest an insured peril!
How good is this when the reality is that around $2.4 billion in claims from the flood on top of the $1.3 billion paid for Cyclone Yasi, not to mention, the WA Bushfires, The Victoria Floods, Cyclone Carlos and countless everyday claims that happen every day in Australia.
It is really a kick in the face to the thousands of insurance company staff along with loss adjusters, loss assessors and claims preparers, who have gone way over and above the call of duty to attend to these claims with little or no rest after the hail storms in Melbourne and Perth last year and the bushfires the year before.
What Choice and Australian journalists have completely overlooked is two things. Flood is not a natural disaster. It is a man made disaster. Government and local authority put property in the wrong place. Made worse when they fail to use the dam and other flood mitigation tools available to them wisely. Even now no one seems to have learned. After cyclones home and building owners are required to upgrade to wind rated buildings. Homes in bushfires are now built to withstand bushfire. With flooded homes we put them back exactly the same as before and expect a different result.
Secondly, there is choice in the market. The wordings are not difficult to read and my analysis is that they were clear and concise.
Perhaps Choice with their conflict of interest problems and the news organisations who have been comprised in regards their integrity should have a closer look at their own performance before they thrown any more stones at an industry that is protecting the Australian economy and done more for the Queensland economy this year than any other!
What is clear is that the Insurance Industry does need to get on the front foot and start getting a positive message across as the continued bad press has several adverse consequences.
1. It is a disincentive to people taking out insurance.
2. It makes it harder to recruit new staff to the industry.
3. Politicians can continue to use as to divert attention off their own departments appalling performance.
4. It is hugely demotivating to the claims men and women who next time may just think what the heck. I will take the weekend off rather than giving their all to help the community and their companies clients.
Rather than just whinge about this, I am trying to do what I can. I flew up at my own expense to be interviewed on Channel 9’s documentary “When the Rain Comes Again”, I wrote a series of papers explaining flood insurance and published two books “It May Happen to Me! – the Essential Guide to General Insurance” and “What is Insurance?” Both were written for the end user of insurance.
We all need to do our bit against this gutter style press and get this terrible and in the main unjustified image that we have been painted with this year removed as soon as we can.